The Story (Health Journey Part 1)

Disclaimer: I am not against immunizations, and I would never tell you not to get the HPV vaccine. This is my experience, and although it parallels others, I have always had a weak immune system that increased the reaction I encountered. I just ask you to do your research. 

In 2014, I got the first sequence of the HPV vaccination, it is a sequence of three vaccines that help to prevent cervical cancer and other health problems.  

The nurse at the clinic pushed it so hard on my mom to get the vaccine. My mom declined at first ... but I was there to get vaccinated for my upcoming 2 month trip to Africa. I remember the nurse asking my mom, "What if? What if she, heaven forbid, something happened to her while she was there?" My mother wanted the absolute best for me and so I got the vaccine. (My mom is still the best mom in the world, who would do anything for her child, I love her with all my heart and would never blame her for the outcome of the vaccination.) 

The HPV vaccination hurt, I'm not kidding. Every shot, it was worse than the one before. It was paralyzing pain that I experienced when injected with the vaccine and from the first drop, I was never the same. 

It started with flu like symptoms, and as I boarded that flight to spend 2 months in a third world country, I knew I was about to sacrifice everything I had to love the children of Zambia. It was 2 months of what I can only describe as both absolute beauty and misery. I spent 80% of the trip lying in my mosquito net lined bed listening to the wild dogs trot around outside my window, watching the African sun set each day, praying, praying that I didn't have cancer. I literally thought I had cancer, I had never experienced such pain and uncomfortableness... nausea, headaches, complete body aches, bruises, rashes, insomnia, heart palpitations, daily bloody noses, blurry vision, weight loss, and the list goes on. 

I remember calling my mom and telling her my symptoms, I remember her crying and asking if they should book a flight home, I said no.

I said no, because the other 20% of the time I mustered every ounce of energy and love I had and gave it away. I kissed those snotty noised children, I loved on those 14 year old pregnant girls, and I encouraged every soul I came in contact with, because let me tell you the Lord uses the broken and incapable. 

When I finally returned home, it was doctors, blood tests, natural paths, diets, medications. It was people that loved and supported me and others that didn't understand. I lost friendships, because I couldn't live a normal life.  It was a year in bed, my senior year of high school. I was home schooled, for many reasons, but mainly because I was sick. 

My mom had figured it out, in her hours of research she had come across the adverse reaction to the HPV vaccine. I had all the symptoms, I was in line with the time line, and it all just made since. 

The outcome was something called Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome ( or POTS for short). POTS sucks. Here's a statement that holds to be true. 

"Researchers found that quality-of-life in POTS patients is comparable to patients on dialysis for kidney failure."

There is no treatment for POT syndrome and it usually gets worse over time. I wanted to conquer it naturally, so I went on a journey with about 15 supplements, and consistent vitamin shots. I got better for a while, when I say better I mean I was managing my pain. 

For the last two years or so, I still struggled to do seemingly simple things like take showers without sitting down, go on a hike, or stay out late, but my symptoms were managed. Even still, my health directly effects my relationships. I'm not the average 20 year old. 

Let me tell you though, MY HEALTH IS NOT MY IDENTITY.  My identity is still rooted in the grace of God and His absolute goodness in my life. I will continue to serve him and love his people with every drop of love I have left, my health does not hinder my kingdom work.