Kim X

Prior to having the COVID vaccinations, I was typically running approximately five kilometres three times week, riding my bike to and from work, 20 minutes each way, and swimming 20 laps of a 50m pool. I also did lots of walking, gardening and went to dance classes once a week.
I was fit and active.

I was cautious of the vaccines and if they had not been mandated, I would probably have opted not to have them due to the unprecedented rush to market and the fact that very little data existed regarding efficacy and/or health effects.

However, as per the mandates for healthcare workers, I had my first Pfizer vaccination on 17 March 2021. Immediately after I suffered from an unpleasant metallic taste in my mouth.
Four hours later, I felt a heavy sensation all over my body and my face became completely numb. Overnight, I started getting intense burning sensations down my right arm, enough to wake me from sleep. A red rash with small white welts appeared on my forearm. However, the burning in my arm and my numb face resolved the next day.

Over next few days I was overcome with intense fatigue, sudden cold sweats, and acute tachycardia. I also suffered multiple near faints and an acute inability to participate in my usual physical activities. I experienced dizziness and a burning sensation up the back of my neck, along with intense nausea.

After these reactions, I saw a doctor who medically reviewed my situation. It was deemed safe for me to have the second COVID vaccination.

I had my second Pfizer vaccine on 15 April 2021.
I immediately suffered intense fatigue as well as a slight fever overnight. As these were both expected  post-vaccination reactions, I wasn’t too worried at the time. Two days later I experienced deep, cramping spasms which came and went, in my lower pelvic region. The fatigue continued to worsen, and by the third day I also developed swollen lymph nodes under my left arm. I’d had both vaccinations in this arm. I also developed red stripes with small white welts under both arms . These marks remain to this day. My left hand also turned a dusky blue colour. I treated the swelling with an ice pack under my left arm and this seemed to resolve these symptoms.

Over the next week or two, new symptoms arose and these continued to evolve over the coming months. They included extreme nausea, dizziness, cold sweats, near faints, tachycardia/palpitations (often waking at night with intense tachycardia) and the inability to exert myself in any way. I also suffered a red blotchy face on and off, intense muscle cramps in my back and legs and episodes of sharp intense chest pain on my left side. The acute intensity of the chest pains did eventually resolve somewhat, but instead it became an ongoing, intermittent chest pain.

I also intermittently suffered from blurry vision, sharp fleeting nerve pain in random parts of my body, muscle twitching anywhere in my body, burning pain in all my limbs and the back of my neck and sporadic lower pelvic pain. One acute episode of intense lower pelvic pain resulted in a strong bout of vomiting. Further to this, I developed numbness of my right knee and the inside of my right leg and foot.

To be honest I was often scared to go to sleep at night as I was not sure if I would ever wake up.

I had to leave work on quite a few occasions and had to reduce my days of work as I was physically unable to cope with the workload.None of my symptoms resolved. My tolerance to physical activity did improve several months after the second dose, although the numbness in my legs increased and lower pelvic pain remained.

After those first two vaccinations I was reviewed by multiple doctors over several months. This included GPs at my regular clinic, a specialist in immunology and the Victorian specialist vaccine reaction team. As a healthcare worker I was required to have three doses of the vaccine, but fortunately, I was granted a temporary exemption from requiring the third vaccination. The down side was that, despite my ongoing debilitating symptoms, I could not get  a permanent exemption. This meant I would not be able to work without having that third dose.

Before going ahead with the third dose, I looked for alternative healthcare employment options such as working from home, due to the symptoms I had already suffered. Ultimately however, I was unsuccessful.

For my third dose, I decided to have the Novavax vaccine in an effort to hopefully mitigate or avoid the symptoms I experienced previously with the Pfizer vaccines. I very much hoped that my body might tolerate Novavax better. I even tried several sessions of hypnotherapy in an attempt to mitigate any possible physical reactions. It felt like I was playing Russian roulette. Even the pharmacist at the chemist where I got the third dose seemed a little hesitant to give it to me upon hearing the reasons for having Novavax instead of Pfizer.

I received my third vaccination (Novavax) on 25 July 2022. After this third vaccination I again immediately suffered intense fatigue, extreme nausea, cold sweats, dizziness, near faints and tachycardia.

Over the next 10 days or so the numbness in my legs got worse as did the lower pelvic pain. I started getting intermittent tingling in my hands, feet and face, and the muscle cramps and twitching returned and increased, particularly in my calf muscles. Sharp shooting pain returned throughout my body.

Twelve days after receiving the Novavax vaccine, I contracted COVID-19 for the first time. All my previous symptoms then increased exponentially. A new feeling of lack of spatial awareness also developed, along with brain fog, and a sense of left arm weakness.

Three months later I developed scarily blue toes on my right foot and suffered sharp, intense, and persistent nerve pain in my right calf, making walking difficult and painful.
Over the next couple of months, the intensity of the nerve pain in my right calf settled somewhat, but new diffuse nerve pain began occurring in random locations throughout in my body. Most commonly in the legs, toes, head and abdomen.
Given the increase of these bizarre symptoms following my third COVID vaccination, I sought further medical advice. I saw multiple specialists and underwent multiple tests and investigations. I also worked with an exercise physiologist. At one point I received a ‘loose’ diagnosis that it was a functional neurological disorder. The specialist noted that my disorder was likely precipitated by the COVID vaccines.

Several times since receiving the first COVID vaccine I have sought urgent medical attention at an emergency department. After my first dose I reported to the ED with tachycardia, near faints and feeling intensely unwell. After my second dose I reported to ED for the chest pain, intense chest pressure, and acute episodic lower pelvic pain that radiated down my legs and the projectile vomiting. The vomiting was so intense I burst blood vessels in my face. After my third dose and then actually getting COVID, I reported to the ED because of the sudden manifestation of blue toes in my right foot and intense nerve pain in my right calf. More recently, I reported to the ED again because the palpitations increased dramatically, and I had short bouts of sudden onset tachycardia. This was not my life prior to having the COVID vaccines.

In the present day, whilst my baseline function has improved slightly overall, my symptoms are easily ‘provoked.’ I now live a very different life with multiple bizarre symptoms that have not resolved despite outstanding self-care. I have not returned to my pre-vaccination level of health or functionality, and I have no clear medical answers.
I remain easily fatigable. I have ongoing, intermittent nerve pain that will occur anywhere in my body. I get sharp shooting pains in my body, intermittent, acute episodes of sharp stomach pain which occasionally brings on vomiting. I get intermittent chest and lower pelvic pain which at times radiates down my legs.

I suffer from dizziness, faint feeling, occasional nausea and numbness in both legs, burning sensations in my limbs, muscle cramps and twitching, palpitations and short runs of tachycardia. I have also woken from sleep a few times with a sense that I am going to faint even though I am already lying down.

I have been forced to completely alter my lifestyle and reduce my days of work. Cardiovascular exertion exacerbates my symptoms. Walking and light gardening are now my main forms of exercise. I have reduced capacity to drive any distance due to the leg cramps and nerve pain, and reduced work and social capacity because I have to try to manage my bizarre symptoms. This journey has been absolutely devastating on many levels. I love being physically and socially active. I am also a sole income earner.

I am currently awaiting test results from recent cardiac investigations. Other than this, I have opted for my own treatment methodologies which include acupuncture, meditation, walking, being in nature and looking for joy in the small things as much as possible.

I am telling my story to address the silence and sense of shame around the conversation of vaccine injury.

Like the “Me Too” movement, I am raising my hand to say Me Too.

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