KENSINGTON – “November 2020 is when I tested positive,” says Kathy Spencer, a mother of three, of her Covid diagnosis. “I don’t know where I got it, we were always so careful.”
But this longtime educator found herself in the ICU, a traumatic experience.
“The Covid unit was something out of a sci-fi movie,” she says, noting that she was left with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and much more.
“My neurologist has diagnosed me with a condition called dystonia,” says the Covid long lauler who shakes, has trouble walking, speaking and doing things she used to love.
“I struggle following a recipe,” she explains, struggling to get through a batch of homemade cookies.
The brain fog makes reading a book an impossible task.
“It causes problems with executive functioning, making decisions,” says Spencer.
“It’s now estimated between 10 and 30 percent of individuals who’ve had Covid will come down with long hauler symptoms,” says Dr. Jerrold Kaplan, Medical Director of the Covid Rehabilitation and Recovery Program at Gaylord Specialty Healthcare.
The vaccine was not available when spencer contracted the virus. Kaplan of says those vaccinated can still get long hauler symptoms but they are milder.
“The brain can recover from Covid but it takes a long time, in many cases,” he says.
That’s why Spencer wants to see more help from the government – for long haulers that can’t work or return to their jobs without support.
“I want people to understand that Covid isn’t just a bad cold,” she says.
Spencer is sharing her story to educate. She’s slowly getting back on the motorcycle she loves and is hopeful there are brighter days ahead.
“Being angry won’t get me anywhere, nowhere at all and if I stay positive, the quality of my life will be much better,” she says.
It’s important to note, Spencer had no significant health problems before getting the virus.
Dr. Kaplan says national efforts are being made to study long-term Covid.