Updated: Jul 13
"UNTIL PEOPLE NO LONGER COMPARE THE TWO".....
Dr. Marjorie E. Roberts, age 60, Doctor of Business Administration, Life Coach, Atlanta, Georgia
Q&A with Dr. Marjorie & Carolyn Andrews, Truestoriesofcovid19.com
What were some of your first symptoms, tell us in your words about that day or night, when you noticed something wasn’t right and you began to first develop symptoms: My COVID-19 journey began March 26th, with loss of balance, extreme fatigue, diarrhea, fever, horrible nightmares, and shortness of breath.
Did you seek medical treatment and get a COVID-19 test?: I was rushed to the emergency room on April 4th, due to all these symptoms and was tested for a series of viruses including COVID-19. I was told I was negative for COVID, and sent home with a diagnosis of upper respiratory infection. As the days went on, I proceeded to develop more Coronavirus symptoms, that led to 2 additional trips to the ER, because I became sicker than I had ever been in my entire life.
I tried taking several over the counter medications to fight the bizarre sickness that seemed to have taken over my entire existence. Absolutely nothing was having an effect. During this time I became sicker and unable to do anything that required too much effort. My body was in a state of which I had never in all my 60 years experienced. I resulted to using a series of my Mother's old home remedies hoping to bounce back to my old self but even these did not seem to work.
My condition seemed to worsen. Some of the symptoms would subside only to be replaced by new ones such as dizziness, leg pain, tooth-aches, congestion and acid reflux. The pain that I experienced was excruciating and would have me screaming in pain.
Many of the symptoms, such as shortness of breath, stomach and chest pain with diarrhea, headaches, and the extreme fatigue would often come together all at once as if they were presenting my body with an elite orchestra of beautiful music.
All this happening simultaneously was taking a mental toll on me, so I decided to research online support groups and I discovered 5 different COVID- 19 support groups which I immediately joined. Long Haulers and Survivor Corps were the two I became most active in because they both provided me with what I needed which was and still is support, understanding and a wealth of knowledge about COVID-19.
Tell us about the progression of your illness as the days went on: After 4 lung x-rays, 3 EKG'S, CT scans and far too many tubes of blood drawn and no help from my primary doctor other than her wanting to prescribe anxiety medications for me, as she was convinced that my symptoms were a result of watching too many COVID-19 experiences on tv. In her opinion, I needed to stop watching the news and I would feel better. She suggested that I tried working some jigsaw puzzles, meditating or watching “feel good movies” on Lifetime television. (Basically, in her opinion, the only sickness that I had was all in my mind)
After weeks of taking this prescription, I was advised to find a new primary physician because I was not getting any better and my illness progressed to the point I found myself having conversations with my daughter concerning my life insurance policies and living will. (In a sense, I felt cast aside from the very person, my primary doctor of 5 years, an individual that I thought had come to know me and know my body.) Because my daughter works in the medical profession she and I were able to find a new primary physician that was more familiar with the battle of the fighting COVID-19. Prior to my initial zoom medical appointment with my new primary physician she reviewed all the reports from all 3 of my emergency room visits and ordered a series of blood tests immediately. From the reports and the blood tests she had ordered, my new PCP was able to conclude that the COVID-19 test that was administered in April, was indeed a false negative and that my body had been invaded by Covid-19 (It was now JUNE and I had been sick for over 2 plus months)
In addition, it was determined that I needed to be seen by a pulmonary doctor ASAP due to breathing issues, scar tissue in my lungs, swollen lymph nodes and nodules that had formed from the virus.
At the writing of this story, October 28th, 2020, I have had a series of lung tests done due to still suffering from difficulty breathing coupled with lingering fatigue. I did a procedure called a Bronchoscopy. Instruments were lowered down my throat and a biopsy of the nodules provided insight into a diagnosis of the nodules; they were non-cancerous and a degree of scar tissue was found that was determined to be the result of damage that COVID-19 caused during the initial infection.
As a COVID-19 Long-Hauler ( Long-haulers are people who have not fully recovered from COVID-19, weeks or even months after first experiencing symptoms. Post-viral syndrome, or post-COVID-19 syndrome, refers to the constellation of symptoms long-haulers are experiencing.) where do you go from here? : I do not know everyday I am faced with far too many uncertainties about what the future holds. I have been sick now for 7 months and I have no idea when or if I will start to get back to normal. Nobody knows!
What I am sure of, is that I have been and will continue to advocate for POST-COVID clinics to be put in every city, for Long-Haulers like myself, and I will continue to tell my story and continue to bring awareness to the devastation that COVID-19 can and has caused for so many.
Watch my recent interview on Richard French Live , click here....
I, like many COVID-19 Survivors/Long-Haulers, want to be back to our normal selves- we want our lives back. We don't want to accept chronic illness as our "new normal". We need help... we deserve help and we will continue to advocate for help!
Do you have any advice for those who have not yet gotten COVID-19?:
YES....WEAR YOUR MASK....AND THE CORONAVIRUS IS NOT COMPARABLE TO THE FLU, SO PLEASE STOP SAYING THAT.
Do you have anyone that you would like to thank, who is helping you through this tough time?: My husband of 5 years, John, my only daughter (who is also my very best friend) Leanne, my big sisters Gloria Olivia, Lena and Leesa, my big brother Matt and my awesome nieces and nephews, have all helped me in some way and continue to today when I have needs. I LOVE YOU ALL AND AM GRATEFUL FOR EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU. If I was able to get anything positive out of my COVID-19 experience, it was that "Family is everything".
Me, in healthier times, PRE-COVID-19
My husband of 5 years, John and I. He is my rock and I am so grateful for him!!
I gave birth to my very best friend, my 39-year-old daughter, Leanne.
I LOVE YOU WITH ALL MY HEART!
I didn't choose to be, but I AM and will advocate for all of us... I AM A COVID-19 Long-Hauler