Karen was very fit before becoming ill, often running 15-20km a week.

Karen Currey, 50, from Doncaster 

I am a maths teacher leading a large department in a comprehensive school in Doncaster. I have no underlying conditions and I have not had a sick day from work in 4 years. I enjoy exercising 3 times a week at HIIT classes and often running 15-20k a week. In 2018 I did the Great North Run.

On 27th March I noticed I was very short of breath as I got to the top of the stairs. I noted at the time how odd it felt, but brushed it off. However, over the course of the next few days this got increasingly worse with the addition of aching muscles, tiredness and a general foggy feeling. Although the inability to breathe deeply was unsettling, I had no cough or temperature so the doctor said I couldn't have the coronavirus. I even had a call from the corona hub who again turned me away.

Through the whole time my chest felt as though a great weight was on it. Even as my breathing improved this was still a problem. It was too late for a test as they came out after about 3 weeks had passed. After six weeks the doctor conceded it must've been covid-19 and gave me a clinical diagnosis. 

About a month after the original symptoms started I felt the weight lift and thought I was back to normal. I was managing to work from home and although I wasn't 100% I felt great improvements. 

Almost as soon as the day after my chest felt released I was hit with crushing fatigue.  I was trying to do a very short walk daily for my health and mental state but in between walks was pretty much bed bound. 

At the beginning of August I felt a big improvement. I upped my activity, walking, cleaning even doing some yoga positions to help with my back which was starting to niggle with all the inactivity. 

A couple of days later when I woke up I felt like I'd been hit with a spade. I stayed in bed all day. Sleeping on and off. Following this I was mostly in bed for three weeks feeling exhausted. My three girls pretty much caring for me. Worse than before. I felt like I'd gone back weeks in my recovery. I didn't know what to do. No one seemed to be able to offer any advice. The cycle had started. It continues to this day, nearly 7 months on. The last two relapses have been lengthy and worse than the original. The fatigue is as bad as ever. 

Currently, I have an irregular heart rate which shoots to 130/140 just getting dressed. My chest feels constricted at all times and makes sleep difficult. I get out of breath if I talk at length or if I walk too fast. I am pretty much stuck in my house. I am a long way from being able to maintain discipline with a room full of hormonal teenagers!

I surprised myself at how mentally tough I was in the first 5 months but my strength is running thin and I'm finding it more difficult to remain positive and hopeful. We seem to be forgotten because we didn't die or get better in the standard 14 days. Even worse if you didn't get tested as you don't count in any statistics at all. 

I haven't physically been seen by my GP in six months and although they are often sympathetic knowledge is very limited which leaves me feeling apprehensive. 

What does the future hold?

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