KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In a video testimonial earlier this month to fellow church members at United Believers Community Church in Kansas City, Missouri, Angela Griswold announced "by the grace of God, I am a COVID-19 survivor."
She never imagined she would be diagnosed with COVID-19.
"I just never thought it would happen to me because I thought I was taking all the precautions; but it did," Griswold said.
Griswold said she let her guard down in July at a family gathering in a hotel, celebrating her niece's graduation.
"When we were inside the hotel, inside the room itself, we were not wearing a mask... Just thinking it was just the family, so we thought we were safe," Griswold said.
The coronavirus quietly crept in, attacking Griswold and other family members.
"My sister contracted it and my niece got it." she said. "My two nieces, great nieces who are like 4 and 5 now, they got it, but of course they got it and got over it real quick."
Griswold has a preexisting heart condition and her recovery was painful and slow.
She was rushed to the hospital in early August. Two days later she was placed on a ventilator because she couldn't breathe. She was on the ventilator for almost two weeks.
While she was sedated on the ventilator, Griswold said she had a vision that she was in heaven and saw her sister, Tina, who died 16 years ago.
Griswold said her sister told her that it was not her time. Griswold's oxygen levels improved and the ventilator was removed.
"When I first got off the ventilator, I felt like an invalid. I couldn't move. I couldn't walk, I couldn't feed myself," Griswold said.
She had speech therapy to learn to talk again. She also underwent intense rehab to learn how to walk again. She was in a wheelchair, advanced to a walker and is now using a cane.
Griswold is urging others to take the virus seriously.
"Stay home. There are things that you have to get out and do. It's very minimal. If you don't have to get out, don't," Griswold said.
She also confessed that her life has changed because she's more careful now.
"I wear a mask now. Even if it's just family, I wear a mask," Griswold said.
She hopes others will consider wearing a mask too if they're gathering with family during the Thanksgiving holiday.