My name is Trudie, I’m 40 years old and a mother of a four-year-old. On top of being an active and moderately healthy mother, I worked full time in retail. I loved work and the life I created. I wasn’t experiencing anything like I am now, post the COVID vaccine.
Prior to the vaccine I had a slight arrythmia which was diagnosed when I was pregnant. But after all the tests that were run during my pregnancy, they all came back clear and there was no mention of anything to be concerned about.
I was a little bit hesitant about getting the vaccine as I had heard some stories from a few people I knew. I heard one lady lost all her movement in one arm and another had the same problem, both in Cairns. However, mandates were on the way at my workplace and the peer pressure of other colleagues and people who had no problems with the vaccine, got the better of my judgment. I thought I should probably do the ‘right thing’ and get in before the deadline came.
I got the Pfizer vaccine on 11 October 2021 in my left arm. I felt nothing immediately. A couple hours later I started experiencing a sore arm and a mild headache. The symptoms only lasted a few hours and then life went back to normal for the next six days, until I got home from work one day and I was getting into my night routine with my child. All of a sudden the left side of my face went numb and drooped, then the entire left hand side of my body went numb and tingly. I was scared and thought that I was having a stroke, so I rang the ambulance and my child’s grandparents for help.
The ambulance arrived and by this stage I was in a haze, so my recollection is not the greatest. As far as I know, they put me on ECG which showed my resting heart rate at 130bpm. They were the first to bring it up, asking me if I had been vaccinated. I responded “yes” and asked them if this was from the vaccine. They said no and that I was just having an anxiety attack. They took me to the Cairns Hospital and I was lined up in Emergency, waiting with approximately 30 other beds in front of me. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, and in the time that I was there, one lady in her sixties had passed away.
I waited from 7pm ‘til 4am the next morning. Initially I was in a stretcher and after a couple of hours they had moved me to a chair in the waiting room. At 2am I asked when I would be seen, to which they responded, “Not anytime soon”. I eventually saw someone at about 3am, they ran tests – ECG, reflexes, bloods. All came back clear so they discharged on the bases that nothing was wrong with me and told me to follow up with my GP.
I went home and slept all day. That afternoon I made an appointment to see my GP. I gave my GP the letter which was given to me from the hospital, I told her that I was afraid of getting the second COVID vaccine after what I had experienced. She was quick to respond that it wasn’t anything to do with the vaccine and I should quickly go and get the second vaccine, which I didn’t. She referred me for a CT scan and to a cardiologist.
The CT scan was done within a couple of days and it came back clear, but I couldn’t get in to see the cardiologist for at least three to four weeks. In this time my symptoms got moderately worse. I was experiencing fatigue, brain fog, whiteout, not blackout. It’s the only way I know how to describe it – very scary. I also had numbness and pins and needles in the left hand side of my body and tremors in my hands.
I finally got in to see the cardiologist. He did ultrasound on my heart and gave me a Holter monitor to wear over the next 24 hours. After handing the Holter monitor back the next day, my GP called and wanted to see me straight away. The ultrasound showed that I had possible patent foramen ovale, a hole in my heart, and she said that I could be experiencing tiny blood clots that were bursting in my brain. She sent off a referral to the hospital cardiologist and noted that I was a Level 3. This was the end of November 2021. I didn’t receive a call until March 2022, when they told me to come straight up to the hospital.
From November 2021 to March 2022, I ended up in Emergency on the 12th of December and the 17th of December. On the 12th of December my symptoms had ramped up. I was going about my day, when suddenly I had a whiteout and numbness, tingling, heart palpitations and nausea with bouts of chest pain around the heart area. My heart was beating extremely fast and with every beat it would hurt. I was driven to hospital and they ran bloods. It showed I had a normal sinus rhythm and low phosphate which indicated I wasn’t absorbing any nutrient from my food. They suggested I was either drinking too much alcohol or not eating enough, which were both false assumptions. I couldn’t stand the thought of alcohol in my state.
They also said I was just having a panic attack and migraines. I wasn’t having neither of these.
December 17 I was taken by ambulance to the Cairns Hospital for an episode similar to the one on the 12th. But this time I had lost complete feeling of the left-hand side of my body. Still to this day, I cannot feel my left foot. The response I received from the doctors that night was a little better and they put me in overnight to monitor me. They did a brain scan and bloods. Once again, all came back normal. At this stage I was adamant that this was from the COVID vaccine but I didn’t want to mention it because of the backlash I would receive.
On 10 March 2022 I saw a neurologist. He said that all my scans and tests were normal and proceeded to say there would be no surgery done to the hole in my heart. But what confused me was that this wasn’t even his area of expertise. He was straight out unhelpful, telling me nothing could be done to help me and left me empty handed.
On 18 March I saw the hospital cardiologist. He said everything was okay, all my tests were good and there was nothing he could do for me, even though I have a hole in my heart and a couple hundred more beats of my heart each day!
I told him that my heart was worse than it had ever felt, and he just said he would prescribe some beta blockers. He said I could walk out of the hospital on that day and have a heart attack and it wouldn’t have anything to do with my conditions, whatever that meant. As you can imagine, I walked out of there very upset and I have not been back to see anyone since.
It’s now six months later and I have had a number of episodes where I should have been in hospital, but I have just accepted this as my new normal. It doesn’t get any easier, I have just accepted it.
I have since changed jobs to work something a little bit easier and less hours. I have also got in the habit of taking Nurofen every morning to help manage my symptoms, which probably isn’t a great thing to do, but if I don’t take it I notice my symptoms more.
I have more questions than answers and no one is willing to take me what is happening to me seriously. I have been made out to feel like I’m stupid and faking it, even being told I’m basically an alcoholic and anorexic by medical professionals. This has left me feeling extremely distrustful towards the medical establishment. After all, it was their advice that got me here in the first place.
Currently I still experience numbness and tingling in the left hand side of my body. Even as I speak right now, I have tingling in the left hand side of the back of my head. I cannot feel my left foot, I have mild brain fog and tremors, on and off severe fatigue, heart flutters every day, jolting in my sleep and, most recently, I have experienced some tics. For example, I was holding a coffee mug recently, and suddenly I threw it out of my hands. It was out of my control.
I think I’m getting better in some ways, but I don’t feel the same person as I did before, and I still have new symptoms coming on a year post-vaccine.