By Jenny Keats, Guelph, Ontario, Canada
I struggled for years to finally reach the point where I thought my life was as close to perfect as it was going to get. That was before Gardasil. Now, everything is different.
I was just beginning to really live my life to the fullest. I started taking the courses I would need to attend college to become a Veterinary Technician. I only have two mathematics courses left to take. I loved hiking, animals, canoeing and outdoor activities. I have a dog who just turned five who I loved to take on long hikes in the conservation areas and woods. I would spend time with my best friends and, my older sister. I loved going shopping, cooking, gardening, and going out to the mall or library–anywhere to get out and about. I started dating my best male friend of nearly twelve years in May of 2013.
I was supposed to start college this year, September 2014. I was supposed to do so much this year. Gardasil took all of that away from me.
The first time I was offered Gardasil, my family physician of 29 years had just done a physical and tests to make sure I had no STIs or STDs. Everything came back clean. Then, she recommended the Gardasil vaccine. I didn’t think it was important. I was not seeing anyone, had no intention of seeing anyone until after college. I declined.
When I started dating my current boyfriend, she recommended it again. This time I decided maybe it would be a good idea. Most people have some form of HPV or another, after all. She made cervical cancer sound like the kind of risk no one would want to take. She said it was for my protection. I try to do things that will ensure I will be safe and protected. I agreed.
So, I got my first Gardasil injection in June of 2013. But before receiving it, I asked my doctor if there were any side effects to this vaccine.
“No. There are no side effects besides perhaps soreness at the site of the injection.”
I trusted the information my doctor of 29 years gave me. Little did I know Gardasil has not been proven to prevent cervical cancer. Regular pap smears would have done more for me with less damage to my health and life. I had never seen a site like SaneVax, or any warnings whatsoever about serious health risks associated with HPV vaccines.
I would give anything to have known then what I know now. I wish I could go back and never have received that first shot. But I can’t UN-vaccinate. I can’t undo what I did.
Two weeks after the first vaccination, I was in Toronto visiting my boyfriend. I developed a severe migraine and nausea that didn’t go away. I thought I had a flu or bug, since there were bugs going around. I was there a few days and had to go home because I felt so sick. I was ill for about three to four weeks in total.
Then it seemed to be getting better. There was still a mild migraine and the feeling of my stomach being off. I didn’t connect it to the vaccine, even though I rarely caught the flu, colds or bugs.
I went to see my doctor and she assured me that it was just a bug. Since it seemed to be getting better, I believed her. I had migraines on and off the whole next month, and the bothersome, though very slight, nausea.
When I was supposed to go in for my second Gardasil vaccination in August of 2013, I was feeling wary. I wasn’t sure why, but I didn’t really want to go get it. Something inside me, my instincts, were telling me not to get it.
I went to talk to my doctor, and asked again if there were any side effects to the vaccine. I explained that I thought it was a bit weird I hadn’t felt good for a couple of months since getting it.
She again assured me it was simply a bug, and that the vaccination didn’t cause migraines or nausea.
I was still really reluctant to get it. I remember sitting in the doctor’s office, and asking the nurse if she’d ever heard of anyone getting side effects like mine from the vaccine. But she said the same thing my doctor did: that it was not the vaccine, and not to worry about it.
I trusted my doctor of twenty-nine years. She had never lied to me, or steered me wrong, before. So I got the second dose of Gardasil.
Again: how I wish I could go back in time, and undo that decision. I wish I would have listened to my instincts. Never again will I trust a doctor more than my body, more than my instincts.
I was on antibiotics for a supposed sinus infection at the time of the second vaccination. I know now it was just the migraines. My doctor didn’t say anything about this, either, even though she knew because she prescribed them for me. Yet you aren’t supposed to vaccinate if you are on them, if your immune system is weakened already.
Ironically, I went to visit my boyfriend again nearly two weeks after the second vaccine. The first day there, I got really sick again. The migraine was so bad I couldn’t look at any lights, and the nausea was bad and I vomited a couple of times. He took me out and I spent most of the outing in a public washroom, dry heaving and vomiting.
Then he took me to the hospital emergency room. They took blood and did a CT scan, but could find nothing. They said it was a migraine, and gave me migraine medication through IV, and anti-nausea medication through the IV. Then they sent me home.
I was sick for an entire month again, a little over. My doctor prescribed migraine medications but they did nothing.
I feared it was the vaccine, but my doctor said it hadn’t been. I wanted to trust her.
After that time it seemed to recede a bit. I still had nausea and migraines every day, but there was a three week period where it was less. Then it came back again in full force. I was also having trouble sleeping. Waking up nearly every hour at night, and going pee a lot, and feeling fatigued no matter if I slept or not. It felt like I had the flu 24/7.
I was also noticing problems with anxiety, something I had not dealt with before no matter how difficult my situation seemed at the time.
I had been saving for a year for a trip to Mexico. We left mid-September, it was my first flight and my first vacation ever. It was ruined.
I was super nauseated every morning when I woke, and had to take Gravol and ginger pills to make it manageable enough to get through each day. I ate a bit here and there, but generally felt too sick to eat much at all.
I did everything my sister and her husband did, because I didn’t want to ruin the trip for them. Yet I was drained, and sick to my stomach, and the anxiety I was developing over being unwell was rising.
When I got back, I spent the next few months in and out of emergency at the hospital and the doctor’s office. My doctor told me I had acid reflux, so I was put on antacid medications. They seemed to help a little, but they didn’t stop it.
I had a CT scan, EKG, X-rays, Sleep Study, MRI, an Ultrasound, so much blood work I felt like a guinea pig…nothing came back with any results whatsoever. Everything looked normal. I had an endoscopy of my stomach, which showed nothing, but the GI doctor told me that it was likely anxiety, since they could find nothing, and recommended I go on Iberogast and see a counselor or therapist and get cognitive behavioral therapy.
I didn’t think it was anxiety. Why now? Why when everything was finally going right in my life? I am with a man I love, in a great relationship, going to go to college, and now I’ve suddenly developed unexplainable anxiety and acid reflux due to it? I didn’t believe it was that.
My doctor began to say it was all anxiety. Every time I went in, she tried to prescribe me anxiety medication. Frustrated, I tried taking the Prozac she prescribed, because I was hoping it really was, even if in my heart I knew it was not. I took it for seven days. On the third day I started vomiting and lost 9 pounds in that week. On the fourth day I started having anxiety attacks every morning that would last 3-4 hours long. I stopped taking it, but the morning anxiety attacks persisted for three weeks after, and started lessening as time went on until it’s back to my regular daily anxiety–very bad but manageable.
I was booked for another ultrasound, this time to check for pancreatitis, and to look at my organs. I was feeling sick again that day, really sick. So I went to the emergency room again, even though I didn’t believe it would do anything for me. I just needed to talk to a doctor. This was when I started really believing it was Gardasil that had done this to me. It was mid-February. I saw the doctor who immediately gave me the results of the ultrasound: normal, again. I broke down crying, because I didn’t know what to do. All tests were coming back normal, yet I was clearly sick. I hadn’t been sick before the vaccines, and I refused to get the third.
The ER doctor leaned over and said quietly,
“Doctors are not supposed to really say this, but I believe it was the vaccine. You have had every test under the sun with no results, yet are clearly unwell. Have you tried alternatives to Western medicine? I believe you should look at another alternative, and see a naturopathic doctor.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. My own family doctor of now 30 years had dismissed the vaccination, even though I told her that I had been fine before, and was not a mere couple of weeks after…
But doctors aren’t really supposed to say that, are they? If she admitted that it could be Gardasil, and she prescribed it to me, she would likely be in trouble. For lying to me about the fact there were side effects. For not telling me, which she legally has to do, that there are side effects at all. For ignoring me when I expressed concerns after the first injection.
I found someone from SaneVax on Facebook, and was added to a bunch of groups composed of girls, women and their families suffering after receiving HPV vaccines. I had felt so alone in this, it was like a godsend to me. Now I know I am not alone. Hundreds of other girls and women and their families are going through this, all thanks to Merck, Gardasil, GlaxoSmithKline and Cervarix.
I even told my doctor about this. She could not even look at me. Instead she prescribed three anxiety medications and told me she could not help me if I didn’t do what she said to do and take what she said to take.
Maybe she honestly didn’t know at the time, but I believe now she suspects, if not believes, that Gardasil did this to me. How, knowing me 30 years, knowing my life story and what I’d been through, could she blame this on anxiety? How, when I should be the happiest I ever have been, and am only not due to my health issues? The answer is that she can’t. Not unless she’s lying to herself.
My life now feels like every day is a struggle. Every small task I complete is a victory. My boyfriend has been wonderfully supportive. We are moving in together in three weeks. Yet I am not who I was. I struggle to get to the grocery store and back. I am nauseated and have migraines every single day, and am constantly exhausted. I force myself to get out of bed or eat. I can’t walk my dog like I used to, or do the physical activities I used to. I feel grateful if I can even eat well during a day. I lost about fifteen pounds since this started.
I have gone on disability and had to put college on a back burner. I am focused mostly on my health and getting better, yet I hate this. Why should I and everyone around me suffer because I trusted my doctor?
I have just begun seeing a naturopath in Toronto, Ananda More, who is working with Dr. Isaac Gordon of Australia, a well-known and renowned specialist in vaccine damages. I will be doing CEASE therapy with her, and right now am taking the supplements she recommended and detox baths to prepare myself for it.
I can only hope it helps me get well again, since nothing else I have done has worked. I have to keep believing I will get well. Well enough to help others going through this. Well enough to live the life I had before.
Gardasil has taken so much from me. My health, my happiness, my life and my goals…but I will fight it. I will beat this, and come out stronger for having fought the battle.
HPV vaccines have made so many people feel like ‘One Less’, including myself. Yet together, we can find a way to overcome it.
It is this belief and knowing others going through what I am and remaining strong and fighting, and some even recovering, that get me through each day.
We will not give up, or give in – we are HPV vaccine survivors!