My name is Janelle and I’m 47 years of age. I worked two jobs; I was in aged care and a cleaner at the local police stations. I was very active on a daily basis, and I was living a very healthy social lifestyle. My weekends consisted of getting outdoors in nature. I was also an avid gardener. I have a neurological predisposition called dystonia which was 110% under control through medication.
I got the vaccine because I worked in aged care and the way it was promoted led me to believe It was the right thing to do. I didn’t question it at all, and I rolled up my sleeve on the 23rd of March 2021 to get my first Pfizer vaccine Within about 10 minutes, I was sitting there with my colleagues, and I had my first storm. A storm is an epileptic fit but where you’re conscious throughout. I was on the floor violently shaking and the nurses were straight to me. They gave me medication to knock me out and then admitted me into the ER until I was settled. While I was in hospital it was written down that I had a total of 14 seizures immediately following the Pfizer vaccine. I was discharged later that night.
I went home and I had seizures on and off throughout the next three weeks. I was also extremely lethargic and just generally not feeling well. But despite all of this, I still managed to pick myself up and go back to work. Life continued on fairly normally and I had made the connection that this was from the vaccine.
As I was working in the health sector, the mandates meant I had to get my second vaccine. So I consulted my doctor and he told me that he wanted me to have the second vaccine done at a hospital so someone could supervise. He also told me to up my medication before the vaccine to stop any chance of a seizure happening to me again. My doctor was in contact with NSW health who told him that all of this was in my head.
I upped my medication and took Valium because I was incredibly nervous about getting the second, they refused to vaccinate me at the hospital and told me I had to get it done at the vaccination hub in Wodonga, so I went down there. As we were all booked in, they knew who I was because I was ‘the lady that had the reaction to the first’ and they were ready in case had a seizure. I also had my husband with me just in case. I rolled up my sleeve for the second Pfizer vaccine on the 7th of June 2021.
After the procedure they asked me to lay on the hospital bed. I was laughing away and on the sixth minute I went straight into a seizure. These seizures were different to any I’d had in my life before. I had stopped breathing a couple of times. Because of the type of seizure it was, I remained conscious throughout the episode. It was like I was able to watch it all happen from a third person perspective. I could hear my husband talking to me all the way through thankfully, but in my head I was screaming because I couldn’t breathe. It was so violent they weren’t able to put oxygen on me. They basically just maintained space so I didn’t hurt myself. An ambulance was then called and they gave me medication to stop me from seizing. From this point I don’t remember anything until I woke up later that night at 10pm in the Albury Base Hospital. There were no tests run that I know of, and they released me without anything helpful.
I went home and the ambulance was called again the next day for another bout of violent seizures. They were on and off for the rest of that week, and I ended up in hospital once again but with the same result. They released me with more questions than answers.
I struggled to get back into work the weekend following my episodes but I had to attend because there was no staff. That was the last time I worked. That was the hardest week of my life. I saw the doctor on the Monday and he gave me time off work. He stated that this was an adverse reaction to the Pfizer vaccine and he has also written it on all of my medical certificates. It says, “Bad dystonic reaction to COVID vaccine”. I kept seeing him each week and he has been a fantastic doctor. He pushed me to claim WorkCover, which was accepted, so I am forever grateful.
Weeks later, my symptoms were worsening and I reached a point where I was losing feeling in my entire right leg and I’m entirely right side affected. I couldn’t swallow, I couldn’t sing, I had severe cognitive dysfunction. Even having to think about what I was saying was a struggle. Just looking at a bottle to try and figure out what it was in words was challenging. I couldn’t walk properly, and fatigue had increased. I ended up with severe anxiety and bowel dysfunction which has since settled. My heart also started playing up and I’m now on beta blockers (metoroprol). I started having severe palpitations, heart racing, dizziness, shortness of breath. I have no diagnosis on what is going on with my heart but the drugs are helping with the symptoms. I don’t handle cold, have extreme vertigo, noise and light sensitivity, headaches and deteriorating eyesight.
It’s been 15 months since my second vaccination. I still suffer from many of the symptoms above and I have no diagnosis on my heart condition. I have been seizure free for eight months but I’m left handicapped. I have a limitation on my right leg. I have no balance and I must walk with an aid and my husband has become my full-time carer. I have had to modify my life completely. My life as it was is a distant memory. I have rehab twice a week and I now have to look into NDIS because my doctors outlook isn’t looking so good, and work is becoming less and less of an option. I was also just retrenched from where I was previously working.