Charlet Crichton – AstraZeneca February 2021
Ongoing Severe Adverse Reactions
I am a 42-year-old sports therapist from Kent and mother to two sons. We lost their dad when they were 1 and 7, he had a brain haemorrhage and died aged 27. I met my current partner six years after he passed away and started my business shortly after.
Pre AstraZeneca Vaccine I was fit and healthy. I have two dogs so would walk them for at least two hours a day in total, was running 5k at least twice a week and weightlifting 3x a week.
During the pandemic, I had to close my business due to national lockdowns, so I filled my time with voluntary work.
The first lockdown, I volunteered with a dog charity, re-homing dogs via online video home checks. During the lockdown after Xmas 2020, I decided I would answer the call for help at my local vaccination centre and so I became a volunteer Marshall there, helping out several shifts a week. Part of the volunteer process meant that I would have the vaccination earlier than my age cohort, so I received my first AstraZeneca Vaccine in February 2021.
For four days after my first vaccine, I had the ‘common’ side effects, fever, malaise, tiredness which I knew was my body responding to the vaccine. However, I developed lingering fatigue and my menstrual cycle was severely disrupted ( it stopped !) so, I contacted my GP via online consult and I was sent for blood tests to see if I could possibly be peri menopausal, this was in March.
I also started to get severely bleeding gums, which I saw a dentist about but it persisted to the point where I wake up every morning with a mouth full of blood. I spoke to my GP once these results had been reported (about a month or so later ) and it was found that I had high TSH levels which could be subclinical hypothyroidism. I was told I needed to repeat the blood tests.
In the meantime, I had my second AstraZeneca Vaccine at the start of May.
After this second dose, the first week following I felt great, the fatigue seemed to disappear overnight. But on day nine, I woke up with numb hands and feet, they were numb for several hours and then progressed to pins and needles. I didn’t feel right, my muscles ached and I felt queasy.
I went back to see my GP and they said it could be the thyroid levels and ordered me another blood test.
In the meantime, I started to get numbness and pins and needles in other parts of my body. I would have numb lips and arms, parts of my face and also torso, together with internal vibrations also. I had a feeling in my throat like I couldn’t swallow properly. I also started to have issues with urine frequency and leakage and I would get awful ovarian pain.
I went back to the GP, who ordered an ultra-sound of my pelvis and abdomen. The results of this were nothing to note apart from a small ovarian cyst.
In the days that followed I developed a bi-lateral essential tremor in both arms ( they’re permanent now), muscle fasciculations and cramps to the point I walked with a limp and shakey episodes.
I spoke to the GP again and they referred me to a Neurologist and a Rheumatologist but when I received the appointments, they were for July and August 2021!
I also now started to get episodes of brain fog and cognitive issues and would mix up words in sentences and stare blankly into space often slurring my speech as well.
I wasn’t working much by now as I felt so ill and I was worried so I booked a private appointment with a neurologist, who sent me for a brain scan as MS was expected
The brain scan was ‘normal’ and I was told I may be anxious or menopausal. I tried going back to work on the assumption this was all anxiety and I needed to push through it. It didn’t work, I lasted two hours at work and came home, was sick and had ‘an accident’. I called the GP again and they told me to go to A and E if I felt worse, I stopped working.
I started to get more ‘internal tremors’ and leg shaking/tremors, muscle twitching and spent most days in bed due to the constant feeling of vertigo. I would have electric shock type feelings going through my body, feel either very hot or very cold and have random bouts of goosebumps. My hands and fingers would tremor and my whole being felt shaky. I thought I was dying. My hands would go blotchy and the fingertips wrinkled and numb. I also noticed that my skin would indent more easily and for longer. I went to bed and getting to sleep was hard because I would have seizure type episodes which felt like I was falling backwards but with accompanying chest pains. Once asleep, it was very hard to wake up, the mornings have been tough and some days I didn’t get out of bed at all. As soon as I lifted my head from my pillow, I would feel dizzy, so I took my time inching myself up slowly, taking an hour if at all to be able to get out of bed without being overcome by dizziness and heart palpitations.
I saw a Rheumatologist in July who tested me for a lot of autoimmune and rare conditions, 12 vials of blood taken in total. She said she had seen ‘a few ‘ people like me after the Vaccine and that she thought I would get better with time, but she couldn’t say how or when as the Vaccines are so new. She then diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia by letter!
By now I am basically home bound, I could do about ten minutes of gentle activity before I had to lay down for an hour to recover. I also had bouts of nystagmus (uncontrollable eyeball twitching) and periods where my veins would bulge and my legs become very painful. Bruises appeared on my legs randomly.
On August 13th I was so concerned about my calf that I went to A and E as it had all the signs of DVT. I had my blood taken and saw the doctor who measured my calf and it was two cm’s bigger than the other.
He went on to say my bloods were normal and he wouldn’t do an ultra sound as ‘he’d seen a lot of people like me after the AstraZeneca Vaccine and he believes it is all in our minds, mass hysteria’!
Coincidentally, this same day I also had an appointment to see another Neurologist (who was also an Immunologist), this time via the NHS. He took notes and did a thorough physical exam and was insisting I needed an urgent EMG and nerve conduction study. He was concerned about me and could see something was very wrong. He said in the meantime I should go to A & E if I felt worse and gave me a letter to give them should I need to. However, the following Monday the hospital called me and said he had requested I be admitted to hospital for a few days to have the EMG and possibly plasma exchange treatment.
I went to hospital and spent four days there, during which the EMG wasn’t done and no plasma treatment. I saw three ward consultants who all picked up numbness, tremors, dull reflexes and leg weaknesses but insisted I didn’t need an urgent EMG or treatment, in fact they suggested a diagnosis of Functional Neurological Disorder, which I disagreed with and it wasn’t documented to my knowledge.
I already had a brain and full spinal MRI booked previously so they took me by patient transport to the hospital to have these done but I was sent home on day 4 without the results (one general doctor did say he’d glanced at them and couldn’t see anything and that an official report would follow).
After that I had several leg tremor episodes and felt like I wasn’t getting any better.
I had the EMG which tested the big nerves and they were all found to be ok. I had an appointment with a Neurologist again soon, but until then I was left to cope, no meds prescribed and barely able to leave my house. I called my GP regularly about the numbness and other symptoms, I think I’ve logged at least one call a week now for seven months.
My second scan results now returned with multiple scattered foci signal changes in the white matter indicative of small vessel disease. My menstrual cycle continued to be irregular and very heavy and I continued to have episodes of high blood pressure and heart rate.
I got a call from the hospital stating the Immunologist couldn’t see me to follow up as he’d left the hospital, so they booked me in for a telephone consultation with another.
The call didn’t go well, I explained my ongoing condition and he basically said he didn’t feel comfortable or equipped dealing with my condition and that he’d pass me back to a Neurologist that could see me in person (which happened to be the one who tried to dx me with FND when I was in hospital). He said my scan is nothing to worry about even though the changes have appeared in three months.
So, I go to the next appointment and I take my partner this time
She tried to tell me again that I didn’t have Neuropathy but my partner stepped in with facts and she was unable to argue her case though she refused to do a biopsy for neuropathy because apparently they aren’t accurate, but at the same time didn’t suggest anything to help with it. She told me that my scan report must be wrong and that she believes it was reported on by someone not well qualified. Anyway, the only useful thing to come out of the appointment was that she agreed to review my case with other doctors, provide me with a follow up scan and refer me to vascular clinic.
I had another private appointment with a consultant from London Bridge Hospital via video call. She was quite passive aggressive, I believe it may be because we had sent her an email beforehand with my medical timeline and scan reports. She agreed it’s a Post Vaccine Syndrome but that she didn’t know how or why.
She scolded me for using medical terminology when talking to her even though I use it as standard due to my job. She then went on to say she thinks I’m having hemiplegic migraines and would like me to take lamotrigine. I don’t think I am as I had hemiplegic migraines when I was a teen and although there’s some similarities, it’s not the same.
I get an email from the NHS Neurologist saying she’s had my second brain scan report changed. The new report was attached, not an amended one, just a whole new report six weeks later stating “subtle signal changes of no clinical significance”.
Then weeks after this I get a letter saying that the Radiologist who reported my second scan originally has changed her mind and that the previous findings of possible small vessel disease were wrong but that she would send me for a biopsy for Small Fibre Neuropathy. My neuropathy continued to progress and by now I had episodes of burning as well as numbness and tingling.
In the meantime, I had been speaking to a lady who runs a vaccine injury group in Germany and she had found a way to have our blood tested at a research facility in Germany. This laboratory had been testing via ELISA for specific autoantibody’s which had been found in people with Long Covid (LC share our symptoms).
So, I had my blood drawn and sent by air mail, the results came back and showed that I have autoantibodies to Ace2, G coupled protein receptors and also, I am positive for FGFR3 Autoimmune Neuropathy.
I tried to talk to my GP about this but she said it was far too complex for her and said she wouldn’t refer me to anyone else as I already have too many referrals going on!
So now I thought I would start perusing the reason why antihistamines had been helping me and so many others in my situation. I took a private test to measure an enzyme called Tryptase which is released when mast cells are activated. This test came back high, I called my GP and on the back of this result she prescribed me Fexofenadine and also sent me for an IgE test which has also come back higher than it should. I await consultation to talk about this matter.
I know that some have found they possess a gene called Hereditary Alpha Tryptasemia or HaTs, so I am also awaiting a gene testing pack to see if I have this.
This could explain some of the reason why I am ill but also could explain some of my two adults’ sons ongoing health issues
My aim is to investigate this side further hopefully ruling out Mastocytosis but possibly a diagnosis of MCAS.
After talking with many Potsies I have also managed to get an appointment to see a Doctor about a possible PoTs diagnosis.
So, that’s where I am. I feel like I went through an acute phase for about three months and now I have moved to a chronic phase. I do have flares but they kind of all join together. I have maybe three days a week where I am 6/10 the rest I am maybe 3/10. I am taking some core suppliments and antihistamines, baby aspirin. I am also doing a bit of physical rehab. I take a DAO before meals which helps.
I really think this is an autoimmune response by the body, whereby we are producing autoantibodies to different cell receptors including the Ace 2 and my results from the German lab prove this. Dr Bruce Patterson has identified that in long covid the S1 part of the spike gets stuck in monocytes but in long haul vaccine illness, the S 1 and the S2 remains. Maybe the mast cells get triggered on certain people which then provokes this ? Maybe it’s a genetic disposition?
Whatever it is, I feel abandoned by the medical community. I thought naively that when I found I’d had a Vaccine Reaction that I’d be studied, to prevent others from being ill. I expected calls from researchers, from scientists and I expected compassion and help.
If I would have known what I now know, I would never have taken this Vaccine. The risk for me, being fit and healthy wasn’t worth it and if I got Covid at least I would have been treated with compassion and respect. Instead, I’ve lost my business and my health and no one seems bothered.
Kent, United Kingdom