Disclaimer: This is a Kindred community member article that represents the opinions and experiences of the author, not Hugo Health Kindred. Please consult with your healthcare provider before trying any treatment.
I received my first and only vaccine shot (Pfizer) on March 19, 2021. I was eligible for early vaccination for my age category and hopped on the opportunity.
I started experiencing an adverse vaccine reaction immediately and visited my primary care provider (PCP) about three times a week following my vaccination. It took about a month, however, until I could connect the symptoms I was experiencing with the shot.
These days, I’m happy to say that I’m about 100% recovered; I feel like myself again and have no lingering symptoms.
The following is an account of my personal experience with vaccine injury and how I found healing. I’m not a medical professional and am not providing medical advice; these things worked for me.
If you’re dealing with a vaccine injury, know you’re not alone. So many of us are experiencing repercussions and figuring out how to manage. Having a community helps with that.
I’m hopeful we’ll start getting the support and recognition we deserve through strength in numbers and advocacy.
I started experiencing the following symptoms around the clock almost immediately after vaccination:
Although less frequent and severe, I also had the following:
I also completely lost my appetite in the first 2 weeks and lost 14 pounds. I couldn’t get out of bed and needed my parent’s assistance to walk to the washroom. Following the shot, I didn’t get a period until February 2022.
For about 3 months, I had to sleep with my bedroom light on. Being in the dark caused me to have sudden, bright flashes of light in my vision, followed by extreme nausea, anxiety, and vertigo.
For about 6 months after the vaccine, I’d wake with either a numb forearm and hand or lower leg (sometimes both) every night. It usually lasted about 20 minutes and was quite painful during the “thawing” period.
The worst of all was that I didn’t feel like myself. I was a different person and lost connection to my past self. I felt like I was living in a dream. I believe this is considered depersonalization.
I lived in constant fear, and my nervous system was on overdrive. There was a nonstop sense of impending doom in my body. I’m not sure how to explain, but if you’ve experienced what I have, I’m sure you understand.
The following are some methods of symptom management that worked for me. This is just my own experience. I’m not a medical professional and can’t advise what treatment may work for you. Please do your research and consult with your healthcare provider.
I was dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as I began to recover. I found an excellent therapist who understood PTSD post-illness and provided fantastic support and guidance to help me through the challenging experience. Sometimes just having someone to listen to you can make a difference.
I did over 6 months of vestibular rehabilitation and continued with the exercises I learned for an additional 4 months (a total of 10 months). With a trained physical therapist, I worked on gaze stabilization exercises (fixating on a stable point with your eyes as your head moves in either direction), which helped with the nystagmus and balance. This didn’t cure me, but it was helpful.
The therapist I worked with had other patients exhibiting similar symptoms who also thought the cause was the COVID vaccine.
In January 2022, I saw an allergist and was prescribed an antihistamine. I’m not sure if I was already healing or if the medication played a role, but in that same month, I turned a corner.
It’s important to mention that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is legal where I live. Before the vaccine, I was a regular THC and cannabidiol (CBD) consumer, and I had no THC for about 5 months after I got sick. However, I started taking pure CBD drops daily after the first month to see if it would help with symptoms, and I think it helped with the feelings of anxiety and panic.
When I started vaping THC again, it did wonders for me. I mainly partook in the evenings before bed, increasing my appetite, decreasing my anxiety, and helping me sleep.
I can’t remember them all, but the supplements I took include:
The medications I used include:
From the above, I was only consistent with vitamin C, CBD oil, the multi-frequency homeopathic combination tincture, and antihistamine.
I continue taking an antihistamine once a day, with no other supplements or medications except THC most nights.
I drink a lot of water, eat healthily, and get plenty of sleep.
It was about one-year post-vaccine injury when I got COVID. I don’t want to make light of this because I know that many people are dealing with long COVID, but in my case, getting COVID helped with the vaccine injury, and I had a mild case of COVID.
Before getting COVID, I was still experiencing some lingering vaccine injury symptoms like balance, vision, and sound issues, but I was about 90% healed. I couldn’t tolerate alcohol, and exercise was pretty much off-limits.
It wasn’t until I got COVID that I started to feel like myself again. My hearing sensitivity was gone about 3 weeks after testing positive for COVID. I went for a short jog for the first time in over a year and didn’t experience any head pain or pressure. I was so happy I broke down in tears.
I had an alcoholic drink about 1 month after getting COVID and tolerated it like normal.
Having a vaccine injury can feel overwhelming and isolating. Since there isn't much information available on diagnosis or treatment, it's understandable to feel frustrated, too. It may take patience and trial and error, but there's hope.
These days, my life is back to normal. Of course, I still worry about symptoms returning, but I keep myself grounded by remembering how far I’ve come and all the things I can do now that I couldn’t before.
I’m working on my master’s research project on the physiotherapy needs of individuals with long COVID. I hope to get some insight into the current research on both long COVID and vaccine injury. I’ll share anything that could be helpful.
Anna is a 24-year-old from Ontario, Canada. She's currently working on her master's in physiotherapy and will graduate next fall. She loves all things sports and physical activity, animals, and food. Outside of school, you can find her at the gym, playing or watching sports, hanging with friends, or cooking. She's very passionate about physical activity and its vital role in keeping the brain and body healthy.
If you want to share your story on Kindred, contact the Content and Community Manager at Talia@hugo.health. No writing is required.
If you're interested in sharing your story or experiences with the Kindred community reach out to the Content and Community Manager at Talia@hugo.health.