Updated: Jul 13
"I urge you to not become too relaxed, for the remainder of this pandemic, for the sake of you and your loved ones; I can tell you from my personal experience, that this is NO joke!
Marsheika shown below on the right, pictured here, with her sister and best friend, Yolunda.
Marsheika Genise Armstrong, 51 year old, Housing District Manager, for the City of Columbia. (Columbia, South Carolina)
I am sharing my testimony and experience with having COVID-19. The purpose is to share the scariest time of my life, and prayerfully convince you, not to become too relaxed throughout the remainder of this pandemic. It is too easy, to believe that this virus is "like the flu" and that it's no big deal, and if you get it, you will definitely recover, if you are healthy, young and have no underlying medical conditions. There are many out there, who do not take COVID-19 serious, and won't, until it intimately touches their own lives in some way. I hope that I can save you from having that happen, by telling my story today.
My Coronavirus experience, began on Sunday, August 2nd, I woke up coughing and it persisted throughout the entire day, nonstop. On Monday the 3rd, I went to work and began feeling very fatigued. When I arrived home, I had a headache and decided to take my temperature. It was 99.1. I called my Director and HR department, to let them know that I was sick, and testing was scheduled for the very next morning. The positive results came back on Thursday August 6th.
My symptoms went from having a consistent cough on the 1st day. The 2nd day, I began having a low grade fever with an excruciating headache. The 3rd through the 6th day, symptoms remained the same and I just knew I would coast through the remainder of this virus. I went walking a few mornings and my appetite was very normal. However on the 7th day, my entire world changed! Along with my now severe cough, I began coughing up very thick mucus, which in turn caused me to vomit up anything I tried to eat or drink, including water. I became severely dehydrated. I also began having diarrhea. This all would occur first thing in the morning, calm down by mid-day and then start again around 8:30 p.m. This happened every day for about 7 days. It was scary, aggravating, nerve-racking and depressing.
My worst symptom was the vomiting. It was worse than the morning sickness I had when I was pregnant. The dry heaving was scary, it would occur, even when I was just brushing my teeth.
After going to Lexington Urgent Care for a chest x-ray on August 11th, it was determined that I had fluid on my lungs, possibly a touch of pneumonia, but they said they weren't sure because COVID lungs tend to look like "shattered glass", something called "ground-glass particles". They gave me antibiotics.
On the 13th, I was still feeling very bad, and decided to go to the ER at Prisma Health Richland Hospital, and it was determined I was dehydrated and had low oxygen levels. I was treated with IV fluids and sent home, feeling a little better. On Saturday the 15th, I woke up feeling very weak, I still couldn't keep down food or water, and I had a new scary symptom; my heart-rate was now elevated, over 115 beats per minute. (It remained that way for 3 straight days), so I returned to the ER for evaluation. The ER physician, an Infectious Disease Physician, admitted me for severe dehydration, low oxygen levels and for being tachycardic. (Having a heart-rate consistently over 100 bpm)
While I was in the hospital, I was given Convalescent plasma treatment, IV fluids, a Doxycyline Hyclate steroid, an anti-viral medication, received through the IV, called Remdesivir- (not approved by the FDA btw). My oxygen levels kept falling to around 92%, so they continued to monitor them, but thankfully, no oxygen was necessary.
In addition to the medication given by the hospital, my family and friends in South Carolina, Alabama and Virginia were lifting me up and healing me in prayer, daily. Even some of my dearest friends from 7th grade at Dent Middle School, and my neighbors, were joining in the prayers for me. I am convinced that the consistent, continuous prayers, relieved me and saved me; anything is possible with God!
My family kept me positive, and feeling loved, by FACE-TIMING me every hour; as you might know, if you are admitted to the hospital during this pandemic, you will not have the usual family support of anyone by your bedside, due to how contagious this virus is, and the risk of spreading it. Another reason, I urge you to be cautious with this virus.; it is scary to be battling all alone. I was discharged from the Hospital on August 19th and am happy to say that at the writing of this story, September 5th, I have not had to return.
The advice that I would offer those who have not been touched by COVID-19, I urge you to wear your masks, avoid large crowds and be somewhat patient until this virus goes away. (Enjoy the newly found time that you have with your loved ones and your pets; we will be wishing for these moments, when the rush of life returns to normal again, and we are all back to running)
FOR THOSE WHO HAVE TESTED POSITIVE AND ARE NOW SYMPTOM-FREE: Please donate PLASMA, when a doctor or DHEC says you are able to. I was informed that the plasma that I received will be in my system now for four (4) months and then I will be able to donate, to help someone else. As this virus is new to the world, and doctor's are learning more about it, and they just realized the Convalescent plasma may help a patient recover, there is a obviously a shortage of it. We need more Coronavirus Survivors, to donate. PLEASE, I urge you to donate, when you are deemed safe. I plan to donate right before Christmas. (Could you imagine, what a beautiful gift that would be; a family receiving their loved one home, recovered, due to life saving plasma, in time for the holidays?)
This virus is real. It is scary. It is hard to go through, when you have the worst symptoms that you can imagine and you don't even feel good enough to open your eyes. While I did not have to be placed on a ventilator, like many unlucky virus patients, I had all of the other scary symptoms that you hear about. I did not have any underlying health conditions. I was careful, but at some point, in my day to day life, I let my guard down. At any rate, I am so glad to be alive and to be here telling my story. I am so thankful to God that I made it through the scariest 18 days of my entire life. Prayer works! Medicine works! Plasma works for many!
I do suffer some after-effects, due to the virus. I am working on breathing exercises, daily, to keep my oxygen levels up, and I am moving around as much as I can, to get my strength back. My energy levels have been affected by the infection and a number of times, since being home, it has taken everything that I have had within me, to get the strength and energy, to fix myself up, to make it to follow up appointments. I still feel a lack of energy on most days.
If you have tested positive, and you are going through similar symptoms that I had and you need someone to talk to, someone who knows exactly what you are experiencing, who believes you and who will not try to shame you for contracting this devastating virus, please contact me through Messenger. I promise, I do not mind. I have the time, and I know that part of God's purpose for me to still be here, is to be there for others going through this horrible time in their lives.
"My babies, my world, my life"- my son Quinn and my daugher Mariah.
More time with my loved ones and with my "Philadelphia Eagles."
A quick hospital selfie, after receiving a plasma treatment...
My grandpuppy, Ivy.. a little camera shy.
Marsheika Genise Armstrong, ME, a COVID-19 SURVIVOR!!!
A SPECIAL THANK YOU TO: DR. BRETT KRASNER:
Dr. Brett Krasner, is a friend of my sister and brother in Charlottesville, Va. Although we have never met, he was VERY instrumental in talking with my hospital physicians and then relaying the message to my family in lay-man's terms. He would FACE-TIME me in the hospital, and inform me what my physicians had discussed with him. He was AWESOME and I'm forever grateful to him for doing what he did!!!! I had given all Medical staff permission to speak with him.
Although it was nothing close to what he had graciously done for me; when I was discharged from the hospital, I sent him a bottle of wine, that my sister, Yolunda selected, from a vineyard in Virginia. Below, he is shown receiving it, with his wife, Lisa and brother, Quinton, and my sister, Yolunda.
Dr. Krasner, I will never forget your kindness!!!