At the end of 2019 right before the pandemic I thought I had a back injury. I couldn’t explain the ache but I took the garbage out one evening and as I pulled down the garage door my legs gave out. I went into the hospital in such pain and within the next few weeks was diagnosed with an aggressive form of rheumatoid arthritis. But isn’t arthritis for your grandma? Yes and no. Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease where your immune system attacks the healthy cells in your body. It mainly attacks the joints and causes erosion and inflammation in those joints - usually attacking several joints at once. I found a great rheumatologist and began my healing journey.
When the pandemic started I was extremely fearful of what was to come being immune compromised. We stayed in the house and home schooled and didn’t hang out with anyone outside of our “bubble.” With the vaccine on the horizon we were all nervous but hopeful for the future.
I know a lot of us really struggled during the pandemic. Being stuck in our homes - losing touch with our friends, family and ourselves. It started off half decently - date nights at home, tiktok dances and spending time outside but after a year..and then two… we were all over it.
I worked at a local preschool at the time and therefore was prioritized as a front line worker with the other staff members of the centre. We scheduled our vaccinations for May 12th and were excited to see each other again and return to work together.
May 12th I went in for my Moderna vaccine and my entire life changed forever.
Within the next two weeks post vaccine I had a lot of warning signs but passed them off as nothing serious. I was a mom of two girls, homeschooling with an autoimmune condition. My husband was deployed to the other side of the world. Of course I was tired! But the exhaustion grew and I started having some other symptoms like shortness of breath, pain in my left shoulder blade and chest pain. My mama came to stay with me as she sometimes does when my husband is away and she suggested I check my blood pressure. My blood pressure was normal but my heart rate was in the 190’s - and I hadn’t moved off of the couch in days. At this point walking to the bathroom completely exhausted me and everything became some what of a blur. I called in to my specialists wondering about some medication I was on - could that cause a high heart rate? She reassured me that what I was experiencing was not normal and encouraged me to go into the ER immediately.
We live in a small town and our emergency unit and local hospital is truly the best in Canada in my opinion. I went in in the evening and was told I likely had dehydration and maybe an asthma attack. They gave me four bags of saline solution and 3 puffs of Salbutamol every half hour. They gave me a steroid and monitored me for some time before telling me to head home and rest for a few days.
I went home and the chest pain and back pain became honestly too much to bear. I have had two natural and very lengthy labours so I like to think I can handle pain but this was beyond anything I had experienced. I decided to go into the hospital again- I knew something wasn’t right. I saw a new doctor who truly saved my life. I was diagnosed with cardiac distress, myocarditis and pericarditis. I was well on the way to heart failure.
This was before we knew of the side effects of the shot and I remember being sent an article giving information about myocarditis in teen boys in Europe. I truly didn’t care at the time what caused it - I just wanted help. The next day my family doctor met with me in person and she was able to confidently say it was a reaction to the vaccine. I had a full blood workup, physical and an MRI just a few weeks prior which showed my chronic illness but that was it - because of this they were able to pinpoint the cause of my cardiac issues.
I was treated so quickly. I have never been taken more serious in all of my life - I was seen by our county’s medical officer and then quickly transferred to The Heart Institute in Ottawa where I became a patient of Dr. Peter Liu - a world renown doctor and head of research in cardiology. I got to wear a super cute heart monitor but the best part was when the CAF let my husband come home from deployment early. I started on some really good medication and am officially starting cardiac rehab.
As a delayed reaction to the myocarditis - my body developed a nervous system injury called dysautonomia (specifically POTS disorder). What this means is that my body cannot regulate and circulate my blood so I am basically allergic to gravity. When I stand all my blood pools to my legs and this causes extreme dizziness and sometimes fainting. It comes with a host of other nervous system issues but for the most part the dizziness is the hardest thing to cope with.
It took me a long time to talk about this publicly. First and foremost I wanted to be able to prove what I was saying was true. I wanted to wait until I had a confirmed reaction and a lifelong permanent exemption from MRNA vaccines before I spoke out. I now have a medical team I never dreamed I’d need before last year. But I truly feel like the luckiest person to be in a crappy situation. I have never been turned away or doubted. I have been treated so well and through the extensive amount of medical staff I have encountered across the Ottawa area have been so amazing, kind and caring.
It has been a year. A really long year - and I wanted to take this moment to apologize for the moments I fell behind in the business. Truthfully there has been many days that I haven’t been able to leave my bed and medical appointments that have knocked me out for days. It look a really long time to find people I trusted to be on our team and unfortunately that at times had a negative affect on our production times. I hope you all can understand why I was so nervous to say publicly what I was dealing with behind the scenes. I am so incredibly thankful for the staff we have now who love this business and take care of it like it’s their own. I really couldn’t have done the last six months without them. I am so thankful for our customers patience and understanding. The loyalty you have to our brand has allowed me to navigate this illness and given me the time and space to heal. Most of all, I am so thankful for the medical team I have. They have truly made the biggest impact on getting me back to some form of health and they have been so incredibly supportive in the moments when I have felt discouraged. With cardiac rehab and IV infusions scheduled for the next few months - I can see that now we are out of the weeds and are working towards recovery and I couldn’t be more excited.