I’m writing this story for my 15-year-old son. For his sake, this story needs to remain anonymous.
I’ll call my son J. J was extremely fit and healthy, training every single day since the age of 13 to fulfil his dream of becoming a professional AFL player. He had knee surgery in 2020, but he was so driven that he would get up at 5am to go and swim, then go to school, then train after school for another hour. He was extremely on the ball with anything to do with health and fitness for his age.
J got the vaccine because he needed to have knee surgery in Brisbane, which necessitated getting the jab because of the hospital mandates. J also came to us wanting to get it done in order to protect his good friend who has cancer. At the end of the day, we, as his parents, had the last say over our son’s decision, but because of peer pressure from his friends and the threat of not being able to play sports, we allowed him to be jabbed. Obviously, we just wanted J to be happy and to be able to live his life as he wished. We regretfully gave him the OK, which is a decision that eats away at me every single day.
J got the Pfizer shot on 1 December 2021 (right arm). He showed no immediate symptoms other than fatigue for the next three days. We didn’t let him do any strenuous exercise in this time, which wasn’t made clear to us at all, it was just my own research. After the few days passed J was back into his life as usual.
J got the second Pfizer shot on 23 December 2021 (left arm). He began feeling fatigued like before, but this time was showing signs of agitation also. It was later that night when we were at the shopping centre, he walked up a ramp and said he had pain in his chest and was having trouble breathing. He told me he needed to go to the hospital, but we had been told by the doctors that if there were any symptoms to just take Nurofen and rest, so this is what we did.
The next day he woke up and wanted to go to the local shop. He got to the next street over from us and called us to say that he had chest pain and couldn’t breathe. J’s father went and picked him up and took him straight to ED.
On arrival he presented with shortness of breath and a heart rate ranging from 40-190bpm, a feeling of drowning, chest pain, and fatigue. They did ECG, bloods, CRP, X-ray, and a bedside echocardiogram. All results came back clear but they said they would run further tests if he was to come back. He was discharged that afternoon at 4:44pm on 24 December. Upon discharge the attending doctor vocally expressed her concerns for J having early signs of myocarditis and pericarditis but nothing was written, and she advised J to take Nurofen and perform no activities for two weeks. J was devastated and very scared at this point.
9pm that night, back at home, he was walking down the hallway when he lost his eyesight suddenly and ran into the wall. His heartrate was 138bpm and we raced him back up to the hospital. They ran all the same tests and the results came back this time with more details in the bloods (we later found through our naturopath that they overlooked low markers which were clearly not okay). Basically, J was just monitored and they tested him for Covid, but they wouldn’t even give him a glass of water even though they said he was dehydrated. J’s eyesight came back and because the results were clear, he was discharged at 3am the next morning.
The next day, J rested but on 26 December he presented all the same symptoms with his heart rate screaming at 180bpm. J actually said to me at this stage that he thought he was going to die which is something no parent ever wants to hear from their child. This memory destroys every day. We took J up to the children’s hospital this time. They ran the same tests, and we got the same results. The paperwork went on to state “unlikely” myocarditis and pericarditis and told us to go to our GP and organise a Holter monitor and get a referral to a cardiologist and immunologist.
We went to the GP and he looked at J’s paperwork only to turn around and tell him that he just had anxiety. He gave the referral for the Holter monitor and said it would be interesting to see the results. We went on holidays the next week where J wore the Holter monitor for 24 hours. While we were there, J collapsed twice due to exhaustion but refused to go to hospital because his mind frame was “what is the point” because no one was helping him.
We returned the Holter monitor to the cardiology clinic and we had to wait a week to get the results due to inundation. The results came back showing that there was no significant cardiac rhythm, and sinus tachycardia but J’s heartrate was showing 168bpm which was all within the “normal range” although all he was doing during this time was resting and playing PlayStation.
At this point we felt defeated and not sure what more we could do. The medical system was failing us and we had nowhere to go so we just kept J at home resting as much as possible until 15 January 2022. J started twitching and having tremors in his left hand. The chest pain was worsening and he was feeling very weak. I rang the women’s and children’s hospital and was advised to bring J back in. They ran all the same tests for the fourth time. The discharge paperwork doesn’t say anything about the test results so we are just assuming that they came back clear again and that we were to see another cardiologist.
The next two days J just slept the whole time and we decided to take him to his physiotherapist as we were starting to notice muscle atrophy. We worked out three exercises he could do on his knee without raising his heart rate over 100. Three hours later I went downstairs to give him his tea and I found him collapsed unconscious in my ensuite – he wouldn’t wake up. This was absolutely terrifying. We called the ambulance, and they arrived within ten minutes and by then, J had woken up. They took him up to the hospital and ran all the same tests but all the results were the same. We had multiple conversations with the doctors about it being due to the vaccine and we were furious because we were being told in a roundabout way that indicated it WAS from the vaccine, but they would not write it down on paper.
The following Thursday J returned to the hospital to get a Holter monitor and an echocardiogram done again for the cardiologist appointment on the following day. This was a complete waste of time as we were told it was probably muscular-skeletal, but we were also asked if we would like to participate in a Covid vaccine adverse reaction study, which we did later on. The doctor also gave J the all-clear to fly to Queensland to have his knee surgery on 4 February 2022.
A week went by, and the anaesthetist called us about J’s operation. He said that he didn’t think this was a good idea after looking through all of J’s paperwork and stating what he’s been seeing happen all around the world. He mentioned he wasn’t anti or pro-vaccine, but he was concerned to say the least, and said that there needed to be more investigations done before J was able to be operated on. We contacted the cardiologist and he told us that the anaesthetist had no right to question his qualifications and that J was perfectly fine to fly to Queensland to have his surgery.
The immunology appointment went well and the doctor listened to what was happening to J. We headed into a room with a cardiologist who then ordered a cardiac MRI but said it wouldn’t be able to happen for four weeks. Luckily, we organised a cardiac MRI ourselves. The results came back and the surgeons looked over them and gave us the all clear for knee surgery.
Four weeks ago from the time of this writing J had his knee surgery. The surgery itself went well but the following day the physiotherapist went to get J up and his heartrate dropped down to 30bpm extending his hospital stay longer than expected, but they looked after him well at the Brisbane private.
This whole time J’s symptoms of tremors have been worsening and becoming more frequent, and his cognitive ability has been in decline. This is affecting his entire life from schoolwork to socials, to the point he doesn’t feel like he can be out with friends because it’s making him exhausted and unable to function the next day at school.
We have seen some improvements thanks to the anaesthetist in Brisbane putting him on some heart medication and seeing a naturopath, but he still has no direct diagnosis. The immunologist has said J will need ongoing support for psychology, physio and to attend a pain management clinic. He also put in the report that there is an 11 cases per 100,000 chance in 12-17 year old boys that he could have myocarditis or pericarditis, but didn’t specify that this is what J had.
J is left feeling angry at the system and where it has left him. He never wants anything to do with any hospitals ever again. He is improving but he’s only 50% of himself and unable to follow his dream as a previously healthy, fit, and talented 15-year-old boy.