My name is Lindy and I’m 65-years-old. I’m retired and live in Port Macquarie, NSW. I have always been very happy-go-lucky, and it’s not unusual for me to be happily singing around the house most days. Before the vaccine, I enjoyed going for walks along the beach and generally just enjoying life. Aside from asthma and osteoarthritis, I was in good health before I had the covid vaccine.
I felt like I was bullied into getting the first vaccine. There was an enormous amount of pressure coming from friends, the news, and online. I started to see people lose their jobs if they didn’t get vaccinated. I had my first Astra Zeneca vaccine on the 16th of August, 2021. I had no reaction afterwards.
A few months later, my husband and I headed off on our trip around Australia in our caravan. We arrived in Western Australia (WA) just before their border restrictions were put in place. I had to get my second vaccine in order to travel within WA due to the internal border restrictions. We were in the first town into WA (coming from the Northern Territory) and we went to a chemist for my second Astra Zeneca vaccine on the 4th of November. I was in tears beforehand because I felt within myself I shouldn’t be getting it. I had no immediate reaction afterwards.
We were back in NSW in January 2022 when both my husband and I contracted covid. I was surprised that even with covid, my asthma was okay and I didn’t need to be hospitalised, which is sometimes needed when my asthma is bad.
My main concern was that the vaccine had not been sufficiently tested and not over an extended time. I believe we were the guinea pigs. I was still feeling the pressure from the television and hearing many frightening stories about people dying from covid. Because I am a chronic asthmatic, I was deemed to be at high risk of complications, so I went to get my Moderna booster on the 14th of March, 2022.
About six weeks after my third vaccine, I woke up one morning feeling very confused about the strange symptoms I was experiencing. My husband would say something to me, but I was unable to recall what he had said. I thought I had dementia. I didn’t tell my husband for 5 days. During that time, I also had pins and needles on one side of my face. I began stuttering, and even though I knew what I wanted to say, I just wasn’t able to get my words out.
I felt like everything was going wrong. My jaw started locking up and I continue to have issues with my jaw today. My vision worsened and I needed a new glasses prescription. I felt extremely dizzy all the time, as if I was walking on a boat. I had nerve tingles up my right arm. And I was having strange hallucinations.
I now have memory problems where I can’t remember anything about our holiday around Australia, yet I can remember things from 40 years ago. I can’t remember common words and names for things. I would forget my husband’s name, but somehow I still knew he was my husband. I also would forget my son’s name.
Whilst on our caravan holiday, I kept forgetting where the toilets were and would repeatedly ask my husband. One day, I became really frightened because even though our caravan was right next to the toilets, I couldn’t remember where they were.
I sometimes hear voices and I think someone is speaking to me, only to find I’ve imagined it. I have a massive, sharp knife pain in my head, on both sides now. I still have heart palpitations and one time it got so bad, I had to lie down and take Valium; I felt like I’d just had 10 cups of coffee.
I was getting concerned because I was finding it difficult to speak normally. I also couldn’t walk properly because I felt very dizzy and my balance was way off. I was convinced I’d had a stroke. I went to see a doctor at a medical centre whilst we were in Hervey Bay (Qld). He sent me for an MRI. He couldn’t confirm either way whether I’d had a stroke because MRIs can’t pick up mini strokes. They found I had empty sella syndrome (ESS) in my brain — a condition that causes the pituitary gland to flatten and shrink — so I have been prescribed blood thinners to stop a stroke from happening.
The doctor said off the record that he believed my symptoms are from the vaccine, but there is not enough evidence to confirm.
I was referred to a neurologist in February 2023. He would not even listen to what I was telling him about my symptoms and seemed very uninterested and dismissive. I was told to just get on with my life. I walked out feeling very disheartened and thought to myself, surely he would have seen other patients with similar symptoms to mine?
Sometimes I feel like I’m making progress, but a few days later I feel bad again. I’ve had some improvement in that I don’t stutter anymore, and the dizziness has lessened — even though I still feel off-balance occasionally. I now also get frequent headaches. They’re mild headaches every second day, and then a bad one maybe once a fortnight. I’m extremely tired by 10am most mornings.
I still get my words mixed up 10-15 times a day. For example, I might say, “Get me that trophy” instead of saying, “Get me that cup.” I have even recorded in my journal the time I tried to recharge my sunglasses instead of my phone.
I feel sorry for other people who are living with similar symptoms to me, especially if they don’t have partners or family to look after them. I know it’s not an easy thing for loved ones to cope with. I’m grateful to have my husband by my side to take care of me — I couldn’t live on my own with the symptoms I currently experience.
My hope is for our government to acknowledge the stories of those of us who have been injured by the vaccine. It would be good for the vaccine injured to be financially compensated for what the vaccine has done to us — although money won’t take away the physical, mental and emotional hardships we’ve experienced and continue to live with daily. Having said that, even if they said there was a new drug to fix all my symptoms, I wouldn’t touch it after everything I’ve gone through with the vaccine.
I feel like the vaccine has taken away my independence. I can no longer trust myself — not even to drive somewhere on my own — because I’m worried about my memory.
I feel as if I have lost control of my brain and I no longer feel like myself anymore. I’m a mess these days. I feel like I sometimes leave my body, which is the weirdest feeling. I tell my husband, “I’m not here. I’m not here!”
I am scared because I don’t know if this will ever go away and I don’t know what to do next.
I just want to go back to being myself again.