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Tabitha Johnson

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

I am a physical education teacher. Before the vaccine, I worked out at least 5-6 days weekly without getting tired.

Describe the symptoms and the timeline of the reaction.

I received the vaccine on 5/21/2021. Two days later I got a headache that was so bad I could barely put my head on the pillow. The next week my legs started to feel extremely heavy. I couldn’t move them freely. I started vomiting and a rash similar to the chickenpox developed on my back. I went in for a doctor’s visit and had several tests done. Every result came back normal. I was told that it was a reaction to the vaccine and that the symptoms would slowly fade. Well, they got worse. By the first weeks of June 2021, I was in excruciating pain. I couldn’t move my head and neck. I had to sit with a travel pillow on for support. I went to the ER, and when I got there my BP was 188/110. My heart rate dropped to the low 40s. I don’t have a history of hypertension. The ER doctor informed me that he needed to get my vitals under control, so I wouldn’t have to be admitted. While at the ER, the physician ordered numerous tests and all results were normal. Covid test was negative. I was told that my symptoms mimicked GBS (Guillain-Barre Syndrome). He said the vaccine was new and there wasn’t a lot of research to refer to for treatment. He said he felt more comfortable by giving me something to assist with the pain. I was given a prescription for Percocet and sent home. My paperwork had the final diagnosis as myalgia resulting from the vaccine and to consult with personal care physician before receiving the second Covid vaccine. The next few weeks were horrible. I couldn’t move my left arm and leg. My hands and feet were numb. At times, I had no control of my bladder. The mental effects were devastating. To go from being so active to the state I was in had me depressed. I went back to my PCP who then suggested that I not receive any additional doses of the vaccine. My records were updated, and I was told that we would be playing the waiting game. We were hoping that the symptoms would fade as the vaccine waned from my body. The next 7 months I visited my PCP several times. I also had a visit with a neurologist and 3 visits with a cardiologist. I changed to a pescatarian diet and added a host of foods from the anti-inflammatory list I Googled. I started drinking lemon ginger tea with honey and turmeric. I sat in the sun as much as possible. Slowly my symptoms started fading.

All symptoms:

Severe headaches (mainly temple area)

Blistered rash

Swollen lymph nodes (underarm, groin, neck)

Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea

Fluctuating blood pressure

Extreme pain in arms, legs

Limited mobility

Numbness fingers, toes, and arms (more in left arm)

Extreme exhaustion


Unbearable neck pain. Unable to turn my head.

Head felt heavy.

Pain in the back of my head on the left side

Low heart rate

Chest pain

Legs felt heavy at times like I could barely move them (Couldn’t move left leg for 2 weeks)

Heart racing at night

Poor appetite

Left knee locked up

Hard to control my bladder (wet clothes several times)

jumping right eyelid

Since my story was originally published on Real Not Rare I’ve had a nerve conduction study, visited an allergist and I am still being monitored closely by my neurologist, cardiologist, and PCP.

Describe the solutions that helped your symptoms

Yes, my symptoms have improved. Changing to an anti-inflammatory diet helped. I also started taking a multivitamin, Vitamin D, Zinc, Vitamin C, Magnesium, and Quercetin. Any kind of heat helped. I took long hot baths and sat outside in the sun as much as possible. Light to moderate exercise and weightlifting seems to help also.

What would you like others to know?

I wish that the potential side effects were made known and not pushed aside or hidden when we try to discuss them. I wish people that didn’t have severe adverse reactions weren’t so insensitive to those of us who did. This vaccine is not one size fits all. It affects everyone differently.
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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.