Q: What was your life like before you got the vaccine?
I worked hard and long hours at my full-time job. I also worked as a freelance photographer/photojournalist photographing landscapes, portraits and concerts, and wrote concert reviews, interviewed bands/artists and traveled every moment I got a chance. I spent time with family and friends, coming and going as I please and doing the things that I love.
My mobility was great. I had normal aches and pains due to arthritis, but I was able to come and go with no issues. I walked 5 miles a day and felt happy and healthy with no worries about doing the things that I loved and needed to do.
Q: Would you like to share your reasons for getting vaccinated?
My job required the vaccine, but I had no hesitation in getting it, because my parents are up in age and some of my family and band members we are around have health issues. I got my shot without hesitation to make sure those individuals were protected.
Q: What was your reaction, symptoms, & timeline?
I received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on April 1, 2021. I had no adverse reactions at the time of shot, and not when I waited for the 30 minutes after the shot, since that is the usual time it would happen. I thought yeah, I am good. Within a month after the vaccine, I noticed I began to feel extremely tired and fatigued. During that time, I did not associate the vaccine with what was going on. I thought maybe it was part of the insomnia I had and the long hours at work and/or menopause. I had a sleep study done in September 2021, which showed I had over 30 interruptions during my sleep. I continued experiencing the exhaustion/fatigue and figured it would eventually go away.
On November 9, 2021, I had the booster shot. Again, I waited 30 minutes, because this is the time when you should experience a reaction. Nothing. I thought, this is great, I am good to go. Within 2 weeks of the booster, a huge clump of hair came out of my head. After that, the adverse reactions/side effects just kept trickling in. By this time I knew something was wrong, but not that the vaccine was the culprit, because the worse was yet to come.
April 1, 2021 – Received Johnson & Johnson Vaccine
May 2021 – September 2021 – Began experiencing chronic fatigue & chronic insomnia.
June 3, 2021 – Started seeing therapist for anxiety due to condition.
June 7-8, 2021 – Had sleep study with Noran Clinic. Diagnosed with delayed sleep phase disorder by Neurologist.
June 10, 2021 – Bloodwork with GP, all comes back normal.
August 16, 2021 – Neurologist sent me to MN Oncology to test for chronic anemia. I had two iron transfusions that did nothing on August 23, 2021 & August 30, 2021. Not impressed with the Hematologist. Very dismissive.
November 5, 2021 – Met with another Dr. at MN Oncology to retest for chronic anemia and see if anything else can be done. Refused to retest bloodwork or suggest anything else. Said to go back to GP.
November 9, 2021 – Received Pfizer booster.
November 27, 2021 – Huge clump of hair fell out of my head when washing my hair.
November 27, 2021 – January 12, 2022 – I experienced this overwhelming exhaustion that was relentless. During this time, I did not keep a medical journal.
January 13, 2021 – Brushed hair and another huge clump feel out of hair.
January 17, 2021 – Woke up at noon and could not get out of bed. Felt so exhausted, I had to go back to sleep. Slept until 3pm. When I woke up then, I was shaking so bad, and it lasted for 45 minutes. I looked like I had Parkinson’s disease.
January 17, 2022 – February 7, 2022 – I began having migraines like I had never had before. Nausea everyday that would not cease. I began falling asleep at my desk, driving, sitting, watching TV and could not stay awake.
February 8, 2022 – I tried to get up that morning and felt drugged. Could not get out of bed. Nodded off during staff meeting and had to dig fingernails in hands and arm to try and stay awake. Fell asleep driving home.
February 9, 2022 – February 11, 2022 – Was getting ready for vacation to Florida and the Bahamas to shoot Legends of Rock Cruise. I almost didn’t want to go, because I felt so sick, fatigued and in pain.
February 12, 2022 – February 19, 2022 – We are on vacation in Florida, on ship and in the Bahamas. My god I was so tired and downing coffee like I have never before. I went to bed early and missed a ton of activities and hanging out with the band.
February 20, 2022 – February 27, 2022 – Back to work and had numerous doctor appointments including the Neurologist, GP & therapist. Doctor thought my fatigue was from my sleep medicine. Took me off of that. Nope, still chronically fatigued. Added Adderall, nope doesn’t help. I couldn’t concentrate, I ached all over and the tremors were back. I am now talking to a psychiatrist and therapist, because this is really affecting me mentally as well as physically.
February 28, 2022 – March 15, 2022 – I was so exhausted, sick and out of it most of the time. I stopped taking notes in my medical journal. I am just getting by trying to make it. I applied for social security disability a month prior and was turned down.
March 17, 2022 – The tremors are more frequent, and the days are running into each other with nausea, headaches, exhaustion, falling asleep everywhere. My daughter witnessed the tremor for the first time and had to help me to the bathroom. This is the first time it lasted for most of the day. I feel these unfavorable heart palpitations and an electric jolt of energy running through my body constantly.
March 18, 2022 – March 22, 2022 – My work has started to suffer. I am trying to stay late and complete my work, but I keep falling asleep at my desk, and I feel so sick. I never feel refreshed or awake anymore. My health is failing and my relationship with my boyfriend is failing. I have stopped shooting shows often and only do it once in a while when I feel up to it, which is usually never.
March 23, 2022 – April 5, 2022 – I began to have severe swelling in my hands and pain in my arms. It wakes me up in the middle of the night and swells randomly during the day. I now have pain and burning when I pee, but I do not have a bladder infection. As I get up in the mornings, I notice an imbalance when trying to get up and walk. My eyes are always red and glazed over. The brain fog is horrendous, and I am having issues remember things and starting to stutter. I can’t concentrate. I drove to work on a empty tank of gas not even realizing I had no gas. I had several doctor appointments and got the same dismissive gaslighting responses. My demeanor has changed, and my anxiety is at a all time high. I find myself crying all the time and trying to find help and someone who will listen.
April 5, 2022 – I was having micro tremors all day. The heaviness in my body and brain was overwhelming. I was so out of it and the nerve endings in my body felt as they are going a million miles a minute. The tremors begin at 11:05am and lasted all night. Even when I tried to sleep, I was still shaking. This was the first all day tremor experience.
April 6, 2022 – The tremors were still going on, and by 3:30am I was in the ER at Maple Grove hospital. I am greeted by a less than enthusiastic charge nurse. When I tell her about the vaccine side effects, she chastises me and berates me for taking up emergency services. She asked what kind of miracle were they going to perform for me, and why did I wait this long to go to the ER. I had never felt so humiliated in my life.
April 7, 2022 – April 22, 2022 – I had MRI & CT brain scans and tons of blood work during this time. I was diagnosed with Dysautonomia, Pseudoparkinsonism, and my bloodwork revealed a positive Epstein Barr Virus. My ANA blood work showed positive and specked. I went into work on April 22, and my boss fires me, stating my performance was less than perfect. I did not turn in the paperwork requested to him, and I had to go. I knew it was because of the doctor appointments and medical diagnosis. I record the conversation and catch him in several lies about the reason. Do I have it in me to file an ADA complaint?
April 23, 2022 – Present – More bloodwork and tests. I am now having issues with breathing while sleeping and gasping for air at times. I am stressed, anxious, depressed and so many things are happening to my brain and body, I can’t keep up with it.
Q: What is your life like now, after getting the vaccine?
What life? These vaccines have taken away everything I love and have worked so hard for. I no longer can do the things I love and the simple things like shopping, driving, and watching a movie. I worry constantly that my health will get worse, which I can’t even imagine, because my kids will be left without their mom. I am supposed to take care of my kids and they are taking care of me.