Article Originally Appeared in BWN Patagonia on September 16, 2011
Was translated on July 19, 2012
Reprinted with Permission
In 2007-2008, a new vaccine was released. Supposedly, this vaccine was supposed to help young girls against cervical cancer. So many people were affected by the Gardasil vaccine, including me. It is crazy the number of people who died because of it. Thanks to that vaccine, I now have limbic encephalitis. It all started January 28, 2008. On that day, I had an appointment at Allen Berry Health Center for my annual physical exam. My pediatrician started talking to my mom about a new vaccine, Gardasil, which was supposed to prevent young girls and women from cervical cancer. I received the vaccine and went home.
As soon as I got home, I went straight to bed. I had no energy and I felt horrible. My mom just thought I was tired, so she didn’t think anything was wrong. When I woke up the next morning, my short term memory was gone. I would repeat questions over and over. My family thought I was joking at first, but when the heart palpitations began, they noticed something was wrong. At my next doctor’s appointment, I received the second vaccine. That is when my mom connected the problems to the HPV shot. For the next few months, I basically lived in a hospital. I had bone problems, horrible headaches, heart palpitations every few minutes, and was always in bed. Every time I went to the hospital, the doctors thought it was anxiety, so I just kept going to school and finished the school year.
June came, and the heart palpitations grew stronger. I finished the school year, but I couldn’t take it anymore, so my mom took me to the hospital again. This time I was stuck in the hospital, and the doctors did every test possible to find out what was wrong with me. They checked my blood, my bones, my skull, and even took fluid out of my spine. The doctors were all confused because they didn’t know what was going on, but when the spine fluid results came back, everyone was shocked. The doctor told my family that I had Limbic Encephalitis. My mom knew what that was because she had seen cases of it in Dominican Republic, and automatically she started crying. The cases she had seen were horrible, and she didn’t want her daughter going through that. She wanted to know the cause of it, but none of the doctors had an answer. My mom looked through all of my records, and she remembered I was given the new vaccine, Gardasil, that year. She automatically knew that was what caused my problem. She thought back to the day I received the vaccine, and how horrible I felt right after it. She remembered all of the problems that followed me right after it, and noticed how much damage it did.
On June 30th, I woke up and found everyone crying around my bed. My mom wasn’t there, and I wanted to know what was wrong. My sister, Ramona, didn’t want me to worry so she came to the bedside and told me what was wrong. My father had passed away in Dominican Republic. My mom’s cell phone rang at 6am that morning. My aunt called her and told her what had happened. My mom had to leave because she didn’t want me to see her crying and think something was wrong with me. As soon as my sister told me the news, I put the blanket over my head, and just blocked everything out. I fell asleep, and didn’t remember a thing when I woke up. I would have the same reaction over and over every time I received the news.
I was let out of the hospital on July 2nd, and was 30 pounds heavier. When I got to my neighborhood, everyone looked at me, shocked. I didn’t really notice any of that, because my mental age was that of a 9 or 10 year old at that time. I would forget much of my day, so I was usually happy. I started the Partial Hospitalization program at Hasbro Children’s Hospital, which was a program to observe kids that were let out of the hospital. There, I made many friends. One of my friends from there actually passed away recently from a nocturnal seizure. There, I would arrive at 8 and was let out at 2. It was a great place to be because the nurses were very nice. We would play games, have group talks, and just have fun. Every patient would get a point chart for their behavior during the day, and they would pick a prize from the point store according to the number of points they received for the day.
After I was finished that program, I was sent to the Sargent Rehabilitation Center for two weeks. I would go there from 8am to 2pm. After those two weeks, I waited for school to begin. Like every year, I was very excited. Unfortunately, my luck wasn’t the same as the prior year. My grades started very low, and I had to be taken out of school. My school and my doctors had a meeting, and they agreed to send me back the Sargent Center for a few months until my memory was better. They would have meetings every few months, but they kept saying I had no progress, and that I wouldn’t be able to go back to Classical High School. That was tough for me because I wanted to go back to Classical. I worked hard to get into that school, and I didn’t think it would be right for me to be removed from there without it even being my fault. I hated those meetings because I felt as though my life just kept getting worse. I thought I would be in that place for many years. I did not want to be there because it was very depressing. All I would see there were children in wheelchairs, adults with helmets to protect them from falls, and people who had to communicate by blinking. I really didn’t want to continue there, so I worked very hard for two years.
When the program finally saw some progress, they allowed me to go Classical to take 2 classes a day, which were math and art. When they saw that I didn’t have a lot of trouble, they raised it to three classes, which were Italian, math and art. I worked very hard, thinking I was going to be able to graduate with my class, but at the end of that year, I found out that I didn’t get any credits for my time at Sargent’s. I had to do the 11th grade in 2010, which was supposed to be my graduation year. When I found out I wasn’t going to graduate that year, I was very upset. Not because I wouldn’t graduate with my friends (since I didn’t have too many friends after my hospital problem), but because I felt as though all of the work I did was for nothing. I started my 12th grade as a full time student. I took 6 classes and had many techniques for my memory. To remember my schedule, I always remembered the “word” HEMIRC, which was the order of my classes- history, English, math, Italian, research, and chemistry. I had many tricks to remember things for school.
I was allowed to go to my resource teacher, Mrs. Monti, instead of history and math because I turned in the textbook work I did while I was at the Sargent Center for those classes. Mrs. Monti always helped me and I would go down to her office for tests if I needed extra time. Everyone at Classical helped me out a lot and pushed for me to be able to cross that stage to receive my diploma.
Now, I am in CCRI studying nursing. I still continue having the health problems, and we are fighting to make justice. I have been doing a lot of research and have found other people who have gotten the same problems after this vaccine. Everywhere I go, I try to tell my story so that people can know what the hospitals are injecting into their kids. I really hope that one day, I can be able to see this vaccine stopped. I want parents to be able to know what they’re getting injected into their kids. I want more safety. I want JUSTICE.