A SIRVA Recovery Story
"I am 100% completely, gloriously healed. I still wake up every day amazed.”
When Jennifer Beretta and her son went to get flu shots in November 2020, she volunteered to go first so her son, who had never had one before, would see that it was no big deal. Little did she know that a freak accident would soon disable her arm, causing relentless pain and devastating her livelihood. Jennifer lives in the rural community of Prunedale, just outside Monterey where she is the sole owner and farmer of an organic lemon tree farm.
The technician at CVS who administered the vaccine that day was standing while Jennifer was sitting, putting them at an awkward angle. Jennifer knew something had gone wrong when she felt a sharp pain and her son said, "Mom!" When she turned to look, she saw that the needle was bent in half. The technician gasped and exclaimed, “That’s never happened before.”
This was the beginning of what turned into six months of debilitating pain and sleepless nights, in addition to rendering her left arm useless.
Through her own research online, Jennifer learned about SIRVA (Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration) and was fairly certain that this was her problem. However, when she asked her doctors, they said they had not heard of it. The first orthopedic surgeon she saw diagnosed it as a case of bursitis and gave her a shot of cortisone, which only relieved the pain for a few days and did not improve her range of motion. The second orthopedist she saw reluctantly ordered an MRI and told her it was normal, implying that the pain was in her head. Jennifer felt completely defeated.
Unfortunately, without the use of her left arm and the lack of sleep, Jennifer was barely able to maintain her farm and provide daily care for her animals and ended up losing most of her lemon crop. Out of desperation, she decided to take matters into her own hands. She discovered the NMRF website and read the research publications. She made a telemedicine consultation with Dr. Bodor, who looked carefully at her MRI and noticed a clue at a very small specific location which he had noticed in some patients with this problem. When she came to see Dr. Bodor in person, he used ultrasonography to visualize that area and confirmed it as the root of her pain by administering an ultrasound-guided anesthetic block. “I just started crying and crying …to know that it was going to get fixed and that he knew what it was and that I wasn't crazy,” explains Jennifer.
The next day, he performed an ultrasound-guided procedure to wash out that location, where he suspected the vaccine to have been deposited and was causing her pain and disability. After the procedure, Jennifer says the relief was immediate. “To feel the pain in my shoulder subside for the first time in six months, as he pinpointed where this invisible vaccine was lurking, was incredible. A lot of people were saying, ‘It’s just your shoulder… you'll be fine; you can live with the pain.’ But not this kind of pain. His treatment saved my (quality of) life! I still never imagined I could be completely rid of this severe pain and restriction.”
Jennifer says she is in the process of rebuilding her life. She plans to replant her orchard in the spring. “In 24 hours, I literally went from no hope, no sleep, excruciating pain and an arm I couldn't raise or use to NO SIRVA pain and full range of motion. The relief was so immediate and profound. And now I am 100% completely, gloriously healed. I still wake up every day amazed. I am beyond grateful that I was able to benefit from Dr. Bodor's compassion, research and work on curing SIRVA. It is invaluable. I cannot thank him enough.”
Find Out More
Complications from vaccinations are extremely rare. The most common complication caused by a vaccine is vaccination related shoulder dysfunction, also known as SIRVA (Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration). Jennifer is one of 18 patients to undergo Dr. Bodor’s ultrasound-guided procedure, which has become a major study with the NMRF research team. To learn more about vaccination related shoulder dysfunction and NMRF’s research, go to: NMRF's SIRVA Page.