PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – As COVID cases in Oregon are back on the rise, sparked by the ba.2 variant, for some who have had COVID, the effects linger on.

KOIN 6 News spoke to a neuropsychiatrist at Oregon Health and Science University and a “long-hauler” patient about the lingering symptoms of COVID-19 and the rise of one debilitating medical disorder that more and more patients are being diagnosed with.

Shelby Boyd told KOIN 6 News she got COVID in December of 2020. In January of 2021, she says she woke up with confusion. Then she started a long-COVID program in February.

“It was super scary,” Boyd said.

“It was really tough, the first part of my illness, the first eight months. Doctors were trying to get on board with what was going on, trying to figure out how to treat it,” Boyd said.

She said she was in bed for most of the first six months of her long-COVID battle. Then, she was diagnosed with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS).

“POTS can come on from a viral infection, so our understanding is it secondary to that,” Boyd said.

The Center for Disease Control defines POTS as “an abnormality in the regulation of heart rate in which a change from lying to standing causes an abnormal increase in heart rate.”

“The POTS side, it’s affecting my autonomic nervous system, which talks to every system in my body. There’s increased heart rate, which for me, I experience blackouts on a daily basis,” Boyd explained.

She added “I lose my vision, my hearing is muted, I usually grab for something to stabilize. But sometimes, I have involuntary jerking that will throw me to the floor.”

Dr. Anderson is working with long-COVID patients. He says there is still a lot that’s not known about long-COVID and while they don’t know about the causality between COVID and POTS, he says many of the long-COVID patients referred to him have POTS symptoms.

“The symptoms we’re seeing has led to an increase of a diagnosis of POTS in this population. This is something that affects people chronically, on a daily basis and really affects their ability to do their activities of daily life including working and taking care of their children,” Dr. Anderson said.

Working is something that’s been tough for Boyd too, along with a lot of other daily activities.

“I couldn’t feed myself, I couldn’t make meals. My whole life has adapted to a life with chronic illness, I don’t shower like a normal person, I shower once every two weeks because that’s all I have energy for,” Boyd said.

She says when it comes to long-COVID in general, there should be more financial support for families and occupational therapy.

“This is all new, we’re growing, we need more support, we need to develop systems of protocols that work for people in this situation, instead of saying ‘you don’t fit within this protocol.’ That’s a lot of what long-haulers have been experiencing that is really tough,” Boyd said.