In November 2008, my 17 year old daughter Krystal passed out at home for the first time ever (only for a matter of seconds). After a trip to the Emergency Department we were told that this happens to a lot of teenage girls and it wasn’t anything unusual. By January 2009, Krystal was passing out nearly everyday and I was having to pick her up from school (on the days she still went) by lunch time.
We were sent to a cardiologist in Wollongong who sent us to his colleague at the Royal Prince Alfred (RPA) hospital in Sydney. After having many heart monitors attached and a EPS (Electrophysiology Study of the heart ) plus Echo scans and many days’ stays in Cardiology wards we were told that there was nothing wrong with her heart. We then went through the same process with the Neurology side of things and were given the all clear, although a specialist at Wollongong hospital still believes it may be fits coming from the centre of her brain that weren’t picked up while others think that it could still be her heart … nobody knows.
By Feb/March Krystal was passing out everyday; sometimes twice (the average time she was unconscious was half an hour). She was bedridden, if we tried to take her out she had to be in a wheelchair but even that was to much for her. Obviously, she had to leave school (year 11) and her part time job at Bakers Delight that she had held from the time she turned 14.
On Tuesday 23 February 2010 we saw yet another specialist at the RPA who believes Krystal may have a Post Viral Disorder. When Krystal mentioned in passing the Cervical Cancer Vaccine and the fact that this all started during the vaccinations, the doctor agreed that its very likely Krystal has had some sort of reaction to them. I could not believe it. After all this time this is the first time that somebody has taken the Gardasil vaccination on board and seen them as a link to what’s been happening to our daughter. When we first asked our GP if there could be a connection he dismissed it so quickly that I felt silly for asking.
Some of Krystal’s symptoms included: Passing out, Headaches/ Migraines, Nausea, Poor circulation, Light intolerance, Feelings of hot and cold, blurred vision (usually with the headaches), Irregular heart beat and general physical weakness. All of this in a bright, healthy, independent, social, happy teenage girl with no prior illness!
As for our home life we quickly got to a stage where we realised that it was to dangerous for Krystal to walk anywhere by herself and somebody had to be with her at all times she was on her feet for fear of a head injury as she had no warning when she passed out. So I gave up my full time work .We made this decision after a few very frightening experiences. The first one was when she passed out in the bathroom and hit her head on the back of the door (thankfully not the edge of the bath or vanity) and I couldn’t get in the bathroom as her body was blocking the door. Another time Krystal passed out in the kitchen and I was in my bedroom so I hadn’t actually seen her fall (although I heard it), but I hadn’t seen if she had hit the corner of the bench and when I got to her, her eyes were open but she was unresponsive (for around 10 minutes ) and had a very weak pulse….I actually thought I was going to lose her. Obviously that involved two more ambulance trips.
After that if Krystal needed the toilet or a bath (she has passed out in the bath ), I took her. Even just to go from one room to the next either myself or my husband walked with her. We took our phones to bed in case she needed the bathroom at night and I often got up to check on her. We also had carpet laid just in case to make a softer landing than the polished floorboards. Stairs were out as the exertion was to much so far too dangerous … Krystal didn’t see downstairs at home for 9 months (our main living area and front door are upstairs) and we all had a big laugh at her first time back down because it was like seeing it for the first time!
Luckily, Krystal is an extremely positive, happy and intelligent teenager who has kept the belief that she WILL get better and this is only a hiccup in her life. I think she had to believe that or else she would have fallen apart. Even during the worst time she tried to learn Italian and guitar to keep her mind active. Since she has been feeling better for the last 2 months (she still has bad days but also has really good periods), she has hit the ground running with her studies and her wonderful boss and staff at Bakers Delight have welcomed her back on a few short shifts to see how she goes. They watch her very closely.
I cannot change the fact that Krissy did get the Gardasil injections but the next best thing is to:
a) Get Gardasil off the market;
b) Inform as many people as possible of the potential side effects so others can make more informed and educated decisions than we did …
I cannot begin to explain the toll this has taken on Krystal’s life and our family and I would love to be in touch with anyone who has experienced similar problems to learn more or help someone else if possible.