I’m 39 years old, mother of a two-year-old boy, and happily married. Prior to COVID vaccine, I was working on a sheep farm which required me to be in peak performance in health and fitness. I then had my child, which meant leaving my job to be a full-time mother. I had a few conditions prior to the vaccine: hypothyroidism managed by medication, recurrent miscarriages and some mental health issues following childbirth trauma, which I received psychological treatment for over the last four years. My health care providers know me very well before and after the vaccine.
I had a strong gut feeling that I didn’t want to get the vaccine, but I got it because I wanted to re-enter the workforce and I was going for a specific role that required three vaccines. The government and my GP were also telling me it was “safe and effective”. I thought it had been developed too quickly, but I trusted my GP and I didn’t really imagine that anything bad could happen to me. I went and got the Pfizer vaccine in my left arm on 5 June 2021. Ten minutes later, I felt a little lightheaded and sore at the site of the vaccine, and about an hour later I developed a migraine and a bloody nose, which I never get. There was a lot of blood, and it wouldn’t stop for over an hour. I have been prone to blood noses ever since, something which I now manage with medication. I took some Panadol and Nurofen and put myself to bed early due to extreme fatigue.
I basically slept for the next three days, and only got out of bed to attend to my two-year-old son, as my husband works away. During these three days I had extreme fever of 41℃ and felt freezing cold at the same time, whilst sweating a bucket load. I had muscle aches and pains all over my body. After three days, it all just stopped suddenly, and I continued with life like normal. I knew that these symptoms were from the vaccine, but the WA health website said that these were common symptoms and there was no need to worry.
I got my second Pfizer vaccine on 30 June 2021, also in my left arm. I felt a sore arm, and again, within 10 minutes, I started feeling faint and a migraine started coming on. I went home and within the hour my blood nose came back tenfold to the point my husband was extremely worried. We were considering going to hospital, but I had some tranexamic acid, which I took, as well as Panadol and Nurofen, and my nose bleed stopped. I put myself to bed early and I was bedridden again for the next three days.
After the three days, all my symptoms suddenly stopped and I continued with life as per normal until four days later. I was in a sitting position doing yoga and I started experiencing sharp chest pain around my heart and left shoulder, shortness of breath and numbness/tingling down my left arm. Immediately, I felt like these were the signs of early heart attack, and I called an ambulance.
The ambulance arrived and straight away gave me an ECG and detected sinus arrhythmia, and took me to the Royal Perth Hospital. On arrival, they took me straight into critical care and hooked me up to an ECG, ran bloods and monitored me for five hours. While I was there, I became tachycardic and my heart rate reached 187 BPM, which is pretty much a heart attack. The results including for troponins and the D-dimer, came back clear so they released me and told me it was an anxiety attack and that I needed to take my anxiety medication. I went home, took my medication and I put myself to bed, where I would live for the next couple of days.
Eventually, my symptoms faded and I was able to get back to a semi-normal life, apart from regular mild heart palpitations. It wasn’t until six to eight weeks later that I started experiencing the heart attack like moment I had previously. I called the ambulance and when they arrived, they did another ECG and took me straight to Midland Hospital. On arrival the first thing they asked me was if I was vaccinated. They put me in critical care with a ward full of COVID-positive people. They ran tests: bloods, ECG, chest X-ray and CT. The tests were mostly clear, but showed inflammation of the heart, and the doctor said he suspected a diagnosis of myocarditis and mild arrhythmia.
As I was in an open ward with the curtains open, I could hear all the conversations around me. There were about 10 people all hooked up to ECGs and being monitored exactly the same way I was being monitored. I know for a fact the two guys beside me were in their early thirties, had just had the COVID vaccine, and were displaying the exact same symptoms as myself.
They kept me for four hours and discharged me with notes telling me to take Panadol and Nurofen, and to not partake in any strenuous activities. I rested for the next two or three days, my symptoms faded, and I managed to get back to my semi-normal life once again. In saying that, by this stage I was extremely terrified every day, questioning my own mortality. My husband was also terrified for my life. I was literally scared to go to sleep, not knowing if I would wake up.
Two weeks later, the same heart attack-like episode happened while I was sitting in the sandpit playing with my son. My husband called the ambulance this time, and again I was taken to Midland Hospital. They wouldn’t allow my husband to come in with my due to COVID restrictions even though he was fully vaccinated. On arrival, they ramped me for four and a half hours, and once they took me in, they put me in a wheelchair and sat me in a hallway with ECG and vitals. I sat there in the hallway for another three hours until they told me they were going to discharge me. I was so upset that I just got up and discharged myself and caught a taxi straight to Royal Perth Hospital.
By the time I got to Perth, I was having another heart attack moment and they still made me wait another one and a half hours. Eventually, they hooked me up to an ECG, and took bloods and an X-ray, and kept me in observation for about five hours. The results came back showing heart arrhythmia, and all the other results were clear. They told me it was likely stress related and discharged me with more questions than answers.
In August, I had an appointment with a fertility specialist, because my husband and I were trying to conceive a second child. It was through the pathology tests and an ultrasound scan of my ovaries that I was diagnosed with premature ovarian failure, which basically means I can’t get pregnant naturally without IVF, despite having a natural conception prior to the vaccine. It was from this point on that I also started experiencing severe hormone fluctuations and menstrual issues. My periods were becoming a lot heavier, more painful and longer. I was passing blood clots that were anything from the size of 50-cent pieces to the palm of my hand. I prescribed a higher dose of tranexamic acid to prevent me from becoming anaemic from blood loss. I had to have an iron infusion because my levels were so low. I was also prescribed medication to control my progesterone levels.
During this time, I was going to GP and specialist appointments to try to get to the bottom of my sudden and strange symptoms. No one had any answers, and no one was willing to explore connection to the vaccine.
I was starting to realise that no one was going to help me, and I managed with life the best I could. In October, I was sitting at a Lego table playing with my son, when I suddenly collapsed. I had a ten out of ten abdominal and chest pain happening simultaneously. The stomach pain was a very sharp, constant, throbbing pain in my upper abdomen. I was basically in a foetal position on the floor crying with my two-year-old son trying to comfort me while my husband called the ambulance. Once again, they took me to Midland Hospital, and I was ramped for six hours. At the hospital, they did all the same things all over again, as well as a stomach ultrasound. They diagnosed me with gastroenteritis, sent me home, and told me to rest.
Then in November, I had a bout of diarrhoea and vomiting, which suddenly brought on the next heart attack moment, and I collapsed on the toilet floor. I don’t remember much, but my husband said that I was delirious, my blood pressure was dangerously low, I was sweating bullets, and was cold to touch with fever of 40℃. Luckily my husband was with me and called an ambulance.
Back to Midland Hospital I went again. This time I was admitted for 12 days. They ran more tests, a CT on my abdomen, every blood test under the sun, an ultrasound of my stomach and an MRI. They suspected appendicitis, and put me on tapentadol and naproxen, which are basically anti-inflammatory and pain medications, neither of which helped.
On the second day of my admission, they told me I had abnormal liver function, an enlarged spleen, abnormal pancreatic function and fluid around my heart (suspected myocarditis). They also diagnosed me with a sphincter of Oddi dysfunction, which is a biliary disorder. My white cell count was completely depleted, and my red blood cells were through the roof. The haematologist said it was an immune system reaction to an infection. I had not had COVID at this stage. I was then prescribed nifedipine, Buscopan and pantoprazole. I was on so many drugs, I was like a walking pharmacy! You could shake me and I would rattle! They discharged me after 12 days and told me they would treat me as an outpatient, but I never got any follow up or referrals to any specialists. While I was there over the 12 days, I strongly questioned them over this being an adverse reaction to the Pfizer vaccine, but they wouldn’t entertain the idea at all. I must have questioned every single person that walked in the room but got the same response every time.
My overall experience at this hospital left me with nothing positive to say about my treatment at all. Around Christmas time, I had an extremely heavy, painful period that just wouldn’t stop. I was basically haemorrhaging, easily using 12 pads a day for two and bit months. I was filling the toilet bowl with blood clots, and palm-sized blood clots would fall out of me while I was having a shower. To say this was scary is an understatement, and my husband was horrified.
I booked an urgent appointment with my gynaecologist, and he suspected polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis. He scheduled an urgent surgery – laparoscopic gynaecological surgery – and a hysteroscopy, colposcopy and pap smear. He even mentioned cancer.
My surgery took place in February 2022 and I had two large cysts removed from my ovaries. These cysts had appeared out of nowhere. They had not been detected in an ultrasound that I had in the previous month. My ovaries were also very inflamed and enlarged, and I was showing signs of adhesiolysis, which means the reproductive organs are essentially “stuck together”. I had a DNC done to clean out my uterus, and I was prescribed a triple dose of tranexamic acid and Provera for 10 days. Those two medications managed to stop my bleeding. Luckily, the cancer testing came back clear.
It wasn’t even four days later when I was taken by ambulance to Midland Hospital again. I was sitting having a coffee with a friend, and I felt like I was going to pass out and I couldn’t breathe. This was different to my other episodes. I was struggling to get oxygen in, and the chest pain was way, way worse. I was crying it was hurting so much. Straight away, they suspected a blood clot because of my recent surgery, but had to rule out cardio first. They thought it was a pulmonary embolism. They did my D-dimer, which came back positive for coagulation, and troponin came back negative for heart issues. I had a chest X-ray, an ECG, which picked up arrhythmia, and I was given IV Panadol and fluids for pain relief. The also gave me Fentanyl, which I then went into anaphylactic shock from, (I’m allergic to opioids), and they then had to counteract that with adrenaline. They drugged me up and I passed out. I don’t know how long I was out; I just remember waking up completely disorientated and confused.
Because it was the weekend, they didn’t have the right staff to run a VQ scan (the test for pulmonary embolism) as I can’t take the normal test because I have an allergy to the contrast dye. So they admitted me for the next couple of days and put me on Clexane, which is a blood thinning medication, and they kept me on IV Panadol for relief, which didn’t really help at all.
It also meant that I had to wait a whole weekend with a possible blood clot, and the worst-case scenario was that it could have resulted in my death.
First thing on Monday morning, they put me through the VQ test which came back negative. They ended up keeping me in for another two and a half weeks, because while I was in there, my gastrointestinal issues came back and wouldn’t stop, even with medication. I also started experiencing my heart-attack-like moments and passed out in bed (syncope). They found the iron infusion did nothing, and I was anaemic again. My platelet counts were dangerously low, and my liver functions were deranged. An endoscopy confirmed that I had gastritis caused by the naproxen and nifedipine I’d been given, so they ceased that medication. I was now vomiting blood and was put on antiemetic medication to prevent vomiting, which did work. They just gave me a bigger dose and gave it to me through an IV. They basically just managed my symptoms till things settled down, and they sent me home.
Three days after I got home, my husband was away. I was baking cookies and I collapsed on the kitchen floor with sudden chest pain. My arm went completely numb and I felt like I was suffocating, and everything just went black. I don’t know how long I was out for, but I woke up to my son playing with pots and pans on the floor beside me. I woke up disorientated, confused, and lightheaded. The first thing I did was get a blood pressure monitor out of the cupboard. My blood pressure was extremely low, sitting at 74/51, my bpm was 176, and my oxygen was 72%. I pretty much just sat up against the cupboard taking deep breaths trying to get oxygen in.
This was the first time I decided not to call an ambulance and just try and manage myself at home. In the same week, I started stuttering and slurring my speech, like I was drunk. I was having trouble walking, I was getting pins and needles in my arms and legs, my legs felt heavy and like jelly, sometimes I would just collapse on the floor because I couldn’t walk. I started getting tremors, which would last for a few minutes at a time, and I still get them to this day. I started experiencing extreme brain fog and dizziness. The closest thing I can think of to describe it is dementia.
In March 2022, we were on the edge of bankruptcy. My re-entry into the workforce had already been delayed a year due to the illness I’d suffered since the COVID vaccine, and our medical bills were through the roof, as I was seeing so many specialists. At the time of this interview, November 2022, my medical bills since the vaccine have amounted to $43K. Western Australian government mandates were still in place, and I was unable to find work without having the booster vaccine. I was also having difficulty getting in to see various specialists and medical centres without having proof of having had the booster vaccine.
From this place of financial and medical desperation, I made a decision that I deeply regret. My GP advised me to get the Novavax for my booster, reassuring me that “it was the safest, because it wasn’t the same as the other COVID vaccines”. I got the Novavax on 31 March in my left arm. Within 10 minutes, I got a sore arm, and an hour later, I got a normal headache that resolved with Panadol.
Over the next weeks, my neurological symptoms worsened, becoming frantic and regular. I was having muscle problems, where I couldn’t connect my brain to my muscles, lost my appetite and weight, had chronic diarrhoea and vomiting, which continnued for three months straight, had nausea daily, had extreme brain fog (dementia like). I even had trouble remembering my son’s name. In April, I put my son down for his afternoon nap and went to take a shower, and that’s the last thing I remember of that afternoon. Everything just went black. I woke up about two hours later to my son slapping me on the face, saying, “Mummy, mummy, wake up mummy”, lying on the floor with the shower still running on me. I woke up feeling confused, and I believe this was the first time I had a seizure, because my jaw and muscles over my whole body ached like hell. I had bitten my tongue hard, and I still blood in my mouth.
I got up, checked my blood pressure, which was as low as it was the previous time and my whole body was shaking. I took some anxiety medication, which helped me calm down a bit until my husband came home.
The next episode happened at the end of June. I was talking to my husband on the phone, and I suddenly started slurring my words just like I was drunk. I told him I was having chest pain and shortness of breath. My blood pressure was 130/73 and my bpm was 148. I somehow managed to call an ambulance, and all I remember is waking up in Midland Hospital, terrified. I had all these wires hooked up to me, oxygen on my face, a drip in me, and everyone was rushing around me frantically. They mentioned a seizure, but I passed out again. I was admitted for another two-and-a-half-week stay. This is the first time they started to investigate the neurological symptoms and seizures.
When I had woken in hospital, I was experiencing paralysis and I couldn’t feel my legs or my left arm. They ordered a CT and MRI of my brain, and an EEG. I was told that the results came back normal, but I have since obtained a copy of the EEG report and the CT scan and have discovered that white lesions were identified on my brain, and that there was evidence of seizure activity. I still don’t know why I was told that the tests came back clear. My GP has since informed me that the results indicate that I had a stroke.
In the hospital they also did a heart scan, and the result came back with arrhythmia, and this is when they diagnosed me with pericarditis, supraventricular tachycardia, and triple heart valve regurgitation, which means I have heart failure. They then referred me to a cardiologist to have a loop monitor put in. I was referred to a neurologist, who diagnosed me with functional neurological disorder (FND), and I was started on rehabilitation work.
I’m currently dealing with a constellation of symptoms, including incontinence, insomnia, seizures, stuttering and tremors every 20 minutes, dementia-like symptoms, migraines that last up to a week, ongoing nausea, vomiting, menstrual issues, numbness and tingling in my legs, heart pains and shortness of breath, digestive issues, cold intolerance, fevers up to four times a day, hair falling out in clumps, nails breaking, muscle aches and pains, blurry vision, as well as noise and light sensitivity, which means that mentally I’m not coping at all.
I’m on my seventh cardiologist, because the first six told me that my heart issues are anxiety induced and will just go away. I have a diagnosis of post-vaccine pericarditis on my hospital discharge summary, and my heart problems were formally reported as a vaccine-related adverse reaction by a cardiologist after one of my hospital visits. But the other cardiologists deny the link and the diagnosis and insist that I’ll be fine.
The seventh cardiologist is willing to treat the pericarditis and tachycardia. I’m on colchicine and bisoprolol. In December, I will have a cardiac MRI, and my cardiologist is talking about pacemaker surgery. I will also be having a range of other tests, which is kind of my life now. I am seeing a gastroenterologist and hepatologist on an ongoing basis. They both believe that I have COVID vaccine-induced auto-immune hepatitis.
I am still dealing with deranged liver function, an enlarged liver, spleen and pancreas, and kidney problems. I have lost a lot of weight, which is concerning. I have to have an endoscopic ultrasound next month, as well as a liver biopsy. I’m dreading the biopsy, as I have to be awake for it, and I’ve heard that it’s an unpleasant procedure. I have seen four different neurologists, who all diagnosed me with FND and referred me to a psychologist, as FND is just the medical way of saying, “it’s all in your head”. My psychologist does not concur with this diagnosis, because the symptoms only came on after the vaccine, and are unresponsive to psychological therapy. I still experience micro-blood clotting. I have been told there are several avenues I can take regarding treating blood disorders, but it’s all so overwhelming and expensive that I just I don’t know what to do anymore. I manage the micro clotting with low dose Aspirin and self-monitoring my blood pressure and oxygen levels.
I have endless blood tests – currently fortnightly. I have a fear of needles, so that doesn’t help. I call them vampires, because they have taken so much blood from me!
I was on 17 different types of medications a day, taking 30 or more pills a day, not even counting vitamin supplements on top of that. However, recently I’ve ditched most of them and am down to just four medications per day, because I was so frustrated with being overprescribed pills that didn’t really help. I found that the medications interacted with each other negatively and caused nasty side effects.
After 18 months of working towards healing, I’ve finally found a few things that are helping, mostly in the form of natural health remedies.
I’m working with a naturopath who specialises in functional medicine. He has got me taking a range of natural vitamin and mineral supplements including magnesium, zinc, potassium, vitamin D3 and echinacea. I’ve also changed my diet to an anti-inflammatory one. Since making these changes and reducing the pharmaceutical pills, some of my symptoms, like the tremors, seizures and muscular spasms, have relaxed. My gut and my inflammation markers have also improved.
I get regular remedial massage and acupuncture to alleviate pain, and I’m finding that more effective than pain killers.
These modalities also seem to have positive impacts on my sleep and energy levels.
My husband bought me a smart watch in July, which has quite possibly saved my life. If my blood pressure goes too high or too low, it beeps an alarm so that I stop and check it out. If it detects a hard fall such as if I pass out, it automatically calls a family member. This has happened twice since I got the watch.
If you’d asked me six months ago, I would have told you that my quality of life was shit. Now, I’m managing better than I was a few months ago with the support of the natural therapies and by being connected to other vaccine-injured people for emotional support. It really helps to have people around me who understand, believe me, and are going through it with me. There are some injured who have managed to recover, which gives some hope, but on other days makes me feel despaired that this has not been my journey (yet).
Some days I wake up feeling like I’m stuck in a bad dream. I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. I don’t hold a lot of hope – not just for me, but for where we’re headed as a society. A few weeks ago, I performed CPR on a woman who collapsed in the shopping centre. She died on site – another sudden death.
Some people in the injured community have ended their own lives, and I really understand why. I’m working with my psychologist to constantly battle the negative thinking that can be pervasive when every day is a struggle.
I have decided that part of my recovery journey is to advocate for the vaccine injured, because we need create the change. No one’s going to do it for us.
Over the past year or so since being injured and speaking with many others who have suffered the same fate Australia wide, I have been slowly gathering evidence and forming it all together into a database. I have found on the TGA website that some batches were not tested, and there is no explanation for this. Most of my research will be undertaken by way of collecting personal and sensitive medical information via adverse reaction reports, questionnaires and face-to-face or telephone interviews, all of which are completely voluntary. By connecting adverse reactions, batch numbers, and information gathered from the injured, and comparing them with the COVID vaccine rollout dates, and birth and mortality statistics, coroner’s reports, and other publicly data released, I feel the causation and true statistics of this vaccine rollout will be revealed. Freedom of information requests and de-identified and selected data must be shared for community awareness on the lack of safety and efficacy of these vaccine. The duration of this research project will be ongoing for a period of five years, ending on 31 December 2028.