Lena Dunham says she suffered a variety of complications after her COVID-19 battle in March
The "Girls" alum, 34, revealed on Instagram Friday that she was diagnosed with COVID-19 in mid-March. Although she was "reluctant" to go public with her diagnosis, Dunham hopes detailing her "intense" experience with the virus will curb other's "carelessness."
Dunham said she was in self-isolation by herself for 21 days fighting COVID-19, after initially confusing the virus' symptoms with her chronic illness.
"It started with achy joints, which I was unable to distinguish from my usual diagnoses, so I didn’t freak out," the actress wrote in a lengthy statement. "But the pain was soon joined by an impossible, crushing fatigue. Then, a fever of 102. Suddenly my body simply… revolted."
Dunham described a plethora of side effects, including loss of “sense of taste and smell,” sensitivity to sound, numb hands, inflammation of nerves, a “hacking cough,” difficulty breathing, a “pounding headache” and random red rashes.
"It felt like I was a complex machine that has been unplugged and then my wires rerouted into the wrong inputs," she added. In isolation, "I couldn't believe how intense the loneliness had been, in addition to illness."
Dunham said she tested negative after a month and avoided hospitalization but her struggles did not end there. She said she still suffers from coronavirus complications and has since been diagnosed with "unceasing" migraines, "clinical adrenal insufficiency" after her pituitary gland nearly shut down and has been prescribed a "immune-modulator drug" to combat flared arthritis.
"Even as a chronically ill person, I had never felt this way… To be clear, I did NOT have these particular issues before I got sick with this virus," she wrote. "We don’t yet understand the long term impact of this illness on people’s bodies and minds."
Dunham acknowledged the "privilege" and resources she had access to seek treatment and said she hopes her personal testimony will inspire others to stay safe.
"When you take the appropriate measures to protect yourself and your neighbors, you save them a world of pain," Dunham said. "You save them a journey that nobody deserves to take with a million outcomes we don’t yet understand… It is critical we are all sensible and compassionate at this time."