What I Lost to This Vaccine’: One Woman’s Story
Christa, a career nurse and mother of three, was until recently a healthy 49-year-old who ran up to 30 miles a week, with no pain and taking no medications.
“I woke up every morning with the excitement of taking on the new day,” the Newbury Park resident says.
For 25 years, she worked primarily in long-term care settings with elderly people, and raised her kids in local public and private schools. More recently, she served in hospice, home health and long-term care environments.
“I really loved hospice care,” she says. “It was lovely. … The thing that excites me is having that nurse’s role and advocating for patients and families.”
But last year, when Christa received her second Pfizer shot, her health spiraled out of control.
“[My doctor] knew it was the vaccine and said, ‘Hopefully it’ll go away,’” she says. “It never went away.”
Instead, Christa plunged into a nightmare of symptoms and health problems her doctors could not explain and which robbed her of her active lifestyle — and her job.
“I am fighting every day to live in gratitude and be positive amidst the suffering,” she says. “You don’t know how devastating this has been. I’m a caged bird. It’s really sad.
… This is not just about losing your health. It’s your livelihood and everything. I want [people] to know what I lost to this vaccine — the travesty, the devastation, the s*** show, living a nightmare. These are all things happening to me now.”
‘The Best Year of My Life’
The pandemic didn’t start that way for her. As a front-line worker, she felt privileged to be helping people in great need. As she approached her 50th birthday, she also got back into a fitness routine.
“Twenty-twenty was the best year of my life,” Christa says. “I hired a virtual trainer for two days. I got weights in the house. I was fully committed.”
She discovered a love of distance running and began avidly using a fitness-focused social media app to track her progress and that of others in her area.
“I would just step out the front door and go running,” she says. “It was such a wonderful process because I love getting better, taking myself as far as I can go.”
It was good for the soul, too.
“The fresh air in the morning, the fog — beautiful! Oh, my gosh,” she says. “I grew to love it. I would cry running sometimes.”
Soon, she could run a 7-minute mile and compete in half-marathons, with a time under 2 hours, 4 minutes. One time she parked on PCH and ran all the way to Venice without even preparing.
On the career side, she was serving as the resident care director of an assisted living facility when COVID lockdowns were announced.
“We were having meetings every day with the Ventura County health department,” she says. “We were implementing protocols. … I’m going to work, holding down the fort, working hard.”
She wasn’t in a hurry to get COVID shots when they became available. Even with things like new phones, she prefers to wait and see what the glitches are. But her neighbor, a biotech company employee, praised the shots’ mRNA technology, calling it natural and risk-free. The County, too, was leaning heavily on medical field workers to get their shots.
“We were supposed to be talking to our employees and get a certain percentage of our building” to receive the COVID shots, Christa says.
So she relented and got the first one, with no problem. She immediately ran 9 miles to “test” it and felt great. But upon receiving the second shot on February 16, 2021, her arm “felt like it was on fire” from the injection site to her fingertips. She asked for ibuprofen and went home, but her arm became all but unresponsive. She couldn’t lift it for three days.
Running became difficult, and her social media posts reflect the struggle. “GRRRR. I didn’t ask for it. The fatigue is real,” she posted on March 9, 2021. And later, “LEAD LEGS AND THEN SOME.”
More disturbing was that after a run, she noticed “a weird vascular thing going on, on my thighs. My capillaries — they would be more prominent after my runs.” One doctor she consulted told her, “At least it’s not bothering you.” Another said, “At least you’re not going to die.”
“I knew I was still affected by the vaccine, but I wasn’t dwelling on it,” she says. “I still had a quality of life — get up in the morning with a joyful heart, still up for adventure.”
Then her elbows, ankles and knees became so painful that she could no longer squat and stand back up. She tried to run as normal, but her legs felt heavy.
“I thought it was in my head, and I was trying to gain that 30 miles back, that momentum, and I was struggling,” she says. “I still got some good runs in but was more fatigued than I realized. … I was blaming it more on a mental block, not my physical ability.”
Then June hit and with it a case of shingles, followed by sharp pains in her chest, legs and back. She went to a local hospital emergency room and asked for “a full workup” of blood and heart tests.
“The labs looked good. They checked for inflammatory things, and everything was fine,” she says. “Some of this doesn’t show up in your labs.”
Symptoms continued to multiply: blurred vision, numbness, dry burning sensations, wobbly legs and muscles that jerk involuntarily, body-wide tingling, sharp pains in her chest and legs, lost neck function — and always a debilitating fatigue.
“I went to the ER at Los Robles twice, and they dismissed me,” she says. “I said, ‘This is the vaccine.’ They said, ‘You should see your primary care physician.’”
Her doctor referred her to specialists, but those meetings never yielded results.
“Then it becomes, ‘You’re a crazy person,’” she says.
She had to cancel the half-marathon she was training for. By the end of summer 2021, she was struggling just to keep her job.
“I’m a hard worker and was protecting my livelihood,” she says. “I kept fighting. … It was a demanding job, and I loved it. I liked the challenge. That’s my sweet spot.”
But the 50- and 60-hour weeks she put in before receiving the COVID shots seemed unthinkable now. She took leave time in the fall to regain her strength, but by December, she knew she could no longer fulfill her duties.
“I was there four hours [one day] and was exhausted,” she says. “I thought, ‘This isn’t the job for me anymore.’”
Her last day was in late January 2022. Christa is now picking up the pieces and describes herself as “like a lab rat now.” During a visit with Conejo Guardian staff, she shows thinning and balding patches on her head and two fingers which twitch uncontrollably.
At one point, she holds up her hand and watches the fingers tremble.
“It’s only been these two fingers, so I’m lucky,” she says. “You see people’s whole face twitching.”
Her phone is full of images of her legs covered in splotchy, red discolorations after her runs. Her fitness app shows her last walk was on October 17, 2021 — for one mile.
“It’s insanity. How do I describe the fatigue?” she says. “It’s not where you didn’t sleep. It’s where you can’t hold your neck up. … [The symptoms] come and go, and you don’t know when it’s going to happen.”
The idea of leading a Bible study, as she has done before in the area, is a distant dream.
She keeps a list of her more serious symptoms: memory loss, involuntary jerking of the neck, shoulder and stomach muscles, chest pressure and sharp pains, itching and numbness, blurred vision, pain in the pads of her feet, a throbbing face and cheeks, throat tightness, “internal vibrations” and burning sensations in the skin — in addition to the overriding lack of energy.
One friend describes Christa as having “a certain number of coins to use per day.”
“If you save a few, you might have some left over for tomorrow, but if you use too many, you’re out. And when you’re out, you’re out of commission,” the friend says. “It’s awful to sit there and watch somebody suffer, and they’re told by doctors that it’s in your head. Not one doctor she’s been to has put it to VAERS.”
When Christa is able to budget her energy and go shopping or run errands, she often meets people suffering in silence.
“One guy at Coffee Bean told me his wife has terrible arm pain and issues with her arm,” she says. “I was at Nordstrom Rack checking out and shared my story, and the lady came around the counter, hugged me, thanked me, and pointed to the young girl next to her and said, ‘She’s been having heart palpitations.’”
“Almost every person we come into contact with and start talking about it, they know multiple people who’ve been hit by this,” says Christa’s friend. “And they don’t even know it’s the vaccine that hit them. This stuff is real. It’s everywhere.”
The friend transported Christa to the ER once when her chest was in such pain that it seemed she was having a heart attack. While waiting outside the hospital, a young man burst through the exit doors and announced, “They say nothing’s wrong with me! I’ve got an elephant on my chest, but nothing’s wrong with me.”
Someone asked him, “Did you get the vaccine?”
“Yes,” he replied.
“Everywhere we go, we meet people,” the friend, who runs a business in the Conejo Valley, says. “In the grocery line, people say, ‘How are you doing?’ Christa says, ‘Not well. The vaccine injured me.’ One hundred percent of the time, they say, ‘Oh, my gosh! My cousin! My husband!’ Every time. Christa is not the type of person to cry on other people’s shoulders, but this has to get out. The more people who start spreading the word …”
One doctor shared that a patient lost hearing in both of her ears. A women’s clinic employee said the clinic is inundated with “vaccinated” women experiencing menstrual bleeding. A common complaint is that primary care doctors shuffle suffering people off to specialists whose tests never lead to diagnoses or treatments. Like Christa, they feel ignored.
“If it were just acknowledged, I think I would be better mentally,” Christa says. “Now we’re a year out, and it’s not acknowledged. That’s part of the healing — being acknowledged.”
“I USED TO SMILE ALL THE TIME. NOW IT’S PHONY; IT’S FAKE. MY SOUL IS BROKEN.”
If someone has cancer, there is a path and plan of care, she says. Doctors, specialists and nurses “rally around you and support you. With us, there’s no support. Nobody’s rallying around us.”
Online communities have brought together people who share their journeys of being adversely affected by the COVID shots. One popular forum is at realnotrare.com.
“We’re all supporting each other because that’s the only support we have,” Christa says. “Nobody knows what to do with any of us.”
Then there are the costs of trying to find relief. Some spend tens of thousands of dollars on private treatments, hyperbaric chambers and more to try to regain their health — and hold onto their jobs — often to no avail.
Christa goes back and forth between resolve and grief.
“I love life, adventure, new experiences and just playing,” she says. “This is me. I’m 50 years old, and it hasn’t changed. I’m the same girl.”
But she also describes herself as “very self-aware about my current reality, taking inventory, moving forward.”
“NOTHING IS WORTH IT — YOUR JOB, YOUR HEALTH, YOUR MENTAL WELLBEING. WHEN YOU LOSE THAT BECAUSE OF A VACCINE, AND THEY HAVE NO CURE FOR YOU … IT’S NOT WORTH IT.”
“I’m mourning the loss of my health, and it’s devastating,” she says. “I’m physically compromised, physically disabled. … I’m pretty self-aware, but I can’t accept this. I’m so angry, so devastated, so sad. I miss my lust for life, my excitement, my smile. I used to smile all the time. Now it’s phony; it’s fake. My soul is broken. It’s been taken. The frustration [is] that you’re doing stuff that you don’t even know it’s going to work.”
She has new dreams of starting a consulting business as an advocate for patients within the world of hospitals, assisted living and hospice care facilities she knows so well. Her hope is that the damage she suffered will not last forever.
To those wary of receiving COVID shots, Christa offers words of caution.
“Do not cave because you do not want to be like me,” she says. “I don’t want anyone to lose their health. I was a thriving 50-year-old. I’m telling you, inflammation in your body takes years off of your life. [Your body] is taxed and overworked and fighting this inflammation, wreaking havoc on your organs. … Nothing is worth it — your job, your health, your physical and mental wellbeing. When you lose that because of a vaccine, and they have no cure for you, they won’t even acknowledge it — nothing is worth it. I am living a nightmare. It’s not worth it.”
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