Instead of enjoying her high school years, playing in marching band and shopping with friends, one Florida teenager spends her days in doctor’s offices.
Neurologists. Cardiologists. Immunologists. Mitochondrial experts. They are among the doctors she travels hours to see in what seems like an endless parade of medical appointments.
Her health problems began after receiving Gardasil, a human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, when she was 13, according to her mom. HPV is a sexually transmitted infection.
The girl hasn’t been able to go to school for two years because of a string of disabling diseases and autoimmune disorders, both psychiatric and physical, linked to the vaccination.
“It was like my child disappeared from me right before my eyes,” her mom said. “It is a horrifying experience as a parent.
Drugwatch is not naming them.
“We’ve spent thousands of dollars in medical bills. Health insurance has probably paid out about $750,000 over the course of the last three years. It has taken a toll on our family,” the teen’s mom told Drugwatch. “But I don’t even think about myself or how it affects the rest of our family because it has ruined my daughter’s life.”
Her experience turned her into an advocate for her daughter. It isn’t unusual for her to spend 12 hours reading studies on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) online, either.
“Medicine is not my thing. Finances were my field,” she said. “[Now,] some people look at me and say, ‘You sound like a textbook when you start talking about this stuff.’ It’s from all the reading…I can’t stop because there is something new every day.”
She reached out to Drugwatch after reading about vaccine side effects on the website. She agreed to tell her daughter’s story in an effort to raise awareness and offer hope to other parents.
The teen went from winning awards in school, participating in activities and spending time with friends to isolating herself.
“I kind of thought, ‘Okay, this is what it is like to have a teenager.’ Hormones, right?” her mom said.
But the symptoms became progressively worse and the teen began having suicidal thoughts. She was involuntarily committed. None of the psychiatrists or doctors looked into vaccinations as a potential cause.
After a child psychologist told her mom about the possible connection, she brought it up to her daughter’s psychiatrist.
After several tests, doctors found human papillomavirus type 6 and mycoplasma pneumonia infections. They theorized these viruses broke the blood-brain barrier, causing her disorders.
“I am told that all of those [infectious triggers] are in the shots she was probably injected within the immunizations,” her mom said.
After a regimen of antibiotics, the teen’s mental issues improved. But doctors say she will be on antibiotics for the rest of her life. She still suffers from a host of other autoimmune issues that cause fatigue and constant pain.
For example, she has to sit on a stool to take showers. Long car rides leave her in pain that brings tears to her eyes.
Trips to doctors can take hours.
“Taking care of her is very similar to taking care of my dad when he had a stroke,” her mom said. “She is 15 and she has not been able to go to school for two years. Her life is not the life of a normal teenager.”
She is grateful to all the doctors who have helped her daughter. While she thinks vaccines help the majority of people, she now knows that her daughter’s genes made her a poor candidate for the HPV vaccine. She is angry that no one told her about the risks.
“I always did what my doctors said and what my daughter’s pediatrician said. For her to have all of these sudden-onset [symptoms] is mind-boggling to me, because I thought, ‘Above all, do no harm.’ That’s not what happened to my daughter,” she said. “I have realized that no one person knows everything.”
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