I’m 34, a full-time company owner, and my work is very physical. I’m extremely active in my day-to-day life. I was a professional sailor for 15 years. I’ve lived a very healthy lifestyle and have never had any health issues, just ankylosing spondylitis which been manageable with treatment from a rheumatologist.
I got the vaccine because my doctor, rheumatologist, and state advice told me that due to my ankylosing spondylitis I was immune compromised and I would 100% die if I were to get COVID. So, I rolled up sleeve for the Pfizer vaccine on the 25th of July.
I didn’t feel anything immediately, but the next day I woke up feeling flu like symptoms, body aches, fatigue and joint pain. That went on for about 4-5 days. I just put it down to my ankylosing spondylitis and thought it would pass, justifying to myself so I didn’t have to go to the doctor.
I got the second Pfizer vaccine on the 15th of August in my left arm. I didn’t have any immediate reactions, until a couple of days later when I started feeling tightness and pain in my left shoulder. It was radiating through the chest and into my back. This went on for a couple of weeks, progressively getting worse, until finally I had an incident where I thought I was having a heart attack.
I was driving home which is three hours out bush, away from hospitals and suburbia when I started getting clammy hands, tight chest, blurry vision and a sharp stabbing pain that started in the back of my skull and shooting straight into the middle of my head. I thought It was possibly a blood clot or a stroke. At the time I had no idea.
Since we were so far away from home and given how much I hate hospitals, I just thought I’d overdone it on my trip and stopped at a campground for the night. I took some Nurofen and tried to sleep it off.
I woke up the next day with five-out-of-ten chest pain, and headaches. I’ve never suffered from headaches, let alone taken anything for headaches at all, but I kept taking Nurofen for the next week thinking it was going to pass. I hate hospitals so much, I just didn’t want to go. It got to a point at work where the pain was so bad I couldn’t sit at my desk. I booked myself into the GP and was told to go straight to ED.
At the ED they did ECG, x-ray and bloods, and they all came back clear. Because I had waited so long to go to hospital they said that a D-dimer test wouldn’t pick up a clot. They kept me in for about eight hours and discharged me at 11:30pm because they had no beds. They told me if nothing improves within 48 hours I should return to hospital.
Things got worse and I turned myself into a private hospital. They treated me straight away as a heart patient and put me on a permanent ECG. They injected me with an emergency anti-inflammatory and put me in a place with no stress or noise until they could get me a bed. The nurses at St John of God, Murdoch were great, and treated me seriously.
It was about 18 hours before I was given a bed, and they assigned me a rheumatologist and a cardiologist. Immediately they tried to tell me that the cause was my ankylosing spondylitis, and they were trying to convince me that I had costochondritis, so I humoured them and told them to give me the treatment for it. My pain subsided about 20%. This was mostly the chest pain but it didn’t get rid of the feeling of someone trying to grab my heart and rip it out of my chest.
I was in hospital for two weeks. They did every test they could possibly do. The cardiologist told me I had anxiety and I stood my ground saying it wasn’t something which he was not happy about. He didn’t return to see me again. The rheumatologist said she could only treat me for my chest pain, and the treating doctor was under the impression that this wasn’t an adverse reaction. However, he then went on to say there can be inflammation caused by the vaccine.
I was left further confused that they prescribed me colchicine, but at the same time were telling me it wasn’t pericarditis. I left the hospital with a diagnosis of ‘undiagnosed chest pain’ and was told I would be living with a pain management plan, which was opioids.
I went home and took it easy, not working and resting for just under month. On New Year’s Eve an ambulance was called for me by loved ones, who were concerned at my grey appearance and the unrelenting chest pains that had not disappeared since my last hospital visit.
On arrival, the doctor treating me couldn’t get me out of there quick enough, treating me like absolute garbage. Because it was New Year’s Eve, I’d had a couple of drinks, so he was blaming everything on the alcohol even though I was completely coherent. They tried to call me an Uber and I refused to leave. I said, ‘The ambulance brought me in and believed I had a problem, and you can’t discharge me’.
They refused to treat me, so I waited for my wife to arrive early in the morning to take me home. I left the hospital with no diagnosis, no prescription, no paperwork, absolutely nothing.
I found a new GP who deals in adverse reactions and chronic pain management. She immediately applied to Medicare for a vaccine exemption going forward. She stated ‘these injuries aren’t new and we have seen them before in other vaccines for many years prior to COVID’. She started me on colchicine again to see if that made an improvement, and said we’d go on from there.
This brings me to the current day where I have been able to manage my pain. I still have days where I experience eight-out-of-ten pain. I should mention that through this whole time I have also suffered brain fog. The headaches have dissipated, but it’s the constant chest pain and not knowing how to heal myself which is costly and draining.
Since this has happened to me I have turned my anger into positive change. I’m trying to get injured peoples’ stories across to the mainstream in clear and concise ways, leaving all the conspiracy jargon behind.