17 years old - Ohio
On December 9th, Rachel began exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. With a bad headache
and fatigue, she began to experience severe chest pain and difficulty breathing, requiring her to sit up straight for the majority of her day. After 13 days, she finally tested negative,
allowing her to get back to the trainers at her high school so she could get back into shape for swimming. Though her mandatory EKG was clear, her first day back to the gym resulted in a chest-pain flare up that evening. On the second day back, her pain worsened.
The typical 4 days of training to return to winter sports became 32 days, and Rachel continually relapsed because of the increasing intensity of the workouts. With a clear chest X-ray, she felt as though she could move forward with her sport. Swim season ended and she was cleared to go work out at the gym, only to relapse on the second day back. Four days later, Rachel found herself in the ER with severe shortness of breath and rapid heart-rate, where a battery of tests were run and came back all-clear.
From there, she was referred to specialists in pulmonology and cardiology, who concluded that Rachel had post-viral inflammation in her lungs. She was prescribed prednisone and an albuterol inhaler to be taken multiple times a day. After more Xrays, ultrasounds, and blood tests, her results continually came back "normal".
Rachel is beginning to see some improvement, but still struggles daily with exertion, shortness of breath, and chest pain/tightness. Daily tasks like cleaning her room or walking up the stairs are exhausting, and it has been nearly 4 months that she's been dealing with Long Hauler Syndrome. She has not not had any relapses lately, but also does not exercise for the time being in an attempt to keep her heart rate below 120 bpm.
She hopes to continue on this trend of gradual improvement and is glad to be a part of a community of other teen long-haulers.