EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. — Dentist and owner of Simply Smiles, Briana Oller immediately felt the impact of the coronavirus pandemic a few weeks ago when the Illinois Dental Society recommended dental offices to shut their doors.
As a business owner, she said she felt the pressure and had a lot on her mind, worried sick about her employees.
Briana thought this was the reason for her throbbing headache on March 17.
But this single mom of two soon realized she was feeling the effects of COVID-19, not just on her business, but within herself.
Days after, she lost her sense of taste and smell.
"Anything I put in my mouth tasted like water," she said. "I don’t care if it was the sweetest of sweets or a jalapeno in my mouth, I couldn’t taste it."
Then, it turned for the worse on March 25. Briana had a fever and shortness of breath.
"I had numbness in my fingers in both arms, extremely shaky at times," she said.
As a basketball coach and a runner, she's used to working out almost five days a week. But with COVID-19, she barely made it up the stairs.
"I could be sitting on my couch and bed and I couldn't get a deep breath," she says.
The next day, she took a test and four days later, she tested positive for COVID-19. She says, "I have had influenza one time and this is nothing like that."
It's now day 19 for Briana and she's healing. Just a week ago, she could barely say a few words without taking a breath. Now she has strength to speak out. Spreading her message on Facebook.
"I felt it was the one thing I can do to help people," she said. "To make it real for them by knowing someone who has it. This is in our community, it can happen to anyone."
Her plea? For you to take this seriously.
"To be able to keep all our loved ones safe, we have to follow the rules."
Her biggest message of all? For everyone to stay positive. Because even, as she still fights COVID-19, she considers herself fortunate, during this time.
"I am one of the lucky ones, as I get to stay home and recover."
Briana says her daughters are doing well. She says her mom also has COVID-19. She believes they got it around the same time. But we're told mom is healing and doing much better.
Both are ready to call themselves survivors.