My name is Khia and I’m 31 years old. I was 29 when this all began. I have worked full time as a nurse for the last 10 years. I lived a very clean lifestyle, rarely saw a doctor, and was the healthiest and fittest I’d ever been in my life. I had endometriosis, but it was well managed.
As a GP’s nurse, I had a 10-year background in child and adult vaccines, so something didn’t sound right about the vaccine from the very beginning. I saw heart-related reactions to the COVID vaccine very early on, and the amount of people presenting with atrial fibrillation and heart palpitations concerned me. I also understood that the normal process for a vaccine to be proven safe took seven years, and that was an immediate red flag for me.
However, I risked losing my job, which I had worked hard for, and I couldn’t survive without money. I didn’t know where to turn. So I went against my better judgement I went to have the vaccination at a pharmacy on 11 November 2022. I didn’t consent and had a stand-off with the pharmacist who was to do the procedure. But I signed anyway and got the AstraZeneca vaccine in my left arm.
I had a metallic taste in my mouth within the hour, and numbness and tingling in my left arm. I told my work colleagues, but nothing came of it. I had extreme nausea later that night, as well as projectile vomiting, crushing chest pain, and a fever. My Apple Watch recorded an elevated heart rate, so I called the ambulance.
When the paramedics arrived, they did all the heart tests and asked me straight up if I’d had the COVID vaccine. When I told them I’d had it that day, they said nothing and slapped the ECG on me and took me to Robina Hospital.
I was kept under observation at Robina for a few hours. They ran a D-dimer test to check for blood clots. I later found out my D-dimer test was slightly elevated, but they told me everything was fine. They then transferred me to the Gold Coast University Hospital to have a ventilation-perfusion (VQ) scan, as they were concerned that I had blood clots. Yes, you read that right. The VQ scan was negative, so they had no reason to keep me any longer. They discharged me with papers that said most of my symptoms are consistent with those expected post-vaccine, and that this was an adverse reaction post-AstraZeneca vaccine.
I was at my mother’s place on 13 November and feeling very unwell. I was sitting there, barely conscious, with bouts of chest pain and shortness of breath. Mum called the ambulance and I was taken to the Gold Coast Private Hospital and admitted to the cardiac ward for monitoring. They put me on telemetry and monitored my heart. I had a heart ultra-sound, the results of which led to a diagnosis of pericarditis.
A treating cardiologist told me that pericarditis is a short-term condition. He discharged me with colchicine and anti-inflammatories, and told me to revise over the next few months.
I went home and started treatment. I was still symptomatic weeks later, with no improvement. I was homebound for the next three months, unable to function normally. Thankfully, I was able to perform my Telehealth job.
On 7 December 2021 I was at home when I experienced a sudden, crushing chest pain, shortness of breath, and left arm weakness. My roommate insisted that I call an ambulance, so I did.
I was taken to Robina Hospital again, monitored, tested, and once the test results came back, I was discharged and told to keep on taking colchicine. They also gave me steroids, but I never took them.
My symptoms continued for another three weeks. I had another episode on 22 December, but this time I had uncontrollable tremors in my left arm. That was the scariest point – not being able to control myself.
When the ambulance arrived, the paramedics said nothing about my tremors. They took me to hospital, and I was admitted for two nights. They ran all the same tests and said that I had another pericarditis flare-up and gave a diagnosis of costochondritis. The doctor was fascinated with my tremors and told me that I was the second person to have tremors after the AstraZeneca vaccination that he had seen, and he referred me to the neurology department for review. I was discharged and told to follow up with the neurology and the cardiology departments.
I was at my lowest at this point. I didn’t think I was going to get better and I felt like there was no one there to help me. I felt unheard and unseen. I just wasn’t sure where to go. I knew that I had a cardiologist’s appointment at the end of January, and this gave me a focal point to help me get through my experience. As much as this was my lowest point, it forced me to look outside the box. I connected with other vaccine injured people and discovered other ways of healing myself.
I saw the cardiologist, who ordered a Holter monitor and a stress test, both of which came back clear. He advised me to get the Pfizer vaccine. That was the turning point for me. The best thing I ever did was to stop listening to doctors and take my health into my own hands.
In February, I took advice from my fellow vaccine injured, and saw a naturopath. I had intravenous vitamin infusions which were expensive, but they worked. Reiki was a game changer, and that was enough for me to realise I didn’t need medication, as I saw improvements almost immediately.
From November 2021 to June 2022, I also experienced heavy, painful periods every two weeks. With the help of the naturopath and the supplements, I got them back to every four weeks. However, I’m still concerned about what this means for my reproductive organs further down the line.
I saw the neurologist in June as my tremors had not stopped. They were worse in the mornings and lasted all day. The neurologist diagnosed me with a functional tremor. He said there was no magic treatment, but that it would get better in time. Come July, I got COVID for the first time. I can’t explain it, but, magically, my tremor and the pressure in my head, which I had since the beginning, all vanished after I recovered from COVID.
My health and fitness have improved since February, but I am still constantly dealing with a tightness in my chest that feels as if my heart is constricted. I have shortness of breath and numbness in my left arm. I’m trying to build my fitness, but my gym sessions are nowhere near where they used to be. I have to learn that this is my new body. The hardest part now is that people tell me I look well. They think I had a 12-month holiday, not knowing the pain and suffering I have endured.
My message is to advocate for your own body. I have learnt that I’m not going to be victim and I want to be a voice for people. Look outside the box for treatment, because it was there that I found improvements in my own health.