Disclaimer: The following article reflects my experiences and the resources I get my information from will be below.
In the United States, vaccine injuries are a very sensitive matter. When the hoax proclaiming that vaccines cause autism came out, a group of anti-vaxxers starts to form. While we don't officially know if vaccines cause autism, but the initial claim was a hoax and the perpetrator even admitted it. However, this new trend has led to an overall disbelief that some vaccines can be harmful to some people. Such is the case with the Gardasil vaccine.
What is Gardasil?
Gardasil was first put on the market in 2006 to try and combat the number of cases of HPV. It covered 4 of the 200+ strains of HPV and is administered in 3 doses over a 4-6 month period. It confers immunity for a maximum of 4-5 years and increases the risk of cervical cancer about 2-3 times. Gardasil has been known to cause premature ovarian failure as well. The sad part is that you are 44% more likely to get a serious side effect than you are to get HPV. (http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/gardasil-increases-cervical-cancer-risk-for-sexually-active/)
Common side effects of Gardasil (like many injections) include: pain, swelling, redness near injection site, Itching, bruising, bleeding, headache, fever, nausea, and dizziness according to the Gardasil9 website. (https://www.gardasil9.com/about-gardasil9/side-effects-and-safety/) Reports people people passing out after receiving to vaccine are not uncommon. However, a small subset of people tend to get more severe conditions, like dysautonomia, autoimmune disorders, gastroparesis, RSD/CRPS and more. In some patients, death results.
My Gardasil Vaccine Injury Story
On August 24th, 2012, my life changed in the blink of an eye. I was at the doctor's office for a sports physical for the upcoming high school basketball season. At the end of the physical, I was told that I was at the age where the Gardasil vaccine was recommended. As I was fully vaccinated up until that point and perfectly healthy, my mom agreed to have the 1st of 3 doses done. I received the 1st injection and there was nothing to it. I didn't even feel the needle, but the fluid going in was worse than a tetanus shot. I went on my way and was to receive the next shot in 2 months and the last shot in 4 months for a total of three shots.
About a week later, I started developing severe headaches and back pain. I blamed it on my rigorous basketball training schedule and moved on with my life. I thought to myself, "This will pass.", "This is temporary.", "You're just tired. Get over it." As the weeks went on, my sleep became poor and I was constantly tired. I didn't bother going to the doctors, because I thought I was just burned out from playing basketball year round.
Then, some alarming new symptoms emerged. I was in history class the morning of October 18th, 2012. I had actually been feeling ok that day until my right pinkie finger, swelled up, turned bright red, shiny, and was sweating profusely. It was radiating heat off of it and the burning pain was hands down, the most excruciating pain I had ever felt in my life. I ended up calling my mom to come get me. We went to the doctors the next day and received the first of many diagnoses that would cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, blurred vision, shortness of breath, skin color changes, skin temperature chances, skin texture changes, hypersensitivity to touch and pain, low blood pressure, tachycardia, bradycardia, syncope, and many, many more.
Now, nearly 5 years later, I have a weird constellation of symptoms and diagnoses. They overlap with one another and exacerbate each other. It's been a long 4.5 years. I've spent periods practically living in the hospital, nearly lost my life from complications of my conditions, and so much more. In some ways, I never got the chance to be a teenager. According to Merck, 1 in 912 girls passes away from the vaccine and over 500000 girls are believed to have be affected by a chronic illness or life-altering disability.
I've had to say goodbye to some of my friends, as they lost their battles with complications from the vaccine. These complications are not rare, rather they are just rarely recognized. The effects are debilitating and for myself, and many others, permanent and without a cure. I believe that there is probably a subset of people that are susceptible to these complications, however, until we know the characteristics of that subgroup, this vaccine needs to be approach with caution.
This vaccine has changed my life in every way possible and given the ability, I would turn back the clock and say no to the vaccine. I never did receive the remaining two doses, but I'm glad I didn't have to find out what would have happened if I did.
Ribbon Picture from http://beatcancer.org/blog-posts/hpv-vaccine-side-effects-part-one
I am a 20 year old junior at the college of my dreams. I am studying Emergency Medicine and Communication Rhetoric and minoring in the Administration of Justice and National Preparedness and Emergency Management certificate. At some point, I want to go and get my paramedic certification when my health allows. I have several chronic illnesses and this blog and website serves as a place for me to share my journey fighting CRPS and my other conditions. I hope that this blog can also serve as an outlet for raising awareness for rare diseases. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy! Feel free to comment; I'd love to know what you think!