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What was your life like before you received the COVID-19 vaccine?
I was active, healthy and happy.
Describe the symptoms and the timeline of the reaction.
Immediately following my Pfizer Covid booster on August 10, 2022, I felt achy all over. One week later, my left ankle swelled up so much that I couldn't walk without sever pain and assistance. The inflammation, reactive inflammatory arthritis, quickly progressed to my knees, wrists, fingers etc. I saw my primary care physician who did an exam and blood work. My inflammation markers were extremely high. The doctor said, "I think you have RA" and referred me to a rheumatologist. I told her that I was 100% sure that it was directly related to my Covid booster. Medical professionals don't know how to diagnose or treat Covid vaccine injuries because it is so new. More research and education needs to happen in order to treat the thousands of vaccine injured properly. I suffered with chronic pain for months, trying ice, heat, NSAIDS, compression sleeves, ankle and knee braces, orthopedic shoes etc., with no relief. I kept working as a teacher, but could not walk without pain. I would ice my knees during my lunch break in order to make it through the day. My life overall was negatively impacted. I could no longer take walks, walk on a beach, or even drive without excruciating nerve pain in my legs. I could not dance at my niece's wedding. I could not sleep for more than an hour at a time due to the severe pain. I finally got an appointment at a rheumatology clinic at UMass Medical Center in Worcester, MA. in November, 2022. At this time, I was feeling desperate. I was given prescriptions for Plaquenil and Naproxen, and also prescribed 20 sessions of physical therapy. Here I an in June, 2023, 10 months later, with some improvement, but continued limited mobility and a noticeable limp. I can not go up and down stairs normally. I still have flare ups when I have to use ice or rest for a day to recover from what used to be normal activity. It seems my life will never be back to normal. I also have to see the eye doctor regularly because the Plaquenil can harm my retina. I try to remain positive and accept my new normal, but at times it affects my emotional well being.
Describe the solutions that helped your symptoms
At first, nothing helped. I think mostly time has healed me. I am sad and angry that I may have to take medication for the rest of my life, while never fully recovering.
Which solutions were not helpful?
Strenuous exercise or PT increased my inflammation and set me back sometimes.
What would you like others to know?
Vaccine injuries are real and vary in degrees of disability. I know that I am fortunate to be alive and also not paralyzed as I have read others are. So many people are suffering from severe covid vaccine injuries. They need help. There is no compensation available from the government to support medical costs or lost wages. The vaccine injured did their part for the greater good by trusting the science and taking the vaccines. They are not anti- vaxxers. I think of it as similar to a disabled veteran who deserves help. The vaccine injured served our country by following the CDC guidelines and taking the vaccines to help end the pandemic. As a result, thousands have suffered injuries leading to long term health concerns, and they deserve support and compensation.
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