After continuously investigating and eliminating possible sources of her daughter's illness, Aoife's mother Monica is now forced to face the obvious connection between the start of her daughter's health problems and the day she had her first Gardasil vaccine.
Firstly, I was unaware that there were any side effects or that other girls were suffering as a result of receiving this vaccine. However, since hearing about the radio programme last week many things are beginning to slot into place. At no stage over the last 3 years did her GP or any of the consultants she attended mention any concerns about this vaccine. In fact no one has ever referred to it at all.
Aoife is 17 years of age and she received her vaccines in 2012/13.
The day Aoife received her first vaccine she went to a teenage disco – she rang me and I had to collect her early as she got a very bad Migrane and felt very ill. At the time we made no connection with the vaccine.
Since then (over 3 years ago) Aoife has suffered with constant headaches and blurred vision. The headaches never go away but can get worse or ease off slightly. The blurred vision has never gone. She describes it as being like the ‘aura’ you get with a classic migraine.
Shortly after the headaches Aoife began to complain of stomach pains, bloating, hardness, and naseau. She often complained of heartburn and would take Rennies. When the headaches were bad she started taking some painkillers i.e. Panadol or nurofen. However, the nurofen only upset her tummy more and her GP was concerned she may develop an ulcer. She was constantly at the GP. Her energy levels were very low and she stopped doing all extra curricular activities i.e dancing, choir and her favourite sport Horse riding.
Her GP did blood tests and initially her iron levels were very high and there were abnormalities in her liver. After a second round of bloods these seemed to return to normal.
She was then referred to a Neurologist who did an MRI scan – this ruled out any tumour/growth etc. Extensive blood tests some genetic were also done and sent to UK for results. Again nothing out of the ordinary showed up. Both her GP and Neurologist prescribed migrane medication which gave no relief. She eventually stopped taking these. Neurologist was very unsympathetic and suggested she stop drinking ‘Tea’.
Aoife also attended an optician and had her eyes tested but nothing showed up.
After numerous visits to her GP and having expressed my many concerns about her health and quality of life he suggested that I take a ‘step back’ and that some people just suffer with these problems and have to learn to live with them.
After 1 year of headaches and nausea we attended a Food Intolerance clinic – they carried out tests and said she was intolerant to Dairy, Soya, Potatoes, Wheat and many more foods. Aoife went on a very strict diet and eliminated these foods – again to no avail.
The stomach problems continued and the next thing that happened was that she started to suffer with reflux, this was so bad that she could not eat after 5 pm in the evening or she would not sleep at night. She had to come home from school every lunchtime because she could not risk eating in front of people. As you can imagine she finds it very difficult to study and although a very bright girl has struggled in school.
Aoife had sessions of Craniosacral massage therapy to try to help. The therapist could detect severe tension in her head but could not relieve same.
At this stage I was concerned that it might all be psychological and contacted a friend who specialised in eating disorders etc. After a number of consultations I was advised that apart from all Aoife’s health issues there was no underlying psychological problems and that she was a bright and well adjusted young girl.
We then decided to go another GP for a fresh outlook. However, like my own GP the next line of tests that were suggested were lumbar puncture or endoscopy.
After more appointments with my GP he referred us to another consultant who sent Aoife for an endoscopy – this showed that the ‘Sphinter valve’ in her stomach was not working properly. Bascially, this valve should close after you eat and keep the food down but hers was open and therefore food was refluxing. Aoife was referred for surgery to correct this problem and referred to another consultant – she had major surgery this June and suffered a number of complications afterwards – she needed a blood transfusion and could not hold down liquids or food for 10 days after operation requiring her to be fed by drip.
6 weeks on since her operation and the reflux problem seems to be gone – however she is still on a mushy/light diet.
Headaches and blurred vision still persist at this point in time.
As well as all that Aoife has suffered it has also affected our family life. I am constantly worried about her, I feel that she has no quality of life for a young girl. She struggles to attend school and during her transition year she missed a huge amount of school, having to come home early, unable to go in some days and also unable to take park in PE or school trips. On top of all this we have had considerable expense with GP, medication, Consultants, etc.
If your child has suffered health issues that you think may have been triggered by Gardasil, and you wish to get in contact with other parents who have had a similar experience, please contact us at: