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Justin Krijnen

First Dose of Pfizer on 05/18/21

Second Dose of Pfizer on 06/29/21

Leipzig, Germany

39 yrs old

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

Quite active. The year before I got the vaccine, I was doing a tremendous amount of high intensity training (HIT). I just got into a fitness (freak) phase! Other than that life was generally good.

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

To protect myself and my family, particularly as my son has a rare genetic disorder. We wanted to ensure that he remained unharmed (as far as practically possible).

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

After dose 1, a sudden cold sensation near the injection site along with some mild tingling. This however went away within a few hours. Then no symptoms. However, after dose 2, I had an immediate stabbing-like pain at the injection site that spread to my right arm (like tingling but it felt far stronger) and other body parts. I would just like to say at this point, I don't think the nurse who adminstered the vaccine was very careful: I remember feeling a sharp pain as the needle went in, (unlike dose 1) AND that blood came out of the injection site. Now I am not putting any blame on her, but I think that IF a blood vessel and/or nerve was hit, this makes it much more likely to experience the weird/persistent symptoms that I am about to go into. It could be another factor.

About 10 days after, after a rather poor HIT session by my then standards (I felt like I couldn't lift any weights anymore), my heart rate soared, and I became all panicky. I managed to shrug it off, but the same feeling swept over me the following morning, as I was dropping my son off to nursery. I then went to our GP, who took my blood pressure which was sky high (around 180/100). The ECG showed that I had tachycardia. I was then referred to the local heart clinic in Leipzig, Germany where we currently live, where a blood test and an utlrascan of my heart was done. Both came back normal, it was just tachycardia, and I was discharged. Great right, everything fine? Except that it wasn't. Throughout this period I had these tingling sensations that just wouldn't go away. Why wouldn't they go away? Back then (this was around mid July/early August 2021), I thought, well, if I have calmed down, and it's just some pins and needles bothering me, and if I can still do some exercise, then it will surely go away on its own. At least I could still enjoy most of the rest of that summer, even though mentally these daily sensations took a toll on me. I was convinced what was going on was from the vaccine, but no one around me believed me. Sounds familiar right? I started having poor quality sleep, sometimes sleepless nights. Then around early September 2021, someone remarked, "you've lost weight". Over the next few weeks, this became more apparent. I was still doing a bit of exercise, although this was tapering off at this point, but nothing else changed in my eating habits etc., so this was odd. Then in early October 2021, I began having gastrointestinal problems (nausea, belching, constipation) but also odd feelings of electricity running up and near my spine. The paresthesia did decrease during this time, but it was as if there was a target in mind... Throughout the whole month of October, I then had daily bloating or if that didn't occur, a strange sensation of food being stuck in my back?!?! It felt like some kind of bottleneck was developing somewhere in the center of my back, which compromised the proper flow of food.

To deal with all this, I started taking supplements (Vit D3, B12, probiotics, K2, you name it). Now, a day that I will never forget was the 27th November 2021: there was relief from all of this bloating/GI crap!! BUT, as I was stooping forwards towards the table, helping my daughter out with a puzzle, there was a lot of pain coming from one part of my spine. At times, in this area, it felt like what I can only describe as a "ball of electricity". It was as if all of what had happened had culminated to this day, where the paresthesia, etc., found their target and my immune system decided to have a day off (thanks!). I could eat normally, just like before, my energy returned, and I thought I was finally on the mend.

Unfortunately, over the next 3 to 4 weeks, I was to experience my worst symptoms. It honestly felt like I was being attacked by my immune system. It started off with attacks near my spine, which seemed to want to cut off or compromise the food pipe at some section, because I felt like something was delaying at the very least the processing of food throughout my body. This was freaking me out! So, after that attack, similar attacks followed, but ones that fanned out across my body and extended into the ribcage. These would last up to 6 hours sometimes and be characterised by burning sensations/muscle compromise. By the latter, I mean that it felt like the diaphragm muscles were also attacked, and I struggled to "lift" my diaphragm completely (well I couldn't). It felt like I was gripped by a vice where everything tightened up. This may or may not have been responsible for the eating problems etc...

Towards the end of 2021, just around Christmas, after a big meal (which I stupidly forced down) the worst attack resulted: burning across my whole body and the characteristic internal and external muscle tightening. This also lasted for 2 days non-stop!! What the hell? Funnily enough, over the next few days, we all tested positive for Corona (Omicron BA.1) so this may have also triggered my adverse reaction or at least compounded it.

What is also interesting to note though, is that as I was fighting off Corona, my burning sensations pretty much died down/went away even for the next 10 days. I also felt like some of the tightness reduced too...hmm, I was hoping after the infection my immune system would recognise the right spike protein and be done with the autoimmunity part! It seemed to do just that but only for 10 days (some relief at least).

I'd like to end on a slight positive note here: since the turn of the year I have been getting better days (well, it has been almost 10 months at the time of writing!!). I have been taking a lot of supplements which may or may not be helping but hey, improvement is good. The main issues I seem to be enduring now are fatigue, still some GI issues (e.g. constipation), but the burning sensations have definitely reduced. The biggest question on my mind is: do I let this vaccine induced reaction run its course, or do I get treatment?

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

Life is compromised for sure, but luckily enough for me, I can still work (although not as intensely) and keep up with common daily tasks, such as driving the kids to school/nursery. The challenge now is more mental: where to get proper help etc...I have not been diagnosed with autoimmunity, but I know it's there!! I need to get an autoantibody test done and or lumbar puncture done. But who is going to do this for me when there is just dismissal of our symptoms??

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

Neurologist: basic check up was fine,

-Gastroenterologist: ultrascan of abdomen/organs, no organ damage thankfully

-Osteopath: went for 4 sessions to get rid of blockage in my back (where did that come from?)

-Privately paid MRI scan: did reveal "subtle" bone marrow oedemas - again where did this come from? I was exercising like mad before all of this so as to avoid bone problems, but no one sees it that way. I get told: "you are getting older, get some exercise". Somehow these oedemas, however slight, they occurred as a result of an immune response. This is the only "hard" evidence I have.

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

No. To date, I have not yet reported any of this.

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

As I said, supplements have probably helped and time. After the peak phase at the end of last year, symptoms have reduced somewhat in frequency and intensity (possibly helped by the covid infection around Christmas - no idea though!)

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

Yes, positive PCR test early January (Omicron) and suspected Omicron BA.2 case just last month (my son who goes to nursery tested positive). In both cases, the symptoms I was experiencing reduced. It was almost as if I could feel my body fighting it off and having to let go of some autoimmunity in order to do so - sorry, this is very unscientifically phrased!

Q: What do you wish others knew?

Try and keep positive. I say that just as much for myself as for everyone else who is suffering.

#WeWantToBeHeard #RealNotRare

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