North Tonawanda woman still suffering from lingering effects of COVID-19

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NORTH TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) — Shannon Panaro is still dealing with COVID-19…six months after she was first diagnosed with the virus.

We first told you about the North Tonawanda woman’s story back in March. What started as tightness in Panaro’s chest led to fighting for her life at St. Joseph’s hospital in Cheektowaga. She tested positive for the virus just days after St. Patrick’s Day, and she tells News 4 she’s still on the mend months later.

“For me, it wasn’t just over with when I got better,” Panaro explained. “I still have some lingering effects.”

Lingering effects like heart palpitations and tingling in both her hands and feet.

And on top of medical issues, Panaro is also dealing with billing issues from her insurance company. She even has a file full of medical bills just from her COVID-19 diagnosis.

“[The insurance company] wasn’t billing it as COVID-related, so I’m getting all of these large copay bills because I have a high deductable,” she said. “I’m self employed. I pay over one thousand dollars a month for my insurance for myself and my husband, and I have to call these companies and explain I went to the emergency room because I had an embolism because I had COVID.”

Now, Panaro is hoping her story can be a lesson for others to take COVID-19 seriously, and to protect themselves and their loved ones from this deadly disease.

“I saw another video of a woman that did a video just like mine, and she couldn’t breathe just like me, and she was my exact age and she died,” Panaro told News 4. “She wanted to get back to her kids and she didn’t get to go back to her kids, so I’m very lucky every day I was blessed to come home.”

Marlee Tuskes is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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