Swine Flu reaction
Vaccine Risk Awareness Network (VRAN)
Newsletter Autumn 2010
Posted by Charlie Cahill on
June 11, 2010 at 11:24 am
I am a 59 year old male living in Edmonton, Alberta. For the
past forty years I was extremely healthy and active playing hockey and
working in an office/construction type job. In November 2009, I received
my first ever flu shot and H1N1 flu shot. About 1 week later I tried to
get up from my office desk and my leg muscles wouldn’t work. It was like
someone flipped a switch and they were turned off. With some effort I
was able to stand and walk around but the muscles just above the knee
were working at about 5% capacity. Over Christmas, the muscle
weakness/paralysis moved upwards into my arms and it became extremely
difficult to lift anything heavier than a cup of coffee.
At this same time I went to see my GP about the problem and he sent
me for a battery of blood tests, x-rays, etc. and he then referred me to
a neurologist. At the end of January 2010, the neurologist examined me
for about 15 minutes in his office and told me he’s 99% certain that I
have Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS). The next day I had an
electromyography (EMG) and a second neurologist positively diagnosed GBS.
I had a medical for my life insurance in October 2009 and was 100%
healthy at that time. The only thing different in my life was getting
the swine flu and regular flu shot about 1 week before the muscle
Over the past 6 months, the weakness has progressed to the point that
I am off work and bed-ridden 23 hours a day. I have had 3 IVIG
treatments each lasting 5 days and my neurologist has me on a cocktail
of immunosuppressant and steroid drugs (Immuron, Pantoprazole and
Prednisone). He believes that I may be able to go back to work in 1-2
years, but everyone responds differently to treatment and it is
difficult to make an accurate prognosis.
Financially, it is a disaster because I expected to work another 6 or
7 years at which time our mortgage would be paid off and we would be on
OAS. Both our daughters are in University and we have everyday household
expenses to deal with. We have already gone through quite a bit of our
savings but it is hard to know when I will be able to get back to work.
Fortunately, my wife is at home and cooks my meals and is a main
caregiver. Otherwise, I would probably have to be hospitalized for
It is very frustrating that the Government of Canada promotes and
endorses the idea that every Canadian should get a swine flu shot, even
people in my age group who are considered low-risk for swine flu, but
high-risk for contracting illnesses like GBS-CIDP. It is also
frustrating that there is no safety net or financial support to deal
with patients who experience serious adverse effects like myself.
Thank you for your website and for giving me the opportunity to
express my views.
Charlie in Edmonton