Nikki, Massachusetts: The typical American teenager, Nikki attended high school and was active in cheerleading and dance. She loved the social life, weekends with her friends at the mall and going to parties. Nikki had absolutely no health problems.
In her own words, “My life was perfect.”
Nikki was 16 when the Gardasil vaccine was first released. She had heard about cervical cancer and thought it was great to have the opportunity to be one of the first to be protected from its effects. She enthusiastically completed the entire series.
Then, her world turned upside-down. Shortly after her third shot, she was taking a nap after cheerleading practice and woke up with a severe muscle cramp in her right calf. That was only the beginning. The muscle spasms got progressively worse until she ended up in the emergency room with pain so severe it did not respond to medication injected directly into the muscle. She went home with a prescription for narcotics.
The muscle spasms turned into paralysis. The paralysis progressively increased until Nikki needed braces to walk. The pain was so severe, that
at one point she was being considered for a baclofen pump (a surgically implanted pump that delivers medication directly into the spinal cord).
The procedure was postponed after one of her many doctors diagnosed conversion disorder, medical terminology for ‘we can not find a
cause, so it must be the patient’s psychological response to stress.’
Nikki’s paralysis has now progressed to the point that she must wear a catheter and be confined to a wheelchair.
As if that isn’t enough, she also experienced gastro-intestinal problems, heart problems severe enough to put her in an intensive care unit,
ongoing dystonia, chronic pain, fainting spells, persistant vomiting, and unexplained weight loss.
This once active cheerleader has spent the last two years of her life in and out of emergency rooms and hospitals. They have tested her for
everything under the sun and have been unable to come up with any reason for her symptoms. She can no longer participate in any of the activities she used to love.
Nikki asked her story to be told because she never believed her life could change so drastically after a simple vaccination. Her wish is
to prevent other girls from going through what she has experienced.
Written by Norma Erickson, Vaccines Examiner