Lauren Jones offers a raw look at her life as a COVID-19 long-hauler

The former WAVE 3 News anchor shares her story as she deals with her determination to cast aside the brain fog and other symptoms of long-haul COVID-19.

Most days it feels like I’m navigating through an endless sea of pain, drifting further away from shore, until the only thing I recognize is the darkness of night.

The darkness and I, we have become one and the same since Nov. 13, 2020.

That’s when my whole world changed, the day I tested positive for COVID-19, and my life simply became “before” and “after.”

“Before“ COVID-19, and “after” it.

“Before,” you may have seen me on WAVE 3 News Sunrise, bringing you the morning news bright and early, with a smile on my face.

It was a job I treasured for the past decade.

When news of the coronavirus first started trickling in more than a year ago, I felt such an overwhelming sense of responsibility to get it right.

To use my voice to serve and protect, to educate and inform — this is what being a journalist is all about, to be present in times of crisis.

As a journalist I preached. As a parent I listened. As a healthy naive woman, I never thought it could happen to me.

I followed the rules, I memorized the playbook to a T, and when it was game time, I grabbed my mask and hand sanitizer, and was ready to go.

I did everything I was supposed to do, but COVID-19 didn’t care.

It didn’t care that I have kids: two teenagers who needed a shoulder to cry on, help with homework and advice about boys.

It didn’t care that I have a 4-year-old mini-me who was my living and breathing shadow, who needed his mommy to tuck him in before bed each night.

It didn’t care that my husband craved his wife’s touch, needed his best friend and partner to help him conquer the day, and do it all over again tomorrow.

This virus is a beast with a mind of its own, taking what it wants, when it wants it, and on its own terms.

‘A stranger living in my own body’

Then came “after.”

“After” COVID-19, my spirit was shattered, my smile was gone, and so was my job.

My world changed in a split second; everything I knew was different.

Here we are, nearly five months later, and the coronavirus has stripped me of so much more.

It’s taken away the essence of who I am.

Every day is a struggle to be the loving wife and mother I was before the darkness set in.

I’m in it for the long haul, but now as a long-hauler.

A long-hauler is someone who exhibits symptoms of COVID-19 months after being diagnosed, but is no longer contagious.

It’s been a treacherous and confusing journey, having a foreign virus invade my mind, body and soul.

It’s tested my physical and mental health to an unimaginable degree, that most days I feel like a skeleton of who I once was, like a stranger living in my own body.

Norton Infectious Diseases Institute Long-term COVID-19 Care Clinics

You’ll get a specific diagnosis and referral to the appropriate specialist such as neurology, pulmonology, heart and vascular, physical rehabilitation, behavioral health — whatever you need.

Call (502) 861-4488

Despite the darkness, ‘one day there will be light’

The coronavirus crept into our community, and destroyed countless lives.

Seemingly healthy people are dying, others are struggling to stay alive and long-haulers like me are lost in a sea of pain desperately trying not to drown.

Every long-hauler, and health care worker alike, are searching for answers, but are met with “I don’t know” time and time again.

Neurological issues such as torturous migraines, brain fog and memory problems are stumping doctors around the globe. They send long-haulers into awful episodes of depression.

It’s a vicious cycle that millions are trying to survive each and every day.

My “before” and “after” look much different, but one thing that hasn’t changed is my overwhelming sense of responsibility to get it right.

Norton Healthcare has given me the opportunity to share my journey as a long-hauler, in hopes of helping others.

It’s a suffocating reality for those who’ve tested positive, and their families and loved ones, but I know I’m not alone.

There is an army of long-haulers out there with far more grit and determination than I have, staring this monster down and ready to fight. Their spirit brings me hope at a time when we all need it.

My journey hasn’t been easy, but I know one day it will be worth it.

In the days, weeks and months ahead, I’ll give you a raw and unedited look at my life as a COVID-19 long-hauler.

From my earliest and most bizarre symptoms, to my mental health struggles, and where I am now.

It’s a process, and despite the darkness, I know one day there will be light.

Until then, stay healthy.

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