This is a personal account of Kristin’s Vaccine-related Story. Kristin completed the Autoimmune Sisters vaccine-related story form and submitted with permission to share.
Kristin’s Vaccine-related Story: First of all, I’m so excited to see a supportive community like Autoimmune Sisters taking such an unbiased approach to sharing vaccine stories. It’s so impactful for all of us to hear the experiences of others and approach issues with a well thought out perspective. For my personal journey, I knew, without a second of hesitation, that I would be getting the vaccine and getting any subsequent booster shots as well. Being severely immuno-compromised, plus having comorbidities, plus high risk factors for the virus, I have always known that getting the vaccine and weighing those risk factors will FAR outweigh the risk of contracting the virus and the risk of serious symptoms and hospitalizations.
Name: Kristin Johnston
Location: West Olive, Michigan
Occupation: Senior Digital Marketer
Family/Children: Married – Husband; 0 Children
IG Handle: @mrskristinjohnston
Chronic Viruses: Chronic Costochondritis, GERD, NAFLD
Physical Activity/Dietary/Lifestyle Preferences:
Diet: I try to eat partially gluten-free, almost exclusively dairy-free, and partially refined-sugar-free.
Physical Activity: minimal to none.
Sleep Routine: I really need 9-10 hours to feel the best I’m going to feel for the day, but I struggle a great deal with insomnia and “pain-somnia” – I take melatonin on a nightly basis and nap on a regular basis.
Do you have any of the following COVID “high risk” factors? Comorbidities and Obesity
What kind of doctor(s)/provider(s) do you work with? Rheumatologist, Primary Care Provider, Gastroenterologist, Endocrinologist
Did your doctor(s)/provider(s) advise you to get the vaccine? Yes
What data/evidence did your doctor provide to support you getting the vaccine? My rheumatologist offered to me a few of the research studies done surrounding COVID-19 and immuno-compromised individuals. I appreciated that he took a fact and science-based approach with me; he also sent me information on the vaccine itself and ingredients of the vaccine. My rheumatologist and his office is specifically involved in clinical trials and research studies, so I knew that his information was up-to-date and very fact-based.
What information or resources did you use to come to this conclusion on your own? I used a number of different resources, along with my care team (rheumatologist, primary care physician, endocrinologist) to come to my decision on getting the vaccine. I researched the guidance from the CDC and the American College of Rheumatology most significantly. The ACR was one of the first to come out with research studies around immuno-compromised individuals receiving the vaccine.
Ultimately, the logic was clear to me – being immuno-compromised due to multiple diseases and to my medications meant that relying on my immune system to protect me was not efficient and would not provide enough safety against the most severe symptoms of the virus.
Health Related Questions:
Before receiving the vaccine, please describe your health along with any autoimmune, chronic or related illness symptoms you were experiencing. My symptoms have always been pretty consistently in the moderate range; the one time of year that I typically see spikes in symptoms is in the summer and in any kind of heat-related weather. Consistently, my symptoms include: joint pain, back and hip pain, fatigue, headaches, nerve pain, depression, and anxiety. As a result of my autoimmune diseases, I have never been able to completely manage the symptoms and the blood test levels without using a well-rounded approach of natural and medical approaches – including immuno-suppressants. I also have high inflammation and Sedimentation rate levels in my blood tests.
What kind of prescribed medications do you currently take? Cimzia (immunosuppressant injection); GERD/Acid-Reflux Omeprazole; Anti-depressant
What kind of vitamins/supplements do you currently take? Prenatal Vitamin; Melatonin; Collagen; Plant-Based Protein Supplement
Was your autoimmune and any co-viruses in remission at the time you received your vaccine? No.
Covid-19 Related Questions:
Did you already have Covid-19? No
Which vaccine did you receive? Pfizer
How many doses and when did you receive them? 3 Doses (First 2 – March 2021, 3rd – August 2021)
Did you have any adverse reactions to the vaccine? Yes
Describe your adverse reactions to the vaccine and reference which dose in your explanation. Very minimal reactions, but for the 2nd and 3rd dose I did have about 24 hours of a headache, injection site/arm soreness, and fatigue.
Since having the vaccine, have you been tested for Covid-19 antibodies? No.
Do you plan to get your antibodies tested? Unsure yet – I would like to get antibodies tested, but it is undecided at this time if that would be beneficial or insightful for my particular disease levels.
Since getting the vaccine, have you contracted Covid-19? No.
Additional Notes: I fully believe in researching the science behind any type of treatment approach whether it’s a vaccine, a vitamin, a dietary claim, or a medication or medical intervention. The most important pieces of information that I apply to any health decision I make are the following:
- Make this decision based on my individual health and biological situation, not to be influenced or skewed by the media, other suggestions, or other individuals’ health situations.
- Weigh the risks of the vaccine (or medication or treatment) and the risks of the virus or disease. Decide your larger long-term risk factor (think pros vs. cons!)
- Is my quality of life impacted by getting or not getting the vaccine? Again – pros vs. cons!
Interested in Sharing Your Autoimmune Sister Story?
Sharing your autoimmune story is the very core of what we believe in at Autoimmune Sisters. We believe in bio-individuality; that every woman is uniquely designed and therefore there is not a one-size-fits-all solution.
In addition to sharing your autoimmune story, we are now accepting submissions for those of you interested in sharing your story and how it relates to the Covid-19 vaccine. Keep reading to learn more!