My name is Valerie. I’m currently 24 years old but had my first jab when I was 23. Prior to my jab, I had no pre-existing conditions. I was active almost every single day at the gym and working a busy nine to five job in customer service. I was extremely social, attending concerts and going out with friends. I had also hoped to one day play live music because I am a guitarist, bass player, pianist and drum player.
I got the jab for a few reasons. My social life was extremely important to me and the thought of not being able to attend live shows, or even enter the gym, was daunting. Growing up I was extremely insecure because of my weight, but in the last three years I had been eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly, which completely changed my life. The thought of losing all I had worked towards, as well as pressure from my close friends and ex partner to get the jab, was enough to push me over the edge.
I have always had an extreme fear of needles. Despite this, I still had all of my childhood and teenage vaccines but was hesitant on this one. There was a shortage of Pfizer at the time and Moderna was not available yet available in NSW. Many friends and especially my ex were telling me I had to go and have the jab, otherwise we couldn’t hang out or even see each other, once restrictions lifted. I was in an extremely uncomfortable situation but decided on 15th September 2021 to book in and have the AstraZeneca jab.
The first day I had a sore arm and on the second day I developed flu symptoms. I was aware these symptoms were likely to happen. I had hot and cold sweats, sore muscles, headache etc. On the third day I remember waking up with heart palpitations, which later worsened. I also had dizziness, blurred vision and light chest pain. I called the Covid hotline and they advised me to visit the emergency room immediately.
My first visit to the ER opened my eyes as to how serious the situation was. There was an entire section of the hospital for people injured after their jabs. I was there for a few hours and in that time had an ECG and blood test. Both results came back normal. The doctor advised it was just unconscious anxiety and that I should go home and rest. This was the first of many appointments, emergency room visits and injured people I would encounter throughout my experience.
I stopped working on 20th September as most of my days were spent bedridden or at the GP trying to search for any answers. During this time my chest pain worsened. My heart palpitations had become at times unbearable, and I had extreme brain fog. I also developed numbness in my arms and legs. This meant I was unable to play my instruments for an extended period of time and I still cannot play drums to this day.
The numerous GPs I saw were all extremely dismissive and advised me my symptoms were just anxiety. I was prescribed Valium and Endone, both of which I did not take, and a higher dosage of ibuprofen for the pain. I was eventually sent to see a specialist because my heart pains and palpitations were only getting worse by the day.
During the first four months following my first jab, I had nine blood tests, countless ECG’s, chest X-rays, lung scans, a Holter monitor and two echocardiograms. My cardiologist requested most of these and later advised my results were normal. I was told I’d just developed a severe case of costochondritis and suspected pericarditis.
It wasn’t until my ER visit, mid December 2021 (after another episode of chest pain, heart palpitations and painful rash), that they discovered abnormalities in my heart associated with pericarditis, through an ECG. I was discharged and given ibuprofen and more colchicine. Since then, I have done many protocols to try and regain my health.
My Cardiologist requested I take Colchicine, alongside ibuprofen for pain. At the time it seemed like a bandaid fix to a serious problem. I was still having sharp chest pain, heart palpitations, numbness in my arms and legs, brain fog and numerous other symptoms I’d never experienced in my life.
Throughout the next few months, I began many different protocols in the search to find something that could ease my symptoms and provide me with some relief. I saw a herbalist, a holistic doctor, a traditional Chinese doctor, a naturopath and also began physio to regain some of the strength I’d lost. With each protocol I saw minor improvements and was thankful I had savings from work to afford the medical costs I was faced with. My family did not know at the time because I didn’t want to worry them. This was difficult to go through, although I knew deep down, I couldn’t hide the story for much longer.
In early January 2022, I decided to share my experience on Jab Injuries Australia (JIA). I’d lost everything at this point, my ex-partner, friends and thousands and thousands of dollars. I had also lost any sense of normality that I had prior to the jab. When my story was published, I didn’t expect it to reach as many people as it did. The support was so amazing and I was able to connect to countless others who had the exact same story.
Many people I went to school with shared my story and reconnected to tell me similar experiences that either they, or someone they knew, had had after the jab. I still had support from my close friends. However, after becoming vocal on social media about my distrust in the health system and the jab that caused my health problems, it became evident there was a disconnect and we no longer aligned as friends.
It was impossible to stay silent about the mistreatment that myself and many others had received. However, this was met with waves of hate, predominately from people I knew and had previously called ‘friends’. I’m extremely grateful to have reconnected and strengthened current bonds with the people around me now. But it was difficult realising my long standing friendships were conditional. They were only kept on the basis that I didn’t speak out, or share information, relating to our injuries.
I began speaking at rallies, protests and writing songs to document the traumatic experience I had been through. While I was met with so much support and unconditional love from complete strangers, I also experienced the brunt of social media slander and bullying. Nothing is more important to me now than advocacy and helping others find something that can provide relief. No amount of bullying was going to stop me from speaking my mind. I turned up to every protest with my sign, to let the general public know we are real, we are being ignored and the people need to wake up to what is happening.
I have had huge success with Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment (HBOT), one-hour sessions and 15 minute Novothor, red light therapy sessions. I began this treatment in early February of 2022 and would go every second day. These treatments and new protocols were only made possible by the generous donations to my GoFundMe, which I closed shortly after creating. Many donations were from people I went to high school with or who also had a similar experience after the jab.
I’m currently at session 50 of HBOT and have seen great improvements overall with my heart. The costochondritis pain has almost completely cleared, which I believed is largely attributed to the red light therapy. I have also extensively changed my diet.
My advice to anyone struggling is to find something that works for you and be consistent with it. Vulnerability was something I found tremendously difficult in this situation, but it led me to where I am now, surrounded by the people I know will support me until the very end.
Despite all of this, I still suffer with heart palpitations. They have never stopped since I had my jab. The chest pain comes on intermittently but has drastically improved after the numerous protocols and treatments I have done. I have good and bad days, or good and bad weeks now, which is better than the constant state of pain I was in for many months. I’m grateful to have seen some improvement and slowly be getting back to some sense of normality.
I’ve also eased back into a work schedule so that I can continue to afford my treatments and recovery protocols. I am taking my music more seriously and am actually performing my first proper gig with a full band soon. I look forward to what the future will bring for me and take the bad days as learning experiences to do better. I am staying consistent with the protocols and treatments. It can be extremely difficult, but I do it for myself and I do it for the person I used to be. I refuse to let this situation define me any longer.