I’m 26 years old. Prior to the vaccine I was a full-time student studying neuroscience, so I have background knowledge of how the vaccine is supposed to work. I was also an enrolled nurse for a couple years but more recently worked in hospitality. I was quite an active person and did a lot of running around.
I had chronic nerve pain in my right leg for three years prior to the vaccine which was becoming manageable with physio. I also suffered a bit of anxiety and in May 2021 I was diagnosed with serotonin syndrome which hospitalised me. But this was well and truly sorted out before the vaccine because I was managing it with lamotrigine. I got the jab because the mandates had changed and I was told I only had a week or two to get it otherwise my boss wouldn’t be able to keep me employed. I responded, ‘Well I guess I won’t be on anymore’, just being smart and I explained to her why I didn’t want it after doing my own research.
I ended up deciding to get the vaccine to keep my job and I got the Pfizer jab on 15 October 2021. I didn’t feel anything other than a headache, some hot flushes and bit of vertigo the next day at work. I told my boss and she let me leave early to go home and rest. Everything was fine for the next couple of weeks, I actually felt really good until I woke up to find my lips very swollen and a rash on my left hand. Through the day the swelling increased and burst vesicles started to appear on my bottom lip.
The next day I woke up and the burst vesicles started to appear on my tongue and gums and the rash on my hand was lingering. I went straight to Emergency and a doctor saw me in the waiting room. She didn’t bother to take me into a consult room and diagnosed me on the spot with oral thrush and discharged me with some medicine to help with my diagnosis.
I went home, took the medication, and rested all day. I did everything they said, but the symptoms increased with the burst vesicles spreading into my throat, making my throat swell which was making it very difficult for me to breathe, so I called the ambulance. When they arrived, they asked me if I wanted to stay home or if I wanted to go to hospital. I went to hospital OBVIOUSLY. My temperature was 34.7c in the ambulance.
On arrival I was waiting about two hours in a queue with all the paramedics until they moved me into the waiting room I was in earlier in the day. I was finding it increasingly hard to breathe as time passed, so I was trying to hassle someone to attend to me. It wasn’t until about 4-6 hours later I got my first observation done, where they tested my oxygen levels, and it came back 92% (I’m normally 98%) and I was tachycardic.
They took me into a consult room and the junior doctor said he would be back in a minute. He didn’t return and I was left in so much pain that I was on the ground in a foetal position screaming for someone to help me. I had to get myself up and go and chase a doctor to help me and they put me back in the room. Another half hour passed until someone came back again to get me in a bed. No one gave me any pain medication at all.
The first thing they wanted to do was give me a COVID test which came back clear. They also wanted me to do a urine test to see if I had herpes. I explained I have tested all clear for that, but I went to pee in the cup anyway. On the way to the toilet a doctor started yelling at me because I was apparently supposed to be isolating even though I was COVID negative. I went back to my room and then I noticed the name on the cup wasn’t even my own. It wasn’t even a female name.
They ran seven blood tests, three urine, three blood sugar levels, a stool test, a viral swab, a vaginal exam, two vaginal swabs, a chest X-ray, and then cannulated me 12 hours after I arrived. I was in hospital a total of seven days. I was also transferred to ear and eye specialists for testing. After all the testing they diagnosed me with conjunctivitis, which was unrelated, and bacterial vaginosis. They said it was a reaction to lamotrigine, but I was negative to Stevens-Johnsons syndrome. SJS is a rare, serious disorder of the skin and mucous membranes. It’s usually a reaction to medication that starts with flu-like symptoms, followed by a painful rash that spreads and blisters. Then the top layer of affected skin dies, sheds, and begins to heal after several days. It’s worth noting that all the tests that I went through wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for my family keeping on top them with phone calls to make sure they were testing me properly.
During my stay I experienced the following symptoms: 9/10 pain down my throat, hot and cold flushes, nausea, vertigo, swollen lips, anxiety, I wasn’t able to eat, and they didn’t have me on fluids. They failed to cannulate two out of four times which left me in excruciating pain. On one occasion I had to press the emergency buzzer four times and no one would come to me so I had to go out into the hallway where I finally got listened to after three times.
On day-six of my stay they took me straight off 225mg of lamotrigine which caused me to go into severe withdrawal causing an array of symptoms from hot and cold flushes to dizziness, nausea, and headaches which heightened my anxiety. I actually got to a point where I contemplated suicide. The next day I discharged myself and it was the best decision I made.
On day-6 when they told me all my results, I then mentioned to them that I thought my condition was from the vaccine and the doctor said he couldn’t rule it out but there wasn’t enough information. They were also in close contact with Monash Hospital specialists in dermatology because none of the doctors had never seen anything like this before. They kept on saying they were going to do a lip biopsy, but it never happened. I kept on asking them about it and they eventually told me there were no doctors qualified enough to do it.
I was discharged with roughly 12 different medications, the main one being corticosteroids (prednisolone) to calm down the primary reaction. Since I’ve been out of hospital the symptoms have lingered. I have about 15 symptoms and I can’t tell which of them are from anxiety and which ones are physical. I have also been experiencing consistent periods that bleed through the pill, Primolut, and tranexamic acid. New symptoms have been also appearing:
- brain zaps in my right temporal lobe
- numbness and tingling in my right arm and fingers (occasionally it goes across to my left arm)
- always feeling hot but when I check my temperature it’s normal
- loss of appetite but gaining weight
- all the nerve pain for my right leg prior to the vaccine is back in full force
- extreme fatigue
- chest pain which feels different to anxiety, around my heart.
I’m also skipping heart beats for which I am going to the GP once to twice every week for follow up. The latest issue is that my kidneys bicarbonate levels have dropped past the normal threshold having been on a downward trend since the vaccine, and my GP is querying my Vitamin K levels.
After all of this, to top things off, I lost my job. I can’t attend university as I’m unable to get an exemption because the adverse reaction specialist at the hospital recommended I take the Novavax jab because it’s ‘different’ to the other vaccines. But I don’t want to take it.