I was a healthy 23-year-old active musician/gym enthusiast. I had my first AstraZeneca vaccination on 15th September 2021. I was terrified of needles and also did not want to get the jab straight away since it was fairly new and I was aware of some of the reactions people were having.
I had a big push from almost all of my friends, who were so important to me and who I still know to this day would not be my friend, if I hadn’t had my jab. Also, my partner at the time, (and who I am no longer with), said that if I didn’t get the jab, we could no longer be together. This was my first relationship and looking back at it now, it was the worst decision I have ever made.
Three days after my first jab, I started to experience heart palpitations, blurred vision, dizziness and light chest pain. I went to the hospital emergency room where they told me it was just anxiety and I was sent home to rest. The symptoms worsened, especially at night, where I couldn’t breathe. It felt like someone was sitting on my chest and some days, like someone was stabbing a knife into my heart, each time I would try to take a deep breath.
I went to a new GP, who prescribed me Valium which I have never taken in my life and I still have not taken. Throughout the experience I was dismissed so many times by a total of around eight GPs until I was finally sent to a cardiologist who diagnosed me with costochondritis, which is inflammation that was affecting my whole body. Some days it was so bad I was unable to even walk. I had to have five blood tests in the span of three months. This was the worst due to my needle phobia and also going through the experience alone. I had countless ECGs, Holter monitor test, echocardiograms, chest X-ray, lung X-ray, and so many hours spent in GP and hospital emergency rooms.
Prior to having my first jab I was active. I would exercise every day without fail and ensure my diet consisted of the appropriate amounts of protein, greens and fruit and so forth. I was social and would hang out regularly with friends, go hiking and skateboard. Now I am mostly bed ridden or confined to what my body will allow me to do without pain. I have had to front all of the medical costs from my own pocket while not being able to work due to pain. I’ve also had to endure the experience alone, as I did not want to tell my family and stress them more than necessary.
On the 20th of December I was at the hospital emergency room where they ran further testing and noted I had abnormalities common with pericarditis. I was given further medication and have since been diagnosed properly with both costochondritis and pericarditis.
It has now been almost over four months and some days I wake up in excruciating pain, but other days the pain is tolerable. I am unsure of what my recovery will be like and how much I will be able to recover, but I am ready and comfortable to share my story and raise awareness for everyone who has gone through and are still going through this experience.