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Melissa Weiss

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

My spouse and I own a business. As a founder, there's always a lot going on. We were supposed to pitch to an investor, but that never came to fruition. When I was 19, I had an abnormal immune response to a flu infection, type A. It was similar to long Covid, but from the flu. Because of my past medical history, and hearing about long Covid, I was in line to get all of the vaccines. Little did I know that the Covid vaccine could cause history to repeat itself.

Describe the symptoms and the timeline of the reaction.

I receive the monovalent booster shot on Nov 25, 2021. That night, about 8 hours later, I was overcome by tiredness. I slept for 16 hours. When I woke up, I had vertigo. The vertigo was so intense, that when I moved, I'd vomit and just roll over. The vertigo episode lasted about 12 hours.

Over the next 2 months, I continued to have intermittent episodes of extreme vertigo. Each episode was preceded by sudden, unusual tiredness and I'd sleep between 16-24 hours. Yes, I'd sleep an entire day. The vertigo lasted between 12 hours and 6 days. I was unable to drive, walk without assistance, work or do any other activity requirement movement.I still get episodes of the sudden tiredness, but the subsequent vertigo is milder.

In Dec 2021, I started having fatigue and joint pain. Really bad joint pain in my hands. The fatigue made it hard to work, but I was able to work a reduced schedule. The joint pain is unbearable at times. It gets to the point that I'm unable to do simple things like hold a fork or cup. I began getting a creep crawly feeling on my arms and face. I started getting weird feeling in my legs and sharp shooting pains in my lower legs to my feet. This makes sleeping difficult because the weird feeling is a bit disturbing.

In Jan 2022, the joint pain spread. It was no longer just my hands, but also my feet, ankles, wrists, elbows and shoulders. My hands and feet feel like icicles, turn bright red on the top and completely white on the bottom if the temperature gets below 60-65. It's painful, like I'm getting frostbite. The fatigue reached a point where I'm no longer able to work. Just going to the store wipes me out for a day or two. Wait there's more. I started having cognitive issues, such as difficulty concentrating, getting confused over relatively simple things, memory issues (constantly losing things).

In Feb 2022, I started having episodes where my arms turn bright red and they burn, like sunburn.

Describe the solutions that helped your symptoms

Dietary changes. I followed the FODMAP diet and found some foods that bother me. Milk, broccoli, sugar alcohols, orange juice, pistachios and almonds. I avoid AGEs (Advanced Glycation End Products). I've found these dietary changes have reduced my baseline level of joint pain, fatigue and cognitive issues. Showers. When my hands/feet hurt a warm shower makes it go away. I use warm water because hot water makes my hands/feet burn when it hits. When I have bad joint pain, I take a hot shower. The relief is temporary, but it's better than no relief at all. Antihistamines, NSAIDS. Antihistamines helps when my skin burns. It doesn't make it go away, but it's the only thing I've found that helps reduce the discomfort. NSAIDS reduce my joint pain. Vitamins/Supplements. Calcium, Vitamins A and D, tumeric, zinc and magnesium. This seems to help reduce the number of random infections I've been getting. Lupus websites. Since people with lupus commonly experience severe fatigue, I decided to look at some lupus websites/blogs. I've learned a lot about pacing myself so I don't lose days because I overdid it on a "good" day. Journaling. It really helps to "get it all out." There a some things I just don't want hanging around in a database or on a server forever, so I use paper. This doesn't help my symptoms per se, but it's a really good outlet.

Which solutions were not helpful?

Taking a vacation. "You just need to take a vacation, get away from things." Exercising. "You'll feel better if you start running again."

What would you like others to know?

Question everything. Always. The people and organizations responsible for your healthcare are the very same people and organizations that gain the most when you're sick. It's ok if you need to "talk to somebody," as in a professional. There's no weakness in that.
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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.