My name is Samuel, I’m 36 and I’m an entrepreneur who entered the health industry around a decade ago, establishing several successful businesses. I’ve always been an active and driven person. Healthwise, I was running 50kms a week and surfing four or five days a week, as well as playing golf and, being a green thumb, spending plenty of time in the garden. I own a boat and enjoyed frequent deep-sea fishing. I spent 20 years aiming to run competitively and was set back by frequent injuries until finally cracking the code to injury-free training just prior to the vaccine.
I can do none of that anymore.
I have had issues with anaphylaxis previously and a football injury brought to light polycystic kidney disease, and I was able to manage these health issues.
Around the period of the state border closures, I had to cross the New South Wales and Queensland border regularly for my daughter and for business reasons, but I felt getting the vaccine wasn’t essential. I do have friends who are doctors, and I believed the public health spiel from them and have always trusted science.
Initially I cancelled my first vaccine appointment as it didn’t feel right to me. I ended up relenting one day on a whim, but regret that I didn’t do a greater degree of due diligence and placed too much trust in the government and the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration).
I received the Pfizer vaccine in my left arm on 3 September 2021. I continued running and surfing but didn’t feel right. I delayed the second jab, as I was not keen on getting it, but I eventually received the second Pfizer vaccine on 13 October, again in the left arm.
I hadn’t associated my initial symptoms of general malaise and shortness of breath with the first jab. I was still maintaining my surfing and running but would feel terrible after what I considered to be a generally easy session.
After the second jab, after one long run, I experienced chest pains and tachycardia. I had been researching the symptoms and, being an exercise physiologist, and from my research prior to the vaccine, it clicked that it was likely pericarditis or myocarditis.
I have had some acid reflux issues in my life, but this was different, and I ended up going to hospital. My troponin levels were raised and some more tests were ordered. My ECG came back with indicators of pericarditis and my troponin levels were even higher following further bloods.
At 9pm on 31 October I was transferred to another hospital for an emergency coronary angiogram, and I stayed overnight. The following morning the cardiologist said I would be running within the week and confirmed that I had pericarditis and that the cause was the Pfizer vaccine. He suggested I get Astra Zeneca or wait for another such as Novavax.
I was taken back to the initial hospital on 2 November and formally discharged. The second cardiologist I saw told me to wait four weeks before I began running again.
Given the lack of information and inconsistency between the two cardiologists’ prognoses, I was very concerned about the pericarditis becoming chronic. The cardiologist swiftly insisted that it wouldn’t become chronic due to being vaccine related and provided no rationale when I questioned this.
I felt anxious at this stage as I had additional symptoms as well, which were dismissed by the doctors as ‘not concerning’. For example, I was getting badly sunburnt and had right testicular pain to name just a couple of a long list of odd, and totally new symptoms.
I am one of the fortunate ones, as both cardiologists (plus a third later on) and my GP admitted the vaccine was the cause of my symptoms. So I felt lucky in this respect as I wasn’t dismissed or made to feel as if the pericarditis part of the puzzle was something else. However, I had numerous experiences where other medical professionals exhibited extreme anti-vaccine hesitancy. I have had ongoing visits to the hospital due to ongoing relapses. Just one example from last month is, I have had one cardiologist and one registrar deny ECGs with ST segment elevation as being abnormal, on two separate occasions. With my background as an exercise physiologist, I am able to read the basics of an ECG.
Upon inspection, following my request to review, it clearly wasn’t normal. ‘Abnormal ECG’ was even written on the printout on one of the occasions. One doctor was quick to pass it off as a miscommunication and said they had actually meant that the recent ECG was good compared to an older ECG. The deception is ongoing once called out.
In addition, this same doctor tried to educate me on a benign condition which can lead to the same ECG changes. I explained to him that it is highly unlikely when both raised troponin levels and clinical symptoms are present, let alone the fact that a diagnosis was already made months prior. His response was ‘possibly’ – an ever-present reluctance by medical staff to acknowledge my injury, and to backpedal on an already diagnosed vaccine injury.
The reason I was in hospital last week is unknown to me. But two weeks prior to this incident (three weeks ago) was when my cardiologist tried telling me my ECG was normal and suggested I was ready to start riding a bike for 30 minutes, five days a week at 135bpm heart rate. Fortunately, I didn’t listen to this suggestion as I was already on a much more cautious exercise program. I would need more space here to list the multiple occasions this and worse has occurred.
This reluctance by the doctors to be honest and upfront creates fear in me. The inconsistent behaviour of medical staff is creates inappropriate roadblocks to finding answers and treatments for us all and is also potentially causing more damage. My friends who are doctors have heard other doctors in hospitals laugh about long COVID and vaccine injured patients as they come into ED, as ‘non-believers’.
After coming out of hospital the first time, back in November, with the exception of multiple relapses, I have had some significant improvement, providing I stay within my limits i.e. at rest. But any mild physical exertion, dietary variations, temperature changes, excessive sunlight or air contaminants, among other unknown variables, cause relapses.
These relapses come with terrible migraines, enormous mental and physical fatigue, muscle spasms, elevated heart rate, tinnitus, and chest and other musculoskeletal pain. When this happens my troponin levels seem to increase – indicative of stress on the heart. I also experience brain fog, shortness of breath, and memory loss. I sometimes experience burning pains and my veins swell significantly on random occasions. My voice breaks and I was getting small dry scabs and continue to get rashes on my skin.
I also experience leg muscle weakness – this has been passed off as de-conditioning by nurses and doctors but my background helps me to understand that is absolutely not the case. In addition, statements like this generally require careful objective clinical measurements which were not proactively undertaken or offered. Their inability or lack of interest in investigating causation leads me to lack hope for my full recovery and for future victims of the vaccine.
My hands and feet randomly go blue and cold, sometimes just one side at a time, similar to Raynaud’s. I get really cold easily and my feet swell at times too. I also have a positive D-dimer suggestive of blood clotting which has also been dismissed by the doctors as an issue.
Emotionally I am depressed on some days. I also lost my brother to a heart attack this February, in the middle of all of this. He was my idol and warned me not to take the vaccine. It’s one of the few things I chose not to copy him on in my life! This was a really traumatic time for many reasons.
I did receive some medication, a statin, which really improved my symptoms around the time of my brother’s death. To get this medication advice, I had to reach out to the CEO of incellDX, Dr Patterson, directly through LinkedIn, as his organisation wasn’t able to support Australians at that point in time and he gladly gave his time.
This is when I first realised there really are some caring and interested doctors out there risking their reputations by genuinely trying to learn about the vaccine side effects to help us all.
I had around a 50% improvement at that time. I also found that fasting helped to improve my symptoms too, so I am on an ongoing program of periodic fasting. I have tried multiple other drugs, supplements and alternative treatments including 30 x HBOT treatments, IV drips, hot/cold therapy, breathing techniques, vagus nerve stimulator etc, and none of these have been helpful for me – effective treatment appears to be highly individualised so far amongst us all.
I used to love throwing and spinning my little kids around and now I can hardly do these things at all in fear of a relapse. My wife has to mow the lawns and do most of the things I used to do. I cannot grieve the loss of my brother the way that I’d like to – getting barrelled and catching fish, that he taught me how to do.
The inability to function properly in some of the basic necessities of life and reliance on my beautiful wife adds to the emotional pain that I feel. I have POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia) too now, so when I stand up in the shower or just go to the toilet my heart rate elevates enormously, again depending on other variable factors which I cannot yet determine.
I have to sit or lie as often as I can when doing things and this is so frustrating as I was previously an extremely fit and positive person. My major life goal has been to be a present father and a good role model for my kids, but they see their dad live a sedentary life now.
I have never not surfed for more than one or two months since high school, barring injuries, and have surfed since I was five. I’ve tried to surf four times since the vaccine with only a couple of waves on each occasion, but each one has caused a significant relapse.
I’m continuing my very slow and graduated exercise in the pool and on the bike to hopefully get there soon though. Hopefully a wave a day can keep the demons away. On certain down days I am fearful that I won’t be around for my kids, so I no longer worry about surfing or running as much – I’m kind of accepting a new normal.
I am currently riding my bike for 10 minutes at a jogging pace and I swim 50 meters with flippers on alternate days – much further at the moment seems to give me relapses. But perhaps it isn’t just the exercise solely – no one knows just yet. On my very best days now, I feel like I can run again (I would relapse badly, so I don’t) but it makes me feel hopeful I will recover someday.
I have spent a great deal of time investigating theories and what treatments are available. I feel as though I have a PhD in post vaccine treatment. This was time spent away from being present with my family. Mentally and emotionally, this is exhausting too and has been detrimental to my mental health, so I’m aiming to keep away from this for now to be more present with my family and accepting of what is.
Before the vaccine, most days my family and I would be in the sun at the beach, and active. I take the risk at times but then I might relapse from anywhere between two days to two weeks and be completely bed bound. This is dependent on so many unknown variables for which, even though I have a thorough diary of all episodes, it is almost impossible to pick the patterns.
Since February I have had a very gradual improvement at rest and the relapses haven’t been as intense. I can do some work on my laptop, but this is dependent on how I am feeling. I can be happy and functional if I am resting or have short periods of socialising that don’t require much energy. If I am too mentally challenged, I become fatigued and symptoms increase. It is highly variable though.
I owe so much right now to my wife. She has done almost everything in our household, and she provides me with so much inspiration and support to beat this. As I continue to improve, it feels so good to finally be able to help her out more and feel the reward of that while I maintain hope of no further significant setbacks.
My family and close friends are an incredible source of support to me. My late brother was immensely supportive. He didn’t get vaccinated and encouraged me not to have it, but also respected my decision.
I had previously believed that anti-vaxxers were conspiracy theorists and were trying to prove they were right from an egoic perspective; that their issue was more an anti-government stance.
Now I have been woken up through my lived experience and believe that these same people were brave and courageous to stand up and say no to the vaccine. I believed ‘the science’ but I now realise that ‘the science’ and I were manipulated.
I now have an incredible amount of respect for people who are standing up and not being vaccinated. They are continuing to help and support those who are injured such as myself. Not one of my friends who didn’t get jabbed said, ‘I told you so…’ I am really fortunate to be able to weather this situation financially due to my past business success. This experience has further motivated some business ideas I have had to help people navigate the health system better, so they don’t feel so alone.
I wrote to the Department of Health, Vaccine Taskforce to request information around support and treatments for vaccine injured people and specifically stated that the current options offered through Medicare are inadequate as they are non-specific for vaccine injuries. I received a response two months later suggesting I go on a mental health care plan and a CDM (chronic disease management) plan – both current Medicare provisions that I mentioned in my email were not appropriate solutions. It was also a no-reply email which stated that they had no desire to engage in open dialogue with vaccine injured people such as myself.
I sent a second request with the previous emails attached, where I mentioned that if I don’t receive a satisfactory response, that litigation may be my only available option. I received an email much faster this time and was told that there were clinical studies happening but they did not send me direct contact details nor were the studies they mentioned focused on my specific condition or the type of vaccine that I had (the study was on Astra Zeneca blood clots, not Pfizer related injuries). I haven’t found advertisements for vaccine injured people to join any studies online, so I have recently followed up with the Department of Health for accurate and specific details on these studies and am awaiting their response. I’m really keen to get into a trial for my conditions – if one exists, as they say.
The TGA said they would follow up my case and no-one has contacted me or my GP since. The same is true of the other vaccine victims I’ve chatted with. I question then how can they have reliable data for vaccine outcomes in the real world?
I am worried too, about long COVID (PASC) and about the lack of what seems to be quite untrustworthy or non-existent data, so I still respect anyone’s decision to get vaccinated. Anecdotally, long COVID seems as challenging for some people as what I’m going through.
I would never get vaccinated if I could turn back time, but I would want everyone reading my story to make their own decision about this and weigh up the consequences for themselves, freely and without judgement of others.
Almost a year on from my first vaccine, I remain cautious about my limitations and concerned about my future and my family’s future. I really hope that enough evidence surfaces so that the medical industry will start to support vaccine injured people the way they should be supported. Support needs to be put in place quickly to prevent further trauma for those currently affected and for those affected in the future – especially if this is given to young children without thorough review or viable treatment options for current vaccine victims such as myself.