My Road to Recovery Post-Gardasil
By Kristin Clulow
Newcastle, NSW, Australia
"never give up. You will have times when you want to, when it seems pointless, hopeless, unfair etc. I have been there. I have felt all of those emotions – and more. But I am living proof that you can improve and that you can, once again, enjoy a quality of Life".
My name is Kristin Clulow. I am 31 years old and live in Newcastle, Australia. I wrote an article a few years ago regarding my Gardasil experience. As this last post was over three years ago, I would like to take this opportunity to update you in the hope that it may be of assistance to you, or someone who you know who is suffering a similar illness.
In 2008, I received two out of three Gardasil vaccines. Soon after I lost the ability to run, skip, jump, dance, wear heels, and then struggled to walk in flat shoes, and then in a straight line. My writing disappeared; my speech followed. Any cuts and bruises would take months to heal, and would be multiplied by my increasing clumsiness and incoordination. I constantly felt sick, nauseous and suffered ‘brain fog’. The right side of my body had slumped, similar in physical manifestation to a stroke. My whole body would tremor with intention to do even the smallest task.
I was administered eight doses of Intravenous (IV) Methylprednisolone on two separate occasions (three and five doses respectively), which worsened the symptoms. The traits which were primarily limited to my right hand side now spread to the left hand side of my body, and were worsening.
Despite extensive physiotherapy and exercise as well as full-time work, my body continued to deteriorate to the point where in June 2009, my primary Neurologist stated ‘We have missed something’.
I underwent a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan. A PET scan is similar to a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scan, but is more minute in results. The individual is injected with a glucose resin, which highlights parts of the body of concern. In my case, it showed up that my cerebellum had switched off. I was diagnosed with a condition called Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM), which is an immune mediated disease of the brain, and may appear following a vaccination.
At this point, I was at my worse. I could not walk; I could not write; I could barely speak and could barely eat (as I could not find my mouth to ingest food). My nervous system, my immune system and myelin sheath surrounding my nerves were dissolved. I was given little hope of any improvement.
When faced with a situation such as this, there are two options: fight, or flight. Running away from this was not going to make it better. Fighting was the only chance I had – the harder option, but I do not shy away from challenges.
This one moment in time made me re-evaluate my life – my goals, my values, and the importance of relationships, material possessions, and overall issues. What I’ve realized is that without your health, you are helpless. And I also realized that out of great fear, comes great faith.
I researched neurosciences and neuroplasticity and believed that the brain could repair itself. I gave up full-time work at my doctor’s instructions for two years.
Instead of just concentrating on Gardasil, I returned to University to obtain another degree in Masters of Teaching (Secondary). Every day, I undertook extensive physiotherapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy and hydrotherapy, as well as hours of study, exercise and countless other activities.
Every 28 days, I was admitted to hospital to receive IV Immunoglobulin (IVIG). This was warranted due to my diagnosis of ADEM.
IVIG is a drug in limited quantity– its demand is much higher than stock in supply. CSL, the licensee of Gardasil in Australia refused to honor my claim on three separate occasions for this drug, although having access to it.
Ultimately, my family purchased this from a different supplier, had it flown to Newcastle and administered to me. I have no doubt that this played a huge role in saving my life. IVIG is wonderful medication. I suffered major headaches, but saw improvements in my motor skills.
There are issues however:
- It is not cheap. A lot of females suffering Gardasil cannot afford to have a PET scan or obtain this highly sought after drug. Nor can they get access to the top medical professionals that I had working on my case. Unfortunately, money and contacts go a long way in a case of this caliber.
- IVIG will not work for everyone, and;
- For a cheaper option, I would try homeopathy.
I class myself as a guinea pig for Gardasil. I have tried both Eastern and Western remedies. Some have worked, many have not worked.
For me, IVIG worked in western medicine. After trying just about everything in eastern medicine, I would recommend homeopathy in the first instance.
Approximately six months ago, I received word from another Gardasil Girl that there was a doctor, Dr. Isaac Golden, in Melbourne, Australia that was ‘fixing’ girls affected by Gardasil with his own personal remedy. This remedy does not reverse the effects of Gardasil. Instead, it helps the body in breaking down the barrier that Gardasil has created, allowing the body to recover itself.
At the time of receiving this advice, I had reached a plateau. Regardless of how much exercise I did, I could only see limited improvement, so I went to see Dr. Golden.
What he administers is completely natural. He is a homeopath, specializing in vaccination injuries. For me, I started on dose #1. All it took was placing two small tablets under the tongue every few days and allowing them to dissolve. I report back any progress and/or side effects to Dr. Golden every few weeks, and then it is decided if my dosage should be increased. At present, I am on #6. The price of these tablets is small and affordable.
Since beginning to take these tablets, I have noticed a decrease in my tremors, an improvement in my walking (I am starting to wear heels again), and the tone and speed of my voice has improved.
The side effects are that I get pain in my head on occasions. This pain is limited to the cerebellum area. I do get tired on occasions, but this could be due to the busy lifestyle that I choose to live.
I am still continuing to take these tablets and plan to do so indefinitely, as I believe they are assisting.
Approximately two months ago, I had a hair mineral analysis test conducted. This required taking a small portion of untreated hair out and sending it to a lab for testing. This test showed up that my body was high in Aluminum (a major ingredient in Gardasil), and that my body was not absorbing the nutrients from food. As such, I have booked in to see a dietician to resolve this issue.
I have heard that many Gardasil Girls suffer from food intolerances. I also suffered from this. I try to eat fresh food, limit processed food, and try and eat as much gluten free, lactose free and sugar free products as possible. I try not to eat takeaway foods, as well as trying to limit artificial colors and preservatives.
If you are having food allergies, I would recommend trying the ‘Elimination diet’. This is a slow process, but affordable, whereby you go back to basics (phase one is rice, chicken, beans and pears etc.) and then you add in different foods. You record your progress and find out which ones you have a reaction to.
This was conducted under the assistance of a dietician who was able to give me advice as I proceeded. I also had a gluten and lactose blood test, which showed that there was a level of intolerance, and also resulted in headaches, nausea, cramping and bloating.
Further, I attend Chiropractic care twice per week. My Chiropractor is a doctor with extensive experience and serves to readjust my spine and stimulate the nervous system and the cerebellum.
I try and attend the gym three to four times per week and undertake over an hour of cardio, weights and stretching. I am now able to interval run, however my right foot still lacks coordination. My strength and tone is improving. I also do additional exercise to challenge my body and brain. In the last few months I have tried surfing, stand up paddle boarding, dancing (many forms), yoga, Pilates – and the list goes on. Although I am not the best, I have shifted my mindset to ‘giving things a go’.
Any form of exercise is beneficial and works out different muscles of your body. As for my hands, my right hand was more affected than my left. Being right handed, I have relied heavily on the use of technology to aid in communication. I practice my handwriting; however still find it quicker and easier to type.
As a teacher, I am very grateful that our school uses electronic whiteboards, which limits the amount of writing. The staff and students are also extremely supportive of my present inability.
I was also a good pianist pre-Gardasil, and this has resulted in me going back to basics. I still know the notes and theory, but I was unable to play due to the tremors in my hands. Thankfully, this is slowly improving due to constant practice of technical work (e.g. scales).
I have suffered insomnia since Gardasil. Some nights I can sleep well, others, I average three to four hours sleep. I still suffer pain, primarily leg pain. For this, I take Panadeine. I try and exhaust my body as much as I can, as this often means I get a better sleep.
My life now is about 85% compared to before – if I had to put a quantitative measure on it. I say this simply because there are still things which I struggle to do – to walk, speak and write.
My friends see me as being completely normal, which is uplifting. I, however, am much harder on myself because I know what I was like before.
I have learned so much from my experiences after Gardasil. The happiness I experience daily because of this, far exceeds any feeling before. If I could change the past, I would not change a thing – as this experience has made me who I am today, and I truly believe that everything happens for a reason.
I trust that this, in some way, can be of assistance to you. Everyone is going to have different symptoms and different things work for different people.
If you have a daughter or a loved one going through this, my advice is this: they need you. They are too tired and too sick to fight for help to make it through. They need support. They need someone to go to doctor’s appointments with them. When you have brain fog, you do not recall much. Make sure they keep a diary, or have someone who can record everything that happens. I know this is painful, but if you need to refer back to anything, it is easier to track it this way. Have a video/photo database.
This is something that I did not do, and I wish I had. But, I was so sick and tired (and looked terrible!) that I did not want photos being taken. But do it. If this ever escalates, you will need proof.
Listen to advice, try things that you think will work, and always stay positive. Having a bad attitude does not help (and gives you frown lines!).
Lastly, never give up. You will have times when you want to, when it seems pointless, hopeless, unfair etc. I have been there. I have felt all of those emotions – and more. But I am living proof that you can improve and that you can, once again, enjoy a quality of life.
If you would like any more information, I can be contacted via Facebook (Kristin Clulow) or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. I am in contact with hundreds of Gardasil girls and families all around the world and can put you in contact with the relevant people. We are all here for each other, and can help you.
Thank you and kind regards,