Hep B vaccine stole 2 years of my life 28 March 2005   
Dawn C Etchell,
occupational health adviser
imperial Buildings Rotherham,
S60 1PA

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Re: Hep B vaccine stole 2 years of my life

I was working as a dialysis nurse and attended for my first ever Hepatitis
B vaccine without any worries.

The following day I felt unusually tired. The tiredness gradually became
totally out of charcter for me and gathered momentum over the following
week. I even fell asleep during a routine filling at the dentist. Finally,
I had a seizure one morning in the shower and had to call out my General
Practitioner. I was unable to get out of bed for the next two weeks and
slept for around 18 hours of every day for the next four weeks. If I tried
to 'come round' my legs would give way and the feeling of pressure in my
spine and head were frightening. My vision was constantly blurred and hard
to understand. My thyroid was painful and swollen and I had palpitations
that were disabling.

Electric like shocks in my arms and legs were acute and came without
warning. My brain was 'foggy' and Ifelt was living in a dreamlike state
most of the time. I had difficulty finding words and my speech was slurred.
I was referred to a neurologist - brain scan normal - blood tests normal
except for raised Anti-Nuclear Antibodies initially - EEG normal - TSH 0.5
- T4 15 (3 months later TSH 0.46) Diagnosis - reactive seizure. All of my
symptoms were pointing to a tentative diagnosis of Myalgic
Encapelopathy/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. This I rejected after some six
months and am now under annual review for thyroid blood tests.

My health suffered greatly and it has taken two years to return to 80% of
my previous health status. I never did receive a definite diagnosis and
have had to resign myself to the fact that 'this is as good as it gets'. I,
of course, never returned for the full course of hep B vaccines and decided
to leave dialysis and return to Occupational health - with a totally
different view of administering such 'preventative' vaccines! I refused the
lumbar puncture as this was offered at a time when I could feel some
improvement in my general health and I did not want any further decline at
this point. This vaccine should come with a very strict warning and anyone
who administers the Hep B vaccine should have ALL the facts at their
disposal. I was totally unaware of the dangers before I had the vaccine but
found hundreds of cases similar and worse than my own after the event.

Competing interests: None declared