Some time has passed since I last updated my training here! (Want weekly updates? Follow me on Instagram!) Since I last updated my training, I have improved my fitness some (although not yet to previous levels). Doctors diagnosed me with GERD and Long Covid; I will share more about how I am dealing with Long Covid.
Seven months later, both my husband and I are still dealing with Long Covid syndrome. I developed upper GI issues (including chest pain), bouts of anxiety, and myofascial pain. His manifested as parosmia (distortions of sense of smell) and cycles of sinus pain.
In January, I was diagnosed with GERD via upper endoscopy. It took months and several tests to reach this diagnosis. My GI doctor prescribed prescription-strength proton-pump inhibitors and extensive dietary restrictions. I have been eliminating common irritants (tomatoes, citrus, onions). Additionally, cut back my alcohol intake and reduced my caffeine consumption to one cup of coffee per day. The symptoms are still present, but less severe. Soon, I will be able to wean off of the PPIs (which are not intended for long-term use.)
I recently spoke to my doctor about continued muscle pain, nerve pain, pins and needles, hand spasms, and numbness. She asked a few questions about my function such as my balance (worse since Covid) and did an exam, then referred me to a neurologist. She is also conducting bloodwork to look for some possible vitamin deficiencies (such a B12) that could be worsening these symptoms.
Muscle, joint, and nerve pain has plagued me throughout the months-long duration of long Covid. The pain migrates through my body. While never severe, its persistence is wearisome. I saw a neurologist who did some tests (and scheduled more testing), determined the presence of nerve damage, and diagnosed me with Long Covid. In one test, the neurologist pressed a cold metal instrument on me. I could feel the cold on my head, neck, arms, and legs, but felt nothing on my hands and feet.
I have a prescription for muscle relaxers, but those leave me feeling hungover so I do not take them anymore. My neurologist offered to try gabapentin instead, but I’m hesitant to take too many prescription drugs.
I expanded my supplement routine in hopes of holistically dealing with my Long Covid issues. My theory is that this all stems from lingering inflammation from having Covid-19 in August. I introduced multiple anti-inflammatory supplements and joint supplements to alleviate the pain as I worked with doctors. (My doctors are all aware of my supplement choices.) While not a cure at all, supplements can help cover some gaps. I also take both calcium and a vitamin D supplement for bone health, especially since extended PPI use is linked to loss of bone density, and an iron supplement as prescribed based on low ferritin in the past.
Currently, I am taking:
For a majority of these supplements, I purchase Utzy Naturals. These supplements are high-quality, NSF-certified, and made in the United States.
I appreciate how the Utzy supplements come in glass bottles. With how many supplements we are taking, it provides some peace of mind to know that we are not generating excessive amounts of plastic waste. Glass is more easily recyclable than plastic.
Utzy supplements are NSF-certified, meaning all their ingredients are tested for purity, safety, and potency. Since supplements are not FDA-regulated, you want to find third-party tested ones to ensure you are receiving a quality product. The supplement industry is highly unregulated and without third-party testing, you do not know if your supplements actually contain what they say. Third-party testing ensures you get what you pay for.
As a result of supplementation, medication, and diet modifications, I was able to build back my training load. I am currently in the range of 25-29 miles per week and two lifts. I recently had a gait analysis that uncovered a significant decrease in my cadence since having Covid (more on that to come), so I am working on some neuromuscular and mobility aspects of training to regain my previous cadence.
Long Covid is not an easy journey, but I also believe that it is not a permanent condition. And if you are dealing with Long Covid: you are not alone.
(Disclaimer: I am not a registered dietician. What works for me in regards to supplements may not be appropriate for you. Please consult your healthcare provider or a registered dietician in regards to what supplements are appropriate for you. This post contains affiliate links; they cost nothing extra for you but do support this website.)