NORFOLK, Va. – Danie Taylor, 58, contracted COVID-19 in November 2020 and is still experiencing the lingering and debilitating symptoms two years later.
It’s called long COVID, and it's affecting millions of Americans. For many long haulers, symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue and brain fog, and it can last for months - even years.
Taylor says when she was first diagnosed, she was hospitalized for two weeks. The virus attacked her kidneys, and she now has Stage 4 kidney failure. She says her joints ache; she has chest pain; and she often has a persistent cough at night.
“I have the constant aching,” Taylor said. “I have the shortness of breath. I can’t walk 25 steps. In the middle of the night, I wake up sometimes with extreme hacking cough.”
The Norfolk woman sees multiple doctors for her heart, lungs and low red blood cells.
She said COVID has drastically changed her life. The long-lasting symptoms keep her indoors, in bed many days, away from the things she loves to do.
But Friday was a good day for Taylor. She said her faith and fighting spirit push her forward.
“I normally don’t come downstairs,” she said walking to the kitchen. “I usually just stay upstairs in my bedroom on my bad days.”
Before the virus, Taylor said she was active; spent time outside; traveled with her family and worked 24 hours a week.
But long COVID has put that all on pause for the last two years.
“It has limited me,” Taylor said. “I cut back working two days a week.”
As she works to regain her strength with every step, she’s urging people to get to the shot and mask up, especially now with COVID cases on the rise.
“What’s more important - your identity or your life because you can die from COVID?” said Taylor.
She wants to share her story to remind people that the pandemic is not over and urge people to take precautions.
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“I’ve heard so many people say it’s not real, but I’m living proof that it is real,” Taylor said.
Taylor is fully vaccinated now. The vaccine was not available when she tested positive for COVID.