Three months ago I was a happy and healthy 19-year-old. I was exercising daily, I had just finished Year 12, and it was time for me to start my apprenticeship that I had worked hard for. My name is Holly and this is what I have been through post-vaccine.
On October 27th, 2021, I received my first Pfizer vaccine. I wasn’t certain about getting it but I didn’t want to lose my apprenticeship and I felt like it was the right thing to do. I had the common symptoms like a sore arm, a bit of a headache, and exhaustion. I was back to being my normal self within 24 hours.
Six days later I began coughing and found it hard to breathe. I went to the doctor at the respiratory clinic thinking it was asthma. He said that I wasn’t wheezing so it wasn’t asthma, but something was definitely up. He also said that there was a possibility it could be from the vaccine. I was then put on a waiting list for a chest x-ray as they had no available appointments.
November 22nd was when I had my second Pfizer vaccine. I had the same symptoms but worse. My body ached and I felt like I was getting a cold. This lasted for a couple of days.
Two weeks after my second dose was when I started having chest pain and bad headaches. My cough improved but was still there. I was exhausted all the time, my chest was constantly sore and I felt like someone was squeezing it from the inside. My head was always throbbing and I had no energy to do anything.
Three weeks after my second vaccination was when I had my first hospital visit. My grandmother picked me up early from work and we headed to the emergency room. I got in to see someone pretty quickly. They did an ECG and checked my blood pressure. They said my heartbeat was irregular and it sounded like pericarditis. I then got sent back to the waiting room to wait for my chest x-ray. I was waiting for four hours before I finally got In. I then went back to the waiting room where I sat for almost eighteen hours. I finally got to speak to a doctor and they said it was reflux and that my heart was fine. They sent me home with Sonac.
On December 23rd I woke up with horrific stabbing chest pain. My arms were really heavy and I was in a lot of pain. I called the ambulance. An hour passed and they still had not arrived. After cancelling the ambulance, (as they said it would be another 45-minute wait), my girlfriend drove me to emergency. I got another ECG and was sent back to the waiting room. My blood pressure was also a bit high. After waiting for three hours, I got put in the short stay rooms where I received stronger pain medication and waited there to speak with a doctor. I was there for six hours before they sent me home saying I had a stomach ulcer.
During the next three to four weeks I began experiencing shooting body pains, weak and achy joints, dizziness and light-headedness, a croaking voice, sore throat, memory loss, sleeping issues, breast pain, weight loss, no appetite, light sensitivity and migraines. The GP gave me a referral for an echocardiogram, MRI and CT scans. The tests came back saying I had severe reflux with acid in my lungs and two leaking heart valves. After having to fight the health clinic for my reports as we couldn’t get in to see someone for a month, I picked them up from the radiologist. I then went to another GP where I got referred to see a cardiologist and a gastroenterologist.
On January 20th, 2022, I had to leave work early as I was not feeling great. I went back to the emergency room and waited for four hours until I got another ECG, and again got sent back to the waiting room. After waiting three-and-a-half hours, they sent me home saying it was just severe reflux.
On February 1st I had my gastroenterologist appointment. After cutting me off constantly and not listening, he turned around and said I was healthy. He also said (and I quote), “I wouldn’t have sent you for all those tests.”
After questioning him about the aspiration of tracer in my left lung, he said and I again quote, “It’s nothing. The tests are dodgy”. He told me to stop all the testing, and that I had overreacted when I called the ambulance. He also said that the cardiologist was just going to say the same as him. I also mentioned that I struggled to get through a whole shift of work because of the pain and he said, “You’re just going to have to do it”. The way he treated my grandmother and I was horrific and unprofessional.
At 19 I shouldn’t be the way I am. I should be able to exercise daily and get through work with no issues. The fact that I am being told one thing and then another is so frustrating. I am not getting any answers or the help I need and it really hurts me. I should be able to trust the professionals, but how am I supposed to after all this?
Every time I go see a medical professional I feel like I am being judged and not listened to. I thought I was doing the right thing by getting this vaccine, but now I wonder if life would be different if I hadn’t. I just want to be able to live my life and get back to what I was able to do two or three months ago. I have my cardiologist appointment on February 7th, I don’t hold a lot of hope that I will get answers, but I’ll have to wait and see.
I am sorry for anyone who is going through a similar situation and I hope you find answers soon, if you haven’t already. Thank you for taking the time to share our stories.