NZ Man aged 28

I was inoculated in August 2021, at which time I was managing two health and fitness facilities, running wellness programmes and operating as a personal trainer. I put more than a decade into my career and had finally landed in a position that I loved, I had always wanted to break into fitness centre management. I exercised 5 days per week, I cycled to work and spent my weekends metalsmithing, another labour of passion.

 I felt pain in my head immediately after the injection, my face became stiff and numb on one side. Around 9 days later I developed severe chest pain, tachycardia and bradycardia.

 I was mandated to take another dose 3 months later at which time I declined more rapidly, I quickly became intolerant of standing and walking, both increasing cardiovascular symptoms. I developed rashes on my feet that came and went, and the pain in my head returned in waves. Over the course of 9 months I was told by 2 ER nurses and a senior cardiologist that it was “impossible” for me to have pericarditis which I had began to suspect. The cardiologist performed an exercise stress test, which looks for ischaemic disease which from a CVD perspective is like looking in the fridge for the fish fingers when they’re obviously in the freezer, it did not rule out pericarditis. I was told by the cardiologist to take a booster dose and get back into sprinting, it’s all anxiety.

 I didn’t take another dose but I did try to exercise. I quickly became more disabled with the pain, fatigue, breathlessness and tachycardia. With it came cognitive decline and neuropathy. I sought out a second opinion and was quickly diagnosed with vaccine induced Chronic Pericarditis via cardiac MRI. The MoH accepted the cause to be the vaccination in agreement with my cardiologist and I was made exempt from the booster dose. On my second scan Myocarditis was picked up having been missed earlier on, I was later diagnosed with long-covid dysautonomia and muscular condition affecting the area around my eyes. ACC has accepted my claim for Chronic Pericarditis and reimbursed me for my specialist fees.

 I spent 8 months using a wheelchair from late 2022 to mid 2023, I still use it to cover distance but I hate it enough to avoid those outings as much as possible. I carry a walking stick everywhere in a small bag as I cannot tolerate standing for long. I have issues with temperature regulation, memory, eyesight, fatigue, concentration, and exercise intolerance. I have a disabled badge on my car and field awkward looks from people everywhere I go; “why does he need it, he looks fine, whats that stick for” for all go through my head. I feel vulnerable every time I stand up or go anywhere where I think people don’t know what has happened to me and how I need to manage myself to be comfortable and feel safe. I feel alienated, cast out and like I am treading deep water when I leave my house or cant find a bench close by. I do it though, I work hard and I don’t stop challenging my boundaries and I wont stop until I find a way to feel myself again, I loved life and I haven’t forgotten that, I won’t lose it.

 I had no support from my family, colleagues, partner and friends. For a long time I contemplated suicide because I couldn’t cope with the isolation I felt, being consumed by compounding illness, that claimed more and more of my physical and mental ability whilst every face in the world told me I was dealing with anxiety, nothing was wrong. My cardiologist hasn’t been able to clear my inflammation, nothing has worked, but he did save my life by finding it and making sure I was heard and putting me on a path where someday somebody might save me. Many of my relationships are difficult now as nobody quite understands what has happened and how it has impacted my life. I could go on about the gaslighting and social pressure that shaped this hellscape and made it so difficult to find help and be heard but maybe thats for another time. I was 28 years of age, working my dream job, in great shape, saving up with dreams of starting a family. All my money goes on health costs now, I won’t buy a home, chase a career or start a family now, i’ll adapt and find an alternative path through this life and hope to do some good with it. I would love to do some speaking or writing one day.