GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — Health leaders across Central Texas are issuing a stern warning as we head into Labor Day weekend.
With the delta variant running rampant and school back to in-person learning, doctors say this Labor Day could be dangerous for people — especially for the unvaccinated.
Terian Szymczak knows how important that warning is. What started as a girlfriends getaway in the beginning of August turned into a weekend Szymczak says changed her life forever.
“I was not feeling good — thinking I had a sinus infection,” Szymczak said.
She is a well-known fitness professional in Williamson County. She works out six days a week and teaches several fitness classes and was even exposed to the virus five times over the past 18 months, but after this trip, she tested positive for COVID-19.
Her three friends who were with her during the seven-hour drive home did, too. The only difference was they were vaccinated, and Szymczak was not.
“Those three girls were sick for a couple of days and went back to their normal lives and back to the gym. I went to the hospital, and I’m still recovering,” Szymczak explained.
She was diagnosed at the beginning of August and over eight days, her symptoms got progressively worse, landing her in the hospital. Getting oxygen and several shots a day as her blood started clotting was her new normal.
“There was a moment in the hospital where I looked out the window and thought, ‘I don’t know if I’m going to get out of here,’” Szymczak said.
Eventually she did, but her journey is far from over. It’s been more than 30 days, and she cannot work out and is not back on the job.
“It was pretty earth shattering for me and frightening,” Szymczak explained. “The emotional piece — it’s going to take me a while to unpack that.”
She didn’t think she needed the vaccine, because she was healthy with no underlying conditions. She’s changed her mind, and it’s fueling her message to others this holiday weekend.
“I certainly don’t want to do it again, emotionally or physically. I don’t know that I can take it, so I’ve made the decision that I’m going to get vaccinated,” Szymczak said.
Szymczak says something her doctors said that has helped her in recovering is the fact she had already been eating healthy, taking care of herself and exercising. She continues to encourage others to do the same.