I am a single mother of three children – two who are grown and a daughter who still lives at home with me. I work full time in a career that I love, I spend my spare time playing soccer and netball and coaching my daughter’s netball team. Before the vaccine I was an extremely active person with no underlying health conditions, other than having had heart surgery when I was eight years old. However, I have never had any further complications from that.
The vaccine was mandated for my workplace. I honestly didn’t want to have it and I had a bad feeling about it. But, as I am a single parent who couldn’t afford to lose my job, I felt as though I had no choice. I figured that the side effects were rare and it would never happen to me.
In August 2021 I had my first Pfizer vaccine on a Thursday. I woke up Friday feeling fine. I went to work as usual, however by Saturday morning things had gone dramatically wrong. As soon as I woke up, I felt as though I had had a stroke. One side of my head felt like there was a crushing weight on it. My legs were aching, I had slurred speech, brain fog and was unable to put sentences together. I was also struggling with my balance and felt as though the room was tilting.
I went straight to the ER and they told me it must be related to my childhood heart condition, which didn’t make sense at all. The doctor ordered blood tests and said I was fine. The medical staff dismissed me when I tried to tell them I thought it was related to the vaccine I’d just had two days ago. I was sent home with no answers.
Two days later, and my symptoms had not gone away. I went to see my GP who became defensive about the possibility of the vaccine being the cause.
“You can’t say that, it could be from anything” he said.
He wrote me a referral for a CT scan, and in the notes all he wrote was ‘light-headedness’, which was far from accurate.
I told the CT scan technician about the possible vaccine link, and they said I’d need to go back to the GP and have them write ‘vaccine-related’ on the form, as there are different scanning protocols for vaccine-related symptoms. I went back to the GP and asked him to amend the referral. At that point he got angry and upset at me exclaiming, “I shouldn’t have to write this!” The CT scan showed nothing anyway.
It took around four weeks to recover from these symptoms although I could only take three days off work, so I just pushed on despite how bad I was feeling. I really didn’t want to have a second vaccine, however no one would write me an exemption.
I waited until the last possible day, before taking the second vaccine on the 20th October, 2021. Miraculously, I felt fine after it. I was so relieved and thought this might be the end of it.
Fast forward to 23rd December, and I was away on holidays with my family. Again, I woke up and my symptoms had returned – the crushing weight on my skull, but this time it was worse. This time I couldn’t walk, and my shoulders and arms were stuck in a violent spasm. I attended the local hospital in the area and was given a referral for an MRI, then sent home again. The following day, my symptoms had thankfully subsided somewhat.
Approximately one week later I came down with COVID. I couldn’t believe it. I was so sick, and still testing positive two weeks later. I can only assume my immune system was destroyed, I just couldn’t shake it. My symptoms all came rushing back, with more new ones. I now was fully paralysed (but active in my mind) and had a crushing headache. I called an ambulance and blacked out. I do not remember the ambulance ride at all. At hospital I was told I had “long covid”, given some fluids for dehydration and sent home.
Two days later my shoulders and arms were still spasming, my headache was still present, and I now had lost control of the top half of my body. My eldest daughter had come down from Queensland to look after me and drove me back to the hospital. This time I was so bad, I was admitted for eight days with the doctors trying to explain away my symptoms. The symptoms were: arms spasming uncontrollably; sensitivity to light and noise; spasming heart – tachycardia; loss of control of my legs and having to use a walker; resting heart rate of 130 – 170bpm.
A raft of tests were performed – all coming back clear, before the doctors told me I have FND (functional neurological disorder). However, the medication for FND didn’t do anything, so after two days they told me not to take it anymore.
I was only discharged for two days before we had to call the ambulance again for a resting heartbeat of 170. The paramedics were watching my heart on the ECG but refused to talk about the vaccine. Blood tests showed a possible clot, however the CT scan was all clear. The doctor tried to tell me that I was just dehydrated and anxious. He also asked if I’d had some kind of trauma I might have forgotten about. I was shocked and dismayed. I was discharged home with a fever and a heartbeat of 130bpm. By this stage I knew I was not going to get any help, and just wanted to go home anyway.
A few days later I developed a kidney infection, and this time my new GP sent me to a private hospital. I was hooked up to fluids and admitted for four days. In the private hospital, a senior doctor came to see me. He grabbed me by the arms and pulled me across the room to see if I was faking my leg weakness. Everyone settled on a diagnosis of FND and I left with a care plan which consisted of five physiotherapy sessions.
I am gradually getting better on my own. The physio is wonderful and has recommended an endocrinologist and a naturopath as well. I have taught myself to walk again and now use a walking stick instead of a walker. I am swimming most days to build my strength back up and my spasms are slowly getting better, but I am unable to lead a normal life.
I am still sensitive to light and noise, and doing anything like the shopping, or seeing friends becomes overwhelming and I need to lay down.
I have been unable to work and have used up all of my sick and holiday leave. I am currently on unpaid leave, and I don’t know what will happen if I can’t go back to work after this. If my workplace mandates the booster I will lose my job, as one more vaccine would likely kill me.
For anyone reading this, I was told by all the medical professionals that this was a coincidence, or anxiety, or dehydration – and I started to believe it myself. Just know, this is NOT a coincidence. You are not alone. There are hundreds, if not thousands of us out here with the same symptoms. I wish I could go back and not take these vaccines. Knowing what I know now, I would rather have lost my job.