Emma from Roscommon describes how her sports-mad daughter Ava has been in and out of hospital over the past 3 months suffering from fainting, seizures and agonising headaches.
Ava my daughter is 13 years old since last March and she has always been an extremely active and fit child. She plays football for her local club and county, and also hurling, but unfortunately missed out on making the county team for hurling due to being in hospital when the finals were held. She also played on the school basketball team, did cross country running and swimming.
At the moment Ava has had to stop most activities due to not only the safety aspect, but also because she doesn't have the energy she once had. We continue to go to training with football as it is her first love, but on more than one occasion she has been taken off the pitch in an ambulance. Of course I wouldn't let her train only that doctors have said to continue her every day life.
Her troubles started three weeks after having her 2nd HPV injection on the 19th of March, and we have lived a nightmare ever since. She has been in and out of hospital so many times I've lost count! Ava couldn't sit her first year summer exams, the school didn't want her there as she faints and has seizures. She also has headaches that are so bad she screams in agony, along with occasional limb pain and numbness in her face, feet and hands.
Ava had never been sick ever before, we didn't even have a GP for the last 4 years! When I stressed how unusual it was that Ava was fainting etc to any doctors we have seen, they just tell me that it's puberty or a growth spurt or Pots syndrome. I have insisted that she have an MRI scan, an EEG, an ECG all of which have come back clear. She wore a monitor for six days and that was the first time she had 6 days of no symptoms! Typical!
I don't have a medical card, I applied for one when her issues started and I'm still waiting on it. I'm a single parent who is being ignored apart from when the bills land! I have suggested that the vaccine is the cause of Ava's issues but I was told by her consultant in Ballinasloe hospital that he had never heard of any side effects from the vaccine. My home life has been questioned and I took offence when it was suggested that Ava may have psychological issues around the fact that her parents are not together. I am separated six
years and there are no issues or problems that could possibly be causing Ava to have seizures - her worst and longest one being 40 minutes.
I feel totally ignored and disbelieved by all doctors that we have seen, I feel that they think that either Ava or myself are looking for attention which could not be further from the truth. I have never been as stressed along with the rest of my family. I have two other children that I have to look after and that's not easy from a hospital ward. If I had known how this would effect Ava's life of course I would never have allowed her to get the vaccine and I would strongly urge any parent not to allow their daughter to be exposed to it.
And so the nightmare continues as Ava now is devastated by the changes that have occurred, not only has she stopped playing most sports but she can't cycle, swim or join in on most activities along side her pals.
It is not a coincidence that her symptoms started just after she had her last injection. When I look back now there were signs of fatigue after the first 2 but I just put it down to doing too much. She would come home from school and go straight to bed.
We have one last test to have which is a tilt test but we are awaiting on a date for that. Ava can't be left alone at any stage and sleeps in my room so I can keep her in sight. She's frightened, anxious and nervous, and has lost all confidence in herself.
What we have been through and what Ava continues to go through is all down to the fact that I as a parent have failed her and if I had only done a small amount of research she would never had been exposed to the hpv vaccine and the guilt alone is devastating.