DALLAS Drinking health smoothies every day is how Kristina Vallee keeps up her energy. 'Healthy' is not how the 42-year-old would describe herself since being hospitalized with West Nile virus two summers ago.
'Just everything is hypersensitive now,' she said. 'Lights and noise... I usually can't take too much of it, because I'll have a headache. Everything triggers a headache, which I have every day.'
Vallee also has memory loss, nerve damage, and what she calls excruciating joint pain.
Even though West Nile virus has been infecting North Texans through mosquito bites since 1999, there are still no treatments available. Vallee takes 16 pills a day to manage symptoms.
She can't work and has exhausted her savings trying to find anyone who can help. She has applied for disability.
'They just think that it's going to get better, and that's the biggest frustration is that there's no doctors that understand or know how to treat it,' Vallee said. 'They just keep sending you off to another specialist.'
There are no statistics on how many West Nile patients suffer long-term. It's one reason Vallee created the WestNileVirusInfo.net website. She hopes it will bring awareness and offer support to other West Nile patients who feel alone.
She hopes someone will notice and solve the mystery of the virus she says has ruined her life.