Coffee shop owner, pastor tells fellow COVID-19 long-haulers ‘they’re not alone’

Melanie Wingo

A Roseville pastor/coffee shop owner is still feeling the effects of COVID-19, two months after his original diagnosis.Joshua Lickter owns and operates The Fig Tree Coffee, Art & Music Lounge. Along with the ups and downs this pandemic year has brought to small business owners just like him, Lickter has weathered the challenges of having the coronavirus and all the numerous, long-term side-effects that came along with it.“I’m tired all the time. Exhausted. Body fatigue. I have, what they call, is this ‘COVID fog’ which is this blurriness in your head. It’s hard to focus,” explained Lickter.He’s also endured sciatica, nail discoloration, hair loss, irregular sleep patterns and his taste and smell have only returned to about 50% of normal.“I had four really good days last week and so I thought I was back to normal. So I was acting like I was back to normal,” Lickter said. “Then I crashed for three or four days afterward and could barely get out of bed.”Originally thinking he’d have COVID-19 for about two weeks, that his symptoms would clear up, and then he’d be fine, the course of Lickter’s case didn’t take that path.“I got to the point where I was starting to feel better, but then I never progressed past that point of starting to feel better.”Doctors are now documenting the effects of a couple of variations in what are sometimes dubbed “long-haul” COVID cases, just like Lickter’s.“One is ‘long COVID’ which is that three- or four-week window,” explained Dr. Mark Vaughan, medical director for the Auburn Medical Group. “Once you get past that … all the way out to 12 weeks, they would actually use the label ‘ post COVID.’”Vaughan said there are variations in how those effects hit different people.“You can also have symptoms involving many of the body’s systems including respiratory, cardiac and neurologic,” Vaughan said. “Many have symptoms of depression, some of them have something called ‘autonomic dysfunction’ where you can actually have your body not adapt to changes in sitting or standing.”Lickter decided to open up about his long-COVID-19 journey in a series of video check-ins on his Facebook page.Using raw honesty and a dose of humor, he’s talked at length about the litany of long-term effects he’s experienced.“One of the reasons that I went online to share my story as far as post-COVID is concerned is because I want to encourage people,” Lickter said. “I want people who are going through this to know they’re not alone and it’s OK to talk about it.”Lickter feels it’s important as a community leader to use his voice to take away the stigma he said some people tie to having COVID.“I’ve noticed a lot of COVID shaming in our community where people are just afraid to admit that they had COVID because somebody will speak out against them,” he said.He also wants to give a relatable experience for people with those long-term COVID effects — weeks after their initial bout with the virus ends, including people trying to convince friends and loved ones it’s not “all in their heads.”“If you’re going through this, and it doesn’t feel like it’s just a flu, it’s really hard to hear people telling you, ‘aw, it’s just a flu, don’t worry about it.’”For those who’ve had COVID-19, doctors stress the importance of staying connected with your healthcare provider in the weeks and months that follow your diagnosis.“You need to have someone who can kinda tease-out whether this is something that needs to be followed up with a specialist… if it’s something you’re going to have to deal with for a while,” said Vaughan. “And the other part of it is, differentiating between long-COVID symptoms or post-COVID symptoms, and something else that maybe just surfaced at the same time but could be very serious and need to be addressed through a different avenue.”In sharing his story Lickter hopes people experiencing these same effects won’t feel so alone on their path … and others will exercise empathy for those still fighting to get through it.”If all of the sudden, you’re finding yourself feeling very lethargic or you’re struggling, or you’re depressed, it may not be what you think it is,” Lickter explained. “It may just be a side effect of the COVID — working itself through you. Be aware of that and get the treatment, the help and the support that you need to get through that.”

A Roseville pastor/coffee shop owner is still feeling the effects of COVID-19, two months after his original diagnosis.

Joshua Lickter owns and operates The Fig Tree Coffee, Art & Music Lounge. Along with the ups and downs this pandemic year has brought to small business owners just like him, Lickter has weathered the challenges of having the coronavirus and all the numerous, long-term side-effects that came along with it.

“I’m tired all the time. Exhausted. Body fatigue. I have, what they call, is this ‘COVID fog’ which is this blurriness in your head. It’s hard to focus,” explained Lickter.

He’s also endured sciatica, nail discoloration, hair loss, irregular sleep patterns and his taste and smell have only returned to about 50% of normal.

“I had four really good days last week and so I thought I was back to normal. So I was acting like I was back to normal,” Lickter said. “Then I crashed for three or four days afterward and could barely get out of bed.”

Originally thinking he’d have COVID-19 for about two weeks, that his symptoms would clear up, and then he’d be fine, the course of Lickter’s case didn’t take that path.

“I got to the point where I was starting to feel better, but then I never progressed past that point of starting to feel better.”

Doctors are now documenting the effects of a couple of variations in what are sometimes dubbed “long-haul” COVID cases, just like Lickter’s.

“One is ‘long COVID’ which is that three- or four-week window,” explained Dr. Mark Vaughan, medical director for the Auburn Medical Group. “Once you get past that … all the way out to 12 weeks, they would actually use the label ‘ post COVID.’”

Vaughan said there are variations in how those effects hit different people.

“You can also have symptoms involving many of the body’s systems including respiratory, cardiac and neurologic,” Vaughan said. “Many [COVID survivors] have symptoms of depression, some of them have something called ‘autonomic dysfunction’ where you can actually have your body not adapt to changes in sitting or standing.”

Lickter decided to open up about his long-COVID-19 journey in a series of video check-ins on his Facebook page.

Using raw honesty and a dose of humor, he’s talked at length about the litany of long-term effects he’s experienced.

“One of the reasons that I went online to share my story as far as post-COVID is concerned is because I want to encourage people,” Lickter said. “I want people who are going through this to know they’re not alone and it’s OK to talk about it.”

Lickter feels it’s important as a community leader to use his voice to take away the stigma he said some people tie to having COVID.

“I’ve noticed a lot of COVID shaming in our community where people are just afraid to admit that they had COVID because somebody will speak out against them,” he said.

He also wants to give a relatable experience for people with those long-term COVID effects — weeks after their initial bout with the virus ends, including people trying to convince friends and loved ones it’s not “all in their heads.”

“If you’re going through this, and it doesn’t feel like it’s just a flu, it’s really hard to hear people telling you, ‘aw, it’s just a flu, don’t worry about it.’”

For those who’ve had COVID-19, doctors stress the importance of staying connected with your healthcare provider in the weeks and months that follow your diagnosis.

“You need to have someone who can kinda tease-out whether this is something that needs to be followed up with a specialist… if it’s something you’re going to have to deal with for a while,” said Vaughan. “And the other part of it is, differentiating between long-COVID symptoms or post-COVID symptoms, and something else that maybe just surfaced at the same time but could be very serious and need to be addressed through a different avenue.”

In sharing his story Lickter hopes people experiencing these same effects won’t feel so alone on their path … and others will exercise empathy for those still fighting to get through it.

“If all of the sudden, you’re finding yourself feeling very lethargic or you’re struggling, or you’re depressed, it may not be what you think it is,” Lickter explained. “It may just be a side effect of the COVID — working itself through you. Be aware of that and get the treatment, the help and the support that you need to get through that.”


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