June 22, 6:53 PMVaccines ExaminerNorma Erickson
17 year-old Kahlia spent 2009 as a rotary exchange student in the United States, touching the hearts of all who were lucky enough to come in contact with her. She gave 100% to everything she attempted, nothing less was good enough for her.
The word achiever was hardly adequate when it came to Kahlia. She loved life, loved helping others, loved school, and loved dancing. Always very organized, Kahlia was one of the few teenagers you meet with a plan for her life. She knew how things were going to be — she would make sure of it. Kahlia was an inspiration to all; the perfect ambassador for her country.
All of this came to a screeching halt when she returned to her home in New Zealand and had her first injection of Gardasil. That was the 27th of January 2010. Exactly one month later, she was in the hospital.
As difficult as the physical symptoms have been, the emotional toll is even worse. Her life has changed, and not for the better. Kahlia finds it hard to accept her dreams for a bright future falling down around her. She faces many sleepless nights wondering if her previous abilities can be restored.
Kahlia had to withdraw from school because she tires so quickly and is no longer able to concentrate as she used to. Even so, she has not given up. She now works part-time and is looking for ways to continue her education. She refuses to allow her symptoms to ruin her life completely. Kahlia is still an inspiration to others.
Here is Kahlia’s story in her own words:
On the 27th of January, I had my first vaccination against cervical cancer. I started to experience headaches and nausea, which I did not put down to the vaccine at first. Over the next three weeks, I experienced uncontrollable mood swings, fatigue, insomnia, and clumsiness. I passed out a week before I was actually admitted to the hospital.