8 years have come and gone & at times I still am trying to make sense of it all. This is long 😂 But this is my version of the #tellyourstory
February is an odd month for me because I’m continually reminded of that time 8 years ago I spent in and out of the hospital in a severe flare up with my autonomic system. We didn’t know much back then- we said it was my heart because that’s what the doctors & everyone else thought.
I still struggle to talk about what really happened with anyone but small amount of people who really know—the people who were there.. but as time goes on I feel compelled to tell what really happened. I recently have had many conversations with the people who were on the “front lineal of this & they all are still making sense of things themselves.
In early February of 2011, I stepped on a nail at my in-law’s house, I went to the doctor and got the “tetanus shot”. Within 24 hours- less than that actually, I was having severe complications with the rhythms of my heartbeat, the use of my legs, and having severe pain in my legs. Of course, I had run out of heart medication the same day.
No one in the hospital had asked if I had recently been sick, tried new medication, or had any immunizations. They blamed this flare on me running out of my heart medication- although they didn’t have answer as to why my legs hurt so bad.
I spent the next week or so being pumped full of pain medications, coding, and not being sure if I would survive all of this. Friends and family gathered. Pastors came and prayed. I prayed, begging God for some type of answer & some type of relief from this hell on earth. Nothing is scarier than feeling your body fail you or feeling your body code & feeling yourself begin to fade only to be brought back. I don’t remember much about this time- not sure if it’s because I mentally blocked it out or if it’s from all the medication I was on.
At one point, no one knew what was wrong & the doctors on my case decided it was a mental problem rather than physical. Everyone was exhausted, the doctors, nurses, my family, my friends... I did have one friend who spoke up but my family insisted I had to have had what these doctors said... the thing was the doctors made it sound so convincing... I got labeled as bipolar with conversion disorder. I ended up spending a few days on the psych floor & ended up on a large amount of psych meds. Thay expericne was horrifying, so horrifying that I was terrified to go to my heart doctor when I experienced clear problems with my heart after that.
I spent the next 2 years on loads of medications for a problem I did not have. I was never bipolar. I never had conversion disorder. I became someone that I didn’t recognize because if you know anything about taking psych meds— they can literally change you & they changed me. My relationships struggled. I was confused & angry. I spent time trying to convince myself that I was crazy but something in me fought back.
It wasn’t until January 2013 when I had emergency surgery for an ovarian cyst & appendicitis that the truth began to come out. Oh did I mention I put off going to the ER until I was vomiting profusely.. The doctor who performed the surgery noticed that something wasn’t right with the way my heart rate changed & blood pressure could drop or skyrocket when I came back for follow up appointments. Within a couple months of the surgery & her monitoring me like crazy & taking awesome notes—she told me I needed to go back to my cardiologist because something wasn’t right. I argued with her- terrified I would go to my cardiologist & he would label me as crazy again and I would be sent back to the psych floor.
I finally went back.. I remember being so scared I was shaking as he read over my charts from the hospital stay 2 years prior. I saw HIM put together that had the tetanus shot not even 24 hours prior to me being admitted to the hospital. He knew that there were side effects to vaccinations & he did some cross referencing before he realized exactly what happened. He apologized to me for medicine failing me. He sat down with me at my next appointment and read over side effects of that vaccine.
After that appointment things went full speed. I had new specialists. A new heart monitor that caught my heartrate as low as 30 bpm and maxing our at 267 bpm. I went by ambulance more than once to the hospital to get my heart rate under control. I had a failed ablation, trying to correct my heart rhythm. Over the following 6 months we found out a lot about what actually happened to me. Come to find out- the leg problems I experienced were a side effect of the tetanus shot. Not being able to use them, the extreme pain, and muscle spasms... The fact that I still deal with pain in my legs is also from this. Also- he felt that it was the shot that threw my autonomic system into a severe flare. My cardiologist reported what happened to VAERS & it’s all been documented now. I actually have a huge file full of records and documents for all of this.
I started seeing doctors at the Cleveland Clinic. It took them about a year of tests and such but It’s now been found that I have a pretty rare form of autonomic dysfunction. Something they are thinking is a “birth defect” but also think other people are misdiagnosed. So the things that your body is supposed to do automatically- mine struggles to do sometimes. So digestive upsets, heart rhythms, headaches, blood pressure issues, sudden muscle spasms, regulating body temperature, and more are all in that category for me. I also have POTS- which is another autonomic problem that changes my heart rate and blood pressure when I move around.
So now, the bipolar & conversion disorder has been removed from my record.
I write all of this to say- sometimes you have to push and push and search for your answers. I have had these issues since I was about 7 or 8 years old- that was the first time my mom recalls me telling her my heart hurt. Now I have great doctors, I get the help I need, and we are getting better at controlling what goes on with my heart— my heart is what reacts the most. Keep the faith & don’t be afraid of your story. I was embarrassed at one point & even still feel embarrassed at times. I deleted all the photos from that time in the hospital because I was embarrassed- ashamed even.
Now I have the help I need. Now I have medication for when my heart acts up. I have help when I get light headed. When I’m pregnant, my doctors pay attention & keep an eye on things
I'm not afraid to say I had a low point in my life. I'm not afraid to say that yeah,,, medicine failed me. Lack of knowledge on everyone's part. It was unfortunate but you know what? I wouldn't be where I am today if it wouldn't have been for that. I took something negative in my life and made it positive.
I’m also not afraid, for the first time ever, to say vaccine injury is REAL. It’s not just crazy moms of babies & toddlers. It’s not autism.. there are other reactions that are real. I almost lost my life to this, lost my legs for a certain period of time. Sure people can say “vaccine reactions happen if you have certain issues”.. what about the people who don’t know they have these issues? What about the trauma I went though? The trauma my family & friends went through.. the trauma that everyone carries with them to this day?
Who am I?
My name is Jessica Kellaway! I am the earth loving, natural parenting, Jesus loving weirdo your mama might have warned you about!