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Lesley Sharp

First Dose of AstraZeneca on 03/21/21 Lot #4120Z001

United Kingdom

54 yrs old

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

No previous health issues. Reasonably active. Dance salsa. Do yoga.

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

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

My upper left arm (the one I’d had the jab in) developed red blotches the day after the shot, which then spread and joined up so my whole upper arm was inflamed, hot and ‘tight’. I wasn’t worried because the doctors at my GP’s vaccine clinic said it was common.

However, 5 days after the jab, I was playing guitar in the evening when I felt a weird tingling/numbness sensation ‘flush’ down my left arm, down into my left leg and up my neck and left side of my face. I immediately put my guitar down and raised my arms to check I wasn’t having a stroke. I walked across the room to the wall mirror to check my face. My left leg felt oddly weak and yet it wasn’t really weak, as I was still able to walk around the room. It was a bizarre feeling.

When it passed, I sat down and picked up my guitar again. Then a second, stronger ‘wave’ of numbness/tingling/pins and needles rolled down my arm and leg and up into the left side of my face. This time, the left side of my lips went completely numb. Again, I stood up and put my arms above my head, checked the mirror and fortuitously saw no facial droop. But I felt really ‘spacey’ in my head and that feebleness in my leg again.

I went on the NHS (National Health Service) website and did their questionnaire to see whether I needed to call an ambulance. Their quiz said I should ring my GP in the morning. I was feeling very spaced out and weird so, vaguely comforted by the notion that the NHS algorithm didn’t think I was about to die any second, I went to bed early to see if I could ‘sleep it off’.

The following day I rang to try and get a GP appointment. I got a phone consultation at 6pm, at which point the doctor advised me to go to A&E and ask to be put on their stroke pathway because he thought it sounded like I’d had a TIA (transient ischemic attack), aka a mini stroke.

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

I’m still taking a lower dose of a different BP tab and the blood thinner. Since that first stroke or stroke-like event, I have had recurring bouts of paresthesia/peripheral neuropathy in my leg, arm and predominantly the side of my face, ear, lips, up around my eye and into my scalp. I’ve had ‘crawling/itchy’ sensations in my hairline and scalp, and the area around my eyelid feels ‘cold’, similar to the kind of sensation you get when you put peppermint or menthol on your skin. The side of my face feels taut and mildly burning, similar to the feeling you get wearing a chemical face mask. In addition, I have had strange skin sensations on the front of my left thigh and shin, like a loss of feeling/slight numbness/ crawly sensation.

In addition to this, more recently I’ve had episodes in which I’ve woken up several times in the night with a ‘dead arm’ and/or a ‘dead leg’ – but in the limbs I haven’t even been lying on – and I’ve had to ‘pump’ them back to life. It takes much longer to get the blood circulating than when you just lie on your arm for too long – to the point of being a somewhat frightening.

These episodes of neuropathy are ongoing (I’m writing this in February 2022, almost a year after the jab) and can last anything from a few hours to a few days. While they aren’t totally devastating or debilitating like so many other people’s symptoms, they’re very disconcerting indeed and I’m concerned my nervous system/endothelial system has been permanently damaged.

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

After the customary 4-hour A&E wait, I had my blood pressure taken several times and, a little later, all the standard tests: ECG, bloods, looking in my eyes, neurological examination – all fine. They were totally bamboozled by the fact that my blood pressure was 230 over 123. The doctor asked me several times if I had a headache and looked at me in disbelief when I kept saying no. I said I’d had the vaccine a few days before, but it was clear to me that wasn’t a scenario anyone was prepared to consider.

They gave me Ramopril to lower my BP, kept me in overnight, did a CT scan and eventually discharged me, with the final doctor I saw telling me they didn’t think I’d had a stroke, but they were going to refer me to the stroke clinic anyway just in case.

A day later, summoned to the stroke clinic, I had a carotid ultrasound (all good) and saw a nurse, who listened to what had happened, promptly decided it was definitely a TIA, wrote out the standard prescription for max dose of statin, BP tabs, blood thinner and proton pump inhibitor. And told me I’d get an appointment for a heart ultrasound. Which happened two months later. It took another two months for me to find out the result that my heart was okay.

I took the statin for a month or so, then stopped (side effects). Didn’t take the proton pump inhibitor at all (had read about the knock-on effects to your gut microbiome of taking those).

In autumn 2021, I contacted my doctor's surgery and got a phone consultation in which I discussed the ongoing paresthesia I was having in my face, arm and leg. The doctor said to give it another three months and, if hadn't gone away, call back. It hasn't gone away. And I haven't called back.

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

Reported on the MHRA Yellow Card Scheme website. Zero response.

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

I saw alpha-lipoic acid mentioned in the Facebook support group I’m in. I’ve been taking that once a day along with 1,000mg of vitamin C. My symptoms have improved, but they recur from time to time. I can’t honestly say if it’s the supplements or if it’s the placebo effect or if it’s just a result of time passing. Like lots of other people affected by the vaccines, I feel the best I can do is support my body through good sleep and anti-inflammatory eating habits.

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

Yes, I got what I believe was Covid at the very beginning of January 2021. I didn't go out to get tested because I literally couldn't get off the sofa I was so wiped out with fatigue. I slept like Rip van Winkle for about a week straight, had night sweats and lost my sense of smell. It was pretty much the end of the month before I started to get my energy back.

Q: What do you wish others knew?

The whole Covid scenario, both virus and vaccine, seems like a lucky dip. Or, as Forrest Gump would say, like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re gonna get.

For me, I had Covid in January 2021 – luckily it was ‘Covid Lite’, and I was just wiped out with fatigue and loss of smell for pretty much the whole month. I considered myself extremely fortunate to have escaped serious illness and death at the time, or debilitating long Covid effects thereafter.

I felt that, having just had the virus, there wasn’t really any rush for me to get vaccinated, but both government and peer pressure to ‘do the right thing’ and get the jab was so intense I went ahead. In retrospect, I wish I’d gone with my gut instinct and waited.

I also wish people would believe us. There’s a lot of denial going on. But it doesn’t take much deep thought to figure out why people don’t want to face the facts and admit these vaccines aren’t anywhere near as safe as they were made out to be.

#WeWantToBeHeard #RealNotRare


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