I’m 31 years old and a mother of three. I was a disability support worker for the last five years and have always been very fit and active, having to multitask life in general. Prior to the vaccine I had no health issues. I was born with one arm and had PTSD since I was four but it has never caused me any physical problems at all.
I got the vaccine because I am the main source of income in my family. My work mandated the vaccine and I decided it was best for me to take the risk, otherwise we wouldn’t have a way to put a roof over our heads and food on the table.
When I got the Pfizer jab on 19 November 2021, I immediately felt like passing out. My heart rate was up and my chest hurt with a 10/10 sharp stabbing pain. I also had the feeling of an elephant sitting on my chest. Every time I would breathe in, the pain would occur, and this continued for the next week. It was about four days after when I woke up and my legs were like jelly and heavy to walk on. It was always worse in the mornings. I was also experiencing hot and cold sweats and mild cognitive decline but I just kept going on with life as usual not thinking it was anything more than anxiety and my PTSD, so I didn’t go to the doctor.
I got my second Pfizer jab on 10 December 2021. I didn’t get any significant reactions until 13 February but I did feel a bit funny some days – I would just have a couple drinks in the evening which would make me feel a bit better and I didn’t think any more of it.
On 13 February I woke up with a strange feeling where the spine meets the base of my skull. It felt like I had little spiders in the back of my head. Visually I’m imagining TV static. I had extreme pressure on the front of my skull which didn’t go away, for the next week, along with confusion and severe cognitive decline. I knew something was wrong, but it still didn’t occur to me that anything was going on in relation to the vaccine. I took two days off work just thinking I needed a break. I returned after my days off for a short shift but the pressure in my head kept on worsening to the point where I collapsed on the job while I was helping a client do her shopping.
I got myself up out of it and carried on. I made sure my client got home then I went and picked up my son from school and went home. That night things took a turn for the worse. My heart rate went through the roof, I lost my vision and felt like I was losing consciousness. I felt like I was having a heart attack. My chest pain was extremely debilitating and I was having a lot of trouble breathing. It was then that I finally decided I needed to call an ambulance.
The ambulance arrived and they did an ECG. My heart rate was around 140 resting and they took me to hospital. They did my bloods, ECG, X-ray and everything came back clear. They saw on my records that I had PTSD and told me that I was just having a panic attack and sent me home even though my heart rate was still through the roof and I was in excruciating pain… they didn’t even give me any medicine, just told me to go and see my GP.
I went home and couldn’t sleep that night. I tried to sleep it off all the next day, but I felt like I was losing consciousness. The best way I can describe it would be like the fine line between this reality and death. My brain felt like it was shaking, I was hallucinating, and I was completely unable to function to the point of losing my bladder control. During the day I also started getting full body tremors and I vomited bile four or five times. This went on for two days. I’ve always hated hospitals which is why I didn’t bring myself to go in the first place, but I’d had enough at this stage so I returned to make them listen to me.
On arrival, they asked me what I was doing there. They said, ‘You’re fine and we can’t help you’, but I persisted and they put me back on an ECG and tested my heart rate again. They suggested that I had POTS (Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) and gave me an MRI and a CT scan to see if it was anything else. Everything came back clear again, and they sent me back home with nothing. Straight away I called my GP to let him know the hospital wouldn’t do anything for me and he was at least willing to give me anti-nausea and Panadeine Forte. He wrote me a referral to a cardiologist who I can’t afford to see now because I can’t work.
The next few days were a blur and I was at the point where I could no longer walk. My partner was literally picking me up to take me to the toilet and looking after my kids on his own. This went on up until this Saturday just gone (26 February 2022). I called up my GP in desperation and he gave me a beta blocker which made me feel much worse to the point where I thought I was dying. Thankfully one of my friends told me to get off the meds and I got a little better on the Sunday.
On Monday I started to walk around a little bit, then all of a sudden my leg started giving way and I was paralysed in my left leg. The ambulance was called again, and I was taken to hospital. It was the same response on arrival – the doctor rocks up and says in a mocking manner, ‘Why are you here again?’ I just responded, ‘I can’t move my leg’. They did a reflex test and they could see that my leg wouldn’t work. He kept insinuating that it was my mental health and that I was on drugs and told me he didn’t know what to do with me. I told him this wasn’t good enough and then a more senior doctor was called to get involved and the attending doctor changed his tune and even apologised.
They diagnosed me with FND (functional neurologic disorder) and told me they’d seen a few cases recently. Every time I’ve had an encounter with the medical professionals up to and including this interaction, I have told them the only thing different in my life is that I’d had the vaccine, and I believe this is why they have been dismissing me.
They told me that I needed to see my GP for more tests to see if I had a tumour in my spine, but I can’t afford anything. All he gave me was Seroquel, which has helped me sleep but has not helped with my tremors. He also gave me a referral to get another MRI at the hospital and for which is a six month wait at least.
Currently I’m experiencing full body tremors; I lose control and feeling of my limbs; my throat collapses; my face droops; my jaw drops; I go in and out of consciousness; I can’t talk properly at times or make sense of conversations; I have no appetite; I can’t walk properly (kind of like a baby trying to walk); I’m losing my vision; noise and light disorientate me; and I get chest pain in waves for about an hour each day that feels like fire.