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Dolores Castillo

First Dose of AstraZeneca on 05/25/21 Lot #NF0007

Second Dose of AstraZeneca on 07/23/21 Lot #NJ0239


49 yrs old

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

After a year in lockdown, I was not as active as I used to be. I’m a housewife. I spent most of the time cleaning, cooking, gardening, knitting, designing furniture, and taking care of my family.

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

Well, I knew it was experimental but was needed as a lifesaver. I still think it is a lifesaver. My husband was obsessed with it, and none of my five siblings had any reaction (they are older), so I took it. It was the lesser of two evils. Besides it was a way to be more free outside.

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

That will take time. I got the shot in the left arm, and immediately my arm began to feel heavy. I went home after the required 15 min. It was in the morning, and the sensation went up my shoulder, neck and my scapula. About six in the afternoon the fever came with the headache. Took some ibuprofen to control fever and pain, so I could sleep. Fever went down, headache only a little bit. At 2:40am, tightness in my chest woke me up. It felt like I couldn’t breathe, so I go for the oximeter. It's 91, pulse 99, took pressure too, but must have been normal, because I didn’t write it down. The sensation lasted for about 45 min. Couldn’t sleep, didn’t know why, but I was afraid to fall asleep and not wake up. About 8:00am, my head still hurt a lot. Considered going to the doctor. Didn’t go to doctor, because "it's normal" is what they are going to say, so I convince myself that it's tolerable. It goes away in the afternoon. When this ends I had a fried brain and stabbing in different parts of my head, left side mostly. Now and then left leg hurts, pressure on the sides of my head above my ears that goes to the front. I felt like maybe I will grow a horn. Nostrils felt obstructed. I shuffle my feet. I slept quite well. Woke up 8:00am feeling tired but ok, I did it. Went to the gynecologist (been waiting for a month to get a space, so couldn’t miss it), was a little bit dizzy but quite manageable. Pressure 80/60 (90/60 is my normal). She gave me some vitamins. Went shopping, went to walk. Little bit tired, and it took some effort to put two sentences together. I was jumpy in both actions and ideas, couldn’t concentrate. Slept well. Little fever. Woke up 10:00am, and I was dizzy, pressure on the chest with burning, ears plug and unplug. I speak slow, so no one notes I had problems with speech. Oxygen ok, low pressure, pulse between 60 & 65 (normally 70). I can’t feel my pulse with my hand (maybe I’m a walking dead), but now I know that what I couldn’t feel were my fingertips. Burning feet, so I moved them to ease the sensation. I laid down with my feet up, because I thought it was my pressure. I ask for advise from my cousin, drank a couple of Gatorades, felt a little better but not much. My feet itch and hurt, so I walked to keep blood moving. This was Friday, the fourth day, and I began a journal to prove my memory, because this was not normal. I don’t understand, and I’m afraid. On Monday, I convince myself to go to the GP. Pressure was 120/80. I said it’s vaccine related. Guess what, he says I’m anxious. He gave me an anxiolytic, which I didn’t take, because I have never taken those kinds of drugs, and I know it could go both ways. I didn’t take the chance. I also went to a Cardiologist who said I had reflux, and to a Neurologist who sent me to a Psychiatrist and a Rheumatologist. The Neurologist found a hernia on my neck, but hasn’t given me a diagnosis. The Psychiatrist was open minded and told me I had nothing to do with him, that maybe it was the vaccine. The Rheumatologist told me I had osteoarthritis, but I didn’t have Sjogren. I had basically two types of crisis, the day time and the night time ones. The day time were these sensations that went up to my neck and down my body. One time it was like a stab with a knitting needle in my left leg, that in a moment triggered something that ran to my neck and then went down. I usually ended up on my knees on the floor with my hands over my head. At first it happened two or three times a day, but then they began to space to every other day, until they disappeared. The night ones were more memorable, it began when I was asleep, face up, with me taking in air with my mouth, as if I couldn’t breath (Psychiatrist told me maybe it was apnea at first). I got up, went to take vitals, oxygen was ok, pulse was 90 something. Then I became hyperactive and needed to move, it lasted for about an hour, with feet itching, then burning, then cold. Itching went up to the knee, just once it went a little bit above. These happened between 2 and 6 am. They spaced themselves out and became less strong. I haven’t had one since October. At first I had trouble speaking or thinking the day before it happened. but then it was less obvious. I noticed that only happened when I slept face up. Nowadays, at times the upper part of my mouth closes, and it feels like choking, so I think that was what happened. There was a day that my mind was trying to speak and process so fast, that I began to speak backwards. There was a month, November, that when I decided to do something, it got done immediately. It was such good a feeling. Someone compared it to the way the adult brain functions when it takes Ritalin, which I haven’t. I took the second dose in June, and it didn’t increment my symptoms. Today my speech has improved, and I barely have issues with my walking (the first 7 days had trouble going up and down the stairs, walls where very useful). When I get stressed some itching comes back. Sometimes I’m hyperactive, I have brain fog, feel lightheaded, followed by dark thoughts, followed by lightheadedness. For a while my husband couldn’t touch me, but I didn’t notice. He told me afterwards. For a while I couldn’t feel sensations with my fingertips (couldn’t feel a hair in my hand), although I could feel pressure. In the first month, my ears and nostrils kept plugging and unplugging, felt stabbing sensations over my left ear and on my left leg, and felt altered breathing when standing. It happened again in March. I had very low pressure, but it didn’t click until after a couple of hours of altered breathing. I was 80/50 when feeling better. It was preceded by hyperactivity. By the way, all my symptoms are cyclic. They come and go, each time more spaced. Hard facts, because my symptoms looked like I had Covid, I got tested. In July 20, 2021, before my second dose, I had 269.0 u/ml Ac anti sars cov 2 espicula-1 (vs. 47.0 u/ml of my husband.) and 0.091 u/ml Ac ant sars cov 2 nucleocapsid. In April 04, 2022, I had 205.1 u/ml espicula and 0.062 u/ml nucleocapsid, and 1.80 ANA, which I’m told is nothing. All the other analyses are normal or negative.

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

I’m a lot better. I feel almost normal again.

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

First a GP told me I was anxious, then a cardiologist said I had reflux. The Neurologist hasn’t given me a diagnosis. He thinks the hernia in my neck plays a part. The Rheumatologist says I have no autoimmune disease, only osteoarthritis. The Psychiatrist says I’m ok.

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

It hasn’t been reported, because in my country it's a bit hard to do.

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

I was on a low carb diet supervised by a dietician when I took the first dose, for cholesterol related reasons. I weighed 52kg, and I didn’t want to lose weight 1.60 cm. I was taking a lot of vitamins that my gynecologist recommended me. I went to an electromagnetic therapy (they put magnets on your body and help you to relax), and that helped with some pain in the mouth. I’m thinking of going again. The journal helped to ease the stress and to notice that the symptoms were each time less severe.

Q: Have you had Covid before? What was your experience if so?

No. To this day, I haven’t had covid.

Q: What do you wish others knew?

That it takes time, but there is hope.

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