The Real Cost of the Vaccine War–Your Choice.

I wanted to walk away from this. I really did. I’ve found the entire debate completely and utterly exhausting. I didn’t want to talk about vaccines for awhile, maybe ever again.

Then Texas State Rep. Jason Villalba vowed to draft a bill calling for the repeal of the state’s conscientious objection waiver to vaccination. Legislators in California, Oregon, and Washington are also planning or have already drafted bills calling for the same. Big Pharma’s propaganda game is strong and I expect the dominos will keep falling across the nation.

This scares the hell out of me and not for the reasons you may think.
imageThe majority of the population is sitting idly by or perhaps celebrating as our right to informed consent to a medical procedure is stripped away. Even if you agree with mandatory vaccination right now, you need to consider the future picture and the precedent this action will set. Are you prepared to accept sight unseen the hundreds of vaccines in development? Are you prepared to submit to any medical procedure that your doctor dictates whether it’s experimental or risky or the government determines is for the greater good? Are you prepared to lose your voice in your or your child’s healthcare?

This is so terrifying to me that I’m going to share a nightmare that I have never before spoken aloud. I’ve seen what it looks like when your choices are taken away.

I was Seventeen and ten weeks pregnant when I started to bleed. Just slight spotting, but I was taken to see a doctor. She rammed her gloved hand inside me held it up smiling, said, “there’s not much blood,” and sent me home.

The bleeding continued for several days and I was returned to hospital and seen by a different doctor. He was a bitter man who made no effort to disguise his contempt. He came into the room and matter of factly announced that he was going to do a D & C–Dilation and curettage-which would end the pregnancy. He wanted to abort my baby without my consent. I don’t know if my mother had already agreed to this. We have never discussed it.

I screamed “No! No! No!” I ordered them not to touch me. I begged them not to touch me. I fought him and his nurses off physically. I tried to escape. They held me down and injected me with Valium. When the drug overcame me and I was physically unable to resist, the doctor tore my baby from my body without ever checking for a heartbeat.

When the sedative began to wear off and I struggled to regain control, they laughed at me. They. Laughed. At. Me.

The grief, shame, and horror of that experience still reside in me 30 years later. I am sick now as I revisit it. I will always have to wonder what might have been. I will never understand the cruelty of it. I will always be scarred. I won’t know till I hit the button if I can bear to bring this to light.

I suppose they thought that they were doing me a favor–acting in my best interest or for the greater good. But it was not their choice to make and it cannot ever be undone. Aside from a broken heart, I left with a distrust of obstetricians that remains today.

Flash forward 13 years. I was 10 weeks pregnant with my third child and I began to bleed. A lot. I called my doctor and was told to schedule an appointment on Monday. It was Friday. I was worried about the wait, but was told there was nothing they could do in the ER except a D&C. I would have rather bled to death than risk that again. After having had my first two children with a midwife in the hospital and then at a birth center, I had reluctantly chosen the  obstetrician who I despised the least because our insurance would not pay for midwifery services in our new home state of Texas.

Monday came and with a familiar callous air, I was instructed to disrobe so that she could use the vaginal wand for the ultrasound. Um, “no fucking way” was what I thought, but probably refused more politely. Nobody was ramming anything inside of my already bleeding body. She was annoyed and pressured me to comply. Eyes on the door, I held my ground and she grudgingly agreed to use the Doppler. The beautiful sound of my baby’s strong beating heart filled the room.

Relieved, faith restored in my body’s ability to carry this child, and sick of the authoritarian nature of the practice I left the office and never came back.

I had already secretly found a midwife who agreed to take me as a client in my final trimester at a reduced rate as long as I had been receiving prenatal care up to that point. My husband and I decided that the out of pocket expense was a small price to pay for the care we wanted and I immediately began seeing her. I exercised my right to choose.

Thirty weeks later, my healthy 10-pound, 1-ounce son was born at home. I had the beautiful birth I longed for in the presence of people who cared deeply for me, including my two older sons. My scars softened a bit that day.

I will never know what the outcome might have been with my first pregnancy if my right to choose had not been stolen from me and my body so violently violated by a doctor who decided that he knew what was best for me. I only know the outcome of his choice–loss of my baby.

I tell you this story now so that you might see what lies at the end of this road we’re taking. We give up our freedoms in increments not wholes. This vaccine piece is just the first step in surrendering our right to choose what happens to our bodies. I am afraid. I fear that my children, your children, our children will not know this freedom. I fear our daughters will see a return to the indignities of doctor controlled births that our mothers and we fought so hard to escape. If laying my heart bare can do anything to protect someone else from this tragedy, to change a mind, or preserve a safer and free future, I’m willing to risk the exposure.

My Right to Choose…the Measles.

I really didn’t want to touch this one. As I watched the frenzy become increasingly rabid, I would have preferred to keep my choices quietly to myself, but that seemed increasingly cowardly as the days wore on and so many other brave souls were walking shoulders square into the line of fire. It would be a betrayal not to join them.

Last week, I outed myself as a non-vaxxer in a local group of brilliant, daring women who I admire immensely. That didn’t go so well. I knew my position was unpopular, but was surprised by the unanimous stance in opposition by those who commented. The only support came in private messages.

imageThrough controlled, but not concealed anger a couple of members threw out the standard accusations of stupidity and selfishness, and one celebrated a measles outbreak amongst a group of non vaccinated Texas families in 2013, calling it karma. (Those families might actually agree as most non-vaccinators accept the risk of diseases and are thankful for the lifetime immunity that follows.) Another called for accountability (of non-vaxers for infecting others–I’m assuming)

The irony of this last one always blows me away given the pharmaceutical companies immunity from litigation despite the vaccine related deaths of hundreds–mostly children. The over $3 billion that has been awarded to families whose children have been injured or killed by vaccines through Federally controlled Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) was financed by the taxpayers.

Additionally, the fact that recently vaccinated children have been proven to be infected with and shedding the vaccine type measles virus in the midst of outbreak, nobody knows how many vaccinated people contract mild or asymptomatic cases that go undiagnosed yet pass the virus onto others, and last year’s case dubbed “Measles Mary” in which a vaccinated woman in New York was proven to have infected four other people (two of which were also vaccinated) with measles make it difficult to attach guilt to anyone accidentally spreading the virus. How could anyone be at fault for contracting a naturally occurring disease while others who are knowingly injecting a laboratory created variety into their bodies are proclaimed innocent?

This group’s response came as a huge surprise to me as these women are all vehemently pro-choice feminists and the inconsistency of  harassing people who want to make their own informed health choices remains difficult for me to understand.

Choice Doesn’t End with Your Reproductive Organs

No matter what your opinion of the safety, efficacy, and necessity of vaccines is, you cannot be pro choice and support mandatory vaccination or any other medical procedure, for that matter. Kathi Valeii at Birth Anarchy nails it brilliantly calling out feminists joining the anti-vaxer public assault as subscribing to the paternalistic power structure that has for centuries controlled and violated women’s bodies.

“It’s interesting that the medical authority is not to be challenged in *just this* instance. There is an entire struggle in the feminist movement to reclaim women’s rights in birth around this very domineering power imbalance. Haven’t women, for centuries, been chastised, belittled, and held with contempt for questioning any authority – especially the man in the white coat?

The same doctors who brought us forced cesareans, who thrust their hands into our vaginas and when we cried out and scooted back to try and get away, shushed us and told us to be a good girls; the same ones who told us not to question them as they injected us with labor inducing drugs, who knocked and dragged out our mothers and grandmothers, who treated their filthy vaginas as sterile fields to be conquered, who sliced us end to end and yanked our flaccid babies out, as we lay, unmoving on our backs; who gave our husbands a *wink wink* as they threw in one last stitch to make us better than new.”

She further exposes the hypocrisy of feminists attacking other women for exercising the right to make informed health choices for their children,

“In the smear campaign against non or undervaccinating parents, nothing is off the table. While we would dare not trivialize or question or judge any woman’s desire for contraception or abortion, nor vilify a pregnant addict or challenge a woman’s investment in her fetus, we go to great lengths to efficiently marginalize and scoff and shame a woman’s decisions for her born child like she were an incompetent fool.”

You will find her entire post here: Pro Choice Movement Deployed Paternalism Vaccine War.

Liberty, Lies, and Profit Protection

Although freedom is at the core of this debate and what we likely will sacrifice if the pharmaceutical companies massive and ubiquitous advertising campaign is successful, it’s the lies and betrayal by these institutions that I once trusted that have kept me awake at night.

I began this parenting journey as a vaccinator. My first two children were vaccinated on schedule with all the recommended vaccines through toddlerhood and I believed I was doing the right thing–being a good mother. I bought what they were selling.

Then in 1997 (note this was before the McCarthy or Wakefield hooplah) someone placed a copy of Dr. Robert Mendelsohn’s How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor in my hands and I was horrified that I had made the vaccination decision without ever researching the subject–blindly accepting the pharmaceutical companies’ pitch.

I vowed never again and began doing extensive research ultimately deciding to discontinue vaccinating my first two children and never to begin with my subsequent children. As the years passed, more and more medical information/research became accessible, the unethical profit seeking methods of the pharmaceutical companies and their government cronies became completely transparent, and I became more convinced than ever that it was the right decision for my family.

Unlike so many, I did not arrive here after my child had been injured or killed by a vaccine, But I often wonder if we narrowly dodged a bullet. We are plagued with severe allergies and neurological issues, and have autism in our extended family. Contraindications to vaccination (as written in the vaccine inserts) include allergy to any of its contents. I don’t regularly administer neurotoxins, aborted fetal lung tissue, antibiotics, and monkey kidneys to my children so I would have no way of knowing if they were allergic to any of them until after they had a reaction or were dead. I prefer to take my chances with the measles, thank you very much.

Here’s where the mainstream media jump in with the message from their corporate sponsors, who bear names like Merck and Johnson & Johnson, that it is my duty to subject my child to this risk to protect those who cannot be vaccinated from contracting the disease du jour.

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This is nothing short of propaganda contrived to put social pressure on those who dare question their product and protect their profits. It has everything to do with marketing and nothing to do with an interest in anyone’s health. In the words of Dr. Suzanne Humphries, co-author of Dissolving Illusions and leader in unbiased vaccine impact research,

“Why must such a ‘wonderful product’ be forced on people?”

If you read nothing else outside the mainstream, read her well documented and comprehensive article “The Truth About Measles the Mainstream Media is Suppressing” and be prepared to be outraged.

But you need not believe me or her. Go right now to the Centers for Disease Control website and read the statistics for yourself. Measles is not the dread disease they want you to believe it is. During our recent US measles “epidemic” which I have to point has affected about 125 people at last report, no one has died. In fact, in this country over the last ten years, there have been zero measles deaths. Zero. In that same time period, there have been 86 deaths from MMR vaccine – 68 of them in children under 3 years old. And there were nearly 2,000 disabled, per VAERS data. Anyone can research disease incidence by reading MMWR (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report) from the CDC and accessing the search engine for VAERS.

To put it in perspective, go read the CDC tracking statistics for the flu, or mumps, typhoid, rabies, or any other reportable disease. People have far more to fear from the flu than measles, but Merck isn’t facing litigation after being accused of falsifying data to show invalid efficacy of the flu vaccine–they openly admit it doesn’t work–as it is facing litigation surrounding accusations of falsifying data regarding the efficacy of the mumps vaccine (a component of the MMR–measles, mumps, rubella combined vaccine) and CDC whistle blower Dr. William Thompson is not preparing to testify against the flu vaccine as he is about to testify in Congress that data showing an MMR vaccine/autism link was purposely withheld in a 2004 paper he co-authored.

In light of the scandals that are not being reported in the mainstream media, it’s hard to believe that the current media madness isn’t a perfectly orchestrated smokescreen.

Data Manipulation & Omission

While you are reading the statistics take note of a category of infected labeled “unknown vaccination history.” This is just one of the ways that the information is manipulated to scare you and gain public support of mandatory vaccination. While pro-vaxxers love to scream “pseudo science” at the independent studies that shed doubt (or outright disbelief) on the safety, efficacy, and necessity of vaccination, the CDC is basically getting away with saying “Duh, we just don’t know.”

I contend that they do know, but the telling would threaten their hold.  In a message to practitioners who must report all cases of measles and vaccination history to the CDC, doctors are told that written or electronic evidence of vaccination must be used to verify vaccination status.

How many adults could produce this? I know that I was fully vaccinated as an infant/child according to the guidelines for my date of birth. Due to international travel as a child and young adult, I probably was vaccinated more than many people my age, yet I would be unable to produce any evidence to that effect. If I were to contract measles, I could not be listed in the vaccinated category even though I was. You’ll notice every outbreak includes some people who are able to produce evidence of full vaccination and often a significant portion of those infected fall into the “unknown” category. If only some of those in the unknown category were vaccinated (and I believe it would be more like most as those who do not vaccinate know that they do not vaccinate) the percentage of vaccinated people contracting the virus in every outbreak is much higher than is being reported.

Don’t take my word for it. Take a look at the most recent MMWR Report released 2/13/15. It says,

“Among the 110 California patients, 49 (45%) were unvaccinated; five (5%) had 1 dose of measles-containing vaccine, seven (6%) had 2 doses, one (1%) had 3 doses, 47 (43%) had unknown or undocumented vaccination status, and one (1%) had immunoglobulin G seropositivity documented, which indicates prior vaccination or measles infection at an undetermined time. Twelve of the unvaccinated patients were infants too young to be vaccinated. Among the 37 remain- ing vaccine-eligible patients, 28 (67%) were intentionally unvaccinated because of personal beliefs, and one was on an alternative plan for vaccination. Among the 28 intentionally unvaccinated patients, 18 were children (aged <18 years), and 10 were adults. Patients range in age from 6 weeks to 70 years; the median age is 22 years. “

Take note of the words “unknown or undocumented,” represent 43 percent of the cases cited.

In a final lie of omission nobody is mentioning documented allegedly vaccine preventable disease outbreaks in which everyone infected had been vaccinated.

 Pasting is So Much Easier Than Investigating

The current hysteria is characterized by some of the crappiest,lazy, inflammatory journalism I’ve ever seen. I am haunted by visions of my journalism professors and newspaper editors collectively rolling their eyes at the mass exodus from the mission of unbiased reporting. Where are the interviews with experts with opposing opinions? Where is the data research? What happened to objectivity? Most reports are 90 percent verbatim regurgitation of text from the local health department website (which often includes factual errors) and 10 percent sensationalized warnings.

Reporters use every opportunity to mention that most infected were not vaccinated. This indicates that some were, but there is apparently no need to talk about that.

I’ve read countless reports about the lone Texas confirmed measles case and nobody ever mentions his vaccination status. Hmmm. One report alluded that the Texas case was “linked-in part” to the Disney outbreak. It was not. He was returning from India.  Countless reports warned that “hundreds may have been exposed.” Now ask how many other people in Texas have been diagnosed with measles since the traveler’s return January 6. I’ll tell you. Zero. But you won’t find any sensational headlines announcing that.

Media driven hysteria is running rampant with the same tired headlines about impending doom covering the nation. One that stands out was the Oregon story about a “possible” measles case in a high school student. A large graphic that read “measles outbreak” was embedded in the online story. Twenty-two unvaccinated students were told not to return to school for 21 days. But guess what–the student did not have measles. Oregon recently had two other incidents of public scares with multiple media outlets reporting “suspected measles” but it was later revealed that they had been false alarms.

Another favorite is to falsely report that non-vaccination rates are climbing creating a threat to the immuocompromised despite the National Immunization Survey performed by the CDC indicating that vaccination rates have held steady at above 90 percent since 1996 and this alleged threat is simply not coming to fruition.

All this commotion is over a mild disease that has brought no lasting harm to anyone in this country for more than 10 years and appears already to be on the decline this year. See the graphic below from the 2/13/15 MMWR that shows measles cases dwindling in the hardest hit state of California. Remember the swine flu and Ebola were going to kill us all too. They need us good and scared to sell their product.
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What’s the Motivation?

And none of that addresses the groundless implication that unvaccinated children are walking vessels of diseases, or that their parents would purposely expose others, or that most adults in this country are not vaccinated according to CDC recommendations. Unless you’ve had a pertussis vaccine within the last year you are not immune as the CDC states immunity (if ever achieved) begins to wane after a year and recommends a booster every 10 years and in the third trimester of each pregnancy.  If you hold that unvaccinated children are to blame for the rise in whooping cough (a theory that the CDC denounces, by the way, admitting that the vaccine is ineffective) and you are not getting regular Tdap  boosters then doesn’t that make you just as responsible?

There is so much more to say about this multi-faceted issue as I haven’t even touched upon the natural design of immunity, the fact that in addition to having the highest vaccination rate, we also have the highest child mortality rate when compared to developed nations, or that disease and mortality rates were plummeting long before vaccines were introduced, but I suspect I’ve already gone on too long and this is best addressed in a part 2. So, I’ll wrap this up with a final thought. Consider for a moment that I have nothing to gain in making this argument. In fact, the mere revealing of my position could potentially cost me. I’m bracing for the backlash as I prepare to press the publish button.

However the price I might pay is incomparable to that of the doctors who risk their professional status and very livelihood by stepping out of Big Pharma’s good graces in the interest of providing the public the opportunity to make an informed choice.

No matter what your choice is on this issue, and I hope it forever remains your choice, remember that the pharmaceutical companies with hundreds more vaccines in the pipeline, on the other hand, have everything to gain in deceiving you.

A Whiney Self Indulgent Puke Post

It’s been a suckass week beginning with six hours of violent vomiting Sunday, rising to a mid-week farewell to my Sailor Boy, and culminating with Little Guy’s fist in my stomach Friday afternoon.

My illness triggered the avalanche, my slow recovery and Sailor Boy and his precious Love’s departure AGAIN, kept the boulders tumbling. My adopted kids do not cope well with me being anything short of vivacious. For them, any show of weakness is a warning that I may just disappear completely. The slide into their primal brains where they know only flight or fight is quick and easy and I wasn’t able to throw out any rescue lines from my nauseated puddle on the bathroom floor.

Little Guy has been aggressive and uncooperative at school and Little Sister has been honing her thievery and demolition skills while not sleeping EVER and resultingly becoming increasingly irritable. Throw in lingering nausea, malaise, and a teething baby and welcome to my week. Did I mention that it sucked ass?

I thought things peaked the morning Little Sister decided to chew up her fish oil capsule and spit it all over me–nothing like the smell of fish oil mixed with someone else’s saliva  in your hair to soothe an upset stomach–herself, and the kitchen then throw a fit in an effort to avoid going to school and facing the music for getting caught stealing the day before.

I was wrong.

Earlier this week, Little Guy had his Nintendo DS privileges revoked for being aggressive at school. He was told he could earn it back with three days of good behavior. The third day came and he reported all was well. In fact, his teacher had taken the time to write “Great Day” on his behavior log. I returned the DS, went to check the log and the festivities began.

Turns out he had failed to mention a physical altercation with a classmate the day before. I confiscated the DS and he attacked. He came at me with closed fists and seething rage. He screamed for half an hour. I haven’t seen him act like this in almost two years. It shook me. It hurt my feelings and left me wallowing in self pity.

It’s dark in this place at times, but I’m not supposed to talk about that. At a recent training with our Foster care agency, I was asked to comment on working with children diagnosed under the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, but was quickly shut down when I mentioned the static nature of these kids’ issues and the need to change the environment rather than trying to change the child (because in most cases of FASD it is not possible.) That doesn’t fit into the sugary sweet rescue model and heaven knows we wouldn’t want to frighten the new families with, well, the truth.

I’ve attended trainings focused on the need for respite and assistance to prevent secondary trauma and compassion fatigue to caregivers of special needs children.

Lovely sentiment, but these services do not exist.

I can’t even find an occasional babysitter for my infant foster daughter and in 2.5 years, I have never been able to find respite for my 8-year-old with FAS. My attempts always yield responses, but said responders slink back into the night when I begin to talk about the issues.

The neurologist is sympathetic and validates my woes as I let down my guard and weep in his office, sharing that his other parents of children with an FASD describe all the same behaviors, he pats my shoulder tells me that I’m doing a good job, and writes out prescriptions that we both know will likely do no good.

I subscribe to a Facebook support group for families parenting children with an FASD. Our stories are all the same. We are in chronic crises. We are exhausted. Our other children are suffering. Some of us are being physically abused by our children. There is no solution and outsiders often undermine our efforts. Just this week, my daughter had a teacher lie to cover for her after she stole school supplies from another teacher. The second teacher claimed to have given them to my daughter even though my daughter confessed to having stolen them. The teacher who was the victim of her theft failed to require my daughter to make amends with a service or chore, as I directed, for reasons I cannot explain. She hasn’t responded to my requests for a team meeting so that we can all revisit her IEP and make sure it’s being followed–as required by law.

It is a never ending battle on every front. Usually I’m a mighty warrior, often even enjoying the quest for victory, but this week when my internal forces came under attack, as well, I was defenseless and threw up the flag along with my guts.

I’ve cried. A. Lot. I’ve been unforgiving. I’ve been angry. I’ve confronted my family about their failings. I’ve asked “why me?” I’ve cursed every aspect of this process that has often left me lonely, afraid, powerless, and at the receiving end of blows from a child who I would give my eyes to save. I’ve been pissed off at their birth parents, their workers, a system that runs on deception, a lack of services, a lack of understanding, uneducated educators, inept practitioners, and the fucking rain. I allowed myself a long overdue meltdown.

I’m done now. My appetite returned on Friday relieving the weakness I had felt all week. By Saturday I was able to resume exercising. After a meltdown of his own, Little Guy was overcome with remorse and eager to regain my favor. I’ve never been able to resist his charms long and we are good again. We forgot to set the bedroom alarm last night, and Little Sister raided my purse in the night to which I responded unemotionally accepting this is a product of her disability and not a personal attack.

It stopped raining.