Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cape teens: HPV vaccine made them sick:

By CYNTHIA McCORMICK October 15, 2009

It’s been months since dancer and former gymnast Nicole Goodman of Pocasset has been able to do a forward jazz slide or a kick ball change move.

The 18-year-old fell ill weeks after receiving her third Gardasil shot, and she blames the vaccine for the human papillomavirus for putting her in a wheelchair.

“I was a normal teenager. I did everything,” says the Bourne High School graduate. She played softball and basketball in community leagues and took lessons in lyric and jazz dance.

But weeks after receiving the third shot of the Gardasil vaccine, Goodman found herself in a downhill health slide. A charley-horse-type pain in her right leg led to spasms and tremors. She experienced fainting episodes, an irregular heartbeat and nausea so severe that she lost 15 pounds in one month and had to go on intravenous fluids.

Her left leg and foot are now stuck in a sort of permanent spasm, and Goodman says she developed a red rash on her upper body around the same time.

“So many girls have that rash,” she says.

Goodman is referring to the “Gardasil Girls,” an informal nickname for girls and young women who believe they have been injured by the Merck vaccine that was approved in 2006 and has been heavily marketed as a preventative for cervical cancer.

Their numbers include Rachel Whiting, 17, of Orleans and Madeline Wunder, 17, of Brewster, both students at Nauset Regional High School who experienced autoimmune-type disorders shortly after receiving Gardasil injections.

They says their side effects include digestive problems, rashes and severe muscle pain, among other ailments. “It’s just a nightmare,” says Rachel’s mother, Kim Whiting. She brought her daughter to Boston last week for a bone marrow biopsy and other tests to find out why Rachel’s lymph nodes are so inflamed.

“She’s in pain every day,” Donna Wunder says of her daughter, Madeline, a competitive figure skater.

Wunder is convinced that Gardasil caused her daughter’s symptoms, and she says she wishes she’d never approved the shots.

“I got sold the whole bill of goods that this is wonderful,” she says. Wunder says Madeline had to drop out of a major skating competition this month because she can no longer land jumps or handle a four-minute routine.


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