I donated blood for a long-COVID study

It’s been about nine months since I first tested positive for COVID-19.

I have since written about my continued struggles with the virus and its long-term effects, which have dogged me since I “recovered” from the initial infection.

Whenever people ask how I’m doing since my infection, I usually say I am doing better but not back to where I was before I got sick. Truthfully, I am doing better, but my recovery hasn’t been as fast as I would have liked.

In some ways, I feel like things are getting worse sometimes.

While most of my symptoms have resolved by now, including the elevated heart rate and dizziness that prompted me to visit my doctor last year, I still have a lingering cough and am still experiencing shortness of breath. While the cough is certainly annoying, it hasn’t impacted my quality of life the way my shortness of breath has.

That’s not to say I haven’t been able to do things because I’m frequently out of breath. I am staying active by playing sports like kickball, volleyball and flag football, but it is obvious my lung capacity is greatly diminished. I still get winded if I walk up stairs or talk on the phone too long, and quick bursts of energy, like catching a falling cup for example, will leave me momentarily out of breath.

My story isn’t an outlier either, and there are millions of others who are struggling with long-haul symptoms much worse than my own.

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Last month, I reported on a study being done with the help of East Tennessee State University’s Center of Excellence in Inflammation, Infectious Disease and Immunity. While talking with the director of the center’s clinical research office, I realized it wouldn’t be a bad idea for me to volunteer for the study.

The next day I set up a time to visit the center, answer a few questions and give a blood sample — which I did without passing out, thankfully. The whole process took about 30 minutes before I was done and on my way back to the office to write this column.

I have no idea if my participation in this study will end up meaning anything, or if the study itself will be successful in proving the researchers’ hypothesis that elevated levels of certain proteins in the body can predict the severity of long-haul symptoms.But if there’s a chance it helps further our understanding of the virus’ long-term effects or helps identify better treatment options for those struggling, then I want to do my part.

If you’re interested in learning more about the study or want to participate, call (423) 430-2443 or 439-6408.

Note: I apologize for deviating from my typical poll-style of choosing my next column idea. The winning topic was an update on my kickball season, and the flag football and volleyball seasons. Our kickball season ended in the first round of the playoffs, as we lost a tough three-run game. Flag football isn’t going as well as our kickball season did, but playoffs are fast approaching and hopefully we can string some wins together when it counts.

My volleyball team though? Very good. Hopefully we take home a championship. Next month I am going to write about making key lime pie, which I attempted for the first time in May. It was the best key lime pie I have eaten, though I might be biased. I hear this recipe can be used for all citrus fruits, so I am going to try making it with oranges and maybe grapefruit as well. Here’s hoping those taste as good as the key lime pie did.

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This content was originally published here.