COVID-19 Vaccine And Flare-Ups

As someone living with AxSpA, I've had several flare-ups in my life. Some last for a couple of days, others last for weeks or months. They also vary in intensity. Some are uncomfortable and some are absolutely debilitating. Of all the flare-ups I've ever had, I can unequivocally say that my worst flare-up ever was after getting my second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Eligible for a booster

Part of my treatment for ankylosing spondylitis includes monthly infusions of an immunosuppressant drug. This puts me at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 and also experiencing worse symptoms. This also makes me eligible to receive a third vaccine booster shot, since people with immunocompromised systems have a slower and less effective immune response to the vaccine.

But nervous

Having only just got out of my worst flare-up, I am very nervous to go get the booster shot. I spent most of the summer writhing in pain and debilitating fatigue. I saw posts online of other immunocompromised people who also had bad flare-ups following their second dose. While this comforted me because it made me feel less alone, it also made me sad that so many people were in more pain.

This flare up felt endless

This particular flare-up lasted for two months. While that may not sound like that long of a time, it felt endless. I get four months off of school in the summer and I spent half of my vacation time feeling worse than I've ever felt before. All of my usual pain relief treatments were ineffective against this flare-up. But I felt safer against COVID-19 and felt good about doing my part to keep others safe as well.

After my flare-up subsided, I felt relief. Like all I experienced was worth it. After two months of unimaginable pain, I began to feel like myself again. Soon after, my rheumatologist told me I can go get the third booster shot. While I want to do what I can to make sure I and others are safe, I am scared of having another horrible flare-up.

I will likely get the booster shot, but I feel so anxious to get it. I usually avoid doing things that trigger my symptoms. Or I pace the activities I do so that I don't over-exert myself. I do what I can to try to alleviate my symptoms and prevent flare-ups, but there's nothing I can do when it comes to the vaccine. While I am frustrated and anxious, I know that health officials would not recommend this if it was unsafe.

I hope I can tolerate this booster shot and wish well to anyone else getting theirs as well!

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