Bedridden for a month with COVID, Michigan musician develops heart problems

FERNDALE, MI — She won a long battle with COVID-19, only to find the war with the virus is far from over. Now this multiple Detroit Music Awards winner is finally ready to do what she loves, which is performing on stage in front of fans.

Jill Jack spent most of January in her bed recovering from COVID. She was forced to cancel her annual birthday concert at the Ark in Ann Arbor. Vaccinated and refreshed, Jack has been keeping fans updated on her struggle on her Instagram page and now she is opening up about her ordeal.

Jack thought her health woes were behind her after she finally beat the virus. However, in early February, after exercising for the first time since her illness, she began experiencing pain that she thought was simply from overdoing it.

“I was actually sitting in the gym parking lot looking up ‘signs of a heart attack,'” Jack said. “But then I thought, ‘Oh, don’t be dramatic, and I decided to go to the gym.'”

Jack says the pain got so extreme while swimming that she called her husband from the locker room, who told her to have someone call 911.

According to doctors at Beaumont in Royal Oak, she did not have a heart attack, although they say her symptoms were similar. Imaging revealed myocarditis, or inflammation of her heart muscle, due to COVID-19.

“The cardiologist said that in my first two days at the gym I went from zero in bed to 100. He told me I was heart healthy but I had heart infection due to COVID,” Jack added. “My biggest realization was that when I started exercising again, I was pushing myself too hard. I didn’t realize that my heart was inflamed. I just didn’t feel good. I knew something was wrong but tried to play off my symptoms, thinking I was just overdoing it. The doctors told me these symptoms were my body trying to tell me something was wrong.”

Jack is not alone in her battle with myocarditis caused by COVID. A study published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that COVID-19 patients had a nearly 16 times greater risk of myocarditis than those who did not have COVID-19.

Symptoms of myocarditis include chest pain, shortness of breath, or palpitations. It is typically caused by a viral infection.

“The key is to listen to your body and see a doctor, go to the emergency room, or call 911 if you think you have a heart problem,” said Beaumont cardiologist Dr. Monica Jiddou-Patros. “We have seen patients with myocarditis, blood clots or other post-COVID issues. We don’t want to make people overly nervous, we want to educate them so they can get it checked if something doesn’t seem right.”

Jack will now be performing their first post-COVID live concert outside the Hotel Royal Oak on Saturday 28th May at 6pm. Bring your beach chairs and blankets. The concert is free.

Jack says she is both excited and nervous about performing again. She says she wanted to speak out about her health issues to remind people to listen to their bodies, especially after a battle with COVID-19.

“Take it slow. Your heart is your body’s engine. The last thing you want to do is damage it. The recovery felt slow, but I’ve learned so much about patience. And thanks to the doctors, nurses, and Physiotherapists, I can’t wait to get back on stage with confidence and a strong heart – ready to rock!”


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