I’m 35 and a mum of 3 (18, 16 and 8 years old). I’ve always lived an active lifestyle and been health conscious. Prior to the covid vaccine, I was running morning yoga sessions (I’m a qualified yoga teacher) and enjoyed doing MMA. Last year I was doing a health & wellbeing course to get the certification needed to work in the mental health unit at the hospital, I wanted to work in that environment and bring my yoga into that kind of space. My only pre-existing condition was depression I had in 2015 which had since been well managed.
My intuition was telling me not to get the vaccine because it was still in trial, but the mandate came. The side effects listed on the MOH website were minor and a 1 in a million case of Myocarditis, so I thought I’d be fine. I had my one and only Pfizer vaccine on 19th of October 2021. Half an hour after I got it, I started to get severe stabbing chest pain in my heart and ended up going to ED. The doctor commented that I was the 4th person they’d seen that day with the same symptoms after their first Pfizer vaccine and said, “We don’t know what this vaccine is going to do to you or others”. Another said, “It’s a waiting game, so we’ll just have to see what happens to you”. I had an ECG, bloods and was sent home and told to take ibuprofen.
The pain was still bad the next day, so I went to an afterhours doctor who took tests, including a D-dimer, and diagnosed me with Costochondritis post-vaccine. I was given ibuprofen. A couple of days later I had a voice message on my phone from the doctor saying they were concerned with my raise D-dimer, meaning I could have a blood clot, and advised me to go the hospital, so I did.
The chest pain was still bad and by the time the doctor finally saw me (after a 5 hour wait), I had ended up on the floor of the waiting room holding my heart. There were others with similar symptoms to mine in the waiting room too. He told me my observations were fine, but my blood pressure was a little high. I told him about the call from the doctor of a potential blood clot and that I needed a CT scan – I even had him listen to the message on my voicemail, which he dismissed along with the pain I was in. I pleaded with him for about 30 mins for the CT scan, but he wouldn’t agree, so I got the Senior Doctor who agreed to the CT scan – the results were fine.
Over the next few weeks, my symptoms got worse. I started to experience chest tightness, so tight I couldn’t sleep at night, my lymph nodes under my armpit blew up, I had shortness of breath, numbness in my face and tongue, a metallic taste in my mouth as well as a feeling like I’d forgotten how to swallow. My arms were going numb, the whole left side of my body was swollen, and I even had little blood clots coming out my left nostril along with an ice-pick headache on the left side of my head – it felt like I was having a stroke. I also couldn’t walk to the bathroom or 3-4 metres without having to sit down – I was disabled (for months). I also developed an ‘Autoimmune rash’, tiny red dots on my arms and neck, which I still have and that spread around my body different places. Lots of weird things were happening and nothing was easing, so I kept going back to the hospital seeking answers and relief.
On the 10th or 11th visit, I’d had the first helpful doctor who investigated further, she did a D-dimer which was more elevated than the previous ones, so she put me on blood thinners (Rivaroxaban), which helped with some of the pain, and gave a diagnosis of vertigo and possible clot in my leg, and sent me for an ultrasound, which was clear. I was also prescribed Lorazepam for internal vibrations and tremors I was having, which were preventing me from sleeping.
I went to hospital by ambulance in early November due to severe stabbing pains in my chest and back and had thought I was having a heart attack – they tried to tell me it was muscular. In hospital they gave me 3 Aspirin, Morphine and sent me home.
I had a zoom appt with an immunologist (the best in his field and an advisor to the govt) on 30th of November, and at that point I’d had 21 hospital visits in the 6 weeks since the vaccine. He ordered a bunch of tests as well as a full blood panel and a covid antibodies test. The symptoms I’d been experiencing at the time (as per his notes) were night sweats, coughing sputum, 5kg weight loss, twitching in legs and swelling of lymph nodes. He diagnosed me with Long-covid following first Pfizer vaccine, and elevated D-dimer.
On the 1st of December I was admitted into a mental health unit (the same one I wanted to work at) because they thought I was manifesting all this and was a hypochondriac. I willingly went because I needed someone to listen to me, I needed help. They put me on 2 anti-psychotics; Quetiapine and Risperidone, plus I was on Lorazepam and melatonin as well as the sertraline which I’ve been on for years. I had to keep trying to convince them This wasn’t a mental health issue and that I’d had a Long-covid post vaccine diagnosis from the best immunologist in the country. They didn’t believe me and dismissed his diagnosis, but then discharged me after 5 days because they could see no medications were working and that it really was a physical issue as my heart pain, tremors and internal vibrations were still happening.
I started to become quite depressed after this as nobody could give me answers, I felt alone and didn’t know if I was going to die. I was even planning my funeral and ringing family members to say how I wanted things to go should I not wake up. I was having to be propped up in bed with pillows to sleep as I had difficulty breathing properly.
My second ambulance trip was just before Christmas – I’d gone to get up to go to the pool with my family and I couldn’t. My body had slowly started to shut down in what was like a sleep paralysis, and I couldn’t open my eyes. My partner called the ambulance and when they arrived, they’d tried to say that I’d overdosed! My partner had to fight for me that I had not overdosed and that I’d been diagnosed with Costochondritis post-vaccine and vaccine-Induced Long-covid – They were trying to tell him that I just needed Gaviscon! I went to hospital and was monitored in ED for 2-3 hrs and sent home with no diagnosis. After some research, I believe what I had was a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) stroke.
The two months post-vaccine are just a blur – It feels like I lost that time. I was going to hospital all the time, not getting any relief, and thinking I was going to die. My doctor had applied 3 times for an exemption for me from the second vaccine and was declined each time. The Immunologist also didn’t know how to help with the Long-covid. In January my Immunologist prescribed me an inhaler for Bronchial Inflammation (it provided a little relief, but it gave me oral thrush, so I stopped taking that), and suggested I see a pulmonary specialist about my lungs.
This year I started going to an acupuncturist, which I found helped my circulation. I did an HBOT treatment (which helped with the brain fog) and Red Light Therapy, had IV Infusions of Vitamin C, B and Glutathione plus started taking antihistamines. This was when I started to see improvements with my health.
I ‘d also given my blood to a scientist here in NZ who is doing some research around Long-covid from vaccine Injury vs Long-covid naturally acquired. They are finding micro clots in all our blood, injured or not and have determined that vaccine-Injured Long-covid is more severe, but still don’t know what is causing the micro-clots. Some results also showed that I still had spike protein in my blood in February, but it’s only supposed to be in your system a few days. I’ve also been connecting with a lab over in Germany where they have a clinic that helps people with Long-covid and vaccine Injury and are doing treatments using ‘Apheresis’, a type of blood cleansing technology which NZ, or closer countries don’t have, but there’s no possibility for me to look at that currently.
My partner and mum have been my caregivers and my partner has spent about $15,000 on specialists, treatments etc trying to help me. My children have also been really affected; they didn’t know if I was going to make it.
Currently my symptoms are still chest pain, tremors and internal vibrations, my motor skills aren’t very good, short term memory loss and I’m drained. I didn’t have a period for 4 months and my hair has been falling out since I had the vaccine. My blood clotting markers are up, and inflammatory markers are down. It’s a battle to find medical professionals who know what they’re doing, because it’s all so new. Long-covid is essentially ‘MIS’ Multi-inflammatory syndrome. I’m on CBD oil and Lorazepam now but can’t stay on that forever.
I have lost friends and had people unfriend me on social media because I’m vaccine injured and speaking up about it, so they saw me as Anti-vax. Out of everything I’ve experienced, the gaslighting and dismissing has done more damage than the physical symptoms. I have since developed a fear of hospitals and have PTSD from the experience.
My 8 year old is un-vaccinated and got covid when I did in early March and still has long-covid symptoms; short-term memory loss, fatigue, confusion, low white blood count, lymphocyte monocytes and low vitamin D, so not only have I gone to hospital for my own issues, but for hers too and experienced medical gaslighting with her which has been additionally traumatising.
I have a lawyer and am fighting ACC as they have declined compensation or support for my vaccine injury claim. There are a group of us who are injured who are sharing the same lawyer and doing the same thing.
There are many of us around the country, we have online groups, do research, and share information trying to help each other. It’s the injured helping the injured because there’s no help or support from the government whatsoever.