Pfizer # 1: FF4206
Pfizer # 2: FJ8372
Over 12 months, Sara has had 71 doctors’ visits, as well as 9 visits to A&E between December and May. 13 months since her second Pfizer vaccine and she is still suffering and without a diagnosis.
I turned 40 this year and am a mum of two children. I’ve been a hairdresser for over 20 years, it’s a huge passion of mine – I find it very rewarding making others feel good about themselves. I was active and on my feet all day, healthy and often out walking, and a social bunny who liked to party too. I’d had glandular fever when I was younger and ended up in hospital for a couple of weeks, but apart from that in the later years, I’d only get the average once a year cold/flu.
I didn’t want the vaccine and held off for as long as I could. Some family members were against it, and others were for it. I’d just wanted to trust my process, but it got to the point that the (Nationwide) company I worked for said if we didn’t get the vaccine, we can’t work with them. In the end I thought, well, I’ve had vaccines before and been fine, and everyone’s going to do it.
I had my first Pfizer vaccine on the 1st of September 2021. We all popped to the chemist next to the salon to have it on the day. I had a sore arm, as most of us did, but was fine apart from feeling like my glands were swollen. I had the second Pfizer vaccine on the 8th of October 2021. I felt quite dizzy and lightheaded within 10 mins of having it and remember driving home feeling dizzy but didn’t consider it was the vaccine that was making me feel this way.
A couple of weeks later, I had a whole week off work as I was so unwell. My neck was swollen, and I had unusual swelling in the face. I thought it was allergies even though I’d never had swelling like this before. I then had bad diarrhea which started late October and continued through the end of November. I’d had pain along with it, but it was tolerable. I had a covid test when I went back to work, but it was negative. Late November I had a glass of wine, felt extremely unwell and vomited (unlike me). The last shift I worked at was the end of November 2021, things got worse after that.
On the 1st of December I had excruciating pain in my upper abdomen and the area in-between my ribs. I felt like I needed to go to the hospital (but didn’t go) and vomited with the pain. I’d wondered whether I had a blockage or something, it was horrendous. I went to the doctor the next day and was given pain relief. He suggested an Endoscopy and said if I got worse to go to A&E, which I did the next day (3rd of December). Fatigue had hit me so hard that my partner had to pull my hands to sit me up in the bed. I sat for hours in A&E waiting and was falling asleep – they asked me if I’d had a big weekend on the booze, that’s when I realised they were just going to give me pain relief and send me away. The vaccine wasn’t mentioned on this visit, and I hadn’t yet put 2 and 2 together.
On the 5th of December I flew to Christchurch with my daughter for a specialist appointment. I was still in severe pain with major fatigue but pulled all my strength together to attend this appointment with her. We stayed at my mums, and I’d been as white a ghost, my heart was racing, and I was falling asleep with fatigue. Mum was worried and called an Ambulance, but they said they were too busy to come and asked if I could I make my own way to hospital. The wait was going to be long, so they got a picc line in to get bloods done. There were no beds and I had to stay in the waiting room for hours. They hadn’t given me strong enough pain relief because they wanted to wait for my test results first – I was slumped in a chair trying not to fall asleep. The doctor came after 5 hours, said my bloods were clear then gave me ketamine for pain relief, and arranged a referral for an ultrasound on my stomach (as they’d suspected pancreatitis), then discharged me at 6pm saying they didn’t have space to keep me in the hospital. With blurred vision (I could hardly see) and feeling like I was wasted as the pain relief had kicked in, I managed to order an uber and went back to mums and slept. I was having codeine and Panadol every 4 hours; they didn’t give me anti-inflammatories as we didn’t know what was going on with my stomach. I had the ultrasound the next day and the results came back normal. They prescribed me Omeprazole to try and settle my stomach and said they could do the endoscopy in Christchurch, but my daughter and I were booked to fly back to Invercargill that evening (7th of December). From this point I needed help to get out of bed and my partner was showering me, cooking for me, and doing everything for me (it was like this until May). I was denied the gastro referral for the endoscopy through public system in Invercargill, they said I ‘wasn’t bad enough yet’. They were under pressure and appt times were months away, so mum paid for it to be done privately, which happened mid-December (and cost $2,300) – the results were all clear.
I was back in hospital on the 16th of December in excruciating pain again in my upper abdomen and had shooting pains starting in my legs and through my body. They just gave me morphine and sent me home (which happened at all my A&E visits from this point). They were at a loss of what to do with me – I felt like I was dying and was not getting any better. The morphine was taking the edge off, but I was still in pain. I was either at A&E or communicating with my doctor every second day. My doctor put through a referral for a CT scan, which was booked for the 30th of December. On the 24th of December we went to HAAST on a family holiday. I was taking 8 tramadol’s and 8 Panadol’s a day and given morphine as a backup, giving me ability to cope through the night. My partner helped me through this time as I was a zombie and had no appetite but wanted to put on a brave front for my kids. I ended up coming back on 29th December as I was bleeding from the bowel and didn’t know what was going on. I also had blue lips at this time and people were commenting on them. I had blue lips when I was in Christchurch too but didn’t think much of it at the time. I went straight to hospital, and they gave me IV morphine and ended up having the CT scan a day earlier than what was booked. They thought my pancreas looked unusual, but the results came back normal. They weren’t willing to admit me to any ward as they didn’t know what was going on and discharged me after 16 hours.
In January, I was still regularly going into the A&E. One nurse treated me quite badly and made out I was there just trying to get drugs, I burst into tears. She ended up looking back through my records and then must’ve realised it was a longstanding issue. Every blood test I had showed I had high C-Reactive Protein levels (which means inflammation), and low Neutrophils (white blood cells), but they never seemed too worried about it. My general experience was that the male doctors made me feel l was mental and suggested I see a counsellor, and I would come home, or be on over the phone and burst into tears and thought maybe it WAS all in my head, but my partner would tell me he’d been through this with me, and what I’m going through is real – He was a witness to my pain and suffering throughout this whole time. On the 24th of January 2021, I woke up soaking in sweat and feeling like I was dying. I couldn’t get out of bed. I couldn’t completely wake up and was in excruciating pain again. I had pain going from my right side and up through my back, my tummy was in pain, I had aches through my arms and legs, I had brain freeze headaches, a fainting feeling, constant dizziness, and was mentally struggling. 95% of my time was spent in bed at this point. I went to the doctor again and said I’d wondered whether I may have been poisoned. She asked whether I’d been gardening, or whether I’d been given food from other people among other questions. We worked backwards to when my symptoms started and realised the only different thing, was that I’d had the vaccine just before this started. My doctor ended up writing to the Infectious Diseases Authority to ask whether my symptoms could be a reaction from the covid vaccine. They wrote back swiftly saying there’s no way this could be caused by the vaccine.
My doctor then referred me to a surgical specialist (a ‘head of department’) who I saw in February and who said, “We’ve discussed your situation, we don’t know what’s going on with you and can’t just operate on anything” so I was referred to the next specialist.
In February I was getting new symptoms, with trembling legs, being out of balance and I also started having a popping sensation in my ears that would result in intense pain and stabbing pains in my eyes. Everything ‘looked’ fine, but I still had blue lips and my fingernail beds were blue too – which would normally be from a lack of oxygen, but my oxygen levels were always fine. On my A&E visits and they would always ask me the same questions, asking me if there was anything that had been different – I would always say ‘the vaccine’ and get fobbed off. My doctor was doing regular bloods, but they were always coming back normal. She then referred me to a Rheumatologist, but it was so a 6 month wait through public and a 3-6 month wait privately in Southland, so mum came to the party again and we booked a Rheumatologist in Christchurch with a great reputation, but he couldn’t see me until May.
In March, I was desperate for help. I had a consult with NZDSOS who took me seriously and their validation of what I was experiencing was such a relief as I’d developed a fear of people not taking me seriously. I got majority of the products that NZDSOS advised but couldn’t do it all as I had tried to budget and prioritize and was just hanging out for my Rheumatologist appointment. I had a Gastroenterologist appointment in March and prepared myself to mention the vaccine and be gaslit, but after telling him everything he said “well, we don’t know; it could potentially be from the vaccine as we don’t know what the effects are”. I had a sigh of relief – he was the first one who made me feel like I wasn’t cuckoo. From my CT, ultrasound, and endoscopy results, he said there were no ulcers or lesions etc, and all my tests and scans were fine. He started me on Amitriptyline, an old school antidepressant now used for chronic pain. My doctor had also done some autoimmune tests which had all come back with high numbers and positives – I’d almost felt excited that I could be closer to a diagnosis. My doctor was supportive and took me seriously, believing that what was happening to me was caused by the vaccine and reported my reaction to CARM. I was still on pain relief and still having new symptoms. The ear/eye thing was bad and in April I’d had a few weeks of bleeding noses. I’d not had one before, so it was scary. I also remember a day in April when my kids were at school and my dog did a wee on my duvet. I was bedridden and in tears as I couldn’t move and was having to lie in it, and no-one was home to help me. After this, mum organised someone to help with the housework..
I went to the Rheumatologist in Christchurch in May. It was also my 40th birthday so I’d tried to arrange a get together to celebrate, but I still felt like I was dying. I had headaches, body aches, sore tummy, weight loss and was not myself in any way. I had to cancel it as I couldn’t function at all. It was then I started to stress that I was at risk of losing my job – I’d had amazing clientele that I’d taken a while to build up. I’d had my partner and mum there financially, but everything was so expensive with doctors’ visits etc. The Rheumatologist was fantastic, took me seriously and made me feel like this could be from the vaccine and said, “It’s very similar to what we’re seeing in people with post-covid syndrome and It’s also Fibromyalgia like” (I’d not had covid at all). He didn’t see any connection with autoimmune disease though and believed the pain was to do with my nerve receptors. I’d been taking the Amitriptyline for 8 weeks and finding I could sit up a little longer and could get up and make myself a coffee (I was advised it would take about 6 months to fully work). The Rheumatologist doubled my dose of Amitriptyline, and also prescribed pregabalin (for people with chronic pain, and seizures). I had another appt with NZDSOS but didn’t tell my doctor as I was scared she would drop me. I had electric shocks start through my body in May, it feels like when you touch an electric fence and a jolt goes through your body and even happens in my sleep – my partner would tell me in the morning he’d notice my body jerk in the bed, He bought me a fit bit to keep an eye on my heart as I was also had palpitations. A Holter monitor had been requested in March, but it’s now November and I haven’t heard anything. My resting Heart rate is about 101bpm – lying in bed at times it can be 145bpm. No-one has taken notice of my heart issues, but I’ve mentioned them since January.
The Rheumatologist discharged me from his care and had referred me to an immunologist (It’s been 6 months and I’ve not yet heard back from the Immunologist) and also suggested I put in an application to ACC with my doctor for vaccine injury, which I did. Medical professionals have been really clever with their words saying things like ‘the timing is suspicious around timing of the vaccine’. My ACC case worker, an ex-physio, was thorough with my case. The Amitriptyline and Pregabalin provided me a bit of relief and I was able to go out to the beach in the car with my partner, but then out of nowhere I would be bedbound again with electric shocks through my body and not be able to stand longer than 10 mins.
I see my doctor once a month now and my ACC case manager had called to say my info had been sent to the NZ head immunologist, Andrew Baker. His response is 19 pages of contradiction. On ACC’s summary of me, they called it a “medical injury”. Andrew had said there isn’t enough research, but it’s a +50% chance that the covid vaccine is a part factor and it was too hard for him to make a decision, so he was handing it back to ACC to decide how they want to approach the uncertainty. I got a call from my case manager a few weeks ago saying they declined me. I want to appeal it. I contacted the ‘Southland ACC Advocacy Trust’ who are reviewing my information, and also sent my story to everyone with a govt email asking for help. One local MP is interested in my case and willing to help. Some other vaccine injured people & I spoke on the Platform with Rodney Hyde, along with Lynda Wharton in August, It was incredible to be able to speak about our experiences as I’ve had people tell me I’d get further if I don’t mention the vaccine, and others ask if I should just see a psychologist.
I resigned from my job 4 weeks ago as I can’t commit to shifts, and I passed out around that time too with severe pain in my head – I didn’t go to hospital due to repeated lack of help & bad experiences – My faith in emergency and ambulance services is lost. I just have morphine at home in case I need it. I went to the doctor last week and have a Cardiologist referral. My heart rate is really high, and BP is really low – It’s a never-ending nightmare with the hardest thing NOT going through a deep hole of depression. I’m just trying to function as a parent and partner and continue to focus my time and energy in the right areas, like battling ACC for financial help and accountability. Many people I speak to do not take the time to understand and as soon as they hear ‘vaccine injured’ they shut down and don’t want to talk about it. We need to fight together to be taken seriously as no one is willing to help.