By Shanna DeJaynes, Okay Oklahoma
My daughter lives a Gardasil nightmare. Our family has suffered along with her for almost three years. I refuse to be silent any longer. I share my daughter’s story as a warning to others – Gardasil is not safe for everyone – please, don’t make the same mistake we did.
At 13 years old my daughter, Breanna DeJaynes, was involved in volleyball, basketball and cheerleading at school. She was very outgoing and not shy to make new friends at all. She was a good student, hardly ever missed school and got good grades. She was on the honor roll for several years in a row. Breanna was very active both in and out of school. I could hardly keep her inside; when she wasn’t out practicing or in the classroom, she was with her friends. In short, Breanna was a healthy, happy, all-American girl before Gardasil.
She received her first HPV vaccine injection in April of 2011. Within a couple of days she started having some mild symptoms like dizziness, headaches, cramps in both her legs and arms, passing out, getting over heated easily and complaining that the arm she had the injection in was achy at times.
Every time something happened we would take her to the doctor. If it happened at school they would call 911 and have EMS come and rush her to the hospital (it was school policy to call 911 whenever something happened at a school-sponsored event).
We were always told she was just overdoing it with her sports, she had just hyperventilated, or that she had stood up too fast, or she had taken too hot a bath or shower, got overheated, wasn’t drinking enough water, was dehydrated and so on. We were told everything under the sun. The possibility that her new symptoms could be related to the HPV vaccine never crossed my mind at the time.
As the weeks passed her symptoms continued to get worse. She received her second Gardasil injection in June or July of 2011 and things got worse than before. Her headaches got so severe she couldn’t even stand to be in light, it would make her nauseous. The headaches were always in the same spot on her head in the frontal lobe. Her leg and arm cramps got worse, passing out continued, then she started having seizures both with and without memory loss, at times forgetting her friends, family and so on.
She suddenly couldn’t handle being in large crowds, it would make her so nervous she would start to cry hysterically and hide behind whoever or whatever she could. When she had a seizure it wiped her out to the point where she couldn’t walk or even talk sometimes due to being so confused and disoriented, not knowing where she was most of the time.
She could no longer concentrate at school due to the extreme headaches and body aches, feeling sick, or focus on school work. When she had a severe seizure she couldn’t remember what she had learned the week before, sometimes even the day before. Breanna would get exhausted very easily, be confused, and have involuntary tremors, muscles spasms and so much more. The list of symptoms goes on and on.
In early October 2012, she had over 15 seizures in one day so I was called home from work. I decided I was fed up with taking her to our local hospitals and getting nowhere. I took her to the Children’s Hospital in Tulsa.
She was admitted and put on an EEG monitor for several days. As they were doing the intake paperwork for her to be admitted they had asked all the common questions, for example: ‘Had there been any changes in her routine? Had we had an accident of any kind? Had I recently changed anything at home? Did I think that she was doing too much activity wise?’
The answers to all of the questions was of course ‘no’. Nothing had changed EXCEPT for the fact she had been given the first and second doses of the HPV vaccine, Gardasil.
After the doctor left the room, a nurse asked if I had researched information about Gardasil and I told her no, I had not because I was told that it was “perfectly safe.”
With the high risk of cancer in our family I thought “Why wouldn’t I want to try and prevent her from getting cancer in the future if that was something that I could do? It could possibly save her life,” or so I thought!
The nurse continued to talk to me about the vaccine and told me to go home and do some research on the Gardasil vaccine.
As Breanna sat in the hospital for the next several days, she only had one seizure. It happened before they got her hooked up to all the monitors because of course it took them forever to get us up to a room and get things going for the monitor. But after she had the one on the hospital floor she was assigned to, every nurse and doctor on duty on that floor was there in a heartbeat. And THEN they put in a rush order to get her hooked up to the monitors as soon as possible.
One morning the doctor asked if it was ok to speak to Breanna alone. I said yes. I was sure that it would be fine. I had no idea what was going to take place.
As he talked with her, he started accusing her of making all this up, that it was all to get attention, it was all in her head and she needed to grow up and stop playing games.
After he finished talking to her I went back into the room. I found her in tears, shaking and trying to pull all the wires off. She cried, “Please take me home – I don’t want to be here anymore.”
It took me a while to calm her down, but I finally got her to tell me what the doctor had said to her.
At this point I was ready to have him called back into the room so that I could give him a piece of my mind AND my fist. My blood was boiling by this point. How dare they treat my daughter this way!
I called the nurse in and asked to speak with a supervisor. They came in a short time later and were extremely apologetic.
I told them I did NOT want that physician to come back into her room under any circumstances or there was going to be a serious problem. I also demanded a different physician for her.
A new doctor came and said there was no activity that had showed up on the EEG testing while she was hooked up to the monitors and sent us home.
We were referred to a neurologist and many other kinds of specialist during this time. After being released from the hospital her symptoms continued to get worse. She was prescribed one seizure medication after another with no relief for over a year and a half. At that time the neurology visits literally consisted of us just walking into the room, her asking how my daughter had been and saying there would be a different medication waiting for her at our pharmacy. It literally took us longer to find a parking place than the time we were in the room with the doctor.
I finally got to the point where I understood we were getting no help. I took Breanna back to her pediatrician and demanded that he send her to another neurologist. I began to ask questions about whether her new symptoms could possibly be related to the HPV vaccine injections she had.
I was always reassured there was no way her current condition was associated with the HPV vaccine no matter what I told them. It did not seem to matter that she had none of these symptoms before she received Gardasil. It did not seem to matter that Gardasil had been the only new thing in her life when this nightmare began.
We started to see the new doctor and of course he ordered all the same tests which had already been done, office and in-home EEG’s, EKG’s, blood work, urine tests etc. He got the same results – everything was negative.
Breanna started to suffer in school due to the memory loss with the seizures, cramping tremors, extreme headaches etc. to the extent that it was causing her grades to go down. She couldn’t remember her school assignments. She had to quit all sports because she was just too weak to do any of that anymore.
Not understanding what was going on with her, most of her friends started to abandon her and not have anything to do with her any more. This caused her to go into a deep depressive state where she wouldn’t leave the house for months. She was too embarrassed about what people would say and worried that she was getting made fun of. That was very hard for her to deal with.
She has continued to miss school and not be able to complete a lot of her work due to her seizures and memory problems. We are now in the process of trying to get her in an online school so she can work at her own pace when she feels well enough to be able to do it. This way she can work at any time of the day so hopefully she will be able to graduate on time. One thing we are thankful for is that we have a good school. They have been very supportive of what is going on with her because they realize it is a medical issue. But when she has any kind of episodes at school I have to go and pick her up right away because of the potential liability for the school if she were to get injured at school.
The doctors have recently taken her off seizure meds but that simply made her seizures worse.
I lost my job of over 7 years because I have to be available to get her from school at a moment’s notice, be here to care for her and watch over her 24 hours a day. Right now, she has seizures 4 or more times a week, sometimes having more than one a day. She isn’t allowed to take a shower or bath without someone there with her. As a 16 year old teenager that is particularly difficult because she can’t have her privacy. As a mother I need and want to be there especially when she has a seizure and is in a state of confusion, when she has them so bad that she loses her ability to remember anyone or anything. We never know when the seizures will come or how long her memory loss will last so I have to be here at all times. Until this nightmare is over, it is impossible for me to hold down a job.
We continue to struggle with her every day to deal with whatever her issues may be that particular day. Breanna has accepted the fact that this is something she has to learn to cope with until we find someone who can help her. We struggle to help her make it through every single day. It is not easy, but we get through it as a family.
It breaks my heart to know my daughter had none of these medical issues until after she received those two shots of Gardasil. As a mother, I struggle daily with regret. I allowed my daughter to get this vaccine thinking I was doing the right thing. As it turned out, nothing was further from the truth.
Seeing your child suffer on a daily basis without the ability to do anything to help them is something no parent should ever have to deal with after a routine vaccine. I only wish I could turn back time so she could have the life she had before being injected with Gardasil.
Now that I have been able to share Breanna’s story I have discovered she isn’t the only young lady, or young boy, that has suffered with issues from this vaccine. It just breaks my heart to know there are so many girls who have very similar or even worse symptoms than those Breanna struggles with.
I am just thankful I did some research before I took her to get the last shot of Gardasil.
Thank you SaneVax for letting me share Breanna’s story. It has been a long road and will continue to be until she gets proper care and this poison out of her body.
Since first coming out with Breanna’s story I have been in contact with many other families who are going through the same kinds of issues or worse. It’s overwhelming, but comforting at the same time. We know we are not alone. Getting to speak with other moms who have been where we are is nice.
There are people that just don’t understand what Breanna’s issues are. I just pray for those people and hope that they never have to deal with what we deal with every day of our lives. I pray parents research all aspects of HPV vaccines before exercising their right to informed consent.
I pray no other parent makes the same mistake I did – allowing my daughter get the HPV vaccine before doing MY homework!