Those who know me personally know I don't vaccinate my children. I did vaccinate them. I promote vaccinations. I think vaccinations are a wonderful thing that saves millions of lives. I have worked at two different health departments for almost 10 years now, and in that time have promoted these products on a daily basis. I am not anti-vaccine.
When I started at the health department around 2002, the Wakefield study on MMR and autism was in it's height. I read it. I was skeptical. It was such a small sample of children. Most of what I read stated that for some reason children with autism also had issues with there intestines, and part of this was that there was measles virus in the intestinal tract of children with autism, and this wasn't found in children without autism. It is a well known fact that GI problems are common in children on the spectrum - my question after reading it was this, "Was this seen because there is some immunological component of autism that caused a weakened GI tract were the virus could grow." Either way - everyone says his study was a fraud and he had now lost his license (haven't read the specifics of it). Even after that, though, I had doubts about autism and vaccinations. My oldest child was autistic and he was born that way - a vaccination did not worse his autism - he was autistic in my womb (trust me - that child NEVER slept even inside of me!)
My time at the health department did make me question things though. I saw things that made me question the safety of vaccinations. Healthy children who had their first seizure the night of a vaccination. One child had his first stroke the night of his 12 month vaccination, and had his second stroke the night of his 15th month vaccination. All parents said, "the doctor said it wasn't the vaccination," but most of these parents weren't comfortable continuing to vaccinate after that. I came across parents who swore their child was developmentally normal, had a vaccination, and then weren't. There were enough of these things that I started to question that these vaccinations were 100% safe. No, there was no scientific evidence that what happened to these children was caused by the vaccination. Could that child have been meant to have his first stroke the night of those 12 month shots, maybe. Could that same child have been meant to have his second stroke the night of his 15 month shots - to me that seems highly unlikly. To me, and to most people who would look at these situations without a vested interested in either side, it would look like a basic cause/effect relationship - cause was vaccination and it caused a stroke/seizure. Thus, with my twins, my husband and I decided to vaccinate on an alternative schedule and only when they were very healthy.
That leads me to my beautiful little Lucy. My big blue eyed, curly haired, self confident Lucy. I was on high alert for autism in all my girls since we dealt with it for my oldest. Had the girls all tested three times. All three tests came back the same, developmentally normal. She was 4 years 11 months when everything changed. We had a parent teacher conference that morning, it was glowing. She was wonderful. Got along well with other kids. Funny. Bright. A joy to have in the class. That afternoon we had her last diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccination. She was fine for a couple of hours, but then we noticed she grumpy and wouldn't bend her arm (she had the shot in that arm). We looked at it and it was bright red and swollen to almost twice its size. That was when we noticed the hives. It was a few minutes later that the screaming started - and it didn't stop for three days. When the screaming stopped she was a different child. After many different doctors, and tests the diagnosis was that she had an immunological reaction to the vaccination that caused brain damage and this brain damage is what now causes autism and ADD/ADHD. She was fine the morning of, had the vaccination, and when she stopped reacting to the vaccination she wasn't. I don't need science to prove or disprove what we experienced in our home. The way her body reacted to that vaccination is what caused my child to develop autism and ADD/ADHD.
Since then I had to change doctors. Her primary pediatrician at that time (we moved to Florida 7 months before so he didn't follow us from birth), who saw her go from a normal potty trained almost 5 year old, to a wild, out of control, un-potty trained child who couldn't function stated that this reaction was Post traumatic stress disorder and I just needed to take her to counseling. There were trying to force me to continue vaccinations by stating they wouldn't sign the school waiver to allow her to go without being fully vaccinated. Even after the neurologist (who he sent us to) stated she had brain damage that was caused by an immunological reaction - he still refused to see it as anything more than PTSD. The therapist (again he sent us to), was the one who eventually started the ball rolling for the diagnosis of autism and add/adhd and said, "No, she does not have PTSD," couldn't even convince him that this was more than what he was thinking it was. "Just don't accept this behavior from her and discipline her more," was his response.
Thankfully in Florida I was able to go to the health department and sign a waiver that states it is against my religious belief to vaccinate my children.
Now there is this huge thing in the media about "everyone must be vaccinated or else". Boehner stated, "Yes, all children need to be vaccinated" (yep, because a politician does have the expertise to say that it is safe for my child to be vaccinated.) I have had friends and family members post things on f-book and say things about those "ignorant" people who don't vaccinate their children putting everyone in harms way. It is frustrating. Many of these people knew Lucy before and after the vaccination.
I still work at a health department and today this was this big bulletin board that said, "VACCINATIONS DON'T CAUSE AUTISM" in large letters. We listened to this woman talk about this for a portion of the meeting. She showed a video that talked about how people who thought vaccinations cause autism are ignorant. Vaccinations NEVER cause autism or developmental delays in anyone. Well, I got angry at this point. You can't make a statement like never when it comes to the human body - because anything is possible.
After the meeting I went up and spoke to her. I told her what happened to Lucy and that it is impossible to say "never" when you are dealing with something like this. This is how it went after I told her. "So she had an immunological reaction that caused the brain damage that caused the autism, right?" I said, "Yep." She said, "Well, that could have been anything that caused that reaction." I said, "It could have been anything, but it wasn't. She reacted to that vaccination. It was night and day. She was fine in the morning and that night she wasn't." She said, "Well, you don't know that it was the vaccination that was the trigger. I am so sorry this happened to your family, but you don't know it was the vaccination that caused this."
What else made her arm swell (the arm she had the injection in)? Was it the shirt that she had worn a dozen times before and a dozen times after? What else caused the hives? Tide? I used Tide her entire life. We didn't eat anything different that night than we normally eat, but somehow that caused it? What about the three days of screaming. Non-stop, scream until she fall asleep from exhaustion and then wake up and scream some more?
Then it hit me. . . . because that Wakefield study was discredited, and because other studies (mostly funded by the CDC and pharmaceutical companies who both have vested interests in the results being a certain way) do not show that vaccinations can cause autism/developmental delays then it must mean that no child can EVER have a reaction that causes the brain damage that causes autism/developmental delays. Doctors and the government can run with this. Here was this woman looking at me telling me that it was just pure coincidence that my child had an allergic like reaction that caused this - and that reaction (even though it started in the arm this was injected in) was not caused by the vaccination. It couldn't happen because the Wakefield study was wrong and no study proved it could happen. Even though when you go back to cause and effect, X happened and then Y happened - that X couldn't have caused it, because a study says it couldn't cause it.
Heck - there are billions of planets in the universe, but no study has ever come back that there is another planet with life on it, thus there can be no other planets out there with life on them, right? Or, depending on what you believe, there is no scientific evidence that there is a God out there so there must not be a God, right? Thus, because this one study was supposedly discredited, and these other studies don't show that it can happen - thus it proves it can NEVER happen.
This is what upsets me. Nothing is impossible, improbable maybe, but not impossible. If you give your child a vaccination does it mean they will get autism? No. Does every child with autism have a parent who can say it was caused by the vaccination? No (again - my oldest has autism and he was born this way). That being said, does that mean that every parent who says, "My child was normal until the vaccination" is lying? NO! The fact that a vast majority of the health care community refuses to admit that these reactions, how ever rare they may be, can happen scares the hell out of me.
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
My first rant of the year! Took a whole 7 days! LOL! Blogging makes me feel better, so here it goes.
Something has been eating at me and there is nothing I can do about it. I have tried to do something about it. I have given suggestions. I have put my ideas out there. Alas, I feel helpless and powerless to change it. That bothers me. I hate seeing people who do things the proper way get crapped on.
So – here is the hypothetical situation similar to what has been eating away at me. . . .
You made reservations at your favorite restaurant. I mean, you love this place. Made them three months ago for this Friday. In that time, you got a gift card for $60 at that restaurant that expires on Friday night. You know that will cover the meal of both you and your child, time worked out perfect for you to use this gift card on that meal. You have that reservation – and are just so excited to go. The reservation is at 6pm. Your child, who is going to eat with you, has to be across the street at 8pm – they have a role in the local play and they have to be there at that time. Should work out fine – right. Your reservation is at 6. It will be busy that night, but you shouldn’t need more than two hours at that restaurant, right? That is why you made a reservation, so you could get in and out in a timely manor.
Friday comes. You and your child show up at 5:50. You give them your name and tell them you have a reservation – they see that reservation and say, “Have a seat, it will be a couple of minutes.” That is fine, you are a little early. You look around and see the place is packed. The line to get a seat is so long it is outside the restaurant. You are so glad you made that reservation!
Sitting down in the lobby with your child you talk about the play he/she is going to be in. You talk about school/work that day. You talk about what you are going to have for dinner. While sitting you notice they are calling people back to tables. Hmmmm. . . . Well, maybe they had reservations too. Time goes by, it is now 6:30, you go up and say, “Just wanted to remind you that we are here. We had a reservation at 6pm for a table.” Lady says, “Yep, we have you here, it will just be a few more minutes.” You sit back down. Glad the play is across the street.
More people are being called back. That is strange. You start talking to the person next to you. “Yah, we have been here for over an hour,” they say. “We heard this place was good and decided to stop by and eat. We were just next door and it sounded good.” They had no reservation, obviously.
The person on the other side of you, chimes in and says, “Same here. We were in the area as well today and just decided to wonder in. “
At that moment the second person who spoke was called back to their seat.
At this point your son/daughter is very hungry, and that is turning into being hangry. If you had known it would have taken this long you would have given him/her a snack. It is now 6:50 and you know at least one person was called back before you who didn't have a reservation.
Time continues. 7:20 comes and the first person you spoke to gets called back. Now you are mad. You only have 40 minutes to be seated, order, eat, and be across the street. Why is this taking so long? You had a reservation at 6pm. You were there on time. You planned in advance, yet people without a reservation are being seen before you.
By now you go back to the hostess, “Look, I have to be somewhere at 8, how much longer is it going to take? My reservation was at 6pm.”
“Let me see. . . .” she looks at list. “There are only two more people in front of you.”
“WHAT! I have to be somewhere else at 8pm”
“Well,” hostess says, “maybe you should have come in sooner if you had to be somewhere at 8.”
“We aren’t going to be able to stay, is there any way I can get an extension on my gift certificate here so we can use it later, since you can’t honor my reservation today?”
Hostess, “You mean you are upset that you aren’t going to get a free meal from us. Come on. If you want your free meal you will wait, if you can’t then you lose out.”
So – How would you feel if this happened to you? You came in on time for your reservation – yet everyone who just walked in before you without a reservation was seated before you. You are told that it doesn't matter if you have a reservation or not, you will be treated the same as those who walk in without a reservation. You are told it is bad customer service to make those who just walked in wait longer than you, even though you had a reservation and they didn't. You are told that maybe you shouldn't have made a reservation that close to your other engagement. Then, you are told that because the meal was going to be free anyway you shouldn't be mad. Would it make you mad? Would you ever go back to that restaurant again? Just curious.