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Caridad Lew

First Dose of Pfizer on 04/29/21 Lot #EWO170


48 yrs old

Q: What was your life like before you got the vaccine?

Active mom of 2. Healthcare professional taking a few years off of work to raise kids.

Q: Would you like to share your reasons for getting vaccinated?

My husband and I wanted to return to our "normal" lives but did not want to be the source of infection for our kids or our moms.

Q: What was your reaction, symptoms, & timeline?

I have struggled for over 1 year. Undeniably the first 9 months were far worse than the last 4 months. I had arm pain, injection site redness and fatigue for a couple of days after the shot. However, on day 8 post vaccine I woke up with overt swelling around my eyes that could not be explained by allergens. The swelling persisted but improved over the next 3 - 4 days. On day 10, I had a debilitating headache and dizziness that kept me laying on my couch most of the day. The headache and dizziness persisted for 2 - 3 months although the severity did improve, and I had some good days in between the bad days. The dizziness (unsteadiness) seemed to be exacerbated by activity, as was the fatigue I was also experiencing. In addition, I had brain fog from very early on. I was confused as to date and time, had short term memory issues throughout the day and was confused as to what I was doing or going to do at times. I also struggled to find the right words to complete simple sentences. Having lived with my grandmother as she struggled with Alzheimer's, I cried often thinking the vaccine had triggered some form of dementia in me, since I felt like I was reliving her experience. Shortly after, I began to feel neck pain and stiffness on the left side, as well as pins and needles on my left arm. The neck pain comes and goes, but it's much less frequent now. Over the first few weeks (late May - early June 2021), I also felt increased pressure in my head (heavy head) very frequently and intense pressure around my eyes and sinuses. This made it very difficult for me to do basic things like read, cook, check kids' homework or even walk our dog, since looking down made the pressure around my eyes even more pronounced, making it very uncomfortable. Over time my symptoms have come and gone, and recently (past 5-6 months) the more persistent symptoms are pins and needles on my scalp, face, left arm and feet, as well as, vibrations in my head and face, and muscle twitching on my abdominal area, back, legs and eyes. Some other less prominent symptoms throughout these months have been blurred vision and tachycardia. The vibrations and pins and needles seem to be worse at night and wake me up frequently.

Q: What is your life like now, after getting the vaccine?

I'm better now after over 1 year post vaccine. However, I feel I have so much to make up to my kids since last summer. I probably was running at 30% of my usual capacity on most days and 50% capacity on a good day. I had to pace myself constantly and had serious anxiety if I could not rest in between activities, since it took me so long to recover from relapses. I feel that I could handle part time work now.

Q: Share your experience with any medical care and any diagnoses you have received:

I have been to my primary care physician, neurologist, rheumatologist, ENT and optometrist. All labs and tests were "normal", except for a mildly elevated ANA which was of no concern. None of the doctors were able to help. Neurologist and ENT admitted they were seeing many new patients with similar symptoms, but they could not find anything that would explain symptoms. My chiropractor/kinesiologist recommended St. Johns Wort and L-Lysine, since he is suspicious I had reactivation of Epstein Barr Virus (EBV).

Q: Was your reaction reported, and what was the response?

VAERS and Pfizer. No response.

Q: Is there anything that has helped, and have your symptoms improved?

Anti-inflammatory diet helped head pressure and pressure around eyes. I believe St. Johns Wort helped with fatigue and tachycardia. Motrin and Sudafed helped with headaches and head pressure. Sleeping with multiple pillows (head elevated) helped control dizziness felt when shifting positions in my sleep.

Q: Have you had Covid before?


Q: What do you wish others knew?

I wish those in power (NIH, FDA, CDC) would be honest about the risk associated with the vaccines. At this point, I still don't know if we will be dealing with these relapses forever or what the consequences of the suspected long-term inflammation and autoantibodies will be. Also, unless they recognize these adverse effects formally, those of us struggling cannot get the care we need, the research we need or the insurance and/or disability coverage many of us need to get through this.

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