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Leanne Thompson-Hill
COVID-19 Survivor
Photo of Leanne
COVID-19

I joined the Lung Association's COVID-19 support group because I want to find somewhere where people will listen to COVID long-haulers. Our symptoms are real, and we need help.

My Lung Story

"A co-worker who went to Toronto in February 2020 and after she got back, she fell ill.  Shortly after, my daughter got sick - she had a fever for seven days and couldn't breathe very well. At the time, one of her classmate's parents had been over in Europe and came back and became ill. We don't know if she got it from her classmate or my co-worker.  On March the 11th, I got sick. I had a tickle in my throat, along with a dry, chokey cough. The next day I woke up, and I thought I was sick with the flu ...but it was different, very different. I've been ill a lot, but this feels weird; it was horrible. My body felt a hundred times worse than the flu.

You can't sleep because you have vivid dreams as well as insomnia. You want to sleep, but your body won't allow you. I had pain throughout my whole body, and my feet hurt so much just to walk across the floor. Then the lungs started to hurt. It began to feel like there was ice in my lungs, little glass shards of ice. The doctors put me on prednisone and all kinds of other medications. Then I got COVID toes. My toes were a shade of purple as if the circulation had been cut off. I spent a lot of time in the bathtub because I found I couldn't regulate my body temperature. I felt like I had a fever, but my temperature would actually be 35.

I'm not the same person I used to be. I'm someone who's on top of things, super energetic and running a business. Now I get easily confused and sometimes feel as if I'm forgetting something. I returned to work but couldn't work full time as I was struggling. I would have terrible episodes where I felt like I was getting COVID again because the symptoms kept coming back. My brain has also really suffered. I woke up one morning and didn't remember who my husband was. Another time I was out gardening and I forgot where I was.

I get frustrated when people don't believe I caught COVID-19. What do they think I have to gain from having COVID-19? I was, and continue to be sick. This is a severe illness, and you do not know how it is going to affect you.  Another friend who is a very healthy young man with no pre-existing conditions who caught COVID-19 and is having the same struggles that I had. You don't know who is going to suffer from the symptoms and who will not.

"I joined Lung Sask's support group because I want to find somewhere where people will listen to COVID long-haulers. Our symptoms are real, and we need help. Jaimie from Lung Sask reached out to me and encouraged me to pursue a sleep study. I've been referred to a neurologist for my symptoms. I'm pretty passionate about this because I'm frustrated, and I don't want to be sick anymore. If I could find something or somebody to help me, I would do it in a heartbeat. When the vaccine is available, I will be first in line to get it, so I never get COVID again. I can only imagine the damage it would do to my body the second time around."

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with COVID-19, join our online community of support!