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Local bodybuilder spends months in ICU due to COVID-19

Posted at 7:54 PM, Jul 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-27 03:01:09-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Lance Schlager is a COVID-19 "long-hauler."

The former bodybuilder and general contractor was released from Kaiser Permanente Hospital Monday after a battle with COVID-19 complications that almost killed him.

Schlager was in perfect health when he contracted COVID-19 in January. He coded twice after being diagnosed with COVID pneumonia, and blood clots to his hear, legs and lungs. Doctors performed life-saving measures to bring him back from sure death multiple times.

He spent 3 months in the ICU with subsequent visits for infections and other complications. His long-time girlfriend, Vanessa Ratliff wasn't able to see him but sent daily text messages hoping that someday he would be able to read them. His bodyweight went from 200 pounds to just 136 pounds in months.

"His body never gave up," said Ratliff

Schlager credits Ratliff for keeping him emotionally healthy and doctors and nurses for not giving up and keeping him alive.

"I just didn't want to go, I couldn't let go," said Schlager.

Schlager encourages everyone to get the vaccine as cases continue to ramp up all around the country. "The vaccine will save your life," said Schlager.

After both lungs collapsed and a battle with an infection in one, he says he's ready for therapy and getting back into good health. He has already committed to therapy at STS Performance and Therapy in Mira Mesa where he will begin a daily regimen of building back his strength.

He has not been able to work as a general contractor during his illness. His family has set up a GoFundMe page to help with medical and other expenses as he recovers.