What if?

Last week our son, Brooks, experienced a reaction from a vaccine. Long story short, he had a red, angry rash covering his entire upper arm, along with very distant, disturbing behavior. This recent event, along with an amazing book I just finished called, “Many lives, Many Masters” has had my wheels turning.

This post is in no way intended to be a vaccine debate. It is only discussed here because I started thinking about why Chris and I vaccinate our boys. The answer, of course, is the fear of the disease that the vaccine was made to prevent, is (or should be) worse than the fear of the vaccine itself. Why else would we willingly inject viruses and known toxins into their little bodies? Is this justified? Sure. But, what if we didn’t allow fear to rule our lives? How would that change the decisions that we make each and everyday?

I was raised in a fear based family. My parents are both deeply religious. They did not intent to instill this fear in me but they both carried their own fears and I have adopted many of them. As an adult, I’ve made many concious decisions to look fear in the face and move forward.  Though I am learning to work through my fears, it is still a part of my daily life. I worry about the same things that many of you worry about: the health of myself and loved ones, money, losing someone I love, the purpose of my life, feeling like I’m enough, sleep schedules, and future plans. I can’t say with any conviction that any of these fears are serving me.

I’ve recently noticed that Brooks has already adapted a fear based approach in his life. Often he’ll ask us questions, like, but “what if someone breaks in?” or “what if that place is closed?” Our response is usually the same, we’ll figure it out. When I think about the things that I fear- isn’t the answer basically the same? Whatever happens- we’ll look at the situation and deal with it the best we can. What is the use of spending all of that energy on being fearful and anxious about problems that we don’t even have and may never experience?

What if, like I learned in church, God created us all to be equal and eternal? I remember telling my mom when I was a child that I was someone before this. I didn’t (and still don’t) know who I was, but I know in my heart that my soul was not born 35 years ago when my mother gave birth to me. The book I recently read,  “Many lives, Many Masters“, was written by a well educated psychotherapist. The book tells about a woman he treated who under hypnosis was able to remember past lives, and also receive wisdom from spirits. Sound cooky? Maybe, but in my mind it reaffirmed what I already feel I know. We are here on this Earth to experience the joys and pains of being human. Our body is a carrier but our souls live forever. If even a small part of this rings true to you, then what do we really have to fear in this life?

I believe in a loving, powerful God. I believe in eternal life. I feel in my heart that we could all live a life guided by love instead of fear, we would have no battles to fight. We would find peace.

 

Vaccine cheat sheet

I realize that I’m not making many friends by posting about vaccines. Honestly though, I don’t care. I’m not here to try to make friends. I’m here to try to get the facts for myself and to share information that I feel is valuable. You can take what you want and disregard the rest. If you think I’m crazy, well you are not the first one. I’m not losing sleep over that. What I am losing sleep over; however, is the health of my child. Talking about vaccines is so taboo it makes me crazy. I’m not trying to fight with anyone but I also don’t understand why we can’t have open and honest conversations about vaccines. Chris and I tried to have a conversation with a pediatrician at one of Brooks’s early appointments and I thought I was going to cry. She was down-right mean and clearly was not open to having a conversation. Luckily we found a pediatrician who doesn’t necessarily agree with our views but is at least flexible enough to work with us and allow us to discuss our concerns.

I believe that as educated adults we have an obligation to educate ourselves about what is going into our child’s body. What we do with that information is a very individual choice. I’m not anti-vaccine. I’m pro-information. I believe in weighing the risks and benefits and making educated choices. What is right for our family may not be right for yours. I’m certainly not trying to push my views on anyone. I’m a fact finder who likes to share.

Anyway, I’ve been looking for information on vaccines since before Brooks was born. Recently, I came across a book that was really helpful to me. Dr. Laura Feder is a doctor practicing in L.A. She is an M.D. who also practices holistic medicine. I found her through the Holistic Moms Network. The book is called “The Parents’ Concise Guide to Childhood Vaccinations”. A few weeks ago after reading part of the book, I laid in bed and cried to Chris because I was so stressed out about the vaccination issue. He’s amazing so he told me that he would read the book too and together we would make the right decisions. Since he is crazy busy with work, I just spent the last hour or so making a cliff note version for him to skim. I think it’s valuable enough to share so here you have it. Basically what you’ll find is a breakdown of each illness, complications of the disease, information about the vaccine, and possible complications associated with the vaccine. Please keep in mind that everything listed below is directly from Dr. Feder’s book. I did not input any of my opinions. I highly recommend downloading this book since I’m only sharing a portion of it.

Hep B: 

– Not a common childhood disease, not contagious

– Complications of disease include liver damage, liver cancer, liver failure

– Mothers can pass to babies during childbirth

– Vaccine used to be “recommended for newborns who mothers tested positive for hepatitis B”; now given at birth, 1-2 months, 6-18 months

– Vaccine contains mercury and is linked to multiple sclerosis., Guillain-Barré syndrome, diabetes, arthritis

– “The FDA licensed the current hepatitis B vaccine despite a lack of adequate long-term follow-up studies; they primarily used data that studied children for only 4-5 days following the vaccine.”

Rotavirus

– Causes acute diarrhea

– 3 doses recommended at 2, 4, and 6 months

– Vaccine linked to bronchiolitis, gastroenteritis, pneumonia, fever, UTI, severe bowel obstruction

DTap

– 3 in 1: diphtheria, tetanus, whooping-cough

– 5 recommended doses: 2, 3, 6, 15-18 months, 4-6 yrs

Diphtheria: bacterial infection, contagious, can cause damage to heart, kidney, neuritis, temporary paralysis of limbs and muscles

– 5-10% fatality, common in poor underdeveloped areas. Treatable if caught early

– Vaccine risks: swelling, redness, fever, systemic complications (less common)

– Rare. Early treatment results in full recovery

Tetanus

– Bacteria, causes difficulty swallowing, painful spasms, tightening in the jaw, symptoms last 3-4 weeks, full recovery can take several months, complications can cause pneumonia, fractures, brain damage

– More common in developing countries and adults

– Vaccine made of tetanus toxoid which is “a deadly poison”

– There are questions about the effectiveness 60% of people who contract have been vaccinated

– Risks of vaccine: same as diphtheria as well as Guillain-Barré  syndrome and arthritis

– Parents can give TIG following an injury instead of tetanus

Pertussis- Whooping Cough

– Bacterial infection, contagious

– Coughing can last 1-6 weeks, can lead to pneumonia, ear infections, dehydration, convulsions, and in rare cases brain damage and death

– Greatest risk in babies younger than 6 months

– Risks of vaccine: original vaccine caused severe complications including mental retardation. It ha been reformulated but still can cause encephalitis and death

Hib

– Bacterial infection, normally lives dormant in the mouth and nose of most people and causes mild ear, nose, and throat infections. On rare occasions it becomes more invasive leading to meningitis.

– Contagious, the longer the baby is breastfed the less risk for meningitis; protection can possibly last 5-10 years after weaning

– Complications of Hib: pneumonia, arthritis, infections around the heart, hearing loss, seizures, brain damage, learning disabilities

– Vaccine: 2, 4, 6, and 12-15 months; risks include: fever, irritability, prolonged crying, diarrhea, convulsions, shock, collapse, meningitis, Guillain-Barré syndrome

– Considered more important vaccine by many parents

Pneumococcal

– Bacterium similar to Hib that can cause severe ear/sinus infections, pneumonia, meningitis, blood infections

– 8% mortality, causes 100 deaths/year

– Prevnar vaccine: 2, 3, 6 months, 4th booster shot at 12-15 months, contains only 7 strains out of 90 pneumococcus

– National Vaccine Info Center questions its effectiveness

– Risks of vaccine: swelling, fever, irritability, loss of appetite, seizures, gastritis, asthma, death

– No long-term studies (approved in 2000)

– Many parents consider this a low priority vaccine due to the lack of long-term studies and question of effectiveness

Polio

– Caused by virus spread by contact with stool

– 95% of polio cases go unnoticed, most common in 3-5 year olds, only 1% of cases become paralytic when virus attacks brain and spinal cord (approximately 8 cases/year)

– IPV vaccine changed in 2000 due to its links with paralytic polio

– 2, 4, 6-18 months, 4-6 yrs, child has 99% immunity after 3 doses

– Risks of immunity: swelling, pain, redness, fever, fussiness, fatigue, vomiting, Guillain-Barré  syndrome, possible cancer connection

MMR

– 3 in 1 at 1 year and again 4-6 years

– Strongly linked to autism and developmental disorder

– In London, Dr thinks measles causes inflammatory bowel diseases

Measles

– Was very common, very contagious, most children recover fully, occasionally can cause secondary infections including diarrhea, ear infections, croup, or possibly deafness, blindness, pneumonia, encephalitis

– Mortality rate 1 in 1,000

– Vaccine: live virus, risks include: colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, swelling, fever, dizziness, headache, convulsing, Guillain-Barré syndrome, autism

– “Nearly every American child born before 1957 had measles…most recovered without serious consequences”

Mumps

– Mild viral infection used to be very common

– 20% of cases have no symptoms, complications are rare, death rate of 2 out of 10,000 cases

– Risks of mumps vaccine: meningitis, diabetes

– Not a high priority vaccine for many parents

Rubella

– Mild viral infection, aka: “3 day measles”, was very common, contagious, more severe in adults

– Complications are rare but include diabetes, arthritis

– Risks of vaccine: arthritis, Guillain-Barré  syndrome, thrombocytopenia (blood-clotting issue)

– Complications can occur during pregnancy so maybe consider for girls

Varicella chickenpox

– Mild disease was very common

– Complications include: bacterial skin infections, encephalitis, septicemia, osteomyelitis

– Less than 1% of children who get chickenpox suffer rare complications

– Vaccine: live virus; 12-15 months again 4-6 years old, risks include: pain, redness, swelling, fever, Guillain-Barré syndrome, shingles, shock, encephalitis, blood disorder, rare death

Hep A

– Can be spread through diaper changes, travelers eating infected food, Hep A lasts around 2 months. Symptoms: fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, dark urine, jaundice

– Up to 70% kids have no symptoms

– Death rare, mortality .6%, most deaths in adults over 49 years old

– Other than prolonged symptoms, no long-term complications

– Hep A more common in areas of poor hygiene

– Vaccine approved in 1996, 2 doses 12-18 months and again 6-12 months after first vaccine or for travelers within 14 days after exposure

– Risks of vaccine: headache, fatigue, joint pain, diarrhea

– “More common priority vaccine given in first year”

So there you have it. Thank you to Dr. Laura Feder. For information on homeopathic medicine please visit her website at: http://www.drfeder.com/.