Hi, I'm Cat, a 49-year-old mother of two, Bailey 19 and Brandon 23. A rock music lover and professional freelance concert photographer/photojournalist known in the music community for that bright red smile you see snapping photos away. I am the one that talks to everyone I know and makes friends everywhere I go. I have always been full of life, love and personality, and always been the person to step up and offer help to others and be the last to leave.
Beginning after my first vaccine dose with Johnson & Johnson on April 1, 2021, we noticed a change in which I became chronically exhausted. I became overly fatigued and always tired, no matter how much sleep I had. I marked this up to possible menopause and the current sleep medication. But things began to get worse; however, I still did not associate this with the first vaccine. By November 9, 2021, I received her 2nd shot, the Pfizer booster. I did not notice any immediate issues and figured everything was ok. Within two weeks, I saw major side effects starting which was my hair falling out in clumps.
Slowly over time, I noticed neurological changes . I began to sleep more and fell asleep while sitting at my desk. The chronic exhaustion grew into also chronic sleeping where I could not stay awake and started falling asleep in mid sentences and driving. Getting up in the morning led to severe brain fog and small tremors. Small tremors that lasted for 10 minutes or less became three days at a time. My neurological changes became very apparent when speaking when my words began to slur over time, and I could not remember certain things or what I was talking about. The list of side effects grew, and now we are into one year since the J&J vaccine and six months since the Pfizer vaccine, and the side effects have gotten worse. I keep a daily medical diary to keep track of what is happening to me and inform my doctors and health care professionals of changes in my health. Here are some of the adverse side effects and neurological issues that I have on a daily basis.
- Neurological issues including tremors and shaking (started off in the mornings after getting up out of bed and now is happening throughout the day, all day and lasts up to 3 days at a time)
- Can't concentrate at all
- Light sensitivity
- Chest tightness and breathing issues
- Hair falling out in huge clumps (2 times)
- Heart palpitations
- Brain fog (Everyday, all day, worse in the mornings as soon as I wake up)
- Chronic exhaustion & fatigue (everyday all day long, never ceases)
- Falling asleep in chair, driving and anywhere that I sit within 5-10 minutes
- Hands swelling and random red rashes or streaks on skin
- Falling and imbalance
- My Body is heavy
- Red/glazed eyes
- Arm pain (happens with the hand swelling)
- Ringing of ears (tinnitus)
- Cold/Hot intolerance with the body feeling like I have a fever, but I have no fever (24/7)
- Body pain
Recently, I went through a round of bloodwork and testing was diagnosed with pseudoparkinsonism, dysautonomia and epstein barr virus. A recent MRI test showed fluid in several spaces that were not previously there and additional bloodwork showed positive & speckled ANA Antibodies and an abnormal urinalysis which confirms the issues I am having with my kidneys.
I have 7 different doctors at this time, who all are working hard to find out what is wrong with me and how to cure me, if I can be cured. It has been a long hard and difficult road to go through and facing this honestly feels so lonely at times. I am unable to work anymore full-time, I lost my job recently because my boss could not deal with all the doctor appointments in so many words and claimed it was on my job performance. I am financially, emotionally, physically and mentally devastated by this. I can no longer sustain my household financially as I am was the only one working and sustaining our household due to the pandemic. Bills are piling up and I honestly do not know how I will begin to take care of them from now on.
I have been through things in my life that were frightening, but nothing like this, that shows no end in sight. I am not sure if having an autoimmune disease (fibromyalgia, arthritis) and having the shots with this is what caused havoc on my neurological system and body, but being forced to have it for my job at that time, there was not options. But I was happy to take it to ensure that I as well as those around me were safe and with my parents being up in age, I was doing the right thing to keep them safe as well.
I am no longer self sufficient and independent. I have to rely on my children and boyfriend to help with with everyday life, including getting dressed, driving, housework and shopping. I have been gaslighted by medical professionals, friends, coworkers and people in the community. I have been chastised for taking it and chastised for claiming it has injured men and even saying the words vaccine side effects sends people running for the hills, including medical professionals. I have been dropped by medical professionals who no longer want to care for me and crucified for coming to the Emergency Room because I have not taken it seriously enough and thinking they were going to perform a miracle.
My days are spent sleeping and waiting for my body and mind to wake up and come around where I can communicate. There is a doctor appointment every week, and I research cures for my condition. I miss spending time with my family and friends, music and photographing concerts. I miss being independent, healthy and alive. I fear this is the rest of my life. My journey is like many others now. Unknown and scary. We should receive the care and support we deserve to get well.