“Jack me up!” was my response when nurse Paul explained the possible COVID vaccine side effects. Swelling, soreness, tiredness, and chills could be in my near future, he said. Whatever – I laughed like a crazy person.
“Nothing is worse than chemo,” I said. “Except maybe getting COVID-19.”
It’s been 1 year, 10 months, and 17 days since I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Yeah, I’m counting because exactly two weeks after completing brutal cancer treatment the world went into pandemic lockdown. Doing the math, I’ve been hiding in my house and social distancing for nearly two f-cking years, minus 44 days.
So when the British Columbia Ministry of Health mailed me in invitation to book a COVID vaccine as a member of the “clinically extremely vulnerable” (CEV) group, I registered for whatever vaccine would be available to me. Then I cried.
Agent: "What community are you a member of?"
Agent: "No no, where do you live?"
Me: *breaks down and cries*
I'm booked for April 17th, guys! #bcpoli
— Kerry K. Taylor (@squawkfox) March 29, 2021
I cried because so many people have died from this horrific virus. I cried because the emotional toll of not seeing my friends and family for nearly two years is immense. I cried because I haven’t been able to visit my Stage IV cancer friends for a year. I cried because a single vaccination is one step closer to ending this nightmare. I cried because I miss hugs.
The process of getting jabbed was fast and easy. I brought my health card and CEV letter to the vaccination centre, checked in, and then went to the first available station where I met nurse Paul.
COVID Vaccines and Breast Cancer
After telling nurse Paul “I love you”, we laughed and he asked me about my breast cancer treatment.
COVID Vaccines can cause swollen lymph nodes under the armpit of the jabbed side, which can be a normal autoimmune response. But to a breast cancer patient swollen nodes can be a sign of cancer recurrence. To avoid the whole fear-inducing mess, we opted to vaccinate via my left arm — the opposite side to my breast cancer.
If you’re due for a mammogram — GO GET YOUR MAMMO — but please be aware there are reports COVID vaccines can cause false breast cancer positives. If you’re a breast cancer survivor, opt to get vaccinated on your opposite side.
The vaccine available to me was the Pfizer vaccine. I had no clue which of the many vaccines would be offered to me, and it didn’t matter. Anything to get a bit of normal back after two years in seclusion.
Whatever was in that needle was fine by me because the vaccines are safe and effective. Blood clots associated with vaccines may play big in the news — where scary news-hits get the clicks — but the reality is the risk is low.
The jab felt like nothing. Mind you, I’ve been through seven rounds of aggressive chemo, so a tiny needle ain’t gonna faze me.
Nurse Paul filled out my vaccination record, informed me to return in around 4 months for my second dose, and then asked me to wait for 15 minutes in the sitting area to be sure I wouldn’t have a reaction. But I did have a reaction.
I broke down in tears.
Big juicy wet tears streamed down my face.
OMG I am vaccinated.
What a f-cking relief.
Please contact your local health department for COVID-19 vaccination information. You are loved.
P.S. My vaccination story is inspired by the one and only Erica Ehm, I Got the AstraZeneca Vaccine And This Is What Happened.
I got the AstraZeneca vaccine and wrote about what happened. I guess it hit a nerve. It's been "liked" and "shared" 6,000 times. https://t.co/O3J1FDBnbE
— Erica Ehm (@EricaEhm) March 24, 2021
Your health is your wealth. Stay safe.
Love love love,
I never leave comments like this, but your post here struck a chord.
My husband and I signed up for waitlists at multiple pharmacies, and last week I got an email and text message saying I could book a time. My husband didn’t get this message, but he’d signed up before me. I wanted to make sure it was legit and that I wouldn’t be jumping the line, so I called the pharmacy. The first question the pharmacist asked when I told her why I was calling was “Are you a teacher?”. I almost burst into tears. Yes. Yes I am. When I hung up, I filled in the online form and when I received my email confirmation, I got goosebumps over my entire body. I am scheduled for my vaccine this afternoon. Meanwhile, I am sitting here with fingers crossed I don’t get the call from my school saying I am a close contact of a case… we’ve had several already this weekend.
Congratulations on your first dose. I wish you well! May you remain wealthy, first and foremost with your health!!!
Jane, I am so happy for you. Teachers are beyond essential. And I still have goosebumps after my jab, even though they’re not an official side effect. 😉 Kerry
Thanks so much for your post.
I’m glad to hear you’re doing so much better!
Hubby and I get vaccinated on Monday the 19th. YAY!!
Kerry. You continue to be a source of inspiration and an example of courage to me. The way you have shared your cancer fight has helped validate my own decisions. Thank you.
Dear Kerry, you have me crying here. I am also a BC survivor. I received a cancer diagnosis for each breast within a 4 month period. Lymph nodes were removed from both sides and I decided on a double mastectomy. Unfortunately I ended up with lymphedema in one arm. I was concerned that any swelling in the remaining lymph nodes, caused by the vaccine, may cause further damage. But I decided it was less risky than the one presented by getting Covid-19. So I was very happy and willing to get vaccinated on my good arm! Thank you for sharing your personal story. You are an inspiration to us all.
Hugs were the thing for me. Spent end of February 2020 until just a week ago staying far away from anyone just in case there was no immunity. Or issues with it, or whatever. But then I was fully immune and met up with another friend who was also fully immune. A long hug was enjoyed.
In 3 weeks all my friends here in CO will be 2 or more weeks out from their second shots. Many hugs and dinners out are planned.
No immunity from the Covid I got and survived in October. Forgot that key piece of data
3 cheers for hugs.