ROCK HILL, S.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) — A Rock Hill woman says her life was thrown upside down after getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
She says just weeks after getting a shot in her arm, she was diagnosed with a rare disorder.
She says before this, she was very active. Now, she has to depend on her two sons.
“Frustrated… it turned my life upside down,” says 61-year-old Kelly Faine.
Faine sits on her son’s porch most days because that’s really all she can do by herself now after she received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
“Before I got the vaccine, I was walking 10,000 steps a day, working 40 to 60 hours a week. Now I’m lucky if I do a thousand steps in a day,” Faine said.
Six weeks ago, she was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome. It’s a rare disorder in which your body’s immune system attacks your nerves. Weakness and tingling in your extremities are usually the first symptoms. It can get very severe.
“With the vaccines themselves, we don’t see Guillain-Barre as often,” Star Med’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Arin Primazadian said.
Dr. Primazadian says the chances of getting this syndrome after a Johnson and Johnson or AstraZeneca vaccine is reportedly less than 0.0007%.
“When I look up the risk factors of getting Guillain-Barre after any of the mRNA vaccines there are almost no cases,” he said.
“From the first dose, I noticed I had the normal tiredness and stuff and I also noticed a lot of pain in my legs, in my thighs especially. In fact, it still hurts to have clothes on,” Faine said.
Faine’s pharmacist cleared her to get the second shot and that’s when things went into overdrive.
“Three weeks later, I started falling down. Just walking along and for no reason, I fall. I kind of ignored it at first and said I would go to the doctor on Friday when I’m off. Thursday, I fell three times and I couldn’t go to work.”
Faine says she drove herself to the emergency room and after receiving multiple blood tests and MRI, health officials found nothing so they decided to send her home.
“And I looked at the doctor and said “I can’t walk,” Faine said.
Shortly after that, she was quickly admitted to the hospital.
“After a series of lumbar punctures.. from that, she said it was Guillain-Barre. Then we have five nights of IV treatment, then they sent me home and said don’t be by yourself,” Faine said.
Two weeks later, she started falling again. Faine transitioned from perfectly healthy to nearly bedridden and receiving immunotherapy treatments in less than 2 months.
“So now it’s just trying to do physical therapy and get my strength back but I have no hamstrings or quad strings left,” Faine continued.
“Just the simple act of walking up and down the steps wears me out,” she says.
Her roommate was the one who encouraged her to get the vaccine because he had COPD and was nervous about her bringing the virus home.
Although he had the vaccine, along with her close friends and family, she says she was still a part of the “wait and see” crowd, but she was never against it. But now she partly regrets the shots.
“But then you hear the horror stories of the people that actually get the disease. So I don’t know, I just tell people to be really careful if they’re thinking about it.”
She says Guillain-Barre syndrome is controllable, but she can never have a flu shot, shingles shot, or booster again – because the syndrome could come back.