Student shares personal battle with COVID-19

Sarah Gill | Broadcast Reporter

The number of coronavirus cases is rapidly increasing worldwide, affecting every state in the US and even the Baylor community.

Tucson, Arizona junior Cheyanna Sayers has recovered from COVID-19 after a 16 day battle with the virus.

Her story with the illness starts Monday, March 16.

Sayers was feeling tired but thought it was because she had recently returned to Waco from her spring break trip the day before. She went to Gulf, Shores, Ala. and stopped in New Orleans for a day on the way back.

Sayers said she “was sneezing a little bit,” but she thought it was just allergies.

“I woke up Tuesday morning, that was when it really hit me,” Sayers said. She had a 101-degree fever, body aches and a headache.

Sayers called into work sick and went to urgent care. They tested her for the flu and strep, but both tests came back negative.

She called the Baylor Health Center after hearing that they were testing for COVID-19. Both the health center and the urgent care told her she did not meet the criteria to get tested.

“They asked if I had shortness of breath, which I didn’t at that time,” she said.

Wednesday, her fever broke, but she still wasn’t feeling well. Sayers called the Baylor Health Center again on Thursday. This time, they asked her if she had any underlying health conditions.

“When I told them that I have asthma, that’s when they were like, okay, maybe we should test you,” Sayers said.

She drove up to the circle at the health center and they tested her while she was still in her car.

“They had like a tent set up out there, and like they were in all their gowns and face masks and all that. It was weird that it was on campus, and it just felt really surreal,” said Sayers.

For all those wondering how badly the COVID-19 test hurts, Sayers said that she “got a lovely swab up both of my nostrils. It was awful.”

The test came back positive on Friday, March 20.

Other symptoms that Sayers experienced were low energy, loss of taste and smell, coughing and slight chest tightening. She said breathing wasn’t as hard as she expected with her asthma and that the worst symptom she experienced was the headache.

“I couldn’t even look at my phone or watch TV,” Sayers said, “It just made me wanna like sleep all day and not talk to anyone.”

The body aches were a close second.

“I had to use the handrail walking down the stairs and like push myself up,” she added.

The only medications she took were Tylenol and Z-pack that she was prescribed for an ear infection.

Sayers said COVID-19 is much worse than the flu because doctors don’t have anything they can give you.

The magnitude went even further than symptoms, though, as she had to make a contact list of everyone she had been in contact with for the past 2 weeks.

“I was on spring break so I had been around a lot of Baylor students,” she said.

She notified friends, coworkers and her roommates.

“I knew that it would definitely scare people because it was hitting so close to them,” Sayers said.

A few of her friends from spring break got tested, as well as some of her coworkers. In all, four coworkers tested positive.

“That was hard because I was the first one and so you can’t help but think like, did I give it to all of them?” Sayers said.

Sayers is passionate about sharing her story in hopes that the Baylor community will take self-quarantining more seriously.

“It’s been frustrating. I’ve been seeing people in Waco that are still having, you know, little house get-togethers not really thinking that it’s gonna hit them,” Sayers said.

Now that she has endured COVID-19 and is considered recovered, she offers a new perspective.

“Act as if you do have it, even if you don’t, and even if you don’t have any symptoms,” she said.

Even though she is free from isolation, Sayers plans to continue quarantining. She heard about the blood plasma transfusions and how some recovered patients are giving their blood to help people who are currently suffering from COVID-19.

“I would love to go do that and see if I can help someone else,” she said in closing.