Michelle Sogge, 25, has suffered with coronavirus symptoms since June (Picture: WPBF/Michelle Sogge)
A fit and healthy woman who used to love hiking is now ‘barely able to walk’ after contracting coronavirus several months ago.
Covid long-hauler Michelle Sogge, 25, fell ill with the virus in June last year and has described her battle against debilitating symptoms that still remain as a ‘haunting experience’.
Michelle, from Tucson, Arizona, says she used to love running and being active, at least until she contracted coronavirus and at her worst was left unable to stand unaided.
She said: ‘It’s not a dual choice of being alive and being healthy or being dead from Covid, that’s not what we’re talking about here’, reports WBPF.
Michelle said she was fit and healthy before falling ill (Picture: KPBS/Michelle Sogge)
‘We’re talking about all that messy stuff in between that long-haulers are facing, where, yes, your life may not be over but it may be changed in ways that are difficult to imagine and absolutely haunting to experience.
‘I’m still limited in 90% of the things that I would have been able to do before I got Covid.
‘I would love to be able to go outside and take a walk around my house. I definitely know I can’t do that today.’
Michelle said she was in bed at the start of June when she started feeling unwell. She recalls how her heart started racing and she feared she was having a heart attack.
‘I was in bed, just about to fall asleep, and my arm just started to kind of go numb. I thought, ‘Oh, that’s weird’, and then my heart started racing and I suddenly couldn’t get air in’, said Michelle.
Doctors thought her symptoms may be the sign of a panic attack and sent her home after she attended the ER worried for her health.
But her symptoms persisted so she got a Covid test and the result was positive.
Michelle, who works at the University of Arizona in Tucson added: ‘Having that sudden sensation of my heart being out of whack and knowing that something was wrong was really frightening.’
Michelle says she isn’t sure how she contracted the virus but does remember going to a gas station and encountering someone who wasn’t wearing a mask.
As the virus took hold Michelle was so weak she had to ‘crawl across her floor to answer the door’.
Michelle was left unable to stand unaided by Covid (Picture: WBPF/Michelle Sogge)
Yet some seven months after contracting the disease, Michelle – like many other long-haulers – people whose side effects from Covid persist and can make everyday tasks a grueling challenge.
According to researchers at the Univesity of California, roughly 10% of coronavirus patients become long-haulers.
Whilst for most people Covid only causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, scientists believe that the long-term symptoms vary in severity.
As she struggled to overcome her symptoms Michelle eventually moved to California to live with her dad to seek care as living alone was no longer possible. Once in the Sacramento area, she was referred to a specialist University of California clinic that was created to help and learn about people like her.
Doctors within the post-Covid clinic examine those who have survived the virus but suffer lingering symptoms that can include respiratory issues, heart problems, fatigue, neurological concerns and more.
Their goal is to find answers as to why some who contract the virus experience side effects that last for months.
Michelle hopes her story will encourage more people to take the virus seriously (Picture: KCRA)
As for Michelle, her main long-term symptoms have been trouble breathing and chest pain, along with fatigue and not being able to think clearly.
While at the clinic, doctors conducted a range of tests, searching for answers on Michelle’s condition, but failed to find anything concrete.
They gave her a personalized care plan which she still uses to manage her symptoms.
Michelle added she hopes sharing her story motivates people to listen to science when it comes to wearing facial coverings and social distancing. She also hopes she helps others become more aware of the potential long-term effects of the virus that don’t result in death.
She said: ‘There’s so much research going into this disease. There’s so much attention on it right now, it’s such a huge priority for so many different countries, that I’m hoping that one day, they’ll be able to find that out.’
So far during the pandemic 22.8 million cases detected in the US and 381,130 people have sadly lost their lives. Yesterday was the worst single day for deaths yet, with 4,300 fatalities.