I am a 36-year-old married woman and mother of two. Prior to having the vaccine, I was dead-set against having it. This was due to the fact that I have Factor V Leiden, which is a blood mutation. It doesn’t typically manifest into anything, but may increase the chance of having a blood clot by 5%.
The push to have the vaccine didn’t make sense to me at all, and I wasn’t seeing any science behind it. I was also panicking about having it, as my father has Antiphospholipid syndrome, which is also a blood clotting mutation and autoimmune disease where your body attacks itself. He had had a pulmonary embolism previously, and this worried me. This caused me to voice my concerns to my doctor prior to me being required to have the vaccine. She assured me that it wouldn’t be a problem, and said that if I received a vaccine, I wouldn’t be given AstraZeneca.
The mandates were announced, and I decided to wait as long as possible to avoid having it. At the time, my workplace gave us a deadline to receive the first vaccine by 15 October 2021. On 13 October, I went to the doctor to request an exemption. I was sitting in the waiting room crying, I was so anxious about what might happen once I had the vaccine. My doctor reassured me that there were millions given out around the world and the reason we are seeing so many reactions is because never in history has one vaccine been given to the population all at once.
This sounded fair to me, but I could immediately tell she was not going to give me an exemption. She suggested Pfizer, but I still insisted on an exemption. She said I didn’t meet the criteria. I relented and insisted that my doctor oversee the vaccine being administered. I was wailing in the waiting room, shaking and upset, and the nurse asked for my permission. I said, “No, this is against my will,” and the nurse retorted, “Well, you’re a grown up!”
I had the Pfizer vaccine in my right arm, as I told them I wanted it away from my heart, but the nurse said that it wouldn’t make any difference. The nurse was rude and disrespectful. She rolled her eyes throughout and treated me like a child. I was a mess afterwards, and felt violated. I felt fine immediately after and my doctor was really lovely, hugging me and comforting me. She even gave me a lollipop!
That night, I was extremely exhausted, and had never felt this level of fatigue before in my life. My arm was quite tender. Four days later, my heart was in agony. It was strange, as I was just sitting on my couch, and my husband was so worried he suggested an ambulance. I refused and pushed through. The pain was around a six out of ten, and continued for two solid weeks.
I experienced constant waves of pain in my heart and worked out from some Google research that it might be pericarditis or myocarditis. I am typically very stoic though, and also assumed there wasn’t much that could be done for me. The pain started to subside, but was still there intermittently.
On 22 November 2021, I had the second Pfizer vaccine. I went in with similar concerns and told my doctor about the constant heart pain that had lasted for two weeks. My doctor asked why I hadn’t called and whether she should be giving me the second vaccine. I told her that I needed to earn a living and I had just pushed through. However, she still wouldn’t grant me an exemption.
This time, I had the vaccine in the left arm. Afterwards, I felt fine and worked the next day. Four days later the heart pain returned again. Every night, I would sit on the couch thinking that I wouldn’t wake up the next day. I would dig my fist into my chest as if it would help somehow, to the point that I left a bruise where the knuckles had dug in.
Typically, on the weekends we would go for bush walks as a family. However, I couldn’t do this any longer, and kept having to stop all the time. My heart felt like it was going to leap out of my chest. My husband could see the look on my face of sheer terror that I might die. After the initial two-week episode of heart pain, I decided to wait another two weeks this time as well. People noticed I was clutching my chest, but I shrugged it off as heartburn and tried to downplay it to save having an argument.
In December, I was in a stressful situation at work and had little time to go to the doctor. I was coming home from work in tears and in a lot of pain. This likely didn’t help the situation, as I knew the doctor would pass off my heart pain as being stress related. I then resigned from my position at work. I went in to see my doctor in late December complaining of constant heart pain, and they ran an EEG, but it came back clear, as did the blood tests they ran. She diagnosed my heart pain as anxiety, and reiterated to me that I had been very distressed on my last visit.
In late January, the pain had still not subsided, so I returned to my doctor and told her I wasn’t happy with the diagnosis and that my pain levels were still high. After resigning from my job, I wasn’t stressed at all, so they weren’t able to pass it off as that any longer. I was then referred to a cardiologist, who ran an ECG and an EEG, as well as put a Holter monitor on me for 24 hours.
The cardiologist and I were joking and laughing initially, as I had to have my breasts exposed and was trying to lighten the mood. The minute I told him I was there from heart pain following the vaccine, the talking ceased completely. It actually felt like he had ghosted me in person. I was asking questions, but he was suddenly non-communicative. He gave me instructions to use the Holter, which registers any heart pain. I had to activate it when the pain was noticeable.
Within a 24-hour period, I had pressed the device multiple times, but it was hard to know when to do so, as the pain came in waves. The results came in – the ECG was clear and the Holter results showed some palpitations, which apparently aligned with me pressing the device.
The doctor stated that it was totally normal to have palpitations. I pushed back on this and became really aggravated at the lack of understanding. At that point, I completely and totally lost faith that I was ever going to get any help for my condition. I walked out to my car and just cried.
On 25 April at the football, I was yelling passionately for my team, and suddenly felt like I was having a heart attack. I made it to the toilet and tried to calm down. It took around half an hour for the pain to somewhat subside. My heart felt like it was caving in on itself. Again, I am not one to make a fuss, so I tried to push through. Essendon were ahead so I told my friend that if I died, at least it would be at the MCG and my team was ahead! Again, I decided not to seek help.
A week later at my new job, I woke up with a really sore back and the pain continued to increase throughout the day. I joked about this to some colleagues about it being a pulmonary embolism. I drove home and eventually went to the hospital. I went to a different hospital this time, and by then the pain was radiating around to the front of my body. They wanted to give me Endone, but I refused, as I wanted to be able to describe the pain. I had another EEG, as well as blood and urine tests. The wait times were ridiculous, and so I returned home in an Uber.
I couldn’t lie down flat, and my husband left me propped up while he showered. He left me briefly, and then was suddenly shaking me awake. He had come out of the shower to find me unconscious, blue and cold. He thought that I was dead. I felt really cold and was shaking. In the morning at 4am, I woke up in agony, with the pain radiating all over my back and up my right side. My husband insisted I return to the hospital, as I was writhing in pain.
I was in the waiting room for 12 hours, but they never admitted me. The previous tests came back with a high white cell count. At that point, they began treating me for constipation. I decided to mention that I had factor V Leiden and so they tested me for clots. At that point, I asked for Endone as the pain was excruciating. The tests revealed I indeed had blood clots, and they ordered more tests to determine my lung capacity and the location of the clots.
My joke prediction turned out to be true! I had multiple bilateral pulmonary embolisms and the pain was due to a large embolism cutting off circulation to the bottom of my lung.
It was a miracle I was alive! My stoicism hadn’t helped me. I never saw a haematologist in the hospital, but they gave me blood thinners and Endone. One of the nurses actually apologised to me that they had been treating me for constipation when all along I had life-threatening embolisms. The outpatient paperwork stated that I would be seeing a haematologist in a few months, which seemed a very long time. This bothered me greatly. My clot was deemed spontaneous, which means I am on blood thinners for life, as there is no known cause, or certainly none that they will tie to the vaccine.
I wanted to see a haematologist quickly, so I went to my doctor to get a referral to a private hospital, and was booked in three days later. I went to the haematologist with my dad and he told her the clots were due to me having the vaccine, and she said it was “highly unlikely, but not impossible”. She then ordered a load of tests. I believe the universe gave me the blood clot so that I would be believed and heard, as no one was paying any attention to my heart pain.
My heart problem wasn’t being acknowledged, however, the blood clot in my lungs had produced an actual result. Due to the blood thinners, my heart pain has diminished to a small twinge now and then. There are some side effects from the thinners, but these are mostly social, as I am a bit paranoid about being hit or bleeding out. I genuinely believe that if I hadn’t been on blood thinners in the last two months, I would have gone insane, living with pain that no one believed existed.