Managing Editor's Note: Below is the story of Kirstie, who became "one less" at the age of 12, and whose life was changed. Kirstie, a young woman who reminds me of our own Natalie Palumbo with her spirit, positive attitude and ability to use a trauma as a springboard to a bright future, write about her experience with the genital wart virus that was first sold to American females as a "cancer" vaccine meant to reduce worry. Thank you to Kirstie for sharing her story. And thank you to SaneVax for continuing to educate the American public about the reality of teen and young adult vaccination.
In 2007, Gardasil was a new vaccine which was supposed to make you one less girl who had to worry about cervical cancer. My parents thought it would be a wonderful way to protect me as I grew up. How could we have known the first injection would set off a chain of events that would alter my life forever?
At 12 years old, sports were a huge part of my life. Basketball, soccer, softball, dodge-ball, lacrosse – you name it. If it involved outdoor recreation, you could probably find me there.
I got my first Gardasil shot on the 23rd of April 2007. Shortly after, I started getting strange bruises on my arms and legs. No one thought much of it because we all assumed I had been injured playing the sports I so dearly loved. None of us thought it might be connected to the vaccine I had recently received.
May 29, 2007, I received the second injection. The unusual bruising got worse. Over the weekend of June 29th and 30th I hemorrhaged for two hours during each day. When I went to the doctor on Monday, they immediately sent me to the hospital to meet with a pediatric hematologist. I left the hospital with a diagnosis of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP).
According to the Mayo Clinic, Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), also called immune thrombocytopenic purpura, is a blood-clotting disorder that can lead to easy or excessive bruising and bleeding. ITP results from unusually low levels of platelets — the cells that help your blood clot.
Because of my low platelet count, I could not play any of the sports I loved for over a year. This was very hard for me to understand and accept. It made me very sad not to be able to participate in the activities that I loved. It was difficult to watch everyone else playing and having fun, while my activities were being limited.
Looking back, I can see how when one door closes, another opens. Because I couldn’t play sports, I had extra time to do other things. I discovered a passion for music and began to take private voice lessons and a musical theater class. Since I was unable to play sports, I began to focus on singing and performing.
In the past few years, I have become a very successful classical singer. I have won some prestigious awards and have been accepted into some excellent colleges for vocal performance with a concentration in music education, or music therapy. Had it not been for the extra time I had, I may have never have discovered my musical talent. Now, I focus most of my energy on singing and the performing arts. I am not sure that would have happened if my life had not been changed by ITP. My career path has definitely been influenced by the diagnosis which set me on a path that I am pleased to be on... Read the full post at SaneVax.