SANFORD, N.C. -- College cheerleader Lacey Mathis has been living a COVID-19 nightmare. For nearly two months, she has battled the virus and still can't shake it.
"It's been 58 days since I first had my fever," Mathis said.
Like most Americans, she didn't see it coming.
Cheering for College of William & Mary, Mathis attended a Washington, D.C.-area tournament in March, and both she and a referee contracted COVID-19.
"Where the cheerleaders have to sit is very tight quarters. They're close to the fans, close to the players, close to the refs, so it really could have been anywhere or anybody," Mathis said.
The 19-year-old freshman started having mild symptoms but attributed them to cheering and travel fatigue.
A week later, she tested positive for the virus, and soon, she developed a high fever.
"I had like mental fogginess. I lost all sense of taste and smell. That one really was not fun. And I was sleeping a lot," she said.
Things only got worse. A month into quarantine, she was diagnosed with a sinus infection. More recently, a kidney infection took hold.
Fifty days after her first test, Lacey tested positive for COVID-19 again.
"Overwhelming and frustrating to say the very least. It can get very depressing. Being sick all the time, only wanting to sleep. You can't really sit up, you can't really walk around. There's nothing to do," Mathis said.
The disease has taken its toll on mom as well. When not driving herself crazy on Google, Lisa Mathis is cleaning.
"I'm pretty sure I don't have any fingerprints left from all the constant cleaning. You look at everything differently. You look at a glass differently like, 'Who's touched that?'"
With no preexisting conditions or underlying health issues, the Mathis family said it's hard to make sense of this marathon illness.
Now, 58 days later, there is some light at the end of the tunnel and a dose of understandable skepticism.
"Fever has definitely been knocked down a few pegs. Crossing my fingers, hoping I'm on the way to recovery but I'm not getting too excited quite yet," Lacey Mathis said.
"I'm allowing myself to get excited that honestly, she's well enough for me to sit this close to her. And this - it feels weird," Lisa said.
And after so long, how will that first hug feel?
"Oh my gosh... I can't wait. I can't wait," Lisa said.
Lacey's only cuddle partner has been her cat Bernini who is quarantined with her. So far, mom, dad and her older brother have avoided the disease.