I’m 34, a mum of a 2 year old and we have my partners 10 year old twin boys full time as well. I was a key support worker and also a trainer for level 3 certification in the health, disability, and aged care sector, working mostly with people with intellectual disability.
Before I got the jab, I was pretty close to going back to work after my shoulder reconstruction last year. I’d been a competitive surfcaster and since I couldn’t fish for a while, had opted to be the secretary of the surfcasting club while recovering. I was sceptical of the jab and wanted to see what was happening across the world before committing but saw that it was preventing people from going out and from travelling.
My partner works at the Port, so he had a requirement for mandate and was reluctant to get it. I decided I’d get it out of the way and we both got our first Pfizer jabs on the same day 5th of September 2021. I just had just a sore arm when getting home (I got it in the opposite arm to the shoulder operation) and that night I started to feel fatigued.
Three days after the jab, I was doing gardening and had my first palpitations which felt like a pushing feeling on my chest, and I was short of breath – this lasted for hours. I hadn’t had anything like it before. I contacted Healthline, but felt they fobbed me off as I mentioned I’d had the vaccine a few days before and was just told to talk my doctor. I didn’t see my doctor at the time but over the next few days, I noticed coffee affected me, so I reduced my intake. I was conscious about heart issues as my mum has a history. Palpitations then started happening about once or twice a week in spurts.
I left it for as long as I could between jabs and had my second one 6 weeks later, the 16th of October 2021 on ‘Super Saturday’ at Splash Planet, in the drive through. My partner had his second one 3 weeks after the first and had flu like symptoms for 3 days, and one lymph node under his arm swell like a golf ball. The vaccinator asked if I had any reaction to the first jab, I told her I had palpitations and can’t handle caffeine anymore and mentioned I had a reaction to the Hepatitis-B vaccine when I was younger and I had swollen glands.
I noticed directly after the shot, a metallic/blood taste in my mouth that lingered and also a blood taste through the 15-20 minute wait. I had the sore arm again and was tired for a few days. I intentionally didn’t exert myself for a week after, to try and prevent heart palpitations but had more sporadic episodes. I had only stretched and was on the treadmill at physio and walked my daughter to day-care.
About the 20th of January, I had my worst palpitations – my heart was beating so fast I couldn’t decide whether to call ambulance or not, so I called Healthline again. The person on the phone noted the September call and gaslit me after I said I didn’t go to the doctors about it earlier, so the next day I went. I had an ECG, and had blood tests for troponin levels etc. They told me everything was fine except for my Cholesterol level being 7.0 – 7.4 is a heart attack/stroke risk – I’d not had any issues before this. We had our house on the market around this time, so I was stressed with that.
On the 24th of January I was off to a building inspection on the house we had an offer on, but hung out the washing before leaving, and started getting palpitations again. I left but had to pull over down the road due to chest pain, shortness of breath, and feeling dizzy. I called the ambulance and my heart rate on my watch at the time was 154 bpm. I felt sweaty and like I was going to faint/die. The Paramedic said I didn’t look good and gave me aspirin, I felt my heart rate come down soon after. I had an EGC and more blood tests when at hospital.
I was in the waiting room 3 hours and knew my daughter needed to be picked up from day-care, and I was also getting hungry, so I left and got some lunch across the road and walked back to my car which was not far from the hospital (I live close by), then realised my heart rate was elevating again.
The hospital called me to come back and wanted to admit me into the AAU (Acute Assessment Unit), so I went back for overnight monitoring after sorting out things at home. I told them my heart issues started when I had the first jab. They put me on the heart rate monitor and the Telemetry (necklace type monitor) before this. I’ve had a high resting heart rate since then (90-115 bpm).
Two junior doctors came by the next morning and told me they think it’s anxiety and I have a racing heartbeat. I’ve had anxiety in the past, but it wasn’t like this. On the discharge summary, it notes ‘Anxiety to recent life stresses (they told me I had Anxiety before I told them anything of the house situation), palpitations, no cardiac cause, hyperlipidaemia, Cholesterol 7.0, family history angina, overnight rhythm remains Telemetry sinus-sometimes tachycardic, comes on with activity and rest, not typical picture of Angina’. They prescribed me Propranolol (a beta blocker) at 40mg (an anxiety dose is more like 10mg I’ve since found out) and I was to get my BP reviewed in 1 week.
The 40mg of medication was making me so tired all the time so the doctor prescribed the 10mg dose, but this didn’t help with symptoms, so I went back to the 40mg tablets with half in the morning & half at night. The palpitations would come back when meds wore off around 10-12 hours (morning and night). I hadn’t been able to get a cardiologist appointment as they’re heavily booked, so my mum wanted to give me her appointment. We tried for that with no luck but the lady on the phone mentioned that what’s happening to me is happening to a lot of young people who’ve had the vaccine. She told me I needed an echocardiogram, a heart function test, and an ultrasound to diagnose, and a D-dimer test (I’ve had D-dimer since, which come back normal). They couldn’t swap the appointment because they needed a new patient referral.
We called the ambulance again one night when it was really bad (St John have been great through this). They came, gave me the aspirin and started ECG; I believe they picked something up on ECG, but they didn’t verbalise what it was. As my heart rate came down, they gave me the option to stay at home, and said if there were any issues to call again. I opted for home, but the palpitations started again a few hours later so I called again and went to hospital. In the morning (another) Junior doctor came by telling me my resting heart rate was 60bpm when sleeping and there’s nothing wrong with me!
I had another ECG at the doctors on the 3rd of March 2022, I was talking to the nurse about what was happening and that I’d had no diagnosis, and she said, “I shouldn’t be telling you this, but you’ve told me pretty much word for word what I’ve been through with the accelerated heartrate with sitting, standing, exercising, cardiologist, etc and the palpitations got so bad it caused me to have anxiety – that’s what they told me it was!”- She’s 33.
I had another incident where my heart rate increased (174 BPM) one morning on walking to the bathroom and I had a pushing down on my chest feeling and was short of breath. I yelled to my partner to call the ambulance. He made me lie down and take my medication, I waited and rang the doctor at 9am, who told me to call ambulance. I got to hospital, and it was the first time I’d been treated like a covid case. They tested me before they’d do anything and put me in a sealed room while they waited for my result. As the medication had kicked in by then they wouldn’t do anything to help. I was put on a priority cardiologist list but since got a letter saying that due to high number of referrals, they will contact me when they can. I had the treadmill test in the CCU, and they advised they will do an outpatient monitor (48 hour test). The registrar noted I hadn’t had a diagnosis yet and said they will try and diagnose me. They haven’t formally diagnosed me with anything, but I’d overheard them talking about my case and saying they thought it was sinus tachycardia. I haven’t had the tests for Myocarditis and pericarditis (echocardiograph and ultrasound) which are what MOH have warnings of. They noted for me to keep taking the same medication.
I submitted my report to CARM before my last hospital stay. On the checklist it had Menstrual cycle irregularities, this was the first time I’d seen this as an adverse effect and could then determine why my normal clockwork cycle (tracked with an app), was a week early and heavier than normal – It’s been a 21 day cycle ever since!
I’m currently on a halter monitor and have had he is sitting/standing POTS test today (17th March 2022) – My heart rate was 10bpm under what they determine to be the criteria to diagnose POTS. More tests to come yet.
I’m fatigued, napping, vomiting, have double vision at times and feel like a zombie. I have elevated heart rate sitting up, standing up or even going for a light walk. I want to return to work but would be mandated with the Booster as per the health, disability, and Education requirements. We went fishing last weekend, doing what I love, but it seems anything exercise related (even catching a few fish) triggers my heart pain.