Vaccinated with Cervarix on 9th January 2010
(story told by her husband, Shankar)
We are from Bangalore, India. I can’t say if Cervarix or Gardasil is used a lot in India. My guess would be that it is not – simply because of the price tag (INR 3200 per shot or $65). It is on the top 10 percentile of the expensive drugs. But some upper-middle class folks may go for it – going by the false sense of security it advertises. Also GSK and Merck may manage to con the Govt of India’s health dept to subsidize this poison. In that case it can trigger larger sales. Doctors can also take part in push-selling this to their regular clients/patients. There may be an arrangement of commission for the doctors. I really do not know for sure but that is very likely.
Note that in India we have a sort of “de-regulated” medical system. You can walk into a doctor’s chamber any time and get checked. You can walk into a drugstore and get medicines with/without prescription. Everything is OTC. This is very good in the sense that we do not (yet) have the vicious circle that is called “healthcare” in the west. Treatment is unsubsidized (except for govt hospitals – which are mostly avoided due to long queues, by people who can afford to pay) yet it is mostly affordable. You can consult a world-class specialist or a surgeon for less than $20. You know what you are getting billed for. Anyway let’s get back to the main topic
Sudipta, my wife had just the first shot. It was not prescribed by any doctor but initiated by us. Before the shot we consulted a MD in general medicine and she gave a go ahead. I guess we were more paranoid about the cancer than the vaccine itself. Should have researched it better. The shot was taken on January 9th, 2010. First set of symptoms started appearing in the week of 18th January but became severe enough by 30th January.
Another MD confirmed that it is vaccine related. He did not run any tests as he had already handled two other cases like this. He is our family physician. In hindsight we should have consulted him first before the shot. He did not say if it is ADEM ( I guess it is due to the professional penchant for technical accuracy. But ADEM-MS-GBS are really the same autoimmune disorder with almost same mechanism and merely varies in the extent/locale of damage. When I say ADEM, I mean precursor to ADEM – which if we left untreated for few weeks would technically qualify to be called ADEM.
Always consult a “really good expert” specializing in Internal Medicine and Immunology. I mean the type of doctors (a rarity these days) who have not yet lost their brains (and heart), who try to understand things in terms of the underlying body chemistry and keep themselves updated with research and open issues.
In fact the symptoms were so strikingly similar to Kristine Clulow of Australia and others that we did not even have to do a MRI. Also MRI in very early stage may not show the effect clearly. But a few million nerves would already have been damaged by then. We did not want to wait till it deteriorates so much that steroid treatment becomes the only way out. So we first tried to help the body repair itself by feeding it the materials it would need and watch closely (for change in symptoms) if it worked that way. We were sort of lucky that it worked.
She used to have an amazing short/intermediate-term memory for facts and numbers as well as being a superb multi-tasker. Seen the Dustin Hoffman movie “Rain Man”? So when she complained about forgetfulness along with fatigue I knew something was going on. We did not need the MRI report to tell.
Her symptoms were:
Dizziness, frequent headaches, joint pain, frequent fever, throat infection, dry upper/inner mouth, flutters in ear, severe weakness, irregular and messed up period and most importantly (this was the clue) massive loss of body fat in a very short period of time. The skin of her hands started shrivelling like an old woman (hint: subcutaneous fat). She also had dry skin and mild rashes all over. She was so weakened that she was almost bedridden for a few days.
My wife was put onto a very special diet trying to cut out gluten, taking special supplements, drinking plenty of fluids, including fruit juice and coconut water. In Sudipta’s case she also consumed two eggs a day, milk shakes with cream, curds and yoghurt. This was to help build up her body. This has helped considerably and her memory is back to 95% normal. Headaches are almost gone and her menstrual cycle is back to normal. She has gained the 4 kgs she lost initially. According to our doctor the full recovery would take a month or two.