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Caroline's Story

Caroline’s Story

I’m 39 years old with no existing health problems and I first became unwell on 25th March with a fever and diarrhoea. These symptoms lasted for 6 weeks. Halfway through the 2nd week, my heart started to race every time I stood up, often reaching 140bpm. When I lay down again, within a minute it was down to less than 80bpm. I was sent to a&e, had an ecg and told I was fine. This carried on for another month until I felt mostly better and thought that I’d recovered.

6 weeks later, the fever and diarrhoea returned, closely followed by the racing heart. A GP saw me and took a reading of 154bpm whilst I was standing still in front of him. I was sent back to a&e for another ecg, again told I was fine and sent home. This pattern repeated itself every 6 weeks, including another trip to a&e.

Then, after 6 months something changed. My usually very regular menstrual cycle changed from 25 days to 15 days then to 44 days. I developed pain and swelling in my left breast. My usual fever, diarrhoea and racing heart now started appearing every 7-10 days, alongside new symptoms. Red blistered toes, headaches lasting days at a time, chills, crushing fatigue, chest pain, shortness of breath and vertigo.

Extensive blood and hormone tests came back normal, as did a breast ultrasound and a 24hr ecg monitor.

I was never tested for Covid back in March but an antibody test in October came back negative.

The past 7 months have been so devastating to both myself and my family. We have been alone with this – firstly when my symptoms lasted 6 weeks and no-one believed that Covid symptoms could last that long and even more recently, when I’ve had to argue with GP’s to refer me to specialists. Covid clinics are not readily accessible to sufferers and, certainly in my experience, long Covid is not something that all GP’s are happy to acknowledge, especially without any positive test.