ORLANDO, Fla. - “It was probably around week six that it hit me that I’m not like everybody else. I’m not getting better.”
Karyn Bishof, a single mother from Boca Raton, tested positive for COVID-19 right in the beginning of the pandemic back in March.
Fast forward four months and she’s still facing serious flare-ups.
“About five days ago was the first day that I passed out and two days ago my left foot turned purple,” she said.
She’s what some are now calling “long-haulers,” which are COVID patients who are no longer positive but still suffer from symptoms months later.
Bishof is on day 128 and still battles headaches, brain fog, fatigue, chest tightness, shortness of breath and many other symptoms.
“These are all my symptoms that I’ve experienced from COVID,” she said as she held up a sheet of paper with a long list of symptoms on it.
Unfortunately with a virus like this, some doctors are not surprised.
“We know that once you get triggered, it may not go away the instant that the virus is gone,” said Seminole County EMS Medical Director Dr. Todd Husty.
But there’s so much still unknown.
Bishof has been following the work of doctors at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, which created a Center for Post-COVID Care back in May. They monitor long-haulers, like Bishof.
“They were healthy prior to getting infected with COVID and now they have something they have to deal with every day of their lives,” said Dr. Zijian Chen, the medical director for Mount Sinai’s Center for Post-COVID Care.
These doctors don’t think the long-haulers are still contagious, but they put them in touch with specialists in the hopes they can help the patients feel better.
“I feel really bad for the patients because there’s a lot of uncertainty that’s associated with having these symptoms,” Dr. Chen said.
That uncertainty leads to even more stress.
“I hope that this is not a lifelong, long-term thing, but there’s the potential that it could,” Bishof said.
Doctors from Mount Sinai say there’s no rhyme or reason for who suffers from these symptoms long-term.
It’s impacting people of all ages, races, backgrounds and those who were healthy before getting COVID-19.