Lena Dunham revealed Friday that she contracted coronavirus in March, waged a secret three-week battle with COVID-19 and remains plagued by migraines and other “weirder symptoms.”
In an Instagram post, the writer and creator of HBO’s “Girls” said she finally decided to share her nightmare as a cautionary tale.
She said people’s “carelessness” when it comes to masks and social distancing led her to overcome her reluctance and just be brutally honest about what she’s endured.
“I got sick with COVID-19 in mid-March. It started with achy joints, which I was unable to distinguish from my usual diagnoses, so I didn’t freak out. But the pain was soon joined by impossible, crushing fatigue. Then, a fever of 102,” she wrote.
Soon, her body “simply revolted.”
“The nerves in my feet burned and muscles wouldn’t seem to do their job. My hands were numb. I couldn’t tolerate loud noises. I couldn’t sleep but I couldn’t wake up. I lost my sense of taste and smell,” she said.
Dunham, 34, said she had a “hacking cough like a metronome keeping time.”
She also suffered “random red rashes,” pounding headaches and a scary shortness of breath that followed simple tasks like getting a glass of water.
“It felt like I was a complex machine that had been unplugged and then had my wires rerouted into the wrong inputs,” she wrote.
She said her days “blended into each other like a rave gone wrong” for three weeks. She finally tested negative after a month.
Still, her symptoms continued, she said.
“I had swollen hands and feet, an unceasing migraine and fatigue that limited my every move. Even as a chronically ill person, I had never felt this way,” she wrote.
Her doctor determined Dunham was suffering from “clinical adrenal insufficiency,” meaning her pituitary gland had “almost entirely ceased to function,” she explained.
She also had “status migrainosis,” meaning a migraine she couldn’t shake, she said.
“My arthritis flared and required an immune-modulator drug that is hard on my body,” Dunham shared. “And there are weirder symptoms that I’ll keep to myself.”
Dunham said she “did NOT have these particular issues” before she got sick with COVID-19
Still, she called herself lucky because she had “amazing friends and family, exceptional healthcare and a flexible job” during her illness.
“Not everybody has such luck,” she wrote.
“So – hey, you, in the hat that says FREE MUSTACHE RIDES – put down your cigarette and listen to me!” she wrote. “This isn’t like passing the flu to your co-worker.”
She said taking measures to stem the spread of coronavirus might save someone “a world of pain.”
“You save them a journey that nobody deserves to take, with a million outcomes we don’t yet understand,” she wrote.
Dunham’s post garnered more than 42,000 likes in a matter of hours.
“Thank you for sharing, Lena,” actress Diane Kruger replied in a comment. “I’m just so glad you ‘recovered.’ Please people, the VERY LEAST we can do is #wearadamnmask to help protect each other!”
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