Story of a coronavirus ‘long hauler’: Five months after getting infected, still struggling to recover

Jennifer Gansler of Holly, sits near the creek in her backyard Tuesday July 28, 2020. Gansler, hasn't been able to shake coronavirus symptoms. For four months out she still is having extreme fatigue, tightness in her chest, and muscle aches. Nicole Hester/

Before coronavirus, Jennifer Gansler was the kind of person who set her alarm at 4 a.m. so she could start her day with a 5 a.m. run.

A self-described “super-active, outdoors-y person,” Gansler spent a week hiking the Porcupine Mountains last summer and ran the Chicago Marathon in October.

She was someone who shrugged off her daily two-hour round-trip commute to Michigan State University, where she works as an academic advisor. And even after a long work day, Gansler still would have energy for an evening hike with her husband; quality time with her 12-year-old son; staying in touch with her six older children who no longer live at home.

The first week of March, Gansler went to Spain to connect with MSU students in study-abroad programs.

She fell ill on March 11, three days after returning from Spain and a day after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced that Michigan had confirmed its first two cases of coronavirus. Spain became a coronavirus hot spots while she was there, and the timing seems likely that she was among Americans infected in Europe.

A 51-year-old with “zero” underlying health conditions, Gansler had what clinicians would term a milder case of COVID-19. Although she went to a hospital emergency department twice for breathing problems, she was never hospitalized and she isolated herself at home to recover.

But from the start, that recovery has been shockingly slow.  Read more…

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