A 53-year-old woman, Julie Gamble, had a fulfilling life: a stable career, the freedom to travel, and children to cherish.
her life changed after getting he COVID-19 vaccine in the summer of 2021.
Gamble, now 53, spoke to The Defender about the vaccine injuries she sustained, the symptoms and challenges she is still experiencing, the ongoing difficulties finding doctors willing to treat her and classify her symptoms as vaccine-related, and the supportive role online groups for vaccine-injured individuals have had in her life.
‘I felt really, really tired … anesthetic tired’
Gamble, who lives in Ontario, Canada, received the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on May 17, 2021. For the second dose, she received the Moderna vaccine on July 18, 2021. Her symptoms appeared almost immediately after the first dose, she said:
“I came home and I was really, really tired. It felt like an anesthetic tired, it didn’t feel like a ‘regular’ tired. So, of course I was drinking a lot of water. I recall losing my vision in my right eye.”
Variations of the symptoms lasted for about a week after her first dose.
Soon afterward, Gamble developed other symptoms, including weakness in her ankles and a fluctuating heart rate.
“I also recall I was wearing my Fitbit. I’d walk into work, and I’d check my heart rate and sometimes it was at 140 and then it would drop down to regular.
The leg cramps kept getting worse, but Gamble attributed them to dehydration because where she worked “was quite hot, and so that’s what I thought was happening.”
Gamble said her reactions to the Pfizer shot made her “leery” of getting a second dose — even her pharmacist recommended against it, she said.
“I spoke to the pharmacist about it, and I told him what had happened to me and about my muscles cramping up,” Gamble said. Her pharmacist recommended she see an immunologist before he would administer the second shot.
However, the doctor Gamble saw was far less sympathetic, she said:
“I didn’t have a family doctor, so I went down to the hospital thinking the receptionist or somebody would just book me an appointment with an immunologist.
“Instead, they put me in a waiting room. I saw a doctor and he told me right from the get-go he was not going to give me an exemption, he wasn’t going to give me an appointment with an immunologist. He told me to take an antihistamine and I would be fine.”
A combination of “nudging” from her doctor and Canada’s strict COVID-19-related restrictions led Gamble to go ahead with the second dose — especially after her doctor lectured her about “being a good citizen and not killing people,” she said.
Gamble also noticed slurred speech and changes in her ability to swallow food. “At that point, I decided obviously I can’t go to work. And I noticed muscles were starting to atrophy between my pinky finger and my ring finger.”
“I was losing the muscles rapidly,” Gamble said. “Within two months, I went from having normal-looking hands to completely skeleton-looking hands. The muscles in my arms started to atrophy, [and] in my feet behind my kneecaps. I could really feel it. My balance was off. My blood pressure was low.”
“There are things that I want to do,” she said. “I want to start exercising, but I’m even scared of that because you see these videos [of people who] died suddenly … a lot of people apparently have died while they’ve been playing sports. So that’s a little bit concerning for me, and just in general, just still not knowing what happened to me.”