I’m 35 and have always lived in Perth. I got a FIFO job in scaffolding in June 2021. From a pre-existing condition perspective, I’ve had depression and anxiety and had taken Lexapro for about 18 months, which I’d weaned off around three years ago.
I was really against getting the vaccine and I only had it because it was mandated for my job. We were mandated on 1st December 2021 and had to be fully vaccinated by 1st January 2022. Everything was telling me not to get it but I thought I’d just get it over and done with, so I had my Pfizer vaccine on 27th October 2021. I was all good on the day and I’d even felt relieved that I’d gotten it.
I’ve been into fitness and running for a long while for my mental health. Five days after the vaccine, I’d beat my own record on the treadmill at the gym, running 6.1km in around 20 minutes. But the next morning I had trouble catching my breath and had heart palpitations when walking up flights of stairs at work. It was really odd because I was near on the fittest I’d ever been.
I told some workmates, but they dismissed it. I went back to the gym to test the waters. I got on the Peloton bike and used the heart rate monitors and after one minute on it, taking it easy, my heart rate was around 135bpm. My normal resting heart rate was 60-70bpm. I knew something was definitely different. I was struggling but still kept going for the rest of the week, but eased off a bit. I just put up with it but complained about it every day until I went back to Perth.
It was mid-November when I ended up going to the doctor. I told him I had heart palpitations and shortness of breath and also was lightheaded when I was training. I told him I thought it was from the vaccine. The nurse hooked me up to the ECG then took a phone call and acted a bit strange, but told me everything was normal. The doctor also told me everything was normal and that I needed to get the second Pfizer vaccine ASAP, then ushered me out the door not letting me ask any questions. I was out the front of the doctor’s surgery wondering what had just happened. I’d thought maybe everything was okay, but I still had the heart palpitations and shortness of breath.
I went to a different doctor a few weeks later. I was reluctant to tell him that my symptoms had come on a few days after the vaccine as I’d felt that this was why I didn’t get treated fairly last time. He came across quite caring, so I ended up telling him and that I’d not wanted to say anything due to the way I had been treated by the other doctor. He seemed upset that I didn’t trust him and sent me for blood tests. About five days later I had a phone call from the medical centre saying I needed to come in ASAP. The doctor said he was pretty sure I had pericarditis. He gave me a prescription for colchicine and something else which I can’t recall, and said to go straight to emergency.
I proceeded to Fiona Stanley Hospital Emergency and was hooked up to a heart rate monitor. My heart rate was beating below 50bpm and dipping as low as 27bpm, the lowest I’d ever seen it. They said this could be due to how fit I was. They said that my heart rate rhythm was skipping a beat, which was news to me. I then had X-rays and an ultrasound. They told me I had a second degree heart blockage and needed to see a cardiologist. I went back to the hospital cardiologist about a week later and had another ultrasound . She wouldn’t give me any information and told me I needed to follow up with my doctor, but that everything was fine, and I shouldn’t take the scripts my doctor had given me. I hadn’t had them filled at that point.
I saw my doctor a few days later for the follow up appointment. I still had the same symptoms and told him that I’d been advised not to take the medication and that I hadn’t had the prescriptions filled. He shrugged it off saying the cardiologist knows best.
I was back at the doctor again with the same symptoms the following week and he ended up calling the cardiologist’s office, putting the phone on speaker while I was in there. They said verbally that I have pericarditis. I was dumbfounded as to why I wasn’t told prior. The doctor then recommended I do a Holter monitor but said I’d have to wait a few weeks for it. I then asked for a medical exemption so I could still work after the 1st January mandate deadline without getting the second vaccine. I filled out the required forms and sent them off but never heard anything back. I didn’t get the second vaccine, so I couldn’t work.
I got the Holter monitor on 5th January 2022. I wore it for 24 hours and did my usual training routine. My doctor gave me the results, stating I had a first degree heart blockage, second degree heart blockage and heart arrhythmia. I was upset but relieved at the same time because I had known that something was definitely wrong. I was supposed to have a follow up with the cardiologist at Fiona Stanley Hospital and they sent me a letter saying they would call me in a month’s time on 3rd February, which was also my birthday. I ended up missing that call, which left me feeling depressed and anxious because there was no way of contacting anyone back and I had no idea when I would hear from them again. I still had no medical advice whatsoever. When I went back to my doctor to seek answers on what I should be doing, it felt like he was no longer willing to help me.
The cardiologist sent me another letter saying they’d call me on 4th March. I answered that call, but the lady I spoke to had no idea what was going on and couldn’t give me any information. She then said she’d try and get all the results together and let me know what was going on. This wasn’t ideal! I then received another letter from Fiona Stanley stating that everything was fine and I should continue taking my medication, yet I hadn’t had my prescriptions filled because the cardiologist had told me not to take the meds my doctor had prescribed. This all added to even more stress and anxiety as it seemed the medical professionals didn’t even want to help me.
I started doing meditation about then. I hadn’t done it before but the first day I tried it I did about three to four hours and my heart felt good, like normal. So I continue to do it every now and then. My symptoms have still continued the whole time, but I’ve still kept exercising, just taking it a bit easier with what I could handle to slowly build my fitness again. No doctor had told me otherwise. I’d been struggling sleeping on my left side with my heart feeling like it beats sideways into the bed and some nights I’d get numb fingertips, have bad palpitations and shortness of breath.
I’ve taken NAC (N-acetyl cysteine) and nattokinase supplements in the last few months but hadn’t noticed any change, so stopped. I was recently recommended Ubiquinol by a friend and have taken it for three weeks now and found this is the first thing that’s helped besides meditation. It’s slowed down the palpitations and they don’t feel half as bad as they were. In the last couple of months, I’d been upset that everything was still happening, so every night I’d be writing down the dates and times of my symptoms and how I’d felt when I’d experienced them to track them, but since taking the Ubiquinol I haven’t had to do it as I’ve had a significant change at night with not feeling any symptoms.
I have a new doctor but haven’t seen her yet. I’m trying to keep the faith, but my recent experience with medical professionals trying to say that all of this was normal and definitely not from the vaccine made me feel like they don’t even care. What’s happened to me has also caused problems with my close friends and family, as even some of my family members are saying it wasn’t from the vaccine, which left me quite upset.
I’d flown in last Monday to start my first shift back, (night shifts), for the year due to the mandates dropping at the start of July. On Thursday, prior to my shift, I did a jog and some stretching and noticed I was a bit flat. I had dinner and was getting everything ready for shift and didn’t feel well. I told the supervisors and did two RATs a few hours apart. They were both negative. I felt worse over the night so didn’t start my shift. At 2am I did another test which came back positive, so I wasn’t allowed to leave my room except to get a PCR test done (which was also positive). I had a headache, was lethargic, had a bit of a sore throat and vomited. There was one morning my heart did some weird movements about three to four times within about a five to 10 minute timeframe. That was the only odd thing that didn’t feel normal. Today is day six, I’m feeling good now and am out of isolation tomorrow.