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Nocona teen overcomes side effect to get her life back

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NOCONA (KFDX/KJTL) — Back in October 2020, a Nocona teen became one of, at the time, nearly 300 cases of COVID-19 in Montague County. But overcoming the virus was just the beginning of a long battle that took part of her life away.

Allie Brown is known by her family and friends as someone who is always smiling and full of life.

“She truly had a lot of joy,” Allie’s mom, Sherry Brown said. “Just happy all of the time. She was just one of those kids you just don’t have to discipline, you can kind of give her the mean look and she gets back in line but she’s always had a joyful heart.”

In the middle of October of 2020, she was at cross country practice and something didn’t feel right.

“Just filling really out of breath,” Allie said. “Usually when we were doing 800 repeats I could go on those but I was feeling super sluggish and like I was going to pass out.”

She tested positive for COVID and started taking a corticosteroid called Dexamethasone. Soon after she started taking it, Sherry could tell something was wrong with her daughter.

“She just had peculiar behavior,” Sherry said. “The first one I remember was she had drawn on her leg, like a stick figure, and I go, ‘why are you drawing on your leg’ and she’s like ‘I don’t know.’ Then a few hours later she came back into the kitchen where we were getting ready for dinner and it was like, ‘do y’all hear animals? Why are y’all all acting like animals?’ Then from there it just kind of snowballed.”

After consulting with the doctor, they immediately took Allie off of the steroid but things continued to get worse and Allie was taken to Cook Children’s Medical Center.

“She was telling the people in the hospital she just wanted to go see Jesus and of course they considered her to be suicidal at that time,” Sherry said. “Because she tested positive we were put on a COVID floor but all of our belongings were taken away. So here I am with my daughter who’s not acting like my daughter at all and honestly, I was scared to death.”

After being in the hospital for about three days, Allie was released but things didn’t get any better.

“She was still in full-blown psychosis,” Sherry said. “From that, she experienced hallucinations, really bad nightmares, she had amnesia at one time for a 24 hour period she didn’t know who her brother was. She knew his face but she didn’t know what connection she had to him.”

In late December, after months of feeling empty on the inside, confused and filled with anxiety, Allie knew she was tired of feeling this way and it was time for a change.

“We reached out to a psychiatrist and he put me on, what a lot of teens are on, like Lexapro, and he put me on that and for about two weeks it got way worse before it got better like my depression got way worse but after about probably four weeks, I noticed things just getting better. It was like I was walking out of a bad dream.”

That plus the support of her family and friends has helped Allie come out of those tough times.

“At one point in time I was thinking, oh dear lord, I just want her back,” Sherry said. “I want that happiness, that joyful daughter of mine back.”

That’s exactly what Sherry and Allie’s other family and friends have, her back to being that happy, full of life Allie Brown they know and love.

Allie is not sure if what she experienced was from the steroid or if it was from COVID itself but according to a review article published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, studies have found that between 1.8% to 57% of patients who have received corticosteroids had bad psychiatric reactions.

The review article said the weighted average may fall close to 30%. These reactions have ranged from mood changes to frank psychosis.

As for Allie, she is a senior at Nocona High School and she said coming back from something like that makes competing in cross country and accomplishing her goals that much more special.

She also said she wanted to tell this story to let others know, if they are going through this, they are not alone.

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