Q: What was your life like before you got the vaccine?
I was very active. Biking 45 mins a day, hiking 2-3 miles over weekends. I was a full-time grad student, working part-time, parenting an active kiddo and managing my home.
Q: Would you like to share your reasons for getting vaccinated?
I believed it was the right thing to do. I trusted vaccines, I trusted the healthcare system and believed that evidence-based medicine was the norm (If they have approved the vaccine, it had to be safe, right?). I have taken all my vaccines in the past, including yearly flu vaccines, and never had any adverse reactions. I felt that I needed to do my part to stop the spread of covid and protect the vulnerable. I was also tired of the lack of socialization and thought that vaccines will help us get back to normal, maybe travel, meet friends and go outside more. I trusted my doctor, and the CDC, FDA statements that the vaccines were safe and effective.
Q: What was your reaction, symptoms, & timeline?
I felt some mild fatigue and nausea for a day or two after the vaccine. About 4-5 days after the Pfizer vaccine, I started losing appetite and developed severe nausea and aversion to food. Then came a bunch of symptoms — exercise intolerance, tachycardia, palpitations, inability to stand or walk, fluctuating blood pressure, extreme lack of appetite, nausea, diarrhea, severe bloating, stomach cramps and weight loss (I lost 15 lbs). I was bedridden for about 3 months. I also developed on-and-off itching and hives all over the body which lasted for a month.
Q: What is your life like now, after getting the vaccine?
I was diagnosed with POTS and orthostatic intolerance from the vaccine. I have flare-ups from time to time. I’m nowhere as active as I was before and some times even day-to-day is a struggle. I have to deal with constant flare-ups with shortness of breath, tachycardia and other neurological/ dysautonomia symptoms. I had to take an 8 month leave of absence from work and only in the last 2-3 month I have been able to get back to work slowly.