Jan Smelik

17 years old - Baška, Czech Republic

Jan caught COVID-19 in December 2020 and has dealt with persistent symptoms, some of which include breathlessness, abdominal pain, headaches, sore throat, hot flashes, joint pain, muscle soreness, burning eyes, low grade fevers, migraines, brain fog, and so much more...

Some days are better than others, but Jan feels as though his body is dying sometimes. The anxiety surrounding his symptoms is common amongst long-haulers, and the question as to whether or not he'll be able to return to his normal daily activities is one that he thinks about often.

In order to keep his mindset strong, Jan likens himself to a "life warrior". His resilience and perseverance have allowed him to push through his days and try to stay active. He attends school for 7+ hours, takes short walks, and tries to do the most he can to help his parents with chores like gardening and cleaning, which are often too strenuous for him in his weakened state. Jan enjoys working, but now that some of his old activities have become too difficult to participate in, he has noticed that others tend to perceive him as "lazy". The opposite is true, he tries his very hardest, but says it's difficult as no one believes him.

By joining this community of young Long Haulers, Jan hopes to find support in his peers who understand the struggle of living with a chronic illness. He tries to remain positive, and knows that no matter how difficult the present situation may be, he'll get through this health-setback and return to his active lifestyle.