What was your life like before you received the COVID-19 vaccine?
Before I had the vaccine, I was a typical working class American woman. I worked a full time job at an auto manufacturing facility. As you can imagine, automotive manufacturing plants are quite large so I walked quite a bit all day. I worked during the day and spent time with my family or friend in the evenings. I used to go out a lot to try new foods or new restaurants. I also loved to travel and I would do anything from short weekend trips to international travel. Few things brought be as much joy as being able to get out and try new things or see new places. I can no longer do any of that. I rarely leavy my house because I never know when my symptoms are going to escalate. I lost my job earlier this year and I could only search for remote positions because some days I am in so much pain that I can’t function much less drive.
Describe the symptoms and the timeline of the reaction.
My symptoms started out with a severe pain in my head that radiated down my neck and into my shoulder and arm. I also had vertigo, nausea, and dizziness, tachycardia, elevated blood pressure, pain behind my eyes, vision loss, cognitive decline, brain fog, joint and muscle pain, adrenaline misfire, and I felt week and shaky. I had never experienced pain like that before out of the blue. I told my doctor about it on a Wednesday (10days after my vaccine), and she basically shrugged it off and said if I wasn’t better in a week to contact her. By Friday the pain had intensified so much that I had to go to the ER. By the time I got to the ER, my heart was racing, and my blood pressure was super high because my pain was so intense. It literally felt like my head was going to explode. They ran all kinds of tests but could find nothing that was life threatening. They gave me a migraine cocktail…which ironically helped. The offered to do a spinal tap to test for meningitis but I declined. I was pretty sure it wasn’t meningitis but rather I was having some type of reaction to the vaccine. That is the only thing I had done differently in the last 10 days. I was sent home and that was it. The next day the pain was back along with the other symptoms. I went to my doctor again. She agreed that some people were experiencing side effects from the vaccine. There was basically nothing she could do except try to alleviate my pain and symptoms. I went to a neurologist because since the pain was in my head, I figured we needed to look closer at my brain. I described the symptoms to my neurologist who also agreed that they were seeing a rise in symptoms of patients who had the vaccine, but like my family doctor, all she could do was treat the symptoms. Between my family doctor and neurologist trying to treat my symptoms, I discovered something else. I was having strange reactions to the medications that were being prescribed. I tried about 4 different types of migraine meds and they either made me feel worse or I would develop the side effects that were listed on the box. This became even more frustrating because now I am not able to take medication without having a reaction.
Describe the solutions that helped your symptoms
I read online that what I am experiencing had something to do with an inflammatory response regarding my immune system. My immune system was reacting to all sorts of things, and it was causing me debilitating pain and symptoms. The community that I came across online said that they were having success treating their symptoms with antihistamines. It makes sense that if you’re having an immune response that an antihistamine helps to offset those symptoms. I tried the protocol that I read about online. Zyrtec or Claritin in the morning and Benadryl at night. But then I remember the Emergency Room doctor telling me there was Benadryl in the migraine cocktail he gave me. So, it made sense. I tried the Zyrtec and Claritin but they made me feel shaky and made my heart race, so that didn’t work. I tried the Benadryl and although it did help to take the edge off, it didn’t take my pain away completely. And I also couldn’t take Benadryl all day because then I’d be sleeping all day. AT this point, I was beginning to think that my symptoms probably are related to an immune inflammatory response, so I scheduled an appointment with an Immunologist. The Immunologist put me on a very high dose of Ivermectin and a normal does of Singulair. I had a reaction to the Singulair, but the Ivermectin was promising. For the first time in 6 months, I was pain free for about a week. Then I began to experience side effects from the Ivermectin. My blood pressure started dropping really low, so I had to get off of that. It’s been a year and I still don’t have answers or relief.
Which solutions were not helpful?
I’m not sure because I haven’t been diagnosed with it, but I think I may have some form of MCAS. None of the solutions I have tried have worked for me because I keep having reactions to everything. I can’t even take Vitamins without having a reaction. At one point my doctor recommended that I try exercising and that might help me feel better. So, I did exercise and guess what? It was the worst thing I could’ve done. After day 3, I felt so bad again…almost like I did when my symptoms first began. But then I read that exercise is not good for people with MCAS because that can trigger an immune response also.
What would you like others to know?
I want others to know that there are legitimate debilitating conditions that can and do come out of getting the vaccine. The medical community has not been helpful in dismissing these symptoms with “”anxiety”” or “”all in your head”” labels. I encourage for people who are experiencing medical issue to keep looking for doctors and/or resources. I don’t know what the answer is but we can’t give up on looking for the answer.
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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.