Slowly I have been shaking off the worst year of my life. Although I alluded to it a few times, I have not really talked about it online. In the beginning I was much too sick. As I started to feel better I was way too behind with life to blog about it.
Even now I hesitate. I have some hangups with writing about my health. Geez Louise. What’s more personal than our health? So with all that being said, opening up like this gives me the sensation of entering dangerous waters. If I close my eyes I swear to God there are buoys with big warning signs posted inside my eyelids. “Warning! Riptide!” I pray that you won’t have reason to compare me to your great aunt, the one who just can’t stop telling you all about her bunions.
One year ago today on September 9 I got an immunization. I waltzed away from the clinic without a care in the world. I crossed the parking lot and I started my vehicle. As I pulled out onto the road I thought about treating myself to a manicure.
Less than one mile away I found myself in serious trouble. It’s still unclear if I passed out or not. I distinctly remember leaning over the passenger seat of my Jeep, trying to find my cell phone that was in my purse on the floor. My hands shook so badly I could barely make the call to 911. I knew I needed help and I was very confused. It felt somewhat like being drunk, but more so…like drunk times 100. Something was very very wrong. Time got all weird. I was in the back of an ambulance. I knew my husband was in Chicago. I remember calling my dad and worrying who would pick up my son from school.
That was the first day in a chain of events that have changed my life forever. One of the hardest parts of my experience is that a vaccine was the catalyst. Why in the hell this couldn’t have happened after something a little less controversial like an ingrown toenail or a few stitches I’ll never know.
Regardless of what anybody thinks about vaccines, it is a fact that every single year there are people who die after getting them. It is also a fact that vaccines are injected into countless people every day without any problems whatsoever. So what happened to me lies somewhere in that gap. My story is in the gap.
As the weeks progressed and I was shuttled from one doctor to the next, I would come home from my appointments and type out notes. I wrote like a woman possessed. My intent was that when I eventually got to the right doctors I would be prepared with all the information. What really happened was that I was emotionally debriefing after every appointment. Months later when I went to look back through my writing, I realized that I had written a story.
This story won’t leave me alone. So I’ve been working hard to put it together. And when I say “working hard” I mean wild bursts of writing in between long periods of trying to convince myself that I’m not actually a writer. I wish there was time to lay around on a chaise lounge and talk to you about it – but alas, that ain’t going to get it done. So instead I’ll just have to keep plugging away.
One of the gifts that’s come out of my situation is that for the first time in my life I don’t really care how it rolls out. As a person who has created things for years, I’m pretty hung up on quality. I don’t make crappy stuff. But the best part about your life getting shook up like mine did is that I’ve realized that the story itself is way more important than whether or not I’m a decent writer. One way or another I’m going to figure out how to share it.
I’m going to share it for everybody who’s ever been affected by a vaccine injury. I’m going to share it for every woman who’s been dismissed by male doctors. I’m going to share it for every doctor who hasn’t known what to make of a patient. I’m going to share it for every patient who’s been treated like they’ve made up their problem. I’m going to share it for the anti-vaxxers and I’m going to share it for the hard-core immunizers. And most of all I’m going to share it for everybody else who’s in between, living in the gap with me.