I’m 27 years old and mum to a four-year-old and 18-month-old. About five years ago I became a high school teacher in English and Humanities, after working some years in childcare. I’ve opted to do relief teaching over the last four years, to allow more flexibility around my kids.
My parents made the choice not to give us any vaccinations growing up. During those years I had glandular fever (which is the Epstein Bar virus) at 14, whooping cough at 15, breaking a rib with it. At the time I was on student exchange in Germany and from that experience I became more open to vaccinations. I had the MMR vaccine at 21 years old. This was my first ever vaccine.
At that time I was working in early childcare and it was recommended for childcare workers. Afterwards, I had extreme fatigue, like nothing I’d ever felt before. I also had brain fog and a feeling of general illness throughout my body. This lasted about 10 days. I bought it up with my GP about three days after I had the vaccine. She had said it wasn’t considered an adverse reaction but was on the extreme side of a ‘normal reaction’. The only other health issue I was experiencing more recently was a bit of post-natal depression after the birth of my son 18 months ago. But I’d never sought any medication for it.
My husband is a high school teacher too. He was hesitant about getting the COVID vaccine, but went ahead when the mandate occurred and has been fine. I was also hesitant to have the COVID vaccine, as I wanted more kids and there wasn’t much information around the impacts to fertility. I’d felt social pressure and we needed me to be working from a financial perspective. As I hadn’t known anyone to have an adverse reaction, I thought it seemed pretty safe.
I had my first Pfizer vaccine on 9th October 2021 at a hub. It was a spontaneous decision at the time. I didn’t have any reaction on the day, but the following day I had some vertigo, vision issues and felt spaced out. I was okay for a few weeks after this, then I had my first cycle post vaccine. My cycle lasted 10 days and it normally lasts five. I knew this wasn’t normal and that this had come from the vaccine. I was concerned due to my desire to have more children. I had also been feeling more fatigued than usual, but hadn’t linked that to the vaccine, as life was stressful with working and taking care of the kids. The time came for me to get my second vaccine, but I let it pass. I haven’t had a normal cycle since the first one.
In November 2021, about six weeks after it, I woke up one morning and felt really cranky. I got up and ended up passing out down the hallway. My husband said not to go to work, but I went. While driving there, I felt myself getting spaced out and forgot how to get to work. My husband texted me a few times that morning to go home and I ended up going home halfway through the day. I had to lie on the floor and was feeling very unwell. My dad came over as my husband couldn’t leave work. I was still on the floor, dizzy, fatigued, my teeth were chattering and my heart rate was super high. I told my dad the symptoms I was having and he asked me if I’d had the COVID vaccine. I told him, “Yes”, but I didn’t think that what was happening, was related.
My friend, who’s a nurse, came over and took me to hospital and advocated for me. They ran a few tests, but nothing showed up. I wasn’t wanting to link it to the jab, but ended up telling them I’d had it six weeks before. The doctor told me I was showing signs of severe depression (dysthymia) and suggested I go on anti-depressants. He didn’t give me anything at the time but said to go and see my GP for a prescription. My diagnosis on the discharge summary was, ‘altered state of mind’. It felt that it didn’t matter what I said, or why I thought I was feeling that way. They would’ve thought I was crazy anyway. They kept me in overnight, due to my out that morning.
My husband was concerned because of the physical symptoms I was having but thought this was post-natal depression. We were at the tipping point of whether I should take medication and I decided to go ahead. I must say the medication has made a difference to my moods and emotions. It evened out my disposition and now I love being home with the kids, whereas I didn’t before. It’s clear there was an imbalance of hormones or something.
After coming home from hospital, I still had the same physical symptoms of fatigue, brain fog, tingling down my arm and leg, dizziness, vertigo, nausea and was sleeping a lot. I was really concerned it was MS, because I’d had glandular fever in my teens and there is a link between the Epstein Barr virus and MS. My symptoms lined up and it was in the family.
My GP sent me for a brain MRI in late November 2021. When going into the tube, I felt calm and the peace of God with me. The results came back with white matter lesions on my brain, as well as inflammation of the brain, but there was no diagnosis. I thought it must be MS and the jab must have triggered it. I was sobbing all night after these findings. They told me to come back in six months to see if there were any more lesions. To determine an MS diagnosis, it requires two instances of lesions within a certain timeframe. This is why a diagnosis can take a long time.
In early December 2021, I passed out again and went by ambulance to hospital. I explained the MS concern to the neurologist. He wanted to keep me in to rule it out, which I was really grateful for. I was in for a week. They gave me a spine MRI and no lesions were found. I also had an echocardiogram. It was then that they noticed my heart rate was going really high and dropping a lot after lying down and standing. They tracked my heart rate every few hours consistently for five days, even through the night. They then did the tilt table test, which involved me being strapped on a table and hoisted to almost standing position. I couldn’t last through this though. I felt like I was going to pass out and vomit, plus my heart rate went really high. They considered a POTS diagnosis and explained that POTS symptoms can mimic MS. I felt a huge relief from the fact they’d ruled out MS. The neurologists came round and I mentioned the vaccine with both the weekend team and weekday team. By this point I was certain it was from the vaccine.The first team said, “No, there’s no way it caused this. You should get the second Pfizer jab”. The second team said, “The timing is suspicious, but if you were my family member I would still recommend you get the second one”. On discharge I wasn’t given any meds. I was just directed to have a high fluids diet and was basically told, “Good luck”.
I was glad to be out of hospital but was no better than when first admitted. I was still in bed every day. My husband was on school holidays for most of that time. I ended up bed bound for three months. No amount of water I drank, or salty foods I ate, made it any better. My symptoms were significantly worse when my period came. I had worse fatigue, dizziness, and erratic heart rate. As soon as I got out of bed, the symptoms would come on quite severely.
It was hard for everyone to care of me and the kids, but it mostly fell on my husband. When he went back to work at the end of January 2022, I did what I could each day and my parents would also come to help and take the kids. The hardest part was not knowing how, or when, this was going to end. The medical professionals had said it would get better, but that I’d never fully recover. I’d felt quite positive throughout it all, considering everything I was experiencing.
In February 2022, when I was still bed bound, I had my neurologist follow-up appointment. I told him I’d done some research and found a study that linked POTS with the Pfizer jab and that I suspected it had triggered the POTS. I asked him if I could send it through to him. He said he didn’t trust the source of the study (it was American based) and refused to read it. He then said I should, “Absolutely still get the second vaccination”.
After three months bed bound, I could move around, get out of the house and do some social things. At this point, when my period came, the symptoms had eased so I could maintain 60-70% capacity. Nothing suddenly changed, but I’d had lots of people praying for me and felt peace and assurance in that time.
I went to see a doctor on the Gold Coast in March 2022. He is a POTS specialist and was the first to acknowledge it was a vaccine injury. He put me on a low histamine/anti-inflammatory diet and recommended I do acupuncture, which I didn’t do due to financial reasons at that time.
The diet made a huge difference! I was on it for five weeks and thought I’d been healed. I was back to 90% capacity! The diet is so strict and I’ve found it unsustainable to maintain for the moment. There are foods such as spinach and tomato, plus sugar in general, that definitely trigger symptoms. He also diagnosed me with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS) and something to do with my veins. The spike protein has inflamed everything in my body. He said he’s now dedicating the final years of his career to treating POTS, triggered by COVID and the COVID vaccine.
I’ve had my income protection insurance approved, based on the POTS diagnosis, but the vaccine was not mentioned in the application. The insurance is paying about half of what I was earning before. I’m still at home with the kids and am managing my symptoms on a day-to-day basis. I need to nap for at least an hour every afternoon, in order to function through to the evening. My tingling and neuropathy has gone. My other symptoms have greatly reduced and I’m not having them every day. I’m currently operating at about 60%. At my worst I was operating between 10-30%. I’m focusing on slowly building my exercise tolerance, as I really love to exercise. However, if I do too many physical things, I can have a flare. This lasts anywhere from two to seven days and the only thing that helps, is lying in bed.