16 years old - Mesa, Arizona.
Lydia Pastore is a high school junior from Arizona with a passion for science. In late February, she contracted a COVID-19-like viral infection (at that time, testing was
unavailable for anyone who had not traveled overseas). Though she recovered from the initial illness, she found herself in the ER in early June with severe shortness of breath and chest tightness, a relapse. Beginning to see some unusual lingering symptoms, Lydia visited a vast array of specialists to try and shed some light on the situation.
She first saw a pulmonologist for her shortness of breath that left her unable to walk for more than 5 minutes at a time. Her Chest Xray was clear. She was referred to a cardiologist for a fast, pounding heartbeat and what felt like a minor murmur. The ultrasound was clear. The cardiologist sent her to an immunologist to rule out underlying auto-inflammatory disease, who found that her lab results were normal. She was then sent to the rheumatologist, who diagnosed her with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia, which accounted for her debilitating joint pain and hair loss. Unsatisfied with this blanket-diagnosis, Lydia, with the love and support of her family, continued to press for answers. She was referred to a pain specialist, who recommended Physical Therapy. With the joint pain hindering her ability to lead her normally active life, she had a bone scan at the recommendation of an orthopedic surgeon. The scan was normal. Around this time, Lydia began to experience a numb and tingling feeling in her extremities, which brought her to the neurologist.
With the myriad
of tests coming back normal, Lydia found it difficult to maintain her peace of mind, often questioning herself and the validity of her symptoms. In late December, she began a regimen of vitamins and sun exposure in an attempt to strengthen her body. She feels as though she is slowly regaining her health, but continues to take things one step at a time. She is particularly grateful to her primary care physician who listened to her and believed her, and to her mom who supported her and advocated alongside her every step of the way. Although the changes are ever so subtle, they are starting to slowly manifest, and that gives Lydia hope for her future endeavors.