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Brianne Dressen

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

I was a previously healthy mother of two young kids. I hiked and climbed and had a beautiful life. I got West Nile virus in 2007 which knocked me down for several months but I had recovered and had a business and was "super mom" on the weekends.

Describe the symptoms and the timeline of the reaction.

Nov 04, 2020 - 1 shot of AstraZeneca (clinical trial)
1hr - tingling down the same arm as my shot
5 hrs - vision issues and sound issues began
Overnight, typical vaccine response
Day 1 - Vision and sound issues got worse, left leg was slumped and I was walking into the doorways
Day 2 - Issues got worse, no more working
Day 3- Test clinic called back and did an evaluation, said I need a neurologist. Likely MS
Day 4 - Neurologist sent to ER, ER ruled out MS, transverse myelitis and GBS. "Your labs are normal"
Day 5 - Holed up in my room in the dark by myself. Too much light sensitivity, sound sensitivity, limb weakness. Muscle wasting already apparent on labs.

Week 1 - Ended up in ER, severe tachycardia, temperature issues, weird shaking in limbs. Husband asked for GBS workup and IVIG. Denied treatment, sent home.

Week 2 - Admitted to hospital, legs failing to move correctly. light and sound sensitivity was horrific. No labs were run other than a CBC panel. drugged up for three days for a silent migraine. The meds didn't work. Doctor diagnosed me with "anxiety due to the covid vaccine" and sent me home with in-home PT and OT. Was incontinent at home.

Month 1 - internal vibrations in brain were terrible, couldn't think straight. Body wide electrical surges 24/7. vision issues and sound issues continued. severe brain fog. Kept losing weight, all food went straight through me. Twitching and fasciculations. couldn't eat, couldn't sleep, tried to just breathe every day.
suicidal ideation began. Severe Tinnitus

Month 2 - most symptoms persisted. I couldn't get a break from the symptoms at all ever, it raged 24/7. Figured out some medications that helped a bit with sleep. I worked really hard at rehabituating my sound sensitivity. Used musicians earplugs and rehabituated ONE ear at a time. By the end of February my sound sensitivity was in a much better situation.
Testing for autonomics showed severe hyper adrenergic POTS. Was not notified of this issue. Despite feeling absolutely miserable and felt like my body was revved up all the time.
Gaslighting by my home doctors continued, despite the NIH telling them to help me. My doctors still refused IVIG.

Month 3 - Everything continued. Suffered with a botched lumbar puncture that ended in a CSF leak. Took lots of no bending lifting or twisting and three blood patches.... took months to recover. I have had three LPs, last one leaked and was done by a neurologist and he fumbled a bit with it and I wasn't allowed to lay flat afterward for a time.

Month 6 - figured out that food was a big factor in my heart rate and adrenaline dumps. Started adjusting my food. Heart rate started to stabilize, my brain fog started to ease.
Started a small small dose of doxepin. Sound and light sensitivity completely resolved.

Month 7 - Went to NIH, got diagnosed with post vaccine neuropathy, tinnitus, short term memory loss, severe POTS. Was finally given IVIG for 5 days. POTS dramatically improved. Body felt far less like it was struggling to exist all the time.

Year 1 - Regularly get IVIG. GI issues nearly resolved with strict low histamine diet. Started Low Dose Naltrexone and stayed on pepcid AC (antihistamine). Still easily fatigued, need wheelchair occasionally, still brain fog a bit. Pins and needles and electrical sensations internally persist, and quiet temporarily with medications for sleep. Tinnitus remains but not as bad as it was to begin with.
Fasciulations have improved but still happen. Had two episodes of hairloss.

Still have NOT had Covid 19.

Year 2 - Flared despite the diet, IVIG, and pacing strategies. Brought DOWN my vit D intake and added Ketotifen to my regiment. Changed things a lot. Back to stabilizing and slowly slowly improving.

NOW - 2.5 years - Life is nowhere near normal, but my new normal is still a life worth living. I can find amazing moments with my kids and they are becoming wonderful little helpers when I am feeling very unwell. My POTS is way way better, just borderline positive now. My neuropathy remains and I am dedicated to finding solutions to help my nerves heal. Sometimes I can get temporarily relief from Cardio Miracle for the neuropathy due to the nitric oxide. The tinnitus remains but I have accepted it. I still get shakey when I push it and pacing is still key. Excercise is still no good for me... increases my internal vibrations badly.

My goals for this year is to slowly increase my stamina, continue to put on weight, make the most of every single moment I have been given regardless of how crappy I may physically feel. Work towards finding a better solution for my neuropathy for long-term healing and relief.

Describe the solutions that helped your symptoms

Pacing pacing pacing.
Reducing stress, including emotional stress that can be inflammatory.
Eating the best quality foods and centering my entire life around good food. Low histamine diet, eliminated corn and complex sugars as well.

Ketotifen, Low Dose Naltrexone, Regular sleep, IVIG, reasonable Vit D levels,

Finding a good community to support me was crucial for my healing as well.

I did rehabituation for my sensitivity to sound and light. I did one ear at a time and it took a little over two months to do. I also did use pain relievers and muscle relaxers to help me rehabituate.

Went to acceptance counselling to help with not mentally fighting my physical condition all the time. This freed up my energy to heal dramatically too. I did EMDR for the medical PTSD, got me out of the trauma loop.

Which solutions were not helpful?

Stress, gluten food, corn, dairy.

Gabapentin, lyrica, mushrooms,

most supplements seemed to build up in my body over time and make me worse.

What would you like others to know?

This is an invisible illness. Sometimes we look "just fine".

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