I’m 31 years old and work full-time as a client service coordinator. I’m extremely active, fit, and healthy. I trained in Brazilian jiu jitsu five times a week and strengthened and conditioned my body daily. I was fitter than I’d ever been in my life and hadn’t been sick in years.
On the 8th of November, 2021, I had my first Pfizer jab. I got it because I lived in Alice Springs and needed to relocate to South Australia, which wouldn’t allow me to enter unless I had the jab. I wanted to follow my dreams and take my jiu jitsu to higher competitive levels.
I had the standard sore arm and lethargy for a day or so, and then life continued normally. On the 29th of November, I got my second Pfizer jab and felt nauseated Immediately. I went home as quickly as I could. I lay bedridden for the next week with chills, nausea and body aches—my body felt as if it were made of glass and the pain was extreme, especially my chest and muscles. I didn’t think it would lead to anything serious and thought it would be fine in a week, so I felt no need to raise the alarm.
I recovered enough to function in my day-to-day life, but I felt like trash. Although I suffered extreme fatigue, body pain, and heavy brain fog, I thought it would pass eventually.
This went on for about three weeks until I injured my knee, which meant I had to recover at home again. I noticed that my heart rate would shoot to 150bpm when I stood up and this rang my alarm bells.
I went to a local GP clinic three times over the next few days. The first GP brushed me off as soon as I mentioned the jab. He said my reaction was normal and to wait it out. He refused to see any of the data I had gathered from my heart monitor and sent me on my way with nothing. I saw the second GP twice and he gave me a referral to a cardiologist.
When I told the cardiologist I thought I had had an adverse reaction to the jab, he grew standoffish. But when he tested my heart and blood pressure, he saw something was wrong and diagnosed me with POTS. He said it was due to the jab, but didn’t put it on paper. The second time I saw him, he was unwilling to acknowledge I was jab-injured and tried to twist his own words, which made no sense at all. I tried for an exemption, which he was clearly not willing to write for me. I felt he was trying to emotionally manipulate me into saying his parents had died from Covid and he wasn’t willing to give me an exemption as I’m at much higher risk of getting Covid. I last saw him on the 4th of March, 2022. He reiterated that my diagnosis was POTS and put me on heart medication for tachycardia and blood pressure and basically said it could be for the rest of my life.
In recent weeks, I’ve started to get tremors. I’ve lost 12kgs in the last three months. I have constant 6-to-7-out-of-10 body aches, which feel like I’ve been going hard at the gym every day. I’ve lost my strength completely. I’m constantly brain fogged and dizzy and am sensitive to light. I have extreme fatigue and insomnia from having to go to the toilet all night because blood no longer flows normally to my kidneys, or to the rest of my body.
It’s now the end of June—seven months after my first jab side effects and five months after my POTS diagnosis. For the five months after my POTS diagnosis, I took the prescribed medication, which increases blood pressure. I also followed the direction to increase salt intake (10 salt tablets per day) and to drink at least four litres of water a day. I was also told to exercise daily. All this was to counter the POTS. During this time, I asked my cardiologist for an MRI on my heart as I suspected myocarditis due to my raised troponin levels. He said there was no reason to do that and that the echocardiogram already showed that there was nothing wrong with my heart. When I pushed back saying that echocardiograms aren’t always fully accurate in diagnosing myocarditis (or absence of), he fobbed me off as though I didn’t know what I was talking about. I felt concerned, because the medication and directives given to me for POTS would be very dangerous if I did, in fact, have myocarditis.
On the 4th of April, I had to call an ambulance due to nine-out-of-ten chest pains, shortness of breath, and what I can only describe as heart attack symptoms. The paramedics said that the reading on their machine indicated that I had had a heart attack. Arriving at Flinders Hospital, I was admitted to the cardiac care unit for what ended up being five days. The nurse at the front desk told me that she had witnessed an increase in patients exhibiting similar symptoms to mine. The doctors initially thought I had pericarditis due to my raised troponin level. They did all the same tests as the cardiologist, and they came back clear. I asked for an MRI, forcefully this time, and they agreed to it. The MRI showed that I had myocarditis. This is the test that I had asked my GP and my cardiologist for back in January and again in March. I had undiagnosed myocarditis all this time. Worse, I had been taking medication and following directives from the cardiologist that are life threatening to a person with myocarditis.
I wanted the cause of my myocarditis documented. The hospital cardiologists said they couldn’t put it down to the jab because they couldn’t rule out that it wasn’t Long Covid. This was so even though I exhibited these symptoms for three months before I got Covid (in late February), and my test results from January showed raised troponin levels a full month before Covid. I pushed back as myocarditis is a well-known and documented side effect of the jab and they said that it was more likely to be the jab, but they were unwilling to put it in writing. I also requested to be referred to the jab injury team within the hospital (yes, the nurse told me there is a whole hospital unit dedicated to this) and to the hyperbaric oxygen chamber for oxygen therapy, which I had been paying to have privately at $180/week. Immediately after this conversation, I was discharged in a rush and made to sit in the waiting room for three hours for my medication list as they said they “needed the bed.” They gave me no documentation or discharge forms, so there was no formal record of my myocarditis diagnosis, but they told me they would forward the paperwork to my GP.
The prescribed medications and health directives were the complete opposite to those I was given previously. I am on blood pressure medication, told to avoid exercise altogether, and I’m on a zero-salt diet. I still have to take the beta blockers and the tachycardia medicine. All this medication costs me around $250 per month. None of it is on the PBS scheme; it all comes out of my pocket.
I called my GP four or five times after my hospital discharge to follow up on the discharge records. The GP’s office kept saying they had nothing. Eventually, after calling the hospital three times, I got a copy of my discharge documentation. Diagnosis: Acute myocarditis. Past diagnosis: POTS caused by the jab.
I have been referred to the post-jab clinic and to the hyperbaric oxygen chamber at Royal Adelaide Hospital, but I am still waiting for them to contact me. I am also waiting for a follow up cardiologist appointment to be set. I am going to see the head cardiologist at Flinders Hospital due to the negligence of my previous cardiologist in refusing to get an MRI and failing to diagnose my myocarditis. I’m waiting to have another MRI in August to see whether my heart swelling will reduce.
I cannot exercise at all, a devastating situation for a jiu jitsu athlete. I moved to Adelaide to compete, now I can’t even go for a leisurely walk around the block without risking a cardiac event. I’m only just able to work—the fatigue and the brain fog are too extreme. I was dismissed from my job early this year because I just couldn’t manage and am now on a low-paying job that’s only just doable for me in this state. My partner has had to make up the short fall by working more hours, which has impacted our family (we have a young child). I’m trying to stay positive, but there’s no end in sight. The list of symptoms seems to continually grow—my latest new symptom is burning nerve pain in my back. If anyone else out there is suffering, too, please reach out. I can share information and support. We must support each other because no one else will support us at this stage.