OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — While thousands of people have technically recovered from COVID-19, some of those that defeated the virus still say their lives are not back in order, including one Omaha woman.
Back in April, Christine Thiele says she tested positive for COVID-19.
“I had the headaches, the G.I. issues, but I wasn’t really that concerned," she said. "I thought okay, it was going to be a two week thing. I’ll be fine.”
However, for the former nurse and fitness competitor with no pre-existing medical conditions, her health problems were far from over.
“It’s destroyed about every aspect of my life,” said Thiele.
Thiele says doctors think the virus triggered an autoimmune disease, causing issues with her mobility. After returning home, doctors found spots on her brain that have impacted her day to day functions.
“I had a lot of memory loss, very short term, like I would take my medicine, and a minute later, I couldn’t’ remember,” said Thiele.
So when she hears about the thousands who’ve recovered from the virus, she points out that can be misleading.
“People are not comprehending that oh yeah, you have a 99% chance of surviving, but there is thousands like me that are really having a hard time, just dealing with permanent damage, chronic damage,” said Thiele.
“What we forget is that recovery doesn’t mean that you’re entirely back to baseline, recovery simply means you didn’t die from the infection,” said Dr. Kelly Cawcutt of UNMC.
Cawcutt says patients developed long term effects with their heart, brain, and overall well-being. She adds that medical experts don’t have enough data regarding a full recovery.
“It will be very hard to predict until we have more data what they look like, what the best treatments are, and if after even more time passes, people will get back to their prior baseline,” said Cawcutt.
As for Thiele, she encourages everyone to take this virus seriously as she continues on the road to recovery.
“I’m praying that I can get back to my normal self, so I’m praying I can go back to nursing and but there is no guarantees at this point of anything,” said Thiele.
Thiele says she will start cognitive therapy shortly to help with brain function, but that therapy could take anywhere from 1-2 years.
If you'd like to help Thiele, visit this GoFundMe page.