Dose 1: Pfizer — 20 July 2021
Dose 2: Pfizer — 13 September 2021
Dose 3: Pfizer — 25 January 2022 Batch # FK0892
My name is Kate, I’m 51 years old and I live in the east of Melbourne with my long-time partner. We have no children but adore our cat!
Just before COVID I had started a new, full-time job in the disability sector, working as a disability coordination team leader for a private company. I was also studying sign language in the evenings, took cello lessons and walked daily to the local pool and swim 20 to 30 laps before work. I was fit and healthy and the only serious illness I had prior to the pandemic was in 2019 when I contracted bacterial pneumonia. I was hospitalised with IV antibiotics for a few weeks, then I saw a lung specialist for a short while afterwards but was given the all-clear and was back to full health before COVID.
When COVID first appeared on the scene, the whole situation seemed surreal to me. But, as for many people, it became shockingly real when it impacted my work sector. As more and more services that had been available to people living with a disability started to close or greatly reduce, I became perplexed and outraged. While there was a lot of focus on nursing homes being dangerous places, almost nothing was mentioned of the shared residential homes and program service locations for people living with a disability. These were all heavily impacted or closed altogether. In fact, there was very little mention of the disability sector publicly. My inner ‘justice warrior’ took over and so I focused more on my clients than on myself.
I don’t recall having any specific thoughts about the vaccination when I first heard of it. My partner commented that it had been very fast to come to the market. He was concerned about the lack of data being presented to evidence that they were ready to use. As he is self-employed, he was able to work remotely and had no immediate need to be vaccinated. My workplace had not pressured us to take the vaccination yet, but I am now horrified to admit that I complied with all the other rules imposed upon us. I went along with everything. I honestly thought, “If I do the right thing, other people will be safe.” But I didn’t rush to the vaccination hub the minute I was eligible. I waited.
Leading up to when I succumbed to the pressure to get my first dose, my focus started to shift from my work to my immediate family. My parents live in regional South Australia, and my dad, who had been unwell for a while, became seriously sick. The borders were due to be closed, so I had to quickly cross to South Australia five hours beforehand. That day when I arrived, dad was diagnosed with stage 3 lymphatic cancer. It was during this time with my parents that we discussed over and over whether I should get vaccinated to protect him.
By now my partner was very much against the idea, and he was fortunate to now be able to work from home. But my workplace was starting to advise that they would require all staff to get vaccinated. The media was bombarding us all with daily updates on how important it was to be vaccinated to protect the elderly and immune compromised, and my dad was one of those vulnerable people. So, on the 20th July, 2021 I had my first Pfizer vaccination at the local hospital in the small country town where my parents live.
Within 48 hours I was violently ill. I suffered the worst migraine headache and nausea I have ever experienced, along with body aches, vomiting and dry retching. I was so sick that mum took me back into the hospital to be assessed. They sent me home while I was curled up on the floor being ill saying there was nothing wrong with me and that this was a normal side-effect of the vaccine.
When I returned home to Melbourne the mandates had been introduced for my workplace. So on 13th September I had my second Pfizer vaccination at one of the suburban town hall hubs. The pressure at work had increased to the point where I could no longer put it off, even though after that first reaction I was not keen at all to get the second one. I could not afford to lose not only my job, but my employment prospects overall. I even planned to have it early in the week so that if I was unable to work, I would have paid sick leave to recover from it.
This time my reaction was different. I developed a rash all over my back from the top of my buttocks up to my neck and around onto my chest. It was red, blotchy and irritating. Sometimes it would itch, sometimes it would burn and sometimes I would have both symptoms at once. It was very angry and was very sore. I showed my regular GP who declared it had absolutely nothing to do with the vaccine, and that it would go away.
I still have it to this day!
When it was time for my booster I asked the same GP for an exemption as the rash persisted. She refused and that I should have the Pfizer vaccine again because she had just done her Pfizer training and she was sure I would be fine. I trusted her and had the booster on the 25th January, 2022 so I could keep my job, as otherwise I would have been immediately dismissed.
This time the onset of symptoms was slower to eventuate. Around the 10th of February my partner and I had booked a weekend away, but I felt a bit tight in my chest, so took a COVID test. It was clear, so we enjoyed our weekend away and I chalked it up to a mild summer flu. When we got home the tightness continued and I felt ‘off’ still. The chest tightness continued to the point I booked an appointment to see my GP. She ordered blood tests which came back with ‘nothing to worry about’. Weeks went by and still the tightness continued. I was breathless, tired and unable to swim very much.
On April 1st I had horrible chest pains all day, but I managed to make it through work up until the end of the day when the staff ended up calling for an ambulance. At the hospital I was COVID tested, had chest X-rays, an ECG and blood taken. My troponin was a bit high, but as I was not having a heart attack I was sent home. The staff suggested I see my GP as soon as possible.
My regular GP was away, so I was booked in to see another doctor. I told her my symptoms and said I was very worried about my health. She stood up, came around and sat on the front of her desk, looked down at me and said, “What are we going to do with you? There is nothing wrong with you! It is your age — just menopause and falling oestrogen levels, and is more likely anxiety because you are at ‘that’ age.” She did however, begrudgingly admit that I could have costochondritis, but implied that it was more likely just anxiety. She did not examine me. She just looked at my blood test results from earlier. Needless to say that was my last visit to that clinic.
The pain in my chest at this point was so bad that I was unable to work. Walking up stairs exhausted me. Getting dressed, showering, or standing up would cause heart palpitations and dizziness. I was also experiencing severe headaches. It was definitely time for a second opinion. A week later I found another clinic closer to home and at that clinic there was a doctor who was determined to get to the root cause of my symptoms. At the first appointment the doctor ordered new blood tests and carefully looked at my hospital discharge notes. He sent me immediately for a CT scan to rule out a pulmonary embolism. The scan showed no embolism, but it did show an enlarged heart and fluid on both my lungs. My new doctor also referred me to a cardiologist.
For reasons that are still unexplained, despite the referral for a consultation with a cardiologist, once at the clinic I was subjected to tests, but not given a consultation with the cardiologist. At the time I was unaware I was not receiving the care my doctor had requested.
I was also referred to a gastroenterologist, as the pain I was experiencing was in the centre of my chest. I was diagnosed with a hiatal hernia and mild stomach inflammation, which has since resolved, but the pain persists.
A consultation with a respiratory specialist determined that my breathing was shallow and that I needed to learn to breathe deeply. I found this peculiar as I had been such a strong swimmer. However, I was given exercises to retrain my lungs. The problem was that it hurt to breathe at all, and more so to try and breathe deeply!
A sleep study test was also ordered as he thought I might have sleep apnoea. I didn’t. However, one year on as I write this, I have been referred back to repeat the study.
At this point I was taking an elaborate cocktail of medication to try to alleviate my pain and suffering. It included paracetamol with codeine, colchicine, prednisone and various anti-inflammatories. My sick leave and pay entitlements had also been exhausted and my supervisors had sent me a letter questioning my intentions regarding work. They referred to my ‘abandonment of employment as cause for dismissal’. I was increasingly ill and unable to function, living on credit cards to pay the bills and rent, and about to lose my job.
The cardiologist I did eventually see, was pretty keen for me to stop taking the medication as he said there was no evidence of any inflammation. My partner, who accompanied me to all appointments now, pushed for a cardiac MRI. I was ‘fortunate’ to tick all the vaccine injury boxes and after getting the referral rewritten three times and jumping through many administrative hoops, my application for a Medicare funded MRI was accepted. I had the scan booked in for September.
In the meantime, I had made a WorkCover claim on the advice of my partner. Despite not having a proper diagnosis, I claimed declining mental health and issues with my heart and lungs. WorkCover wanted me to see a cardiologist and respiratory specialist. I told them I was due to have the cardiac MRI the next week. I showed them the results of all the tests I had undertaken so far, and they concluded that it was not likely to have anything to do with the COVID vaccine, but they would wait to see the results of the MRI.
They denied my mental health claim.
I should mention that at this point it had not occurred to me that my illness had anything to do with the vaccinations, and as I am not on social media and had not met anyone else suffering, I didn’t connect the dots. However my partner had pushed the cardiologist for the cardiac MRI, as he strongly suspected I had either pericarditis or myocarditis as I had all the symptoms.
The results of the cardiac MRI were presented to me by the cardiologist and he told me I had myopericarditis. He said he wasn’t very worried and that I should be fine within six months, and that I should slowly start up my swimming again. He would review me again after the six months.
I sent the results to my employer, and they asked to meet with me to discuss my employment. Before I had a chance to meet with them, WorkCover approved my claim! My employer changed their tune completely. And I was declared to be suffering a vaccine injury as a result of the Pfizer vaccination that was mandated by my employer.
After five months I was experiencing worsening chest pain and shortness of breath, and more frequent flare ups. I brought forward my return appointment with the cardiologist by a month. He dismissed my concerns and now questioned the results of the cardiac MRI, despite it clearly showing scarring of the heart.
My partner was furious and urged me to get a second opinion, as this was blatant medical gaslighting! I found a new cardiologist who confirmed the myopericarditis diagnosis, and after studying the cardiac MRI result thoroughly, he explained the extent of the heart scarring and took the injury seriously. He was one of the very few medical specialists who listened, investigated and offered treatment options, though sadly they have not been effective. He was also honest in his assessment and that he and his colleagues were trying everything they knew, but he couldn’t guarantee any treatment would work. He also openly stated that he had seen hundreds of patients with these symptoms and heart damage after receiving COVID vaccinations. Some recover slowly, while others are still dealing with the same symptoms three years since their first vaccine.
2023 ended with diagnostic confirmation of myopericarditis, leading to the development of dysautonomia and complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). CRPS is classified as the world’s most painful, incurable medical condition. The dysautonomia was caused by my myopericarditis injury almost two years ago, and all of it was caused by the Pfizer vaccine booster.
I now have chronic and persistent CRPS and dysautonomia in my chest. Any respiratory or cardiac exertion causes a flare up. So basically, I’m living with unbearable pain 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. My quality of life has been reduced to just about nothing. I need a cane to walk, I barely leave the house, I struggle daily with basic tasks, and it hurts to breathe. I constantly feel like I’m suffocating. I’m trapped inside a body that feels like it’s trying to kill me. It’s a living nightmare. I’m still struggling to find any relief and at this stage I’m keen to try anything that might bring any degree of relief.
My doctor has advised the next step is a multi-disciplinary approach, as there is no cure, and there are barely any effective treatment options. The Palexia® SR and paracetamol with codeine I take now, do absolutely nothing to alleviate my pain. I’m now waiting for an assessment with a new specialist, and I am hopeful of being prescribed cannabis oil. Another recommended course of treatment from my pain management specialist, pending approval by the WorkCover insurer, is admission to hospital for seven to nine days for a ketamine infusion, along with ganglion nerve radiation stimulation therapy.
I am hopeful that the insurance company will consent, so I can have this procedure. I don’t know yet if it will work, or if it does, for how long or how well. I don’t know if it will give me any of my life back, but I’m hoping.
The last option is a surgical implant to provide spinal cord stimulation. I’m fearful of this as it’s basically experimental for my type of injury, but it’s on my list of slowly shrinking options.
I’m so tired. I’m angry, sad and frustrated. I genuinely can’t look forward to anything, as I don’t know how I will feel when I wake up on any given day, or if the level of pain and discomfort will stay the same all day or get worse, often with no warning.
CRPS is nicknamed the suicide disease for a reason. I’m scared and don’t know how much longer I can deal with this. It’s been almost two years so far.
I am at least one of the fortunate ones to have WorkCover payments keeping the lights on and food on the table. But I have barely any kind of life these days. I just want my old life back. I have been in and out of hospital so many times for scans and treatments. I’ve lost count, but it’s at least a dozen times, with more in the future.
There is no way to know if I will ever recover, or if I do by how much. I don’t know if I will ever be able to work again, swim again, take classes or learn new skills. Considering I once worked as a disability support coordinator, it’s somewhat ironic that I may now be classed as disabled.
If I can offer anything positive from this horrific experience, it is to stand and be counted. Bring awareness and be there for others. It is a very lonely experience to feel like I have to isolate myself because someone out there might be offended because I dare say anything against the vaccine mandates.
The fact is the vaccines are NOT safe, NOT effective and I SHOULD NOT be injured. But I am, and I will no longer be silent. I have endured two years of pain and suffering. I have lost the ability to work in a role I loved. My life has been irrevocably changed for the worse by something that I was told, and believed, would protect me and my loved ones. Instead, it has ruined my health, destroyed my life and did nothing to protect anyone.
Please feel free to reach out to me if you feel you are alone with your injury. My email is Kate_VaxxInjuryWarrior@proton.me
You are not alone, and I am happy to offer you my hand and hope.