Senya Kruger

17 years old - Elkhorn, Wisconsin

Senya contracted COVID in early November 2020. Her family had been cautious due to some previous conditions like asthma and autoimmune diseases. In November, Senya's mom and sister both contracted COVID, but were all able to stay home, and her father and brother seemed to be fairly asymptomatic. When their two week quarantine was over and things were on the up-swing, every one thought they'd recover. But within a week, Senya was sick again. She had extreme pain in her upper right abdomen accompanied by nausea, weakness, and fevers.

By the Monday after Thanksgiving, she was in the ER with what they presumed to be a gallbladder infection or possibly appendicitis. All the ER tests came back fairly normal, so she was sent home and told to see her primary care physician. She had a myriad of tests done, including a gallbladder function test and weekly blood work, and everything came back "normal". She then went to see her GI doctor she had seen before, who was the first to suggest long haul covid. They still worked to rule out other causes with labs and a colonoscopy and endoscopy.

When all that came back normal as well, she was told to continue an antispasmodic medication for her GI system and tried a couple other medications to see an improvement in pain and nausea. While she now is back to only the antispasmodic, it was a tough ride to get there. She also currently is on a supplemental blend called iberogast that has made a huge difference in her nausea and constant GI issues.

Throughout this time, she's also experienced a high pulse at times, extreme muscle fatigue and weakness, and has struggled to keep on weight. When it all began she was taking up to two or three 2 hr naps a day. She has also seen an OB/GYN to see if it could be endometriosis and a neurologist at UW Madison to see if it could have caused any neurological damage. Her continuous fevers, pain, nausea, fatigue, and more have been the biggest factors in her illness. She is now seeing a nephrologist because of her more recent fight with kidney pain and mixed UTI results. Due to the varying results displaying infection, she has yet to get the vaccine. Senya has been limited to at most 2 classes a day in person on days she feels good, and other days, she's entirely online.

Thankfully her teachers were accommodating to her circumstances, and so far, all her doctors have been believing of her symptoms and providing of support. Her mom also has helped her through all of the navigation that comes with having this new limitation.

Due to her weakness, she has been seeing a physical therapist to hopefully regain muscle so she can take part in daily activities again and hopefully be able to drive again. To be so far from friends and separated from things like band and choir have been really difficult for her.

Any previous anxiety she has battled has definitely been heightened by this event, and the disconnection can be difficult.

While she is slowly improving, she's still battling daily pain in her abdomen and keeps looking for more concrete answers to her symptoms. She has been able to find a sense of healing power through animals with her family's hobby farm with two goats, a horse, and a bunch of tiny chickens, as well as having two dogs home with her everyday. Her passion for photography has also been able to grow and be a bright spot for her in this journey. She hopes that other people can see that there is a hope for improvement and that no one is alone in this battle.