Reaching three years old Covid: “I had to mourn my previous life”

While some patients have (almost) no symptoms when they contract Covid, others never fully recover. (©JB/Lille News/Illustrations)

Chronic fatigue, shortness of breath, neurocognitive disturbances… Symptoms long covid vary due to their large number. In France two million people suffer from it, according to a study by Public Health France, published in July 2022. Generally, the disturbance is significant and persistent.

However, studies on British Medical Journalpublished on January 11, 2023, explains that “most symptoms”, which are associated with prolonged but mild forms of Covid, tend to disappear within a year of infection.

More serious long-term symptoms

According to the researchers, the vast majority of people with mild infections “do not suffer from severe or chronic long-term symptoms,” as we described in a previous article.

But according to the French doctor, we have to be careful with the results of this study: “This is a retrospective study, meaning we are not following groups of patients. […] In terms of the reliability of the results, there may be bias”, pointed Jérôme Larché, internal medicine doctor in Montpellier and long Covid specialist,

“Results of such articles remain limited to the rarer chronic diseases that can present with Covid”, explains Antoine Flahaut, epidemiologist and director of the Geneva Institute of Global Health.

“Therefore, perhaps this type of deformity and disability does not resolve spontaneously after one year. »

“Sport is my whole life”

Maud*, 45, abounds. He contracted Covid three years ago, at the start of the pandemic. However, heavy scars remained. “Although I am better, I haven’t regained the health I had before. I’m very athletic, I run very regularly, but I just 70% of my previous ability“, explained the press relations officer at Rennes to from

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The person who often goes on weekends with her husband to participate in marathons or overseas trails has put this part of her life on hold. “Sport is my whole life. However, I may never be able to do a marathon again,” lamented Maud.

I have to mourn my old life.

MaudReaching the long Covid

Since contracting Covid, in March 2020, Rennaise has been suffering from dysphonia, after contracting pericarditis.

“I have laryngeal paralysis on the left, so I have a disability in terms of my voice, and my breathing. I am also an asthma sufferer, I suffer from joint pain, muscle pain, inflammation…”, she lists.

Changed symptoms

The same story with Lise, 39 years. He was also one of the first people to contract Covid, in March 2020. “And I was far from it”, he complained, contacted by

The symptoms are also persistent, and especially the neurological disorders: “I have paresthesias in my arms and legs [une atteinte des fibres nerveuse, NDLR]. I have brain fog that I can’t get rid of. Unchanged chronic fatigue, as well as breathing problems, which are still keeping me going, even though I am still unable to continue playing sports, ”says the European project manager.

According to him, patients with long Covid see their symptoms develop: “It’s very fluctuate over time, sometimes, they appear less, but constantly. If a person has the impression that his symptoms are diminishing, it is also because he is used to it. »

“We always have consequences”

She is also a very fit woman, who works out, and often travels to Europe for work.

Now I can’t move like that anymore, so I adapted. I can no longer carry on with an active life as before. We always have side effects, there are periods when it’s better, but eventually it comes back, we’re never sure of anything. We’re walking on eggshells even three years later.

LisaReaching the long Covid

Initially, when exposed to the virus, his condition was not severe. “I was told I was young and that it will pass. Then I had a respiratory attack, the neurological symptoms of which appeared over the next two months. Unfortunately, they never left, ”recalls this Breton woman.

Finally, after a year of medical wandering, Lise named this disease that affected her: long Covid.

get used to pain

Meanwhile, Maud feels lucky: sure, she has lost some of her sporting and cognitive abilities, “but I know other patients who use wheelchairs, who don’t get quick and simple treatment.”, she adds. She benefits from regular monitoring, she has respiratory physiotherapy sessions and lots of regular checkups.

I don’t know if I’m better or if I’m used to the pain. But anyway I live with it. And I’m struggling to find my former form, and to be able to use the resort. Even if now, I reduce my running time, I exercise again, that’s positive.

MaudReaching the long Covid

Inevitably, since the long Covid, Maud’s life has changed a lot, and many habits have become complicated. “Even if I go out again, I no longer see my friends, everything is more difficult. If I spend the night with friends, it’s complicated because I can’t force my voice.”

So when everyone is talking loudly wherever he is in a loud bar, it’s “tiring”.

More fragile patients

For his work too, dysphonia is crippling. As a press relations officer, she spends a lot of time on the phone. “But my voice is stuck, my larynx hurts, my throat hurts, it’s a brake when you have to talk to people all day.”

And more generally, Maud is much more fragile. “I had the flu recently, and instead of ending after a week, it lasted a month and a half. I recover more slowly. We have the impression of being iffy. I also have a cycle problem. [menstruels] which I didn’t have before. So when I heard that we were able to recover our abilities after one year, it made me a little angry! “, he invaded.

“We are always vigilant, because Covid affects our immune system and weaken us. I know patients who have autoimmune diseases,” said Lise.

For him, there are many long-standing Covid theories that have emerged since the beginning of the pandemic, “but at the moment there is no scientific consensus, so as long as there is nothing concrete, we guinea pig“.

*Name has been changed

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