I’m 49-years-old and a father of one. I teach sport to a class of autistic students, which is the love of my life. I was really active before the jab and my health and fitness levels were at their peak. I enjoyed golf, fishing, mountain-bike riding, and twilight cricket. I had no health issues other than a back injury I sustained a few years ago. That injury led me to become the fit and healthy person everyone once knew.
I was not anti-vaccine. I got the jab because of work, the NSW mandates, and to support my family and keep my head above water. I also love my job and the kids I teach, and I couldn’t see my life any other way. I spoke to my sister (a registered nurse) about the jab and I felt comfortable getting it. I wasn’t hesitant, and I was motivated to do ‘the right thing.’
I got the Pfizer jab on the 21st of August, 2021, in my right arm. I had no symptoms afterwards, not even a sore arm. I had my second Pfizer jab on the 18th of September. I felt fine, just like I did after the first jab.
But 18 days later, that changed. I woke up at 6.30am with what felt like pleurisy in my back. I have a very high pain threshold, but this pain was 6/10. I stretched for about 20 minutes as I didn’t know what was happening and thought that stretching might help. By the end of the 20 minutes, the pain went from a 6 to an 11. I had never experienced anything like this in my life. I could hardly breathe; my heart was pounding, and I thought I was having a heart attack. It was excruciatingly painful and my whole torso felt like it was on fire. My heart rate was absolutely through the roof, and my heart was so sore. I’ve had surgeries and painful experiences, but nothing compared to this. I was fading in and out of consciousness — it was so terrifying. I am strong, but it really was traumatic.
I tried to call my daughter. It is just me and my daughter and she has been with me since she was 6-years-old. My daughter is everything to me and is my absolute hero. I was so confused and disorientated, and I just wanted to talk to her. But she was unavailable and didn’t answer. I fell to the ground, rolling around in pain, struggling to breathe. My chest rumbled and my heart beat uncontrollably. I thought I was having a heart attack and that I was dying.
Somehow, with sheer willpower, I crawled 10-15 meters to my neighbour’s door. I literally dragged myself and crawled on my hands and knees to get help. My neighbour answered the door. As soon as he saw me, he picked me up off the ground and chucked me straight in the car. He raced me to Shoalhaven hospital and I was in and out of consciousness all the way there.
My neighbour was refused entry to the hospital because of Covid restrictions. I had no one to help me and I collapsed at the door. I woke up in a bed surrounded by medical staff who were probing me and inserting me with drips and attaching other medical apparatus. They gave me morphine, but the pain was still unbearable, I thought I was dying. All I wanted was to speak to my daughter. The medical staff didn’t know how help me. They were clueless for the longest time, but they eventually stabilised me. I don’t know how long it took them. Everything was a terrifying blur.
Between 12 and 24 hours later, I woke up in the ICU. I stayed there for two-and-a-half days. They did every test imaginable, but they still had no idea what was going on. I couldn’t see anyone, not even my daughter. I was in hospital in this state for days; no one I loved was allowed to visit. There was one nurse named Chloe who I’ll never forget. She said I wouldn’t be sent home until they figured out what was going on. This felt reassuring as I was experiencing so much fear for my life and no one had any answers. They were very hesitant to put a red wrist band on me as it shows an allergy to the Pfizer jab.
I spent the last day in the Cardiology ward. It was here that they suspected my situation was due to the Pfizer jab. They then discharged me. The discharge papers stated that I’d had an allergic reaction to the Pfizer jab.
I went home, and, since then, I’ve been on a merry-go-round of medical specialists and tests. No one has any answers and all the tests come back normal. But I am not normal and my whole life has been turned upside down. Every day since has been a confusing struggle. I had never been so fit in my entire life, but there are now times that I can’t even walk up a flight of stairs without having to catch my breath for 5 minutes in pain.
Since that hospital stay, I’ve seen my GP four times and my cardiologist once. My GP recommended that I get the third jab and he refused to give me an exemption. My cardiologist said, “There’s no evidence of Moderna giving people myocarditis or pericarditis and you should just go and get the Moderna.” I begged him for an exemption, but he wouldn’t give it to me, either.
I had another very bad turn last week. I woke up at 7.15am and my whole right arm was tingling. I had no feeling at all in my wrist and hand. My whole right arm was pins and needles. I got up and looked in the mirror and noticed my face was drooping and I couldn’t talk properly. I tried to say my full name, but it wouldn’t come out. I thought I must need more sleep. I felt horrendous, so I went back to bed for an hour. I fell asleep and woke up with worse symptoms. I rang the health hotline, and they rang an ambulance straight away. I was taken to the hospital, admitted immediately, and hooked up to machines. It was similar to the first event and I absolutely thought I was going to die again. I just wanted to talk to my daughter, but I couldn’t use my hand. They did all the same tests again (an ECG, an MRI, etc.), and they all came back normal. My resting heart rate was hovering around 33-35 and they said it’s because I’m fit and healthy.
Eventually, they said I’d had a TIA stroke, but they wouldn’t let me leave. I had to stay in hospital for seven days. But no one could tell me why I was so unwell. I noticed people coming and going, but I was still in there. Even old people were in and out, but I was in there for so long and with no answers. It started to affect me mentally because I didn’t know what was wrong with me and no one was able to help. In the end, they said I could go and I would “need to change my lifestyle.” I was pretty upset about that as I was so healthy physically and mentally, and my lifestyle couldn’t have been any better. I felt really unheard and confused about what to do next. The only advice going forward was to book into a stroke clinic in Wollongong and have my heart rate monitored for 3-4 days.
I reported my reaction to the TGA and I have filled out all the forms and applied for the compensation scheme. I’ve done everything imaginable, but nothing has come of it. It is a very difficult process and feels too much at the moment.
Currently, I experience 6/7-out-of-10 chest pain. My right hand still isn’t ok and has 90 percent grip strength. My whole hand feels weird, including my wrist, and it still aches dully. I experience random sharp back pains for no reason, shallow breathing, and through-the-roof anxiety. I now suffer PTSD and see a psychologist monthly. I get night terrors, night sweats, and nightmares. I’m scared to go to sleep out of fear that I won’t wake up. I have trauma dreams that are so real, and I re-live dying.
I really love my job and helping other humans. But work life is a struggle as I feel so unwell and living like this is tough. Life in general, to be honest, is hard. A struggle is an understatement. I used to be so active and healthy and now I can only walk. I worry about what might happen to me next. My daughter is about to have a baby and is worried about me, but I try not to tell her too much as I don’t want to worry her. I want to be there for her and to be a granddad, but the unknown hangs over me. I don’t know what the future holds.
I have no idea where this road leads me, and this is why I’m here sharing my story with all of you. I hope to connect with others who have had a reaction like mine or anyone who can give some ideas on what I could try to get better. I am a healthy person and doing everything right and don’t understand what to do next.
Everyone in the medical profession has said that it has nothing to do with the Pfizer jab. I am so confused. I’m left like this with no answers. I need help.