It was early January 2021 when I started having some cough, chest pain and difficulty breathing. It wasn’t too bad, but I knew it wasn’t normal.

I had a COVID Test which showed that I had antibodies, this I had it and did not know about it. I had been asymptomatic and never felt sick until now. With this pain and discomfort getting worse each day, I went to my doctor.

At first, I was diagnosed with Pericarditis as a consequence of COVID-19. The doctor told me about the possibility of it also being Myocarditis, but there were still many tests to do, and the Echocardiogram didn’t show anything alarming, so I went home with a treatment for Pericarditis.

A couple of days later, I started having this terrible sharp pain in my heart, like someone was stabbing it, my chest was hurting pretty bad too, I had such pressure on it that I felt like someone was stepping on me and wouldn’t let me go or breathe. I also felt extremely tired; even brushing my hair was a hard task. My arms and legs hurt too, so I called my doctor, and I had a Troponin test done immediately. The levels of this protein were twice the normal, so they ordered a cardiac MRI which confirmed my biggest fear: Myocarditis.

Right now, I still have pain, trouble breathing and some days I feel just like I am having a heart attack again. I have better days too. It comes and goes. It’s unknown if my Myocarditis will be reversible or not, especially because I am a Post-COVID patient, and no doctor knows what the long-term consequences of the damage in the heart will be for any patient like me yet.

This is why I urge people who had COVID-19, to please be aware of any symptoms like chest pain, trouble breathing or just fatigue.

Don’t let others tell you: “I had it, and you will be just tired for few months. That’s how it is.”

Every case is different, and even a mild symptom can mean having something wrong in your heart; so please, go to the doctor and get your heart and lungs checked, even months after having the virus. It can save your life, or at least help you to have a decent treatment and a better life quality. Look for symptoms like cough, fatigue, trouble breathing, chest pain or discomfort when laying down.

I have learned to love and appreciate my heart so much now, and I know that I will rise stronger from this, ready to spread awareness about myocarditis and help as much as I can to teach others to take care of their hearts and health.

If my story can motivate just few people who had COVID to go to the doctor, and make sure they are diagnosed correctly, that would be enough. At least some lives would be saved. We are a community of people with broken but beautiful and strong hearts, and we must rise up and stand together.

Please listen to your bodies and follow up on what they are telling you!

Catherine Perez

Florida and Venezuela

February 2021


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