Accessibility Tools

Skip to main content

Mandy Greco

What was your life like before you received the COVID-19 vaccine?

13 years old, healthy with no health issues and no need for medications. Had been a competitive swimmer prior to pandemic and was getting vaccinated to return to competitive swimming. Had been staying active and swimming 2-3 thousand yards 3 or 4 times per week in preparation for swim practices. Also played drum set several hours a week.

Describe the symptoms and the timeline of the reaction.

Approximately 27 hours following the second dose of Pfizer vaccine injected in left arm, began having chest pressure and electrical shock-like pain with shortness of breath and tingling/numbness in left leg. It was painful to be in an upright position. Leg numbness subsided by following day. On about day 5, had left arm numbness/tingling and vertigo along with the persistent chest pressure, shortness of breath, and electrical shock pain in chest. Could not comfortably sit up, walking was fatiguing and became winded after walking very, very slowly up a flight of stairs at doctor’s office, was very sensitive to any sort of smoke/exhaust, difficulty talking due to chest pressure, fast heartbeat upon standing. At the 3rd ER visit in 5 days, referred for an echocardiogram, which was interpreted as normal.

At the 4th ER visit, CT scan of lungs revealed healthy looking lungs.

During the initial weeks, the chest pain of electrical shock sensation spread to limbs, other parts of torso, back, neck, ear, face, and head. Also had cold air sensation through hands and feet on occasion. At 3 or 4 weeks post vaccine, started prednisone pack for 6 days, which was extended to about 3 weeks. A couple of hours after taking first dose, chest pressure improvement noticed and was able to laugh a little. Began being able to walk a little for very short distances and slowly but would still experience respiratory distress with exposure to auto exhaust, burning candles, cigarette smoke, etc. No history of asthma.

Around 6 or 7 weeks post vaccine, was prescribed steroid inhaler (250/50) twice daily and Albuterol as needed. The steroid inhaler provided immediate relief of much of the chest pressure and was able to breathe better and walk much longer distances and at a faster pace. Could also play drums again for brief periods of time. PFT showed reduced total lung capacity at 68% but performance on test yielded questionable validity, although gave best effort possible at that time.

At the time of taking prednisone, was also prescribed colchicine. Took it for over 2 months. Not sure if it helped.

About 3 months post vaccination, continued experiencing widespread nerve pain, vertigo, exertion intolerance, shortness of breath, and respiratory sensitivity to smoke. Doctors cleared her to return to swim training. Was not able to complete 100% of practice sets without taking short breaks due to feeling as if can’t get enough air into lungs - it’s as though there’s a wall in chest. Now, feeling of being able to go past the wall but in races feels that insufficient oxygen is getting to muscles. In the past month, there are some days of completing all sets of practice. Cannot race full out on distances greater than 50 yards and even on a 50 race, cannot always finish all out. After almost 11 months post vaccine, it’s improved since 3 months post but the exertion intolerance still limits all out racing to 50 yards maximum.

In November, steroid inhaler dosage increased to 500/50. During the week of increase, the vertigo symptoms stopped and haven’t returned. The increase did not help with racing ability.

In December started acupuncture, which is a continuing treatment. Has provided some pain relief. The ear seeds for acupressure seem to help with lungs and greater exertion ability in practices.

January started having different kind of pain on left side of body such as upper left chest and under ribcage that feels hollow and sharp. Sometimes the pain is accompanied by heat sensation in hands or head briefly. Also beginning in January had a handful of instances where lower legs and feet would burn and be extremely sensitive to touch.

In January had second PFT. Results showed normal upper respiratory function (with taking steroid inhaler 500/50 2x daily) and reduced total lung capacity at 78% (improved from August but still reduced capacity with no explanation).

In March had cardiopulmonary exercise stress test. Results showed systems are mechanically working correctly.

In April started taking 10 mg of amitriptyline daily, which has helped nerve pain quite a bit.

Also had EMG and NCV with normal results.

This month will start receiving breathing exercise therapy with a speech language therapist.

Describe the solutions that helped your symptoms

Short-term course of prednisone- 3 weeks. Long term use of Wixela 500/50 twice daily. Albuterol before exercise. Swimming helps alleviate nerve pain during practice and the night time hours that follow. Ear seeds 24/7. Helps with breathing/ lungs. Acupuncture. 10 mg of amitriptyline daily for nerve pain. Breathing exercises (only little experience with it so far).

Which solutions were not helpful?

Naproxen, Symbicort, ibuprofen, Tylenol
  • I certify that the statements made in the above submission are true and correct to the best of my knowledge, information and belief.
  • I agree to allow React 19 to share my testimonial publicly on its website, social media, or webinar platforms. I further understand that my testimonial will be posted publicly and React 19 cannot prevent third-parties from sharing it once public.
  • I agree to notify React 19 immediately should I discover inaccuracies in my testimonial in order to maintain the integrity of React 19's advocacy platform.
The individual experience shared above is offered for informational purposes only. React19 neither endorses nor recommends any treatment(s) noted therein. React19 does not diagnose medical conditions, offer treatment advice, treat illnesses, or prescribe medicine or drugs. It is strongly recommended that, prior to acting upon any information gleaned from a shared experience, you first consult a physician.