UT professor shares his lasting effects of coronavirus

A coronavirus survivor hasn't felt "normal" since March
Published: Jul. 1, 2020 at 8:27 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Feeling normal is not something one UT professor has felt since before he was diagnosed with the coronavirus. That was back in late March. His recovery is long and he’s having lasting issues.

“It was really discouraging, depressing frankly,” said Phillip Stokes, a UT professor and coronavirus survivor,” I would get out of breath doing things I would normally do without any trouble at all.”

He battled the virus for weeks.

”I continued really for months to have really bad fatigue. And would have headaches that would come back and sort of cluster. And the biggest sort of set of issues I dealt with were pulmonary,” explained Stokes.

His primary care doctor didn’t have the answers. So specialists did heart and lung tests.

”We’re still trying to figure out if this is lingering inflammation that will eventually subside or whether there has been some sort of structural damage or change,” said Stokes, “I think we ruled out for me cardiovascular issues, but lung, pulmonary function still is an issue.”

Patty Olinger is an infectious disease expert who said effects of the virus are still being researched.

”We’re starting to see that some of the individuals who really were critical with the disease are still feeling it weeks and months later as far as difficulty in breathing, and other aspects of that. It’s one of those things we’re going to be learning about this for probably years to come,” explained Olinger.

Stokes just started lifting weights at home again. His muscle memory is kicking in, but his lungs aren’t cooperating.

“Here I am three months after and I’m still trying to figure out what’s going on with my body and if it’s ever going to be normal again,” said Stokes.

He has advice for others who are working to improve their health and stamina if they’ve battled the virus as well.

“Be kind to yourself and find ways to be positive,” said Stokes.

He said he’s just taking it one day at a time and hoping to return to normalcy whenever that day comes.

Copyright 2020 WVLT. All rights reserved.

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