Imagine for a moment having an outgoing, vibrant daughter, just turned 21 years old – her whole life ahead of her. She’s a bright, outgoing, athletic, college student, kind and compassionate. She has hopes and dreams just waiting to be fulfilled. No parent could ask for more. All parental bias aside, this was our daughter, Brittney, before Gardasil.
When Brittney received her first Gardasil injection in June of 2007, she was told that the only real risk involved was the possibility of her having a small seizure shortly after the shot was administered. She did not react within the 15-minute window, during which the medical staff monitored her. She thought she had nothing to worry about. She admitted later, after she took the first dose, that the doctor had told her she could get the HPV viruses that cause cervical cancer through a lab accident at college, (where her blood might mingle with someone infected). She had been in a lab accident just a few months previous, so the fear of being infected was immense.
When she passed out the next morning on our family room floor, she got up wondering what had happened. Britt chalked it up to the possibility of being dehydrated. She had been quite active for several months. Several years before she had fainted from dehydration, so she didn’t think much of it. She was so unconcerned she didn’t even mention the incident until over a week later. By this point, she had experienced two other unusual episodes.
The next incident occurred nine days after her HPV vaccine injection. She had what we now know was a partial seizure. Three days later, her legs gave out while she was at a water park. Hammering pain spread up and down her legs for 15 minutes, then disappeared. As a parent, I was beginning to think the incidents were related, but was not sure how they were connected.
Britt is a fighter. She never backed down from anything, but charged head-on until she accomplished her goals. The nagging leg pain and the strange episodes of blacking out were just one more challenge to conquer. She pushed through summer determined nothing would prevent her from achieving her goal to graduate college and pursue a dream of becoming a singer/dancer.
Sometime mid-July, our doctor reassured us that what Brittney was experiencing had nothing to do with Gardasil. We were relieved – at least we could relax on that score…
In July, we took Britt to Myrtle Beach for a belated 21st birthday celebration. During this week, Brittney began to lose control of her emotions off and on. She would be completely normal, then suddenly explode. She would scream at us that we were trying to upset her, or prevent her from living her life. She had never acted this way in her life. Both my husband and I were shocked at her unprovoked outbursts. We spent the entire vacation walking on eggshells when she was present. It seemed the most innocent remark could set her off. The only thing that seemed to soothe her during that week was going to the ocean and walking the beaches.
In August, she had another ‘episode’ as the doctor called them, this time in the company of several college chums. One of them had a sister who experienced many seizures while growing up. She told Britt’s boyfriend at the time that it looked like Britt was having a partial seizure.
Unfortunately, the boyfriend would not accept this reality and shoved an inhaler in her mouth while she was unconscious and depressed it. Britt came around, choking on the aerosol. She told me about the incident later, which was upsetting. She also mentioned the incident to her doctor, but nothing more than a blood test was taken. The results showed that she was a little low on Potassium so she was told to eat more bananas.
In late August 2007, Britt received her second injection of Gardasil – again with no reaction during the 15 minutes of post-vaccination observation. But, within a week she began to have nagging issues with head pressure, like a cap with too tight of a band around her head. Over the next couple of weeks this progressed to the point where she could barely open her mouth because the muscles in her jaw were so tight. She began falling down for no reason. After three weeks, she began to experience blurred, doubled vision. She was extremely sensitive to light of any type. The pressure in her head was so intense, she was passing out daily. She developed a swelling that appeared to be filled with fluid at the base of her skull and along her spine. Along with all of the other symptoms, severe pain was raging through her body. As soon as her doctor examined the swelling, Britt was sent straight to the hospital.
Multiple tests were done, but nothing showed up on any of them. Britt was sent home with a couple of pain tablets. The resident on call felt she had some sort of brain virus and that it would go away in a couple of days.
From this point on, Brittney’s health deteriorated quickly. She couldn’t read anymore because the words seemed to run together or off the pages. She could no longer tolerate light or sound of any kind. We had to speak in whispers when near her or go up to the third floor and speak very softly. Her hearing was so sensitive that she could hear sirens more than three to four miles away and conversations several rooms away. She couldn’t sit in the same room with a television or radio on. Her pain was so bad, she cried all of the time. We bought noise cancelling headphones so she could tolerate trips to the doctor’s office. She had to have wrap around dark glasses – regular sunglasses were not sufficient to protect her from the severe sensitivity to light.
The nightmare didn’t stop there. Her face would sometimes droop to one side like it was sliding off her skull as pressure in her head grew worse. Seizures and stroking migraines began to happen 24/7. Her stomach was upset all the time. She could hardly keep anything down. She lost sensation in her legs and fingertips, she became completely bedridden, and simply longed to die.
Over the next three years, Britt was seen by over 60 doctors, including teams at Johns Hopkins Hospital, the Cleveland Clinic and the University Of Cincinnati Hospital. None of them could help her. She was so sick to her stomach, she could eat nothing but three ounces of protein drink at a time, fed with a baby spoon. Not one doctor suggested we have her stomach looked at. They simply dismissed it as being stressed, over-reacting to life, or a conversion disorder.
Just to give you an idea of what her new life is like, I will briefly touch on a few events:
- January to March 2008 – Britt was totally bedridden and seemed to be wasting away. She nearly died before we found a doctor who helped alleviate some of her more severe issues. Unfortunately, she became intolerant of the medications that helped her. She began reacting to everything the doctor gave her. She was sent to many specialists who threw up their hands in frustration at her body’s resistance to treatments.
- Early 2009 – We found an alternative chiropractor who recommended Okra Pepsin3 with Multizyme to help settle the lining of Britt’s gastro-intestinal tract. After several months, Britt was able to eat many organic and natural foods for the first time since her second Gardasil injection.
- June 2009 – Brittney seemed to improve for a couple of months, including strength, but this didn’t last. By December she had lost all feeling in her legs, plus the head pressure had returned more intensely.
- January 2010 – After being seen at Johns Hopkins Hospital Britt’s legs were put into massage bladders. This seemed to relieve some of the loss of feeling – when she left she could feel her upper thighs again. By spring, she was working with a researcher who was willing to try to help with some of Britt’s other issues. He suggested CoQ10, vitamin K Complex, magnesium, calcium and Vitamin D3 supplements. Britt’s sensitivity to light and sound diminished and some of her pain was alleviated. She had a boost of energy for the first time in three years.
- April 2010 – A migraine specialist administered pain blocks to the back of her head (scalp) which relieved a great deal of the head pressure, jaw pain and complex migraines. She began to eat better.
- June 2010 to January 2011 – Brittney seemed to be doing well. An alternative doctor had made some modifications to her diet that seemed to mitigate some of her more severe symptoms. She began a gluten-free, casein-free, sugar-free diet, avoiding Citric Acid, MSG, artificial preservatives, and mushrooms.
- January 2011 – She was exposed to a virus. Her immune system could not handle it. She physically collapsed. The doctor told us that her immune system was crashing and he couldn’t help her. Britt’s grandmother sent over what we thought was homemade chicken with dumplings to boost her health. Brittney gained 60 pounds during the following 24 – 30 hours. We discovered there was Citric Acid in the broth. Nothing would bring the swelling down but time.
- May to June 2011 – Her more severe pain symptoms calmed down a bit, but she was still vomiting. Her abdomen and stomach swelled to the point where she looked like she was six months pregnant.
- 2011 – We finally found a gastroenterologist who was willing to examine Britt’s stomach. She was horrified at what she found – Gastroparesis – a damaged Vagus nerve in Britt’s stomach which prevented normal digestion and emptying of her stomach.
Last summer, 2012, we started taking Britt to another alternative doctor. Gradually Britt began to have a small semblance of the life she had before Gardasil. After months of IV treatments, she has been able to handle a large crowd at a cinema, a very busy restaurant, and even go to the mall briefly. Understand that these events have taken place weeks apart. She still has a long way to go. She has been able to enjoy her favorite music with the speakers “normal” without suffering. She wears her wrap-around low vision glasses only on very bad days. She is able to walk on her own for short distances despite the lack of feeling in her legs.
January to April 2013 – Britt has had a huge setback which we believe was triggered by an LH hormone test. This test was to check the levels of these brain-based hormones to try to regulate them. She felt like the Gardasil nightmare was starting all over again before the hormone was neutralized. Within days of the test she began a slow increase of seizure activity, which built from a couple over a four month period, to multiple, daily events. Some were so severe that her power port shifted under her skin. After four weeks of non-stop seizures, we were able to get her in to the doctor’s office for a much needed IV. It took her nurse three tries to find, then flush the port, before the IV therapy could begin. Her seizure activity has now slowed to a minimum. As long as she stays on track for the IV’s, (basic vitamin/mineral infusions that help boost her immune system, calm physical issues, improve mal-absorption of nutrients), she can maintain much of her homebound activities. There are still periods when we talk with her that she displays signs of confusion, memory loss, and inability to concentrate.
Brittney has been ruled “Disabled” due to residuals of Gardasil by the SSA. She receives some compensation through the SSI which is helping pay her myriad medical bills.
Nearly six years ago, Gardasil changed our lives forever. It has been a nightmare without end watching our daughter suffer through every stage of the past several years. She has literally become ONE LESS!
Hormones MatterTM is conducting research on the side effects and adverse events associated with Gardasil and its counterpart Cervarix. If you or your daughter has had either HPV vaccine, please take this important survey. The Gardasil Cervarix HPV Vaccine Survey.
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