CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) - A South Bay woman is warning of the ‘silent’ COVID complication that nearly killed her.
Vanessa Tyus, 57, first felt ill on Christmas Day, while she and other family were visiting loved ones in Illinois.
“My body was really achy, feverish,” said Tyus.
The next day, she and her group began driving back to Chula Vista, and Tyus quickly got sicker.
“I couldn't move. I was just that sick,” said Tyus.
Doctors in Texas diagnosed Tyus—who is unvaccinated, borderline diabetic and suffers from high blood pressure—with COVID, and by the time she returned home on December 30, she felt incredibly weak.
“It felt to me like I was just coming out of anesthesia from surgery,” said Tyus.
Her symptoms didn't get better. On January 9, she still had a fever and felt shaky.
“I was like, I have to get up out of here. I’ve got to go to hospital right now,” said Tyus.
At the hospital, she received a full work-up, and a doctor's alarming diagnosis.
“He showed me the screen of my lungs, and it looked like snow was falling … He said, ‘Those are the blood clots surrounding your lungs,’” said Tyus.
She had a life threatening pulmonary embolism, blockage of an artery in the lung. Doctors were surprised because she didn't have the telltale symptoms: low oxygen levels and breathing issues.
An emergency surgery inserted stints that helped break up the clots.
Infectious disease specialist Dr. Christian Ramers, who was not Tyus' doctor, says clots are a common condition in serious COVID cases.
“With COVID, there is so much inflammation within blood vessels and even in the blood, it sets up body to form clots … In medicine, you learn how things are supposed to present and 10%, 15%, 20% of the time, things present in a different way. If people don’t present in a classic textbook way and there’s just something that doesn’t feel right, I think people should listen to their body in that sense,” said Dr. Ramers, Assistant Medical Director for Research & Special Populations at Family Health Centers of San Diego.
It was almost like this was silent … I could have lost my my life, if I wouldn’t have gone to the hospital that day,” said Tyus.
Tyus says she started feeling shortness of breath while in the hospital and is still feeling weak.
“There will be lasting damage but the extent is not known,” said Tyus.
She says her COVID battle has changed her mind on vaccines and now plans to get vaccinated.