Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Why I Am Not Irresponsible, A Jerk, A Moron, A Fucker, An Anti-Vaxxer Worthy of Your Contempt with an Addendum

November, 1995


I am just afraid.

There have been a slew of alarming articles in the media of late regarding outbreaks of disease -- measles, mumps, whooping cough -- that were largely thought to be eradicated. I won't link to them here because they're readily available anyplace you get your news. The articles inevitably draw a line between those who are responsible, intelligent, morally superior, and of a sound and modern mind who vaccinate their children and those who are jerks, morons, fuckers, anti-vaxxers, and at worst, murderers, who in refusing to vaccinate their children put those who do at risk. The usual celebrities are dragged out to anesthetize us at best and drive us into an insane furor at worst. It's apparent, of late, that the powers that be and their acolytes find the situation so alarming, they've brought out the big guns and just shoot their mouths off stridently with flat-out accusations. Just fucking vaccinate your kids! I read on Facebook the other day. Who are these people? another person asked, I think they're disgusting. When will they feel remorse?Like, like. They should be fined. Like, like, like. Idiots! Morons! 

Nineteen years ago, I vaccinated my daughter when she was two months old. She began seizing shortly after and didn't stop for nineteen years, until a couple of months ago when we began to give her cannabis oil. We don't know whether the vaccinations caused her terrible disorder or whether they were a catalyst for the vicious infantile spasms that eluded every sophisticated treatment thrown at us. Possibly, the doctors told us, then. Probably not, but no more vaccinations for her. 

When our first son was born, we decided with his pediatrician that we wouldn't take the chance that he, too, would have a reaction to the vaccines. We did the same with our next son. At no point were we irresponsible, stupid, murderous, immoral, disgusting, or anti-Science.

We were afraid. We were afraid to vaccinate them and afraid not to.

My sons will probably get vaccinated, slowly, before they go to college, but don't think I won't be terrified. You have not persuaded me to do this with your cruel words, your flaunting of your knowledge, your faith, your certainty and your condemnation. Nor will I do this to save your children. I will do this because I am afraid.

In the meantime, stop telling me that I'm irresponsible, a fucker, stupid, anti-Science, disgusting and only worthy of contempt. Don't placate me with false understanding or a concession to my difference. There are many of us out here.

You might, instead, hold my hand as the doctor slides the needle into my two-month old baby's thigh and watch with me as her mouth makes a perfect O before the scream comes out. You who have babies know that look, don't you? Keep holding my hand a few weeks later when another life begins, when my other hand injects her dimpled thigh with high-dose steroids to stop the seizures that just won't stop. Keep holding it as I walk with her screaming for hours and hours and hours, for days and weeks and years. Place your hand on my back as I stoop over her and use my fingers to pull her shit out when she's so constipated from drugs and fat and cream and sluggish ketones in her blood that she can't do it herself.  Hold my hand again and whisper confidence when I pick her up off the floor and frantically look to see where the blood is coming from -- the base of her neck? the natural part on the left? over her ear? Hold my hand when they bend her in half to draw the fluid from her spine to relieve the pressure in her skull. Sit with me and watch as they slide her, like a tiny wrapped package, into an ambulance, a PET scan. Watch with me as they roll her away. Hang with me and wait for the doctor to call back, for the insurance company to send the check, for the seizures to stop, for the marriage to fail and the heart to scar over.

Stay with me for months, for years, for decades and reassure me that this sacrifice is a noble one.



ADDENDUM:

The brilliant public policy writer and poet, fellow caregiver and friend Jeneva Stone wrote this today as a comment on the above post:

[One] factor that drives the anger on both sides is fear--fear of disability. AND for good reasons--look what Elizabeth and I both live through. NO ONE wants that for their families. What's left out of this public policy argument is that the U.S. is willing to pour billions into vaccination to prevent the many, but the U.S. is NOT willing to support caregivers and their disabled children (the few) to the extent that these families can lead lives of reasonable freedom and normalcy. We're just the "outliers." Until U.S. public policy on vaccination also supports outliers, people will continue to be afraid to vaccinate: the emotional, social and financial costs are unbelievably high for caregivers, and the solution is not, as my brother-in-law once told me, "to become poor." Everyone who is afraid to vaccinate their children can see how badly disabled children and their families are treated: from the lack of accessible housing to social ostracism to financial collapse. We have here the convergence of obvious societal indifference to severely disabled children and an emerging public health crisis. While intellectually I support vaccination, frankly, I empathize with the people who are afraid--why berate them? Redirect your passion to ensuring that people don't have to be afraid to vaccinate because the consequences of disability are so dire. Repair the social safety net--everyone knows it's gone.

Yes, I vaccinated my kids. But I could easily have believed that Robert's problems were triggered by his MMR vaccination, which occurred just before his dystonia manifested. I've spent a lot of time with top geneticists and neurologists: no one will say there's any innate connection between vaccines and the onset of genetic disorders (because that is likely neither true nor responsible), but stress to the body can trigger an innate genetic variant. All of us have variants. Our information about how these triggers work is incomplete, and triggers also include growth, viruses/colds, eating too much protein (or other nutrients) when you don't know your body can't handle it (which led to "basal ganglia meltdown" in one patient). Correct: vaccines are not a probable direct cause of the majority of childhood disabilities, but they may contribute indirectly to early manifestation of genetic disorders. And I don't think the problem should be waved away, as "oh, but that was going to happen anyway" because we also can't gauge the relative impact of early or late onset. Say the MMR contributed to early manifestation of Robert's genetic disorder. Say he might have developed typically for a while longer--developed more speech, say--maybe then I would have had an easier time with educators and fewer doubters about my child's relative intelligence.

And an "oh that was going to happen anyway" is just brushing under the rug another deeply serious public policy problem. NO ONE aside from Warren Buffet has the resources to pay for proper care for a child with severe disabilities--the cost of medicine has risen high enough that it's impossible. No one is more responsible than caregivers are--would you have the patience and commitment to do what we do every day?

40 comments:

  1. I may fall into the "false understanding or a concession to my difference" category, but I think the issue here is the language and the emotion involved in the debate. Calling anyone stupid and disgusting doesn't advance the argument, does it? (Although I'm reminded of our rebel flag comments just a few posts back, LOL!) It's easy for people to depersonalize on the Internet. You make this debate a personal one. You give me, at least, a personal perspective. I'm still generally in favor of vaccinations, and I guess I question whether they're at the root of your daughter's condition -- how can we ever know? -- but I can certainly understand your fear.

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    1. Thanks, Steve. What I meant my the awkward "false understand or a concession to my difference" is that many people will say that our situation is an exception -- that they understand our reasoning to not vaccinate our babies when they were so young. There are many, many people out there who have valid reasons NOT to vaccinate and I have yet to read an article that talks about them, really tells the story of someone who actually DID have an adverse reaction to a vaccine, whose child or sister or brother died as a result. The debate is always, ALWAYS, simplified, and while I would concede that the virulent anti-vaxxer/conspiracy theorists are out there along with the big pro-vaccine name-callers (just today, a woman from BlogHer posted a hugely hit post that called us jerks), there is little discussion of the COST of vaccines and the terrible ambiguity for many, many people.

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  2. You are doing all the right things!
    My baby (now a 31 year old energetic woman) was born 9 weeks premature and at age 6 months got ill with meningitis. Sometime later the Irish health authorities did one of these dramatic vaccination drives, complete with weepy stories about kids dying of measles and wheeling severely handicapped children on stretchers into tv shows etc. I was in bits because I knew that having survived meningitis at such an early age, a measles vaccine could be very harmful if not fatal. We never got the vaccine but we got the hate mail, the nasty comments, the pediatrician who refused to treat her, the in-laws in tears and denial, you name it. When my child was 9 years old she did get the measles, she was very ill for 10 days and she recovered.
    I am not advocating to forego measles vaccine etc. but there are reasons and intimidation is not only wrong but ignorant and cruel.

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  3. My eldest got the first few vaccines, the second none. I did long hard research on them, long before it was such a hot issue. I just did not feel that there was enough care and proper, unbiased research done into the functions of infants' immune systems, the vaccines or, more importantly in my mind, the vaccine schedule to warrant the risk. Even 20 odd years ago, there were always reports of outbreaks of the various diseases. I think the ease with which these things can be communicated today, due to the internet, always makes it seem as though there are more and worse outbreaks. I am not so certain. What one seldom hears about is how some of these diseases are mutating, because of the vaccines. "Atypical measles" is one out there, that hits our teen population, the time they are vulnerable to more damage. Some of this is all because our children's natural immunity is being compromised. Sadly, it's all so political now and so owned by the drug companies who get guaranteed big federal bucks that babies and bathwater abound.

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  4. i don't know why you keep reading stuff on facebook. i am overall in favor of vaccinations, and grateful that some diseases that can be dangerous to some children (like, my daughter), can be prevented thanks to modern medicine. however, i do question the practice of inoculating - and with multiple vaccines in one go (!) - infants.

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    1. Francesca -- these are articles that are posted on Facebook but that appear on mainstream sites and newspapers. They are always incendiary.

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  5. I send to you a hug (for what that is worth) and a thank you. Thank you for explaining your "why".

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  6. I vaccinated our babies without hesitation. Would I do the same today? I honestly don't know. I do know that I would not be influenced by the "celebrities" that are being bandied about.

    Best,
    Bonnie

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  7. What were we talking about yesterday?
    Oh yes.
    Compassion.
    Why do so many people seem to lack it?
    If my experience had mirrored yours with Sophie, I would have made the exact same choice with my subsequent children. There IS no simplistic answer here. We make our choices based on, hopefully, careful thought and yes, experience. As you did.
    Ignore what others say. They are ignorant of your reality.

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  8. A much needed, brutal, and devastating look at the other side. There is always a full second side to every story, why do I so quickly forget? Thank you for reminding me.

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  9. When my son was three months old he had his first vaccinations. He screamed for days it seemed, although it was probably only 24 hours. When I took him to my doctor the doctor told me no more pertussis vaccinations for my son. What I didn't know but found out, is that my doctor has a daughter who had a bad reaction to the pertussis vaccination. She had a fever and then started seizing. She died around the time my son was born. So my son is not vaccinated against pertussis. His sisters are and they had no problems with the vaccine, thankfully.

    But what you wrote about caring for Sophie, OMG woman, it's so true. The constipation is what hit me. Katie started solid foods at four months and has been constipated ever since. I remember standing in her room, giving her a suppository so that she could poop, standing there, basically holding her rectum open so that she could poop. She was five months old, a year old, two years old. And so it goes.

    You have your reasons for not vaccinating and they are valid reasons. And the other people, the ones who are yelling, they're scared. Scared their children will die. It's what we're all afraid of once we have children, that our children will die.

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  10. i will never forget when our son's pediatrician shot him up with a polio vaccine, which of course is a little dose of polio and how out of sorts he was for the next several days and how closely i watched him, terrified he would develop full blown polio (which was a reality in Jamaica when i grew up), and i wondered how on earth do you play disease roulette with a human that small. I did vaccinate my kids, and I think, quite frankly, we were lucky. I do think this whole vaccine protocol is a frightening roulette fueled by big pharma and i do not fault anyone who opts out especially with all the good reasons you have. We make the best choices we can with the information we have. In your shoes, I think I would have done the same.

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  11. And by the way I love that photo. You and Sophie look like a gorgeous and mysterious renaissance painting.

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  12. Sophie, this is a terribly sad story, and yet, a very beautiful post. I thank you for writing it and linking to it from my post. I do in no way mean to erase or question the experiences you have had, and my heart breaks to know that there is any possibility or probability that your daughter's reaction and later condition was caused by vaccines. I do not, in my abruptly worded article, mean to insinuate that anyone with your experiences is a "jerk." What I am speaking out against is a scary mentality I see everywhere these days -- especially in America -- to devalue research and to drift toward the newest anti-whatever, just for the sake of... what? Being an iconoclast? Being an individual? I want transparency. I want us to develop a shared language for understanding how to read and evaluate the worth of the never-ending glut of "studies" that are released to benefit one party or one perspective over another. So thank you for this post and your story, and please know I send you and your family grace and love. --Stacy Morrison

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, Stacy. Perhaps you could write that , then, instead of adding kindling to the fire. It's in your title after all and surely you know what you perpetuate and reinforce with incendiary language. If you wanted to write about what you see as alarming trends in America, why didn't you? You have, effectively, jumped right in there.

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  13. What really makes me crazy is that some folks who have branded anyone with a hesitation or question about vaccines as "anti-vaxxers" or "pseudoscience-lovers" or "conspiracy theorists" may read this and say to themselves or to you, "Oh, well, of course you're excused. Your family has an absolutely valid reason not to vaccinate." But what they fail to realize is that there are other families like mine who may not have had dramatic reactions to vaccines who are still wary for very good reason. Lola had terrible reactions to the MMR every time with high fevers, confusion, agitation and sleeplessness for days afterward. She has sensory processing issues and a severe gluten allergy and you're damn right I'm worried about giving her more vaccines. I also recently discovered that many of the vaccines have MSG in them (no pediatrician thought to warn me about that before offering the flu shot to my gluten-allergic kid). While my girls both have had most of their vaccinations, I don't think it's unreasonable to question, to research, to attempt to get more information or wait for longitudinal studies on newer vaccines such as varicella or fast-tracked (for no reason other than financial) vaccines such as Gardasil. And yet, I don't get a pass from folks who want to label me a "libtard" because I want more information. Where do we draw the line about who is entitled to ask questions and who isn't? What they fail to understand is that we all want the same thing - healthy children. I am not disregarding the health of the community, but I'm not willing to sacrifice my kids to the herd immunity, especially if it means that we have to keep getting boosters for everything every few years. I understand that there is a great deal of fear out there, but it is the agitation and the questions that prompt investigation and change. There is a reason thimerosal was removed from many of the childhood vaccines - it is because people questioned the toxicity of mercury; PEOPLE, not pharmaceutical companies. Without continued vigilance on the part of the public, we cannot hope to create safer and safer vaccines because the companies making money hand over fist have absolutely no incentive to make their formulas better without the noise we make. Instead of calling people names or drawing hard-and-fast lines in the sand about who is excused from getting their kids vaccinated and who isn't, let's realize that we all share a common goal and work toward ensuring that our vaccines are safe for nearly everyone while respecting the individual differences and circumstances of others that we know nothing about. I love that you wrote this, Elizabeth, and I appreciate your powerful voice in this discussion.

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    1. Thank you for responding so eloquently here -- I know how the stomach churns with this issue and appreciate what you've added to the discussion.

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    2. You're welcome. I was inspired by your honest, powerful, raw words (as I always am). I loved your response to Stacy M, given that she basically said the same thing to me on FB about not wanting to offend anyone but to generate conversation. If the only thing that comes out of all of this is that she will ruminate on her awful choice of words and tone of her writing in the future, it may have been worth the belly ache. That said, I couldn't leave it alone and went ahead with yet another blog post on the subject. Oy. Perhaps tomorrow will bring something more entertaining and less inflammatory. Or maybe I'll get admitted to that 1800s asylum and only be responsible for taking the pills they give me and eating when they tell me to...

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  14. I wish I could hold your hand right now... maybe *I* need a hand after reading your words in both this post and the last one. I'm glad you write about it so I am reminded of all the realities, but I hope it helps you to write about it. Hope it heals something for you.

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  15. When my son was born the vaccines were forced on him without my consent BOOM IN THE ARM what did you do? What did they do? It was a time of the hospitals taking over the doctors being GODS and we trembling women folk followed order. His circumcision was the same way I barely knew what was happening when the door opened a bit and I saw him strapped to a flat crucifix and heard his screams. How I wish the internet had been around then that I could have been better educated not so isolated and alone. My mother took horrifying drugs including Miltowns and speed when she was pregnant with me then of course had me thoroughly vaccinated. I understand polio it was still an active disease when I was a baby but the rest? Did that cause me to be mentally ill? Who knows? And what of my son whose body is perfect but who suffers from extreme depression? I think about it all the time. I want to lay blame. And now I would do things differently. Much love,
    Rebecca

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  16. Elizabeth, if it may give you any comfort at all to know that my four grown-men sons were not vaccinated and have lived to tell the tale, then I will risk the condemnation of the masses to confess it.

    My eldest is soon to be thirty and his three younger brothers are 27, 24 and 22 this year. They had measles, rubella, chicken pox and one had pertussis. They survived quite nicely thank you, with no more trauma or discomfort than a long-term breastfed child free of antibiotic dependence should expect to experience.

    One of my beautiful sons developed epilepsy at age 21 anyway. It makes my blood run cold to think how much sooner it may have commenced if we'd poisoned his vulnerable immune system as a baby. Some children are more prone to vaccine damage than others uninformed readers!!! Do vaccines CAUSE the problem? Perhaps not, but they can be the straw that breaks the camel's back in these at-risk children.

    I encourage your readers to explore the work of Dr. Natasha Campbell Mcbride, the Russian neurologist residing in the UK who developed the Gut and Psychology/Physiology Syndrome protocol. She makes it clear that until the abnormal flora residing in the child's digestive tract is normalized, these children will be much more likely to sustain damage from from vaccination. She encourages parents to have their baby's stool sampled before vaccinating. If your child's gut flora is abnormal, then steps must be taken to rectify the abnormality BEFORE the child can be safely vaccinated.

    Moreover, 'on the fence' parents are advised to read A Shot in the Dark by Barbara Loe Fisher of the National Vaccine Information Center.

    Sending a virtual 'warm hug' your way,

    Annie Dru

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  17. Elizabeth, I hope you can feel my hand in yours.

    To tie in with one of the earlier comments, it's because we love our children so much - all of us - and we want them to have happy, healthy, long lives. Clearly, people have different ideas about what is the best, safest, most supportive way to accomplish that.

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  18. Thank you so much Elizabeth, for bravely stepping out into the nets and telling your story. I'll be passing it on.

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  19. Elizabeth, this was a gut punch of a post...so raw and honest and powerful. As the scientist mother of three vaccinated (and blessedly healthy) children, I never *really* got the other side of the argument until now. I have to say that even with as much as I know about vaccines and the immune system courtesy of my professional training, I might well not have vaccinated my sons in your shoes either, but for damn sure I wouldn't have been able to channel the muse to write about it as you did. Your gift with words leaves me in awe.

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  20. When major pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer and others are fined by the FDA for, among other things, paying physicians to write positive articles about their latest drugs does that give you the confidence to vaccinate and accept that all will be well? Not me. And why, why, why have there been no studies to validate that giving infants with undeveloped immune systems multiple vaccines all at once is not harmful? We have gone from giving one vaccine at a time in the 1950s to giving doses of multiple and very different vaccines all at once. I am not a scientist but this strikes me as irresponsible. Parents have a right to object to using their children as industry guinea pigs.

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  21. Love you and your brave honest writing.

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  22. Elizabeth, as usual you have captured both the reason and emotion, and I'm struck by a couple of things as I read both the original BlogHer post and your response. I believe a couple of things to be true: No reasonable dialogue can be had when incendiary words like "jerk" are the opening salvo and many people use incendiary words to mask fear. Maybe that is the case with Stacy, I don't know her as well as I know you. You, on the other hand, have faced your fear head on and shared it with beautiful words that evoke emotion and respect. I can't imagine that there are parents who have acted solely on the "advice" of a celebrity; indeed, I can't imagine that parents who decide to vaccinate, to vaccinate on a varied schedule or who decide not to vaccinate at all that come to that decision without some level of thoughtful consideration.

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    1. Thank you, Lisa. I think you make a really important point about the celebrity thing -- I, too, have always wondered how many people REALLY listen to celebrities when they make any decision at all. It's so simple, so easy, to use them as scapegoats, a common denominator to mock and pillory --

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  23. The moral outrage over this is a scary thing. Isn't this how pogroms start? With judgment?

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  24. I am here. I will always be here. I am exhausted for you and with you. I believe there are so many people you are reaching like me. I am an educator, a parent, and a faithful silent anonymous daily follower with 2 healthy children.
    Elizabeth, you have an amazing ability to unlock what I don't understand. I have learned how to advocate for the kids I work with through your resolve. Don't give up, get it out because we all need your voice in our ears. I will hold your hand like the connections who have held mine when my son had a spinal tap in the ER for suspected meningitis and I watched with terror multiple tries with long needles, like the friends who were there when i watched him have an MRI in fear, and the countless blood work and tests he endured just 2 short weeks from arriving on his college campus as a freshman. He is 18, handsome, and amazing - a "Henry". We are all blessed. The most amazing children I have worked with have been the special needs ones included in my regular ed classroom. I need parents like you and Calvin's mom to help the parents of these kids understand they are not alone, and the rest to hold each other's hands. You are loved. March on and don't give up. The invisible threads you have woven are strong and supportive reaching beyond sunny CA to cold New England. I applaud you for your courage as a devoted caregiver, mother, wife, teacher, writer, nurse and especially the informative advocate you are. We need to follow your lead and proceed cautiously with vaccinations. There are many things I would reconsider if I had the chance but doing the best you can with the knowledge you have at the time is the only path we can take. I hear your fears.

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    1. Anonymous -- I'm overwhelmed by your kind and supportive words. Thank you for joining this discussion and sharinga bit of your own story.

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    2. It's one of those exhausting to the bone days in the good day/bad day/rinse/repeat cycles. You probably know them well. Tears stream from fatigue but the joy of discovery and pursuit of knowledge sustains as I mold myself into the couch trying to reflect on something good about the day that'll drive me to repeat another and engage learners… it's in your reply. It's the open hearts that we gravitate to, the people who make sense and not spout nonsense that levitate us with love and keep us going. Thank you for welcoming me. Sue March (no longer anonymous - it's high time I said hello and dropped the "stalker-like" profile - lol )

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    3. Yay! Welcome Sue March! You sound a bit like a character in an Austen novel and I'm pleased to meet you.

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  25. THANK YOU for writing this.

    I read the Blogher post and was disgusted by the kneejerk assertation that we are "jerks" and "asses" if we dare disagree with her viewpoint. It did nothing to make me believe the rest of her argument was more legitimate than mine.

    The problem I often find, is that many of those would would bemoan a world that isn't vaccinated against EVERY THING, often discard the "small percent/small risk" group who have to daily live with the effects of vaccinations.

    You brought this into searing 3D and magnetic emotion for someone who is also a mother who weighs risks carefully. And I hope you brought that into the same reality for the writer of the Blogher article.

    Until you've experienced the devastation... you cannot question another parent's love for their child or ANY child by the decision they make to not vaccinate.

    I have a painfully personal history - which led to me refusing the varicella vaccination for my son.
    He just experienced a completely natural bout with chicken pox and THANK GOD is not deaf from it.

    His deaf mother has done everything she can to educate herself - and I won't accept the label of "jerk" or "ass" or the claim that I don't care about someone else's child because I didn't subject mine to great risk.

    Thank you - for writing this. Thank you.

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  26. A confession: I've spent too much time in international airports not to be adamantly pro-vaccinne…. but with the caveat & understanding that there are "those who can't be" and over the years your family has come to mind every time one of these articles circulates. I've thought "everyone else" should step up & encircle your family in a sterile, cushioned, measles-free herd. I've never really addressed my own flawed logic or thought about all the other families that need to be encircled in sterile herds but such is tribalism - first thought for those nearest & dearest to us. I don't have any answers and, further confession, having read some other grand conspiracy anti-vax essays, I retain doubts about the amount of thought & reason other families put into their position, but am grateful for the discussion.

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  27. Finally. I have found two soul sisters.

    My daughter, nineteen, is profoundly, and I mean utterly profoundly, disabled cognitively and physically. Until she received her MMR at 14 months, she was deemed a bearable "developmentally delayed": no seizures, normal EEG, just reached her milestones late and with massive input from us and professionals.

    Within two weeks of the vaccine she was having "head drops". Within several weeks of that, she was in status epilepticus. After six weeks of hospitalization in that state - needless to say, in the care of an incompetent, arrogant neurologist - we switched doctors. Yes, we were, ignorant and slow on the uptake back then.

    The new neurologist immediately administered ACTH (steroids). Our daughter stopped seizing immediately and began regaining her previous skills. But once she was switched from ACTH to standard meds, the seizing and functional deterioration returned. She has never recovered from that descent.

    We'd like to bring a lawsuit against our government (we live outside the U.S.) for failure to warn us of the increased dangers inherent in the vaccine to neurologically impaired children. Obviously, had we been informed, we would not have vaccinated. We have consulted a lawyer who believes we have a relatively good case. But it's contingent on the expert testimony of a supportive doctor. For now, it seems no such creature exists in this country.

    Raising our daughter has been a never-ending battle against the systems. Every tiny bit of assistance we have gotten has required copious blood, sweat and tears.

    I too blog about life with our daughter, C. Ours is a small community where criticism of doctors, health funds, teachers and aides would boomerang on us. So, for the sake of uninhibited and safe railing I remain anonymous. No names, only initials, blurred faces in photos, the whole shebang.

    You have already helped me enormously. I had never heard of treating epilepsy with cannabis. It was news even for my daughter-in-law who is about to earn her degree in clinical pharmacology. Googling revealed that it was approved here recently as a treatment for severe epilepsy in children. I intend to raise the option at C.'s upcoming neurologist's visit later this week. Many thanks!

    Mary Silenti
    Blogging at http://TheSoundoftheSilent.blogspot.com

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  28. I understand the fear of uncertainly in this issue for sure ... but I also realize the certainty that had Jonas Salk been a few years earlier in his development myself and millions of others could have avoided the sometimes visible and sometimes hidden effects of Polio. Had the relationship between cow pox and small pox not been recognized countless more would be dead or scarred for life. There is no right or wrong answer other than the rules of rights. Yours stop where mine begin. God Bless you and keep you in your decisions.

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  29. Anonymous, thank you for your comment. I've stated over and over that I am not against vaccinations and recognize their positive impact on public health and eliminating some horrific diseases like polio and smallpox. However, that doesn't preclude demanding that vaccines and the schedule for them be safe. It also doesn't preclude you or anyone else for that matter from recognizing that there are risks inherent in vaccines and that those damaged by them should be recognized and not shunned, denounced or vilified. I appreciate your kind words and wish you well.

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