“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.”

covid vaccine

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.

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.

covid vaccine

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.

covid vaccine blood clots

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.

Your health is your wealth. Stay safe.

Love love love,