B.O. – Minnesota
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Describe the symptoms and the timeline of the reaction.
Before receiving the Covid vaccine, I was a very healthy 26-year-old woman with no underlying health conditions. I wanted to be vaccinated and do what was right for my community, but I have suffered a severe reaction from the covid vaccine and have endured countless medical issues for the past four months. I am married with two daughters (6 and 10 years old), and I fear I may never get back to normal.
May 18th, 2021- I got my 1st dose of the Pfizer shot administered in my left arm. Directly following the shot my left arm was somewhat sore.
May 19th- My left arm was so sore I could barely lift my arm or hold things in my hand.
May 20th- When I woke up in the morning, my arm soreness subsided, but what followed was the beginning of a nightmare. My left arm was completely numb- from my shoulder down to my fingertips, and the back of my head on the right side was very tender to the touch. It was almost as if I had a horrible bruise, but I had not injured my head at all.
May 21st- An electrical, pulsating headache began, and Tylenol would not help.
May 23rd- My left shoulder started hurting. Between my left arm numbness, my headache, and shoulder pain I could no longer sleep at night or function during the day because the pain was so bad.
May 26th- At 8:00 AM I went to an urgent care. The doctor told me that I was reacting to the vaccine, that it was “normal”. The doctor told me that she had tons of patients experiencing numbness in their extremities after getting the vaccine, and she reassured me that it is only temporary and will subside. The doctor told me to go home and ice it, and alternate Tylenol + Ibuprofen.
Once I went home my pain only intensified. The pain had now spread into my neck on the left side & I was having trouble/pain swallowing.
On the same day at 6:00 PM, I went to see a doctor at my normal clinic. The doctor at this appointment said essentially the same thing as the urgent care doctor. The doctor said that I had swollen lymph nodes in my neck due to a reaction to the vaccine, and the swollen lymph nodes were pushing on my nerves in my neck, causing the arm numbness. The doctor prescribed muscle relaxers and told me to continue icing it, alternate Tylenol + Ibuprofen, and sent me on my way.
May 31st- The numbness in my left arm and the shoulder pain subsided. I now had extreme neck stiffness, pain at the base of my skull and a horrible headache.
June 2nd- Pain at the base of the skull subsided. Neck stiffness and headache remained. My entire right arm was numb, and I had horrible pain on the right side of my neck and shoulder.
June 9th- My right arm numbness subsided. My shoulder pain, headache and neck stiffness remained. I could not turn my head to the right or the left. If I turned my head to the right, the right side of my head would go numb & my right arm would go completely numb from my shoulder down to my fingertips. If I turned my head to the left, the left side of my head would go numb & my left arm would go completely numb from my shoulder down to my fingertips.
June 10th- All symptoms remained. When I would bend over to pick something up, I would get an electrical/zinging feeling that began at the base of my skull and it would “shoot” forward to the front of my forehead and my eyes felt like they were going to pulse right out of my head. I developed a tremor in my right hand.
June 11th- I had a video visit with a doctor. The doctor still said it was a reaction to the vaccine and she prescribed me gabapentin, steroids, and refilled my muscle relaxers.
June 12th- All symptoms remained. I woke up in the morning and the entire right side of my jaw was numb. I started to feel an intense burning under my skin on my stomach and I watched as my skin developed a rash. It was red, scattered pinpoint raised rash over my extremities and my torso. I went to the emergency room. My blood pressure was 179/156 and my resting heart rate was in the 120s. I had an MRI & CT done. This is when I found out that I have bilateral vertebral artery dissections. They said it was bilateral vertebral artery dissections with T1 hyperintense blood products on both cervical vertebral arteries up to the C2 level and that my dissections are associated with high-grade vertebral artery stenoses on both sides. They also indicated that I have a pseudoaneurysm c5-6. Thankfully there were no signs that I had a stroke. I was admitted and transferred to a nearby hospital with a specialty neurology team where I stayed for the next 3 days.
June 14th- While in the hospital, they performed a cerebral angiogram to see if there was any need for stent placement. Given that I was asymptomatic while on the anticoagulation, they didn’t recommend stenting at that time. Recommended follow-up with CTA for worsening of narrowing or enlargement of the pseudoaneurysm.
June 15th- I was discharged from the hospital and prescribed a blood thinner called Xarelto (20mg).
June 29th- I had a follow-up CT angiography of my abdomen and head/neck. Connective tissue disorder has been ruled out and there is no evidence of fibromuscular dysplasia.
If you're not familiar with vertebral artery dissections, they are typically associated with some sort of physical trauma or connective tissue disorders. Some examples of physical trauma are chiropractor manipulations, car accidents, or anything that would cause whiplash.
I absolutely believe that the vaccine caused my dissection given 1) I have no connective tissue disorder and, 2) I did nothing that would have caused my head to jerk and I did not suffer any physical trauma of any sort. The only thing I did leading up to the onset of my symptoms is get the Pfizer vaccine. My neuro says it's possible the vaccine caused my dissections, however, there just isn't enough data right now to definitively say one way or another. Despite all of this, my vertebral artery dissection is still being considered “spontaneous” by medical doctors.
It's been almost 4 months since I got vaccinated.
September 19th, 2021 I am still experiencing:
“Electrical + pulsating feeling” migraines
Sensitivity to light
Burning skin accompanied by a itchy rash
Numbness in fingertips
Stabbing pain in the back of my head
Stabbing pain behind my ear
Throbbing neck pain
Throbbing sound in my ears
Feet are turning red and appear white when pressed on
Shoulder pain on my left side
Vision looks darks on the sides
-B.O. - Minnesota"
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