My name is Julie. I am 26 years old, a mother of 3 lovely kids and wife to a very handsome Man. He would die if he new I just wrote that. Well I was asked to share my story about my negative reaction to Gardasil.
August/September 2007 I went in to see my Doctor for another reason and after hearing that I could get a free Cervical Cancer injection I thought I would ask my Doctor a little about it. She said that it was Safe and that it hurts like a Tetanus shot and that it will stop me from getting Cervical Cancer. I knew that my 26 birthday was coming up in December and I thought I should get it before I have to pay for it. So in the same appointment I had my needle. My 1st injection was very standard, very sore at the site, red and I had a lump for about a week.
Exactly what my Dr told me would happen.
So when it came around to having my 2nd shot I wasn’t worried. I had the Nurse give it to me. That was in Late October 2007.
Two weeks later on a Thursday, after driving home from my friends’ house for dinner, I started getting a really bad pain in my chest. At first I thought Heart Burn but within minutes the pain was so severe I could hardly breathe and I went straight to the Emergency room. I was in an exam room in huge amounts of pain hardly able to breathe when I started getting jerking movements with my arms. The Dr and Nurses put this down to my trouble with breathing. After an ECG I came back clear. I was then given morphine to stop the pain in my chest. This didn’t stop the pain or the jerking; it just made me really high. It was weird I remember laying there thinking ‘man this hurts’ and what is going on with my arms but not really being able to think straight enough to do anything about it.
During this time my blood, urine and blood sugar were taken. I also had a chest x-ray. Because I was still in pain I stayed at the ER and my head, arms and legs were still being thrown around.
At 3am that morning one of the nurses came up to me and asked how I was feeling, I said ‘I am still hurting’ but it was the jerking and tremors that was worrying me. She said ‘What – aren’t you normally like this? ‘No’, I said ‘it started when I got in here.’ I wanted to scream at her! Normally like this! Who is normal like this! Anyway this nurse then got a Dr to come back to me and they gave me a huge dose of anti-seizure medication and some Tremadol. I slept for 3 hrs.
I was waiting for the Ultrasound Department to open and at 9am I was the first in there. They couldn’t find any reason for my pain. And due to the large dose of anti-seizure medication my jerking had stopped. I was sent home with strong pain killers and a ‘sorry we don’t know why you are in pain?’
So I managed to stay Tremor-free and then the pain had completely gone by Friday night. I had been taking Tremadol all Friday as prescribed to me.
Saturday, I was laying in bed and then, as I was waking up and getting ready to get out of bed, my arms and legs started flaying around and my head kept throwing itself back or to the side. Very concerned my husband took me to my GP. She was overbooked so another Dr came and saw me in their treatment room out the back. I couldn’t sit still and I kept banging my head on the wall if I sat straight up in a chair. Walking wasn’t that good as I kept over balancing when my head was thrown back. This Dr (not my GP) prescribed my muscle relaxers and sent me home saying it was in my head because if I try hard enough I could sit still for a second. And I mean a few seconds. I could do as I was asked like raise my arm and hold my hand out and if I did stop it, it felt like I was holding back flood waters. Then when I relaxed, my body went crazy with huge jerks and my head thrown around.
I went home and took my muscle relaxant. But Nothing, I really mean Nothing worked at stopping them. In fact I was getting worse so at 3pm that day I went back to the ER. Now due to the fact that I had been taking Tremadol and one of Tremadol’s side effects is shaking and jerks the Nurses couldn’t get past that fact. Both my husband and I told them over and over that they started before I was given anything on Thursday. At last one Dr came and said, ‘well this worked last time’. So I was given another huge dose of anti-seizure medication and sent home! I don’t remember much of that night I was so out of it.
The next morning I woke with really small twitches but thought that I would be OK. I went off to church, but at 10.45am I was in complete body seizures and I could hardly walk or talk as my whole body was convulsing.
This time I went to a different hospital after dropping my kids at my mother-in-law’s. I spent the rest of that day in the ER waiting for more tests. Again I was given a muscle relaxant. I had a MRI which came back clear as did all other blood and urine tests. That night I was admitted and given muscle relaxant
throughout the night. To be honest the next few days were a bit of a blur.
I was on very strong drugs. My mum flew in from Singapore where she lives and was totally shocked to come into the room and see me like that. By Monday I couldn’t walk without help, I could barely stand up, I had convulsions so bad that I hurt my neck and only just managed to stay on the toilet when needed. And even then I need someone close by in case I fell off. Lying down in bed was my only option. A few times my husband took me for a walk outside but I kept banging my head and back so I returned to my room pretty quickly.
On the Tuesday morning I had an EEG. This was horrible. Not that it hurt or anything it was just so detached, the lady barely talked to me and I didn’t even see the actual Neurologist.
That night, my admitting Dr came to see me at 8.30pm. He said they couldn’t find any reasons as to why I was doing this. And then he said, my GP was probably right it was stress and that he doesn’t know what else to do. I asked him if there was any point to being in the hospital? He said ‘No I guess not.’ So I had my mum and sister help me get dressed and I went home.
I was soo mad!! The stupid thing about the stress thing was that I wasn’t stressed at ALL before the convulsions started. My kids were great, my husband was great, everything was great. So I went home and kept convulsing at home. I wasn’t able to hold my baby for 2 weeks, because I couldn’t be sure I wouldn’t drop her. She would lay with me on my make shift bed in the lounge room, so I didn’t feel left out, throughout the day.
It was around this time that I heard about the negative Gardasil reactions and it all made perfect sense to me. I was so relieved to know that there was a reason apart from my ‘stress’ that supposedly had made my body do this. I went to my GP and she said she didn’t think so but still sent off a form to the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration). That was really hard.
I had my son who was in Pre-primary but I couldn’t drive to take him there or pick him up. My husband was a God send through all this as were my friends. I had so much help, I was really blessed. I couldn’t drive for about 2 months until I had a whole day without convulsing. I couldn’t risk it.
Throughout November, December and January 2008 I was put on anti-depressants for my ‘stress’. When in February I was still having the seizures, I told my GP, ‘it’s not stress.’ She agreed and took me off the drugs. So by February I was still having convulsions but only for about 15 mins every 3 to 4 hours. They had slowed down. I didn’t really have a treatment plan, I just rested whenever they where bad, well as much as a mother of three can. And they have just gradually slowed down.
So from there to now, in May 2008, I am having a convulsion for about 10 sec every 1-3 weeks. That’s it.
When people ask how I am going I tell them I am great, because I am, compared with how bad I was. The seizures aren’t completely gone but I am getting there. I am telling my story so that people know ALL the facts and all the risks! Especially when it is only a STI Vaccine not a Cervical Cancer CURE!!
And if I had been told the percentages of bad reactions to the vaccine? I would NEVER have taken it! It just isn’t worth it!