Mum Jenny tells the story
Last update: 14 February 2016
At 12 years old, my beautiful daughter Jemma was a happy, bright, fun-loving girl filled with energy. She was always on the go, never content to just sit around the house. Jemma was continuously asking to go to a friend’s place for a sleep-over or arranging to be entertained by other activities.
Jemma’s first love was dancing. From the moment she entered her first dance class at 5 years old, she exhibited a natural flexibility and skill. She thrived on doing the splits and bridges and thoroughly enjoyed making dance video clips with her friends.
Shortly before entering secondary school Jemma became interested in horseback riding and thoroughly enjoyed her lessons. We had no idea how drastically our lives would change because of one simple decision we were about to make.
When Jemma began secondary school, a letter was sent home to vaccinate her with the HPV vaccine to protect her against cervical cancer. I decided not to have the injection done at school; that we would go to our doctor’s surgery to have it done.
My husband wasn’t keen to have this done and said, “We never had anything like this when we were young and we are all fine”.
I felt I wanted to protect my daughter against cervical cancer and didn’t agree. However, it did make me think I must research this as I was aware it was fairly a new vaccine. I got busy and never did the research.
My niece had this injection and she was okay. Although looking back knowing what Jemma has gone through, my niece did experience continuous fatigue - however my sister never connected it to the vaccine. She just thought her daughter was more exhausted from starting the more difficult secondary school schedule. Knowing that my niece had it made me think for some reason it must be good.
I decided to allow Jemma to have the HPV vaccine, Gardasil. This had a huge impact for me. My whole soul was riddled with guilt. I felt it was the worst decision I had ever made for my child and certainly my biggest regret ever.
I can’t tell you how many times the phrase IF ONLY, IF ONLY… echoed through my mind!!!!
As the years have passed, I have been somewhat able to overcome this. Now, I concentrate my energy on the healing process for my daughter.
What Gardasil did for us?
When my daughter had the first shot she complained of a sore heavy arm. I didn’t think much of it. I just thought it’s most likely like all the other vaccines she has had and it is a normal reaction.
Our nightmare began after her second injection which was given on Thursday 24th April 2014. Three days later, on Sunday at lunchtime, Jemma complained of brain fog and a sudden bad headache. I gave her painkillers and it didn’t relieve her headache. I thought that was quiet unusual as she never experienced anything like this before.
The next day she still had the headache along with extreme fatigue. For the first time I wondered whether the vaccine had anything to do with her new symptoms. I made an appointment with my doctor, who confirmed she had a reaction to the vaccine. He said that her headache would go away in 2 weeks and referred us to a chiropractor.
I went back to my GP after 2 weeks to say her headaches were still there so he referred me to a paediatrician. The paediatrician said he “had never seen anyone like this before,” ran some blood tests and referred us to the Royal Children’s Hospital. I had already been in contact with them and they weren’t much help.
I started searching on the internet for answers and I came across a doctor in Los Angeles who had treated Gardasil injured girls. I made an appointment as he used Skype for his international patients. He was a very caring knowledgeable doctor and wanted to run various tests.
Hope for recovery?
Around this same time, I happened to mention what was happening with my daughter while visiting our dentist. The nurse said she knew someone whose daughter was badly injured after having this vaccine and had nearly died. She said she could put me in contact with her. I gratefully accepted her offer.
The wonderful, caring, supportive lady I then met, led me in the right direction to heal my daughter. After speaking with her for a short time, I suddenly realised Jemma was not alone. Many others were suffering after using this vaccine and many had died – not only in Australia, but around the world. I was horrified! I felt sick knowing that Gardasil had damaged so many other families. In fact, I was totally and utterly surprised it was still on the market.
I decided not to proceed with the doctor in Los Angeles because it would be easier to see someone in my own country now that I had guidance from this wonderful lady on how she helped her daughter get well. I made an appointment to see the Neuro Trainer who does a gentle detox and starts to build up the immune system.
The earliest appointment I could get was in four weeks so I decided, in the meantime, to have Jemma see a naturopath who did acupuncture and started her on supplements. We also changed her diet to gluten, dairy free & limited sugar. We started using all organic fruit and vegetables and all organic products for her skin and within the house environment.
Things went from bad to worse. Jemma’s symptoms got more intense. She started to experience extreme head pressure – so bad, she thought her head was going to explode. Jemma would say to me 20 times a day my head is sore and hold her head with her arms. She was now sensitive to noise and light. Her eyes were extremely sore and she found it hard to keep them open. She endured a rapid heartbeat, 20-second silent seizures began on and off for 2 months, tingling and numbness in her legs, bottom and feet, ears ringing, extreme abdominal pain & vomiting for the next 2 months on. She could only sleep upright on the couch as laying down she would endure tremendous pain in her abdomen. She experienced extreme fatigue.
I had her eyes tested and we got glasses to help with her headaches. Trips to the hospital became more frequent. One doctor at the hospital didn’t believe the vaccine was the cause and referred us to a Gastro specialist who diagnosed Jemma with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. He also told me the vaccine didn’t do this – however, was very happy to share with me the side effects of HPV infections.
Jemma had intolerances to food before Gardasil and was already following a Fod Map diet so I felt the Gastro specialist wasn’t much help. He only told me what I already knew.
Jemma’s headaches were still persistent with a sore throat, muscle aches (mainly upper legs and upper arms) her body temperature was cold, there were concentration problems, dizziness and she found it very hard to get to sleep. I would lay with her every night and massage her head to try and get her to sleep.
She was unable to go to school for 3 months and eventually she started back at school but could only go for 2 hours a day for the next 6 months.
In July 2014, Jemma started dropping items then her hips started hurting and then her legs started collapsing underneath her - she could barely walk. This was so frightening to watch and went on for three weeks. We got crutches to help her get around. She regained her walking ability again but was very limited. We did many visits to have reflexology and foot spas as this helped.
Jemma became a girl who only wanted to stay home and go nowhere and this just broke my heart tremendously as before this hell her life was so full of excitement. She no longer had sleepovers at friends. She tried but her pain was too bad, so she would call me to pick her up.
Jemma was suffering extreme fatigue, so we decided to do a 12 week program at a chronic fatigue health clinic. Her fatigue still continued to appear the same. We also saw a physiotherapist to help with her leg pain.
Jemma started the New Year off back in school fulltime with many visits to the sickbay to recoup. She continued to struggle and I would frequently find myself at school picking her up.
Jemma started getting unusual marks on her body that almost looked like stretch marks. She isn’t a big girl but health professionals were saying it was stretch marks. I thought different because they changed colour to a deep purple and then went back to red. So I pursued this and researched further. I started thinking she might have Lyme disease. Families affected by Gardasil in other countries had mentioned their daughters had similar marks which subsequently were diagnosed as Lyme.
Eventually, I found a doctor who specialises in Lyme here in Australia. These doctors are rare because Lyme disease is not a recognized disorder in our country. He confirmed with a clinical diagnosis that she had Lyme with co infections. We had her blood test sent to Igenex lab in the USA and it came back positive. Apparently it remains dormant and when Gardasil was given it got triggered somehow. Knowing she has Lyme disease has given us a direction. Now, we can treat the disease instead of constantly wondering what is making our daughter so ill. So now we are trying to heal her from Lyme disease also.
We have sought help from a Neuroscientist/Chiropractor and started treatment in Neuroplasticity. So far Jemma has been responding well to treatment hoping for a great outcome and feeling extremely positive with this new treatment plan.
Still riding the Gardahell train!
We made the decision to home-school Jemma with direction from our Lyme Doctor to only do minimum subjects as she continues to find it hard to be at school and has missed a lot of days attending due to her pain.
Jemma has improved, however she is still not 100%. She still has persistent headaches, sore eyes and weakness in her upper legs and arms. Some days she still finds it hard to walk, particularly toward the end of the day.
I’m so proud of her for not giving up - she has come such a long way – and she still keeps trying. Now, she can even enjoy the odd sleepover without experiencing extreme fatigue.
I hope every day her quality of life continues to improve so she can one day enjoy life in the manner she so richly deserves – the way she enjoyed life BEFORE Gardasil.
We decided to share our story because we wouldn’t wish this on any child or family. It is horrendous! Nothing is more stressful than seeing your child in pain when you can’t seem to do anything to fix it. Many times I felt helpless and often in those first 3 months I’d cry myself to sleep, not knowing where to turn. No family deserves that kind of agony!
I continue to spread awareness of the serious side effects so parents can make a fully informed decision about HPV vaccines. I strongly believe doctors aren’t telling us enough. Maybe it’s because they don’t know enough, but that is no excuse. They are supposed to be the experts. They are supposed to protect their patients.
My experience has shown me this is not necessarily the case. When I told my GP Gardasil was making some girls sterile he said, “That isn’t true.”
Then I came back a week later showing him Dr Deirdre Little’s findings. I got the impression he was somewhat surprised. Dr Deirdre Little has a peer reviewed article on three cases of premature ovarian failure. She has provided me with great support and knowledge. I continue to bring peer reviewed articles to my GP.
We are having Jemma’s hormone levels checked now that she is 14 years old and will continue to monitor this. We are making sure she isn’t affected in this area as some girls have become sterile after HPV vaccinations.
The more I read the more I feel Gardasil is a pointless and poisonous vaccine particularly when a simple regular pap smear and safe sex is all that is needed to control cervical cancer - like when I grew up.
I certainly have a completely different view on drug companies (Merck in particular) who are ignoring the serious side effects and harm their products have caused to thousands of families worldwide. It makes me wonder how they sleep at night. This is a pure medical stuff up in my opinion.
I continue to warn every parent to get fully informed about this vaccine and do your research. I have no trust in our health system and feel doctors aren’t informing us enough on the risks and have no idea how to help the sick children affected by HPV vaccines.
I continue to hope my daughter will completely recover. Nevertheless, I consider Jemma is one of the lucky ones. At least she has an opportunity to recover - many didn’t get that chance. Their parents paid the ultimate price. This makes my skin crawl and I shiver even knowing young lives have been taken away and families destroyed. It is just disgraceful and wrong at every level. I will never stop warning others - I spread awareness to save other children. No child deserves to have their life cut short by disability or death. No family deserves to live with this type of pain. I can only hope one day this vaccine will be withdrawn from the Immunization schedule so that our healthy young girls and boys will not be submitted to so much risk for so little benefit.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Gardasil Awareness NZ or their volunteers.