Thursday, April 25, 2013

Getting vaccinated with a suppressed immune system... Do I, or don't I?

Flu season is fast approaching which means that I have to decide whether or not I will go and get a flu shot. Do I, or don't I? I've been grappling with this decision for a couple of months. I know what you might be thinking. It's really not a hard decision to make, wouldn't you rather be safe than sorry? Well, with my conditions it's just not that clear cut. The opinions and advice I've received have been conflicting. The research confusing.
 
As I'm still currently on Humira therapy my Rheumatologist has recommended that I go and get a flu shot, as I'm at high risk, mainly due to the fact that Humira affects the immune system and can lower your ability to fight infections. Seems like a no-brainer, right?
 
The reason I am still debating whether I'll get jabbed is because I'm still so unsure. Why? I don't really know how to explain it but I'm going to try..
 
It just doesn't sit right with me. It doesn't feel like the right thing to do. It's a gut feeling. I sound crazy, but I've had this feeling before and I've been right about this feeling before. There have been numerous times when I didn't feel right about trying a certain drug, yet doctors persuaded me with assurance, and I ended up taking pills which caused me intolerable physical and mental pain.
 
I've been reassured that this vaccine is completely safe, so why do I still have my doubts? Am I just being silly, am I just scared, or am I just being paranoid? I guess I just don't trust doctors anymore.
 
I didn't have a flu vaccine last year and I was fine, and besides, I've heard that you should stay away from vaccines because they contain chemicals. I've read stories from people in similar situations as mine, and some have found that the vaccine exacerbated their symptoms and made them feel sicker. Fatigue levels have increased in some CFS patients. There have been reports that vaccines may be responsible for even causing chronic fatigue. I'm almost convinced of this.
 
The Gardasil vaccine that I had in 2006 to prevent cervical cancer has been linked to causing or triggering some cases of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia in women. I fell ill shortly after my first vaccination, and the fatigue worsened over the years with each shot. Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not.
 
I know everyone has varying opinions and different beliefs, but I don't think enough is known about vaccinations and their claimed safety. I also know that there are so many unknowns about baffling conditions like mine. When you've been sick like I have been for so long you start to lose faith in doctors, drugs and vaccines.
 
I don't want to feel worse than I already do right now. This year has been nothing but hell so far and anything that could potentially increase symptoms significantly, I'd rather try to avoid. Thank you very much. I don't want to risk causing more harm than good, but I also don't want to risk inflicting another illness that could have been prevented on myself, and this is where I'm torn.
 
If I don't get vaccinated I risk becoming seriously ill, and my doctors' must be more concerned about that this year. Maybe I should listen to them. These drugs can kill me if I'm not careful. The vaccine has even been declared safe by the Humira website as it's not a live vaccine, so maybe I should just suck it up and get it.
 
Then there's that nagging, uncomfortable feeling deep inside my gut- don't do it.
 
So do I trust my instincts and risk playing with fire? I think this is something I'll just have to continue to pray and trust God about.
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And just to lighten the mood...
I was the one who always laughed at everyone even when I was next, because that's what cool tough kids do!
Try injecting yourself with Humira every fortnight, kiddo.
 
 
 

2 comments:

Krissy said...

:( what a tough decision to make! If you're really paranoid about getting the flu shot, don't get it then. I don't think I've ever had a flu shot and I've only been sick with flu-like symptoms maybe once every few years (for me, I just get sinus issues).

Just make sure you take appropriate measures to avoid contracting the flu! (though i'm sure you know this already lol)

hope everything works out okay xx

Alanna said...

I was like you until I started working. Didn't want to get it because it doesn't protect you against ALL the flu strains anyway and blah blah blah. But I work in a hospital now so that increases my chances of getting sick. This year was my third year of getting one and I've been lucky - only ever got a sore arm and this year a humira-type spot reaction because it was s/c not IM.

I agree with Krissy though - if you're stressing this much about it - don't get it! You've got enough to deal with!

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