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Gerda’s Story

I’m currently 16 weeks into this (day 118) and am still struggling with symptoms.

Has been a bit of a rollercoaster as started as soon as we went into lockdown, I started collapsing – then that turned into waves of breathlessness (the early weeks of difficulty breathing was very scary) during the early days I spent a lot of time on the phone to 111. On one call they told me they were going to send the paramedics and then when the paramedics called they told me it sounded like carbon monoxide poisoning and said it sounded like they didn’t need to come round. The main thing with my symptoms is it came in waves which would be very intense and scary, where I was getting chills, shaking, collapsing, struggling to breathe for 15 minutes up to half an hour and then it would gradually subside and it would feel copeable. One dr I spoke to on 111 said “are your lips turning blue, is your tongue swollen? This virus comes in waves, sounds like you can cope at home” in some ways this was one of the most reassuring things that someone said to me as they at least believed me about having the virus. Countless drs on 111 told me that it sounded like I was having panic attacks/anxiety/check for pregnancy etc this was scary when I knew that I wasn’t.

I went to a&e after one very scary attack and when I was there they tested me for everything apart from covid19.. chest X-ray came back normal, bloods came back normal. Sent home – the dr was kind, but told me that I was looking better and again Insinuated it could be panic attacks.

Can’t remember the weeks but at a certain point this extreme fatigue/muscle weakness kicked in and I couldn’t even walk (my husband was carrying me to the bathroom and back) as I got slightly more mobile but still could only walk a few yards I went to the dr’s a few times (they told me to go to the surgery – they said I couldn’t have the virus as I had no fever, no cough, so I could quite possibly have been infectious at this time) I was given various blood tests. My doctor didn’t seem to know what to do with me, and said it sounded like panic attacks, eventually over the weeks he started to suggest Chronic fatigue – he seems to have a better understanding now but there is still very little support. I call for a chat about once every 2 weeks.

In some ways I feel like I’m one of the more fortunate people who have struggled at home as im a yoga teacher and I have some knowledge of my breath and body, so I knew how to put myself in positions so I could breathe easier when I was really struggling in the early weeks, Also the yoga has helped me with the anxiety surrounding this illness. (My children went down with fevers, week 2 so I was terrified they were going to end Up as ill as me, but fortunately my 6 year old was ok after a few days, my 12 year old has had off and on fever over the weeks, headaches and nosebleeds but nothing like me which was a relief. My husband has been fine.) and also the yoga has helped the huge variety of symptoms this illness seems to bring. My headaches, muscle aches, it’s helped me gradually be able to start walking again, and with the sickness I am getting at the moment. Yoga is the only thing i have found helpful (gentle and restorative).

Rehabilitation and support is something that has been so lacking whilst I’ve been ill.

I feel like I am slowly managing to do more, but I am still struggling with ongoing breathlessness, can’t walk very far, ongoing chest pain, heart palpitations, increased heart rate, jaw pain, muscle pain, headaches, fatigue etc…

I am hopeful I am getting better and very slowly recovering, I am managing to teach some classes, managing to do more ? Someone in the slack support group (which ive found very helpful to know others are in the same position as me) posted an interesting graph of their illness which I found really helpful, it’s like the wonkiest staircase you’ve ever seen, but an uphill trend with lots of relapses.

I had a test at 9 weeks and a test at 14 weeks, both negative but when I would have been positive they weren’t offering tests! I have just had an antibody test today – am slightly concerned that it’s going to come back negative as it seems lots of peoples are! My doctor even has said that people they were sure had had it have been getting negative results so we’ll see!!