By Connie Elcombe
After three years of illness following my October 24, 2011 Fluviral vaccination, I remain disabled and unable to work. My first flu shot was in 2004, then following the same Fluviral flu shots in 2005 & 2009 (H1N1 vaccine), I became very ill. It cost me four months off work and nearly killed me. I didn’t ‘connect the dots’ until my illness following October, 2011 flu shot. Looking back it all seems to fit.
I had discussed the flu shot with my doctor but he was non-committal. He said there are hundreds of virus’s that can cause these symptoms and sometimes a virus can take a year or two to resolve itself. I haven’t got that long, I said. Between months of waiting to see doctors, have tests, it’s now several years since I had the flu shot and I am not any better. The closest my doctor has come to even recognizing I may be vaccine injured is when he recently told me, ‘well you can’t ever take a flu shot again if you feel you were injured by it’!!’ A small concession, but not exactly acknowledgement!!
Shortly after my flu shot in late Oct., 2011, I became extremely fatigued, I had no energy, could barely make it up my stairs to my bedroom. I was winded, my heart was racing and my legs were weak, barely getting me to the bedroom. I would collapse and sleep for hours. My arm was very sore for a long time but there was no infection and so I did not dwell on it. I continued to be weak and was sleeping on my lunch breaks at work and sleeping when I got home. Symptoms of severe back pain became difficult to deal with and I developed sharp pains down the backs of both legs which my doctor said was sciatica – something I’d never had prior to the flu shot.
Still no diagnosis after months and months of weird sensations in my muscles, sharp jabbing pin-pricking sensations in my body, muscle rippling sensations that kept me awake for hours, horrid cramping in my feet and legs, restless leg syndrome with painful cramping and the weakness that just didn’t go away. Cold and hot jolts that came and went that drove me crazy.
These symptoms developed following my previous flu shots since moving to Dauphin Manitoba to be near my aging mother who was living in a care home and needed a lot of help due to her escalating dementia. I was encouraged by staff at the care home to get the flu shot because the elderly residents are so vulnerable. It seems to me that more people in the care home die following their flu shots than at any other time of the year and that the government is covering up the real risks associated with flu vaccines. Vaccine trials are not made public; no one is liable when people are permanently damaged or killed, there is no proper testing, and they are still using known neuro-toxins in multiple virus vaccines.
I was never given any risk information prior to any of my flu vaccinations and wasn’t aware of the ingredients, some of which are known neuro-toxins like thimerosal, formaldehyde, plus the immune stimulating viruses themselves. Looking back I can’t believe I just followed along and didn’t ask for more information. How can one know in advance they are allergic to any of the ingredients in vaccines or that they might cause an adverse reaction or health injury?
My symptoms continued to ‘morph’ and by April, 2012, my quad muscles were very stiff. I couldn’t even flex the muscles. It was getting much more difficult to do my job. I couldn’t walk normally and my legs tired after very little use. I had difficulty squatting down and had to grab something to help me get up again. I have always been thin, strong, and fast at my job which required that I cover large areas of the store I worked in. I was fit, and my age was not holding me back. Since the flu shot, I am no longer fit and so weak I can no longer do yard work which distresses me greatly as I am an avid gardener. I would try, but end up in tears and frustration because I simply did not have any stamina and my quads were not functioning normally.
Further damage was done when a doctor thought I had myasthenia gravis and used an IV injection of neostigmine, which I was grossly allergic to. The first neurologist I saw also thought I had myasthenia gravis and prescribed a drug called mestinon. I was very allergic to this drug and could not take it. I was not aware that neostigmine is not to be used on a patient if they have had previous allergic reactions to mestinon. The doctor doing the test knew this and went ahead with the test thinking that ‘a small IV injection of neostigmine would not hurt. He was wrong!! I had a full-blown cholinergic reaction. My feet and legs were paralyzed, I could not swallow and couldn’t move my neck. I felt my head was being jack-hammered inside my skull. My eyes wouldn’t focus and I thought I was going to die when I couldn’t speak. All I could do was make a grunting noise. Finally the doctor believed I was in trouble and injected atropine which slowly reversed the symptoms. It seemed to take forever before I started to feel my toes.
I am left with a shaky sensation in my head and a problem with peripheral stimulation. I get extremely dizzy and feel even more unbalanced than I did prior to the test. I told the internist what I was feeling and he said “I don’t believe you”!
Since then, I have had major trouble with dizziness, visual focus, stiff peripheral movement in my eyes. My eyes are not functioning properly as the muscles are affected in my upward gaze. That test was October 3rd, 2012 and my eyes have not improved. The damage is considered permanent.
I started to panic as my disability worsened. My doctor said my quad muscles had atrophied and he sent me to a physio therapist who hesitated to give me any exercise program because she saw fasciculations in both legs. I did not know what that word meant and so she explained that muscles don’t just stop working without a cause and that fasiculations are not normal in healthy muscle. She reported her findings to my doctor, but he never acknowledged her letter, neither did he discuss it with me.
After the low impact exercises the therapist reluctantly showed me, I couldn’t make it back to my vehicle. A man I knew stopped and helped me. I sat in my car until I felt I could drive safely. I got home and was so distraught, I slept for 5 hours. When I woke up I still could barely move my legs. I had a neighbor take me to emergency where I was sent home after an examination by a student doctor. I had previously been to emergency twice before and both times told to see my own doctor, who was on vacation.
I had to ask my employer for a leave of absence. I panicked when my employment insurance ended because I wasn’t getting any better and the time in between medical appointments was interminable and so difficult to handle the long waits. I am unable to work and don’t qualify for disability because I applied for early CPP at age 60 because of my low wage. Now I am disabled from a flu vaccine and there is no help for any of us who have been injured by these vaccines. I have been living on $418 a month since by employment insurance ran out which leaves a shortfall where I may be forced to sell my house and go through my modest savings. I have no doubt that the numbers are much higher than the odd person we hear about in the news or on YouTube. I have educated myself since going through my nightmare and it is still unresolved.
And so I think you can get the picture of not only the medical system I have to deal with as a vaccine injury victim, but also the frustration and lack of confidence I now have in the doctors who do not seem to have a clue what is causing my problem. There is NO TEST for vaccine injury, so I have been ‘jumping through hoops’ of tests that all come up normal or negative as to a diagnosis.
My flu shot injury is not going away. I am still disabled as I can only walk approximately 25 feet without totally losing power in my legs. My legs are very weak and wobbly. Every single test I have had has been ‘normal’ including an MRI looking for brain stem tumor, CT scans looking for enlarged thymoma or respiratory problems, all negative. So why can’t I walk without tiring to where I can’t stand up, why have I got muscle sensations that keep morphing? Cramping, pin-pricking, rippling, and my eyes still will not track upwards. One symptom stops and another one starts, or they all come at the same time. I am at the end of my rope and looking at a very fragile future financially because we do not have anything in place for vaccine injury.
My doctor is now talking about ‘chronic fatigue syndrome’ as a diagnosis. I said I think you better think again because that is a diagnosis you give to patients when you can’t figure out what screwed up their natural immune and neurological system and I KNOW WHAT MADE ME ILL!!
It is a curious fact that the medical community in Canada will NOT diagnose ‘vaccine damage’ as a cause of injury following a vaccine. My diagnosis ended up as ‘chronic fatigue syndrome – etiology unknown’. It is also curious that when I spoke to a medical malpractice lawyer regarding my eye damage caused by the neostigmine injection, I was advised that it would be incumbent upon ME to prove that my additional eye damage through the use of the neostigmine was not caused by the flu vaccine!!!
I found this incredulous because it meant that in a court of law vaccine damage would be recognized and used against my case regarding the additional eye damage causing headaches, major debilitating dizziness, slurring of speech, difficulty thinking and speaking my thoughts, horrid headaches, major sensitivity to light, and retarded peripheral eye movement. These are all symptoms of a concussion. Today, I still suffer with retarded peripheral eye movement, painful sensitivity to light and dizziness. The headaches have subsided in their intensity, but remain and when I get stressed, my speech is slow and I can’t get my words out properly. My thought processes get sluggish and frustrating.
I am so angry that I am now disabled. I am angry that our doctors don’t take patients seriously or give them support, or even suggest they can report vaccine reactions and injuries. After submitting to an ongoing battery of tests, I remain without a real diagnosis, or a diagnosis to ‘make me go away’ and not bother the doctors anymore. I feel I’m hitting a brick wall right now, with no support!
My question is, can I file a vaccine injury report or does a doctor have to do it on behalf of the patient? I don’t think either of my doctors would put their signatures to a vaccine injury report. I know what made me sick and the 4th vaccine did more damage than the previous three vaccines.
In Canada, if you are vaccine damaged there is no compensation. Only Quebec has a compensation program in place. It is up to our individual Provinces to put a ‘No Fault Vaccine Injury Compensation Program’ into place. But so far, nothing has been done for vaccine injury victims. Never mind those that have died as a result of vaccination.
Petition for a ‘No-Fault Vaccine Injury Compensation System in Canada: Testimonials by flu vaccine injury victims and their families:
Connie Elcombe’s petition submission is # 235
GlaxoSmithKline – your Fluviral vaccination(s) rendered me disabled Oct. 24th, 2011 and ongoing. I now know that GBS has many variants and can onset up to 43 weeks following a flu shot. Damage may not show up immediately. First to come for me was extreme fatigue. Fatigue so bad I still have great difficulty climbing stairs, walking any distance. The muscles of my body remain weak. My eye muscles do not function properly and a test done by an internist further damaged my eyes when I had an allergic reaction to test for myasthenia gravis. I am dizzy all the time and lose my balance easily. I cannot eat without my body weakening. I can’t walk on an uneven surface of ground without falling. I can’t work and I lost my income. I applied for CPP and was turned down. I am not rich and I do not have a wealthy family to bail me out. My quad muscles paralyzed following my vaccination 2011. Previous illness following my flu shots was mis-diagnosed by my physicians as asthma and copd and I was told my quad muscles had atrophied when, in fact, they were in a state of paralysis. I had to quit working. I have only mentioned a few of the ailments I had to deal with. My feet and hands still have burning sensations and I have ‘twitches’ throughout my body continually. Compensation should have been provided by GlaxoSmithKline a long time ago. Life, as I knew it, up until I got pressured into taking the flu shot while tending to a family member in a long term care facility, ended. Doctors should also be responsible to their patients and openly admit they see patients health ruined following vaccination(s). Vaccine damage should be reported by physicians who see their healthy patient become disabled. Doctors have an obligation to do no harm and yet they will not put in writing, that a patient has been damaged by a vaccine. They already know that their patient likely is not going to get better, they see it all the time. My final diagnosis did NOT mention the cause of my illness. It merely said ‘Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Etiology unknown. I had to push for testing to at least rule out what I did not have. There is no way to prove vaccine damage and no doctor will support his patient when vaccine damage is involved. Why is that? If I am ‘one in a million’, I think you should sharpen your pencils. Everyone I know has family, friends, or siblings who have been very very ill, or permanently damaged by flu vaccines and other vaccines. The ripples in the water are widespread and if doctors would speak up for their patients and document damaged patients, maybe some justice could be done for the so called ‘collateral damaged’. Shame on you GSK and shame on Canada for not providing financial aid for those of us who lost their income, their ability to work, their life as they knew it, and their health. Vaccine injury is epidemic and doctors know it and so does GSK. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE LIVES YOU DESTROY. SHAME ON YOU AND SHAME ON CANADA for allowing Canada to be a testing ground for vaccines and ignoring those damaged by these vaccines. I am not ‘anti-vaccine’, I am anti-dirty, toxic vaccine. Constance H. Elcombe, Dauphin, MB Canada