My name is Prue. I’m a 32-year-old mum from Hervey Bay. I had my first Pfizer vaccine on 2 December 21, and the second on 23 December 21 in order to keep my job.
Originally, I was super firm on not getting it at all. I even decided I’d stay home and not work if I had to. However, with my partner’s recent bad back, it was inevitable that I’d need to continue to work.
I have history of cancer and had open- heart surgery as a child. My family and I have experienced serious illness, as I was diagnosed with the cancer just six weeks after my first baby was born. She is now three years old. I’m sure there is a little trauma from being so sick, and the thought of being bedridden again gives me anxiety. I have been in remission for two and a half years, and I worked VERY hard to recover and get my body healthy and strong.
I was hesitant with the vaccine, as the last thing that I wanted was to get seriously ill. As a family, we had been through enough, and it took one and a half years to feel normal again. I was worried that a rushed vaccine in its trial phase would take away everything. Most people were dismissive of my concerns – even my own mother. I begged two doctors for an exemption, referring to the open-heart surgery I had as a young child and my history of lymphoma.
I was declined.
I tried to get into the car to go and get the vaccine twice in time for the Queensland mandate, however I just couldn’t physically walk to the car, get in, and go and do it. On the third attempt, my partner took me. I tried to keep my composure on the way to the clinic. It was strange. I wasn’t hyperventilating, I was just sad. Here I was, flying the white flag I was so adamant I wouldn’t. When I got there, tears just leaked from my eyes. I was trying my hardest not to cry, because I felt embarrassed and I’m not a big crier. But they just flowed from my eyes. It was like my body was telling me to GTFO of there. The nurse was emotionless and didn’t ask me if I was okay or whether I was sure I wanted to go ahead. She injected me and sent me to the waiting room. It was like I was just another number being dosed up. I felt shame and disappointment that I wasn’t strong enough to not do it. But to do otherwise would have meant putting my family under financial pressure.
The very next day after my first vaccination, I felt fluttering, ‘pinchy’ pain and a dull ache in the left side of my chest near my heart, the same location as my lymphoma. I thought it may have been scar tissue from the cancer, as I sometimes get this.
After my second Pfizer vaccine, the symptoms intensified, and slowly continued to do so. I had trouble getting in to see the GP over the Christmas holiday. The next available appointment was at least two weeks away, so I booked it and had to wait.
It then started to scare me. On the evening of 4 January 2022, I presented to the emergency department in my hometown. It was very busy, and over the space of two hours, one person was called in to the ED and there were at least 20 in the waiting room. I observed two teenage boys who were having vaccine reactions that night. I decided it was best to go home and rest and return the next morning.
I went in and I told the nurse at the admin desk that I had been having sharp, pinching chest pain since my first shot, and that it had intensified after the second vaccine. After a couple of hours, I got in and was treated in another waiting room of the emergency department. My doctor was lovely. He ordered a chest X-ray, bloods and an ECG. Once they were completed, he came back and told me that I had had a reaction to the Pfizer vaccine. He told me that I had vaccine-induced pericarditis. We talked a little about it, and then he said “Google Pfizer vaccine” – those were his exact words. This got me thinking, “It can’t be too uncommon, hey?”
I feel sick to my stomach with guilt, shame and regret. All I can think about is how stupid I feel and I wish I had listened to my gut. I have deep regret. I’m angry. I’m frightened and scared I might to have to deal with a serious illness all over again when I felt perfectly fine before the shots. I begged for an exemption from my haematologist, presenting what I would say was definitely a valid argument, but I was declined. All I wanted was time….and more studies. That’s all.
I should not have ever had to experience any of this. I SHOULD NOT have to be feeling ANY of these emotions. I have gone from being very active, healthy and doing one-and-a-half-hour gym sessions at least four times a week to just trying to get through the working week without calling in sick. I manage some light home duties, but otherwise if I do too much, my chest pain flares up. I feel so exhausted easily and pretty much permanently. I get short of breath. I am now on heart medication with no idea how long or how serious this will be. I’m sharing my story, as these reactions are not rare! All this for a 98% survival rate. I would have preferred to have taken my chances with COVID… at least that would have been MY CHOICE. Consider stories like these before deciding what is best for your child.
Thanks for your time.
A very furious Prue.