Accessibility Tools

Skip to main content

Renate Schipper

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

I worked full-time as a self-employed translator. Had remigrated to the Netherlands from the UK in 2020, which I found hard as I loved my life in the UK. It didn't help that there was a pandemic and little opportunity to meet up with people. As for my health: my main issues were low energy at times, an intolerance to gluten and dairy (tested by an independent, so called "alternative" doctor at the time - urine sample was sent to a specialized lab in Norway at the time), Attention Deficit Disorder and a tendency towards depression and anxiety. Otherwise, I've always been in good health. In the course of 2021 I was starting to feel more at home in the Netherlands and in October 2021 my partner and I bought a house in a small village, which we were (and are) very happy with/in.

Describe the symptoms and the timeline of the reaction.

- Tingling in the feet, hands, limbs, and around my mouth. Not sure when that started, but definitely after the first vaccine dose. Not always there but sometimes quite violently present.

- Sometimes my left foot is completely numb. Lately, my hands have also started to feel numb at times.

- Muscle weakness, especially in limbs and trembling, especially in my hands. Again, not always present, but nowadays it happens daily at some point during the day.

- Sometimes a pressing feeling in my head, as if my brain is swollen and is buzzing. Happens less these days.

- Unsteady on my feet, as if drunk. I think the first time this happened was early this year.

- Forming sentences and finding words is more difficult than it used to be. Because I work as a translator I finds this frightening as I was schooled in language.

- My right eye sometimes twitches and then falls shut. Actually both eyes feel very heavy at times, and my eyes feel dry, have double vision sometimes when I try to read something right in front of me. Daily now.

- Speech is sometimes slow, slurred even and my mouth feels too tired to speak.

- Often too tired to do anything, to even think. At those times I need to lie down and can do nothing. Happens almost daily

- One time, 2 weeks ago, my feet felt like they were on fire. Extremely hot, and I've also had a shooting pain in my right foot, as if I had stepped on a needle. In general, the tingling in my feet and hands that I had before seems to be replaced by numbness.

- In general, I often feel unwell, sick, as if hungover

I compiled the timeline below with the help of my medical records that I can access online through my GP.

16-07-2021 - muscle weakness that came and went - my GP had my blood tested

29-07-2021 - saw my GP again because the muscle weakness remained. Got a prescription for Iron tablets

02-11-2021 - saw GP again for muscle weakness, who prescribed Iron tablets

04-11-2021 - Iron tablet prescription was stopped because my Iron levels were normal and they didn't help

08-11-2021 - Tested for coeliac disease, which came back negative. Because I had already cut gluten from my diet I wasn't surprised by that result.

18-11-2021 - Depressed feeling, was referred to a therapist connected to my GP

19-11-2021 - Another GP appointment because muscle weakness remained

At some point after that, my right index finger started to swell. Because it didn't hurt, I figured it would go away but when it didn't and when my ring finger also swelled up, I went to see my GP again on:

17-02-2022. She couldn't find any cause for the swelling.

Another blood test followed to rule out an infection. When it came back negative I was sent to hospital on:

31-03-2022 for an X ray of my right hand, to test for arthritis. X ray showed no fractures and my hand looked completely normal. In may 2022 I was referred to a rheumatologist. On:

27-05-2022 the rheumatologist concluded that it wasn't clear what I had, she thought it might be the very beginning of rheumatoid arthrosis in my hand. But she seemed to be just guessing. To this day, I still have swollen fingers that aren't painful. Some days less so than others. My index finger is always swollen, and my ring and middle finger sometimes join in.

By that time I had started to develop neurological symptoms (which I will list at the end), for which at my request I was referred to a neurologist, more specifically to test for multiple sclerosis. The neurologist performed a standard test, sent me for an MRI of my head and had my blood tested for Lyme (the latter at my request, because I was tested positively for Lyme antibodies in 2013). See below for the results and conclusion.

MRI cerebrum: no abnormalities except for some vascular a-specific white matter abnormalities. Laboratory: no abnormalities of blood count, vitamin B12, TSH on previous examination by GP. Borrelia negative IgG and IgM.


Various complaints without abnormalities on neurological examination, except for a tremor on the right more than on the left, which caused less tightening of the finger extensors on the right, probably an essential or strengthened physiological tremor. No leads for further diagnosis of neurological disease. Possibly the symptoms are related to a period with several life-events (re-migration, buying a house). Patient does not recognize herself in this and wonders how to proceed. I advised her to assess with her general practitioner whether further testing is necessary. I conclude the neurological consultation.

23/08/2022 - Made another GP appointment. Ideally I would like to be referred to another neurologist, because all my symptoms are neurological ones and I don't want to wait until I develop full-blown MS or whatever is still in store for me.

I feel like the description above is very incoherent and not fluently put at all, but I hope it's clear enough and somehow helpful.

Describe the solutions that helped your symptoms

Haven't found anything that really relieves my symptoms yet, but trying various things. Intermittent fasting does seem to be beneficial. I've actually tried to start an elimination diet (through the book the Inflammation Spectrum by Will Cole), but finding it hard to keep going. Exercise and sleep are important, and taking breaks from googling my various symptoms. After the results got back from my neurologist, I contacted a functional medicine practitioner. He took my symptoms seriously and advised me to try a keto diet and also recommended various supplements, which I now take. Because I take so many, I won't list them here. He also ordered a very complete blood test, results not in yet.

Which solutions were not helpful?

Just not getting a clear diagnosis from my GP and neurologist. Very disheartening, very depressing.

What would you like others to know?

Please don't dismiss people who are suffering with various "vague" symptoms. Whether they say those are the result of a covid vaccine or not. Please just listen and be compassionate. It's hard enough to not have a diagnosis to back up these awful symptoms.
  • 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.