I’ve decided to go ahead and do a blog post about this since so many are confused on where I stand with vaccines. This hasn’t been an easy topic, and yes… I do get upset when people lump any outbreak onto anti-vaxxers, and I’ll get into to why later. But let me clear the air for all of those who were given false information by someone(s) who didn’t take the time learn more — I am NOT against vaccines.
I do not believe the government is trying to kill us with them.
I do not believe they cause autism.
I am not an anti-vaxxer.
Though I was labeled that for two years until my son received his diagnosis and was given a written excusal from vaccines. And this is why I hate random attacks on people who aren’t vaccinating their kids. Because for two years my husband and I dealt with this label from our son’s pediatrician, friends, and family. Some were supportive, most were not.
Our son has had issues with vaccines more than once. The first time he was hospitalized within 48 hours of receiving his Hep B vaccine because he wasn’t getting enough oxygen to his limbs. He was there for five days on oxygen. Though at the time it wasn’t clear he’d had a reaction to the shot because there wasn’t a red mark around the shot site.
Fast forward until he’s around 2 and going in for his next shot series. I’ll never forget that day. Prior, he’d gotten chicken pox three days before he was scheduled for the varicella, so we had to wait for his next series until that cleared up completely. This put us slightly behind on his scheduled shots. When we went in, his doctor suggested we do the next two at the same time so we didn’t need to go in again in a few months.
I didn’t like this idea. It seemed like too many. He was already getting 5 shots, and the next two would make it 7! I voiced my concern and was assured, “No vaccine ever harmed a child. It’s safe for him to get all at once.”
I should have listened to my gut because my gut told me to say NO! But I didn’t listen to myself. I listened to the doctor.
My son received 7 shots that day and all seemed fine at first. Until we got home. Within twenty minutes of getting home, he laid on the ground, crossed his arms, and legs, and began gasping for air. He turned bright red, but when I got down by him and talked to him, he calmed down enough to talk to me. Then began breathing better.
He didn’t know what was wrong. He didn’t know why he was doing that.
I called his doctor right away and his words exactly were, “You’re overreacting. Those are growing pains.”
They were not growing pains.
He stopped doing the clenching muscle thing and ended up napping. This was normal after vaccines, so I didn’t think much of it.
At the time, he was able to string together three to four words sentences.
Within two days, he’d lost his speech completely.
I took him in and was told again, I was overreacting. He was fine. Even though the doctor saw him clenching his muscles on the ground, as he lay helpless to stop it. Again he told me it was ‘growing pains’.
His pediatrician taught at the University of Washington at the time, not full time, but he gave speeches on how to push vaccines on parents because we needed herd immunity. He even gave suggestions on how to convince parents to get these shots even when they don’t want to for health reasons. This was alarming, and when I took my son in the last time to this doctor, I’d told him we were not going to give any more shots until we knew what was wrong.
This doctor tried to force a shot on us that day, even in front of my witness. He called me an anti-vaxxer and accused me of having an autistic child (even though he’d not shown signs of this) and lumped me into a category of ‘anti-vaxxers’. I didn’t even know about the suspicion of autism at the time because my husband was in the medical field and we had decided to get our son ALL the shots. Even the non mandatory ones. Just for safe measure. I knew nothing of the Jenny McCarthy campaign.
After that, I will admit I did the research. I did find the information posted on autism and the MMR that was later debunked. My son also didn’t exhibit signs of being autistic. In some ways, yes, but he was very affectionate. He could make eye contact. He didn’t have sensory issues. The only real thing that was a possibility was the speech, but even that he’d had and lost. He sounded like a person hard of hearing, which is what his new doctor thought was the issue. That wasn’t the case either.
I did all the research I possibly could and found NO answers. My son’s symptoms didn’t make sense. The only reason I had someone on my side in the medical field was because one of the nurses from the WIC office had seen him talking and the way he behaved prior to that vaccine series. She knew him well. And she saw the change. She was the one who told me what to tell his next doctor.
For two years we held that label ‘anti-vaxxers’. And I loathe it to this day. We didn’t choose not to vaccinate because of some conspiracy theory. We didn’t assume the government really wanted our son dead. I mean, let’s face it… If the government wanted the people dead, we *would* be. I can’t buy into those kinds of theories.
What I did buy into was that my son had fallen through the cracks. And despite what his original doctor told me, the CDC had all sorts of good information on the side effects of vaccines.
On that two year mark, we’d gone to the Everett Clinic (which for those who don’t know, seem to be pill and vaccine pushers) and they had just loaded all my son’s records into their new ‘online’ system. So he was able to pull every health issue he’d ever had into his computer. He’d specifically asked about his vaccine reactions. He wanted the details. So like a good mom, I gave him the entire story just like every other doctor.
This doctor read, and went silent.
Then he said, “Your son has reacted to two vaccines series. Not just the last one.”
This was the doctor who showed me how that very first hospital visit had been a reaction to the Hep B shot. So then we began looking for connections. Why only these two series?
What we came up with was the Hep B and Tdap both had casein in them. Casein is a dairy protein that was and is used in both these vaccines. Around this time we’d also discovered that my son’s ‘stretching’ (really they were seizures) lessened and eventually stopped when we cut out dairy. The few times he got it, he had a seizure.
The doctor wrote us a medical excusal right then and suggested we get him tested for allergies to dairy. Since I’m allergic myself, that made perfect sense. This is when we were finally not labeled as anti-vaxxers. But this took two years.
During that two years we dealt with constant attacks and criticism. People labeling us bad parents. And when we got our medical exemption, many did apologize, but not all. To this day there are family members that still call us anti-vaxxers. Even though we’re vaccinating our other son on the late schedule. He hasn’t had the same issues so far, and we are thankful. But we waited until he was older and do one at a time.
The reason this gets to me is that people assumed I was uneducated and listening to random bullshit on the internet. What most people *didn’t and don’t* know is that I’d chatted with a geneticist that used to create vaccines. She was a woman I met through my boys’ school at the time, and the school often used her for special science projects because of her background. She knew her stuff.
She told me what some of the issue kids were having was from, what parts of the DNA cell were being taken from gluten, dairy, and glucose, and how they were being connected to the spliced up virus. The original thought was that we’d build antibodies faster because our body is already used to gluten, dairy, and glucose. But this left a HUGE problem…
What if the child was allergic?
Then I met a scientist and emailed with him because he was doing groundbreaking research on how autoimmune disorders and food intolerances are coming from the fact that as our bodies build antibodies toward the virus, we *also* are to the gluten, dairy, and glucose. While this is still much in the research arena (please don’t trust the websites claiming this yet, I follow this research closely and it’s still in research), this brought another interesting take on how vaccines are being produced and the effects they are having.
While this information was super helpful, it also didn’t explain what happened to my son.
Last year I finally met a woman who REALLY knows her stuff. She oversees many clinics in my county and she was the one to point out that not only had the vaccine series caused my son’s seizures, and even pointed me to the CDC information on this very well known side effect, but she also told me that when his first doctor insisted he have 7 vaccines in one day, he overloaded his immune system. He crashed it. And my son’s little body couldn’t handle it.
She also ordered tests that no one had done before. And these tests weren’t for allergies, there were for *neurological* reactions. It turns out that my son, like many others, doesn’t have an allergic response but instead a neurological one.
When this doctor and I spoke next, we talked about our thoughts on why so many people think there is a link between autism and other neurological disorders and vaccines. This might be because something in the vaccine is causing a similar reaction, one that mimics autism but isn’t the same.
This leads to my next frustration…
I’ve had many friends with kids on the spectrum. Some that vaccinated, others that didn’t. My youngest also still shows signs of being on the spectrum (though mild) and he’s not had a vaccine until six months ago. So… This is proof to me that vaccines don’t cause autism. I won’t say that if the child is predisposed to having neurological reactions that it might not make the autism *appear* worse, but I don’t believe it’s the cause.
When people lump everyone that isn’t vaccinating (and yes, I’m including myself in this since for two years I had no medical excusal) into the ‘fear of kids getting autism’ anti-vaxxer movement, what you’re telling me is that you think I blame my friends for giving their kids autism. This IS NOT okay with me.
Stop making assumptions.
The truth is, I don’t know why anyone chooses how to handle their health. It’s not my business, it’s theirs. So when people make blanket statements attacking anti-vaxxers–calling them terrorists and saying they should be locked up, saying their bad parents and uneducated, claiming they are nut jobs, or blaming every outbreak on anti-vaxxers–it just plain pisses me the fuck off.
I have to watch the CDC website. Every time there’s an outbreak, I follow it. I pay close attention. There is a section of the website where the details of the cases are displayed. During the last measles outbreak, there were only 20% of cases that came down with that weren’t vaccinated. Another 20% had the vaccine but weren’t sure if they had immunities from it, and the last 60% had been vaccinated. So… obviously people walking around with vaccines can still catch it and spread it.
I would never attack someone for their choice to vaccinate. Nor would I for their choice not to, even when that affects my own child. Reason being is I don’t know *why* they aren’t vaccinating. Because most people that stop vaccinating stop because of dangerous reactions. I know this, because I’m public about the issues our kids have had. So I get privately emailed about this by parents asking me questions and telling me how they get so attacked. This is a huge problem. We shouldn’t be attacking one another. Period.
I don’t feel vaccines are useless. Not at all. In fact, I’m afraid for my oldest son. I worry that he’ll come down with something and I wish I could protect him better. But I can only do what I can do and even with all the testing and new discoveries, his current set of doctors still don’t want to vaccinate him. We may start up again with ones that don’t have casein, but even the doctors are being super cautious.
I share all of this in hopes that we’ll stop attacking and alienating one another. Check your facts before spouting that anti-vaxxers are all bat shit crazy and are terrorists. Maybe some are, but many are not. Most articles that publish outbreaks do not claim who started spreading the illness because most times it’s from people visiting the U.S. from out of the country, people that don’t have vaccines (again, proof they work). Those people aren’t even ‘anti-vaxxers’. They are people that often can’t even get the vaccines.
So let’s be kind to one another. Let’s fact check. Let’s understand that many parents that end up being labeled anti-vaxxers are doing so because their kids have had terrifying reactions like mine have. This is not a black and white issue. And the longer we assume that every person reacts the same way, the longer this nonsense will go on. I am not a terrorist because I’m protecting my child. I wish the manufacturers would take casein out, so he and I can both safely get vaccinated for certain illnesses. But they aren’t, so we wait. We rely on herd immunization.
I will also admit, I’m terrified to get him vaccines now. Even though it’s also scary not to. I’ve seen him stop breathing in my arms. Until you know what that’s like, please don’t make assumptions or judge. I am not the only one this has happened to. And watching your child stop breathing, losing the ability to speak, seizing, these things cause me nightmares…
To make this completely clear, I am not against vaccines. I rely on others getting them to keep my kids safe. I will never attack anyone for vaccinating their child nor will I blame autism on vaccines. I’ve never claimed these things, yet some people who haven’t had the full picture have taken it upon themselves to ‘warn’ others of my beliefs. If it comes from my mouth, you can know it’s how I feel. If not, then please question.
I hope this helps shed some light on where I stand. ❤