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Berea-Midpark teacher with long-haul COVID shares her experiences dealing with the devastating virus

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Posted at 11:55 AM, Dec 24, 2021

BEREA, Ohio — A teacher at Berea-Midpark High School named Debra Barb lost her independence for over a year to COVID-19. And now, seeing the illness from the omicron variant described as mild, well, she wanted you to see it from her perspective.

“Everything I was seeing on the news and reading on-line was young, healthy people are going to be OK, ” Barb said.

And she would know. As a high level college athlete, she completed 100-mile bike rides, practiced or taught yoga five days a week, still played rec basketball, and was in the best shape of her life until Nov. 20, 2020. That’s when she tested positive for COVID-19.

“Then by the end of December I was having fainting episodes, a real difficult time eating, and by January I was out of school,” Barb said.

She’s been teaching in the Berea City School District for about 15 years, but she had to stop for a while. What started as flu-like symptoms progressed.

“It was month after month after month after month after month,” Barb said.

Finally diagnosed as a long-haul COVID patient, in fact, she only started feeling better about three weeks ago.

Infectious disease expert Dr. Amy Edwards said, “what was interesting was that people who had minor illness, even people who were able to stay in their houses and manage this at home, they would get better, but then they wouldn’t get better.”

Barb’s roller coaster ride of one step forward, two steps back rolls on, but she did recently get back to teaching, to seeing her colleagues and her students.

So back to that message of the omicron variant being described as being “mild."

“Well, my infection was mild, and I lost 12-and-a-half months of my life to that mild infection,” Barb said.

So don’t be fooled… Barb doesn’t want what happened to her, to happen to you.

“I was really angry and upset about it for a long time, but, you know, I know I’m coming out of this on the other side of this a better person with a better understanding of chronic illness. And I think I’m gonna be OK,” Barb said.

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