Before the COVID vaccine I was extremely fit and healthy for a 51-year-old. I was a triathlete and marathon runner. I completed the Cairns Half-Ironman in 2019 and exercised every day. Exercise was a big part of my life, and I had no health issues. I worked a physical job on our property farming, doing sheep work and maintaining our farming business. As well as this, I worked part-time at a physiotherapist clinic in administration and am the primary carer for my elderly parents.
In early February 2020 we were holidaying in Rome, Italy. We noticed that there was something odd going on there as lots of people were wearing masks. We did not know about COVID yet. Now that I reflect, we must have been around the coronavirus, but we never got sick and didn’t bring anything home with us. We were totally fine. It was when we arrived home two weeks later, that the pandemic was all over the news.
I left getting the COVID vaccine for as long as possible as I have previously had a reaction to a flu vaccine. I got very sick with a severe cold and flu symptoms, and it took me a long while to get over. I am not against vaccines and had all of mine through childhood. I felt that this one was developed far too quickly though, and overall had a strong intuitive feeling that it was not going to be for me.
I almost always trust my intuition and it has served me well 100% of the time so far. However, on 31 October 2021 I put my intuition aside as my father was very ill in hospital and we were not sure if he would make it. I was required to have at least one vaccine to enter the hospital to see him. I thought that I might not see him again and that if the worst were to occur then I would not be able to attend his funeral either.
I went to the local chemist for my one and only Moderna vaccine which I had in my left arm on 13 October 2021. I could not get an appointment with my usual GP for some weeks and needed to get it quickly to see my dad. I was given a leaflet, which only described cold and flu symptoms and headache as possible side effects. It did not mention anything about heart issues. I had Moderna because that is what was available at the chemist at the time. I did not have time to conduct any further research, I just wanted to see my dad! Immediately after my vaccine I felt fine, but I instantly regretted it and thought, ‘what have I done’. As I mentioned, my gut told me not to and I had gone against this intuition.
A few days later I started to feel fatigued, which I initially brushed off. The fatigue and lethargy were getting progressively worse and I now also had pressure in my chest.
This continued to the point where I could not get out of bed, so I saw my long-term GP and I told her I had one Moderna vaccine. She knows my history, being very health conscious and active with no health issues, and from my symptoms and timeline post-vaccine she referred me to a cardiologist. I questioned whether the vaccine would be causing my condition as it was the only thing that had changed for me. Initially she was pretty accepting of this being the cause but did not confirm or deny, just said that I would require some further investigation by the cardiologist.
On 5th November 2021 I experienced severe pressure in my chest, an 8 out of 10 stabbing pain. I have a very good tolerance for pain, but this was almost unbearable. It was a stabbing pain in my shoulders and I felt like I could not breathe. I thought that I was having a heart attack. My husband took me straight to the Wagga Wagga Hospital. They triaged me but didn’t say much when I said that I thought that the vaccine was the cause. They did an ECG and bloods and suspected pericarditis but put a question mark on my file as I had an appointment to see the cardiologist the following week and wanted to leave it to her to confirm.
A few days later, on 10 November 2021, I saw the cardiologist. She was a good doctor who read all my hospital notes and did an ultrasound. This showed fluid around the heart sac, and she confirmed that it was in fact, pericarditis. She put me on medication for this, which helped somewhat and took away the feeling of pressure from my chest for a while. I have finished this medication and my symptoms have now returned. The cardiologist said to come back after the course ran out and, if required, she would prescribe me some more medication.
This medication ran out after four months, so I called to make an appointment with the same cardiologist but was told that she had left. In early March 2022 I saw a different cardiologist who, for some reason, would not prescribe me any more of this medication. I flipped out at this point and was so frustrated as it was the only thing that was helping me! I assumed that I was not able to have the medication long-term and didn’t pursue it any further. I was so fed up. This new cardiologist did not want to know or acknowledge my pericarditis diagnosis and fobbed me off. It was very bizarre, like she was afraid to admit that I had an injury from the vaccine.
After this appointment I saw my GP again and I insisted she give me an exemption for any more vaccines as my official diagnosis was pericarditis post-Moderna vaccine and I was not having any more. I was given an exemption which states that I cannot have any more vaccines due to adverse reaction from a previous vaccine. It recently expired and I contacted Medicare about updating – they said I need to get another exemption from my GP, but I am not going to bother.
On 22 March 2022 I had an MRI to see if there was any heart muscle damage as I was still constantly having chest pains and pressure daily during my usual activities, especially at the end of the day when lying down. My ability to complete my usual day-to-day activities was cut in half. We have farm operations to look after and I just couldn’t function properly as I was too fatigued. I was also losing my balance easily. I was so fatigued and could not get proper sleep because of these pains which were always worse at night and were keeping me up. I felt like I now knew what it would be like to have chronic fatigue.
I had still been experiencing severe fatigue, dizziness, was off balance and had chest pains. On the evening of 13 August 2022, we were in Moama on a holiday and the stabbing pain and pressure became so severe – like before but more painful – this time a 9/10 pain. My chest was very tight and I felt like I could not breathe. I was also very off balance. My husband took me straight to Moama hospital.
From the outset I was treated so terribly. The nurse who triaged me on arrival after I had explained that I had pericarditis post vaccine, said, “Then what are you doing here”. I was not sure if she meant because we were from out of town or that I was exaggerating or making it up! I was in so much pain and needed help, so I didn’t think too much about it at the time. She did not want to acknowledge the information I had given her. Another nurse stepped in and told me I had every right to be there.
The doctor on shift came and saw me and, after taking my blood pressure and monitoring my heart briefly, told me that I had depression and anxiety. He did not ask any questions in relation to past mental health history. If he had he would have known that I have never suffered from any depression or related conditions.
I stood up to him as I could see what he was doing and said, “You just don’t want to treat me as this is a confirmed vaccine injury”. He didn’t like being called out. He gave no treatment and sent me home. They did not want a bar of me. It was the most horrible experience I have ever had, being treated like a piece of dirt and discriminated against as I had a vaccine injury. I will never forget being treated like that. I was so distressed at this point because I was so sick and no one there would offer me any treatment. The symptoms gradually subsided over the course of a few hours.
On 23 September 2022 I was still having chest pain, and was dizzy and off balance, and again presented at Wagga Wagga Base Hospital. After six hours of waiting, they did a blood test and gave me a heart monitor. All they asked me this time was, “We noticed it has been some time. Are you now considering having your second vaccine?” I couldn’t believe it!
I wore the heart rate monitor for 24 hours. After five weeks I had still not been contacted with any results. These were supposed to be available three to four days after the monitor came off. I kept calling and eventually was able to get these results.
I tried to get back to see the local cardiologist in Wagga Wagga, but it was now a six month wait to see anyone. This was way too far away for me. I was off balance and feeling terrible daily and need to see someone urgently. I was not offered a stress test previously and wanted one, so I went back to my GP to get a referral to see a different private cardiologist, this time in Canberra. I was willing to travel to see someone sooner.
On 27th October I had an appointment in Canberra. This cardiologist was good, he listened to my story thus far and did not make any suggestion that these symptoms were in my head, which was a relief. During this appointment he said that this was all new to him and that they are learning about cardiac issues post COVID vaccine, as they go. He has been seeing other patients with the same condition but didn’t give too much away. He wanted to refer me to a neurologist for my dizziness and poor balance, but I have not seen one yet.
Currently, I will be okay for a few weeks and then I get bouts of being off-balance again. He said that he wanted me to keep up gentle exercise and fitness but not to overdo it. I find that if I do, I get very tired, and my balance is affected. I am currently cycling on a stationary fan bike slowly as my balance is not as affected when doing this. Health is my wealth and this vaccine has taken that away from me.
To date, I cannot exercise as I am so fatigued all the time and now I have high cholesterol. I can barely drive and recently when taking my sick father to hospital I felt like I was going to fall asleep at the wheel. I am the primary carer for both of my elderly parents, so I take them to all their appointments and now I enjoy every day I get to have with my dad. I am dealing with getting myself well as well as looking after them, which has been exhausting.
I still get chest pains and tingling in my arms and down to my fingers regularly. This goes away after a while. I can’t quite pinpoint anything that sets it off, but if I have done too much that day I pay for it. I have to pace myself. Our business depends on me helping my husband and I’m just not able to do much farm work. I just don’t know how I will keep going.
I was so disillusioned that I went to see a naturopath which has been such a blessing and the best thing I have done so far. I am taking lots of vitamins K and C and zinc and have done a couple of protocols, as well as eating clean. I am a fighter and will keep searching for the help I need. Overall, I feel that the doctors don’t really care and have a gut feeling that they are only saying what they are allowed to say. They have also told me that this is happening because I am just getting old! It is so wrong.
My friends and family know me and who I was before my vaccine and know I am not the same. I now only swim slowly with flippers, riding my road bike or running are out of question. I will keep seeing the naturopath as she is the only one that has been able to help me so far.
We have had to hire contractors to assist on the farm as I cannot do what I was only 12 months ago.
This injury has changed my life completely.
I will continue to speak my truth and don’t care what anyone thinks. Many people just can’t handle it and don’t want to have these discussions as it makes them feel uncomfortable. I have had a couple people who have treated me badly and, unfortunately, it will take something happening to them directly to make them wake up and see what is happening to people like me. For now, I am staying in my healthy mindset and focusing on fighting for my health and remaining positive.