Parenting with Courage

As I looked through a local newspaper I saw an editorial cartoon that seemed to equate the measles with polio and Nazis. Something to fear. There is a hysteria about the measles that doesn’t jive with history.

Daily Herald: March 21, 2019

We cannot let fear control us. On this same day I received the scripture of the day in my e-mail from I-Bible.com.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frighted, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9 ESV

As parents and grandparents we face many different challenges as we care for our family. We have the ability to seek wisdom from God in prayer. We can lift our concerns and assess the best way forward, honoring our faith in God. We don’t need to make decisions based on fear.

As a grandmother I am seeking truth for the sake of my grandchildren and others. I had to respond to this editorial cartoon.

I wrote this reply to the newspaper.

The editorial cartoon in today’s paper featuring an old man talking about fearing the measles puzzled me. I grew up in the 1950s and I had the measles along with my siblings. It meant that we stayed home from school for a week. It was uncomfortable, but we didn’t fear it. 

We developed lifetime immunity to the measles. And when I breastfed my infants I passed along my immunity to them in the crucial first six months of life.

Have you seen the recommendations that are given when measles is reported in a community? People are encouraged to get the vaccine or a booster, unless they were born before 1957. The people born before 1957 are assumed to be immune because everyone got the measles.

Proper nutrition is related to the severity of a case of measles. We know that vitamin A supplementation helps an individual overcome the measles. If there is an outbreak of measles we can meet the challenge, seeking God’s help.

Parents today need to have clear information on the risks and benefits of each vaccine. Parents must be able to consider their faith in God and their family’s medical history when deciding to vaccinate or not. #MedicalFreedom #InformedConsent

Spring is Here : Looking Forward to Flowers and Herbs!

It is the first day of Spring and I am looking forward to the appearance of flowers and herbs. The snowdrops are up, and the robins have returned. The hyacinths are beginning to poke through the thawing soil.

Before long the violets will be blooming. I plan to gather these delicate flowers from an area of the yard that has not been sprayed with any chemicals to make candied violets. See a recipe here.

Every year I add another herb to my gardens. Herbs are a source of vitamins and minerals that support health. Rosemary, thyme and sage all grow easily. Here is a recipe for potatoes with rosemary and thyme.

I have planted some stinging nettle seeds in a container. I hope to plant them in a corner of the yard that has little traffic. The leaves of this plant sting—similar to stinging ants. The young leaves must be harvested carefully (gloves). When the leaves are boiled they lose their sting. The benefit of this herb is the rich mineral content. Nettle tea is sold in health food stores. I first noticed a recipe for nettle soup in a Swedish cook book. Here is an on-line recipe for nettle soup.

In a time period when many worry about infectious disease, it is a good idea to think about ways to improve the nutritional support of our immune system. Herbs are a source of vitamins and minerals that our bodies need. At one time I thought the purpose of herbs was flavor, but now I know they enrich our food.

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Making Sense of the Vaccine Debate

The number of vaccines on the CDC list is continually growing. When I was a child I had just a few vaccines—polio and DTP. I had the measles, and so did my siblings. We now have lifetime immunity to the measles. When I breast fed my babies, they received protection from getting the measles as infants.

My children received approximately 18 doses of vaccines by age five. They received more doses of DTP and polio than I did. And they received the MMR vaccine.

A doctor visit often included a shot. We had a book that my daughter enjoyed. It was titled It’s Your Turn Doctor. The child in the story imagines what it would be like to give the doctor a physical exam. In the final page the child is chasing the doctor with a syringe.

The book was funny and we laughed. It made doctor visits easier. As the years passed I have become more concerned about the content of the syringe than the needle stick.

In 1982 I didn’t know that the MMR vaccine was developed from an aborted fetus. I was puzzled by the stomach pain, digestive disorder and pause in language development that I observed after this vaccine was given to my daughter.

The immunity offered by the MMR does not give lifetime immunity. Some cases of measles are caused by the vaccine and can infect others. A blood test can determine if a case of measles is the wild form or the vaccine type.

The CDC now recommends 35+ doses of vaccines for children by age five.  Each injection contains additional substances; aluminum, formaldehyde, DNA fragments, mercury. You can find the ingredients in each vaccine here.

Why so many doses of vaccines–which ones have more benefits than risks? What has happened to the immune system that God provided us with? We can support the immune system with good nutrition, adequate hydration (pure water), rest and enough sleep. Sufficient rest might be a problem is our hectic lifestyles. It is worth it to slow down.

Because sexual behavior has changed dramatically over the past five decades, a vaccine was developed for an infection that can only be passed by sexual intimacy, blood or body fluid contact. The vaccine for hepatitis B was developed in the 1980s and in 1991 it was added to the recommended vaccines.

It is curious that a decision was made to give this vaccine to all newborn infants—despite the fact that all women are screened for hepatitis B during pregnancy. As a general practice the vaccine is given when the baby is 24 hours old. We don’t know if there are any longterm consequences from giving this vaccine to a newborn. We don’t know how long this vaccine is effective. It may wane by the teenage years.

The HPV vaccine is also developed for a sexually transmitted virus. It is recommended for girls, 11 to 12 years old to prevent cervical cancer. The truth is young women can be monitored by a pap smear when they are sexually active and treated appropriately. The problem with the HPV vaccine is the severe side effects some girls experience. The HPV vaccine has the largest amount of aluminum as an adjuvant. 

It is interesting to note that other countries have omitted the MMR vaccine, the hepatitis B vaccine and the HPV vaccine from the recommended schedule. Japan does not give the MMR or the HPV vaccine. Instead Japan has an individual measles vaccine with less side effects. Japan, Finland and Denmark do not give the hepatitis B vaccine. In Sweden all vaccines are voluntary.

In 1992 New Zealand did a study comparing the health of vaccinated children against unvaccinated.

A study from the 1990s has come to light, proving that compared to unvaccinated children, vaccinated children were more likely to suffer from asthma, eczema, ear infections, hyperactivity and many other chronic conditions.

Another study was done in the United States and published in 2017.

The vaccinated children were also more likely to have increased healthcare utilization – to have had ear tubes placed; to have used antibiotics, to have used allergy and fever medications; to have visited a doctor for a health issue in the previous year, and to have been hospitalized.

In response to the current controversy over vaccines, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeon has stated their strong opposition to mandatory vaccines in the U.S. I hope you will take the time to understand this issue.

We can sign a petition to ask the President to establish a Vaccine Safety Commission. Click here to see the petition.

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What Happened at Senate Hearing?

The U.S. Senate held a hearing on March 5, 2019:  Vaccines Save Lives: What Is Driving Preventable Disease Outbreaks?

Vaccine Safety
Photo by Naypong@FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I watched the hearing and saw pictures of the lines of parents that hoped to attend the hearing.There were more security guards on site than those present for the Kavanaugh confirmation. Parents were being herded into a separate room.

The committee chairman read an opening statement that claimed vaccines were completely safe. Senator Rand Paul was the only Senator who acknowledged BOTH benefits and risks of vaccines. The only citizen witness was a teenage boy who painted concerned parents as mothers picking up wild ideas from facebook.

The truth is that scientists, some doctors, nurses and parents have concerns about the current vaccine schedule and the risk/benefit assessment. They have invested much time in research. 

The government vaccine court has paid out more than 4 billion dollars to parents whose child died or is severely disabled following a vaccine. In 1986 legislation was passed to remove all liability from the pharmaceutical companies. If the vaccines they produced caused side effects and injury, the pharmaceutical companies could not be sued. Instead parents could petition the vaccine injury court and be compensated with tax payer dollars.

Another provision of the 1986 bill was that Health and Human Services was to review the vaccines every two years, identify the children that were at greater risk of injury and make reports to congress. This never happened.

I am ashamed of the ignorance shown by Senators who stated vaccines are completely safe. I hope that they will read this open letter to Senator Romney. http://fearlessparent.org/dear-senator-romney-vaccine-coercion-political-leadership/

This morning I spent some time in prayer and decided to look on the CDC site for contraindications for some vaccines. I was surprised to find a page that was in direct contradiction to the way the Senate Hearing took place.

When a parent or patient initiates a discussion about a perceived vaccine adverse reaction, the health care provider should discuss the specific concerns and provide factual information, using appropriate language. Effective, empathetic vaccine risk communication is essential in responding to misinformation and concerns, with health care providers recognizing that risk assessment and decision-making can be difficult and confusing. Certain vaccines might be acceptable to a parent who is resistant to other vaccines. This partial acceptance can be used to facilitate additional communication. Their concerns can be addressed using the VIS and offering other resource materials (e.g., vaccination information from CDC).

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend that providers exclude from their practice patients whose parents or guardians question or refuse vaccination.

The hepatitis B vaccine had long term side effects for one of my children. I am wondering why this vaccine is required for a child to attend public school.

All pregnant women are tested for hepatitis B to ascertain that they do not pass it along to the baby. Hepatitis B is an infection that is passed along through contact with infected blood, or by sexual intimacy with an infected person. It is not a disease that can be readily passed to another child.

Parents must be allowed to question vaccine policy. Parents are responsible for caring for their child. They are the ones that deal with vaccine injuries. Why is there a movement to shut down all questions and muzzle concerns?

Seeking Guidance for Parental Rights

Parents today have difficult issues to confront. As I was driving home from Michigan today I was listening to Janet Parshall on the radio.She was discussing a case that was decided by the Supreme Court of British Columbia. It hit me hard because a friend of our family recently disclosed that he/she is transgender.

In British Columbia the court decided that a 14 year old girl could receive testosterone injections without her parents consent. In addition, her parents could not refer to her with female pronouns or by the name they gave her at birth. If they did they would be guilty of family violence.

This is stunning, but parental rights are being infringed in other ways. 

In Illinois a bill is being proposed that would mandate that all children entering 6th grade receive the HPV vaccine. There has been a lot of controversy over this vaccine. According to the Children’s Health Defense:

. . . during Gardasil’s clinical trials an extraordinary 49.5% of the subjects receiving Gardasil reported serious medical conditions within seven months of the start of the clinical trials. Because Merck did not use a true placebo in its clinical trials, its researchers were able to dismiss the trial participants’ injuries as coincidences, employing the term “new medical conditions,” rather than classifying their injuries as “adverse events.”

Parents should be able to weigh the risks and benefits of this vaccine (which is for a sexually transmitted virus). They should be involved in a decision to vaccinate or not.

It is so important that parents stay alert and informed. Even more important we must bring our concerns to the Lord Jesus. God designed the family, and as we defend our parental rights, the Holy Spirit can guide our words and action.

I am in touch with a group of moms that are very concerned about government mandates. It was refreshing to hear several say, “We need to pray.”

The book of Luke records the Lord’s Prayer. After teaching the disciples to pray Jesus continued with these words: “And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you.” Luke 11:9

The book of James reiterates this. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5

This post is linked to Five Minute Friday. Today I mulled over the prompt, SEARCH, thinking about recent events and the radio program.

When It Is Time to Speak UP

When should we get involved in the political discussions in our country? Should moms and grandmas be activists? The book of Peter offers instruction:

Make the Master proud of you by being good citizens. Respect the authorities, whatever their level; they are God’s emissaries for keeping order. It is God’s will that by doing good, you might cure the ignorance of fools who think you are a danger to society. Exercise your freedom by serving God, not by breaking the rules. Treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritual family. Revere God. Respect the government. 1 Peter 2: 13-17 MSG

For a number of years I have participated in the March for Life to express my support for all human life. It has been a positive experience; I have met people that share my concern. Another way that we peacefully express concerns is through letters, e-mails and phone calls to our legislators. 

Three years ago I participated in a seminar with the group, Women Speak for Themselves. A young woman who had worked on staff for a congressman told us that letters and e-mails matter. They have an impact.

When we have a concern it is important to become educated on the topic. After doing our homework we can clearly state our position with facts to back it up. Today there is a hearing scheduled on the measles outbreak and the status of vaccines. The commissioner of the FDA has suggested having the federal government mandate vaccines, doing away with exemptions.

A young woman has openly shared a letter that she wrote. Here is a portion:

I am writing to you out of concern for threats to our medical freedom and our ability to choose what goes into our bodies and the bodies of our children. Are you aware that since January 1, 2019, over $72,657,067 has been spent on vaccine injury/death? You can confirm this with the Government Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Just like any medical procedure, vaccines offer both significant risk and reward. Deciding on a procedure while weighing the risk versus reward is a matter of personal opinion based on each individual’s own health situation, personal values, and fears. We must protect that choice instead of falsely portraying vaccine efficacy and value as one-sided with only rewards and without significant risk.

As a country we face complicated issues. As women we can participate in the discussion, respectfully. Our experiences and perspectives are important.


This post is part of #Write28Days. Click here to see all the posts in the series.

Mothers, Girls and Flowers

As a nurse and mom I follow news about life and health. I am encouraged because New Jersey has a new campaign, Nurture NJ, to improve the health of mothers and their infants. One of the goals is to reduce unnecessary cesarean sections by employing midwives to attend women throughout their labor.

Another move to support life occurred in Ohio. Ohio recently passed a bill to prohibit abortion based on a diagnosis of possible down syndrome in an unborn baby. It was good to see adults with down syndrome testify before legislators.

I enjoy books that point to the value of all life. Hazel Gaynor has written a novel, A Memory of Violets, about the flower girls that worked on the streets of London.

Violets

The book is based on the true story of a philanthropist, John Groom. Mr. Groom organized an orphanage for crippled and disabled girls during the late 1800s. The ragged and destitute girls had been supporting themselves by selling flowers.

Mr. Groom instituted an artificial flower business. The girls employed by Mr. Groom were trained to make artificial flowers. These young women, many of them disabled, produced the flowers for Queen Alexandra’s Rose Day. This is the background of the novel.

We hear about human trafficking in the news. Girls and young women are trapped in a sex trade. It is an evil business. This novel, in contrast, is a story of goodness.

It was refreshing to read about the efforts to build up the skills and independence of impoverished young women. The story has interesting twists and turns. The characters, Tilly, Florrie and Rosie, are nicely drawn.

This post is part of #Write28Days. To see all the posts in this series, click here.

When Health Care Becomes Perplexing

Health care was one of the top issues in the midterm elections. According to a letter that I received yesterday from the School of Nursing at the University of Michigan (my alma mater) : We grapple with the knowledge that the United States is the top spending country in health care but only ranked 34th among wealthy countries in health outcomes. 

It is perplexing to see the ideas about healthcare that are being promoted. I am saddened to know that two bills in the Illinois House of Representatives expand access to abortion, up to nine months of pregnancy. 

It is painful to know of depressed young people that are being counseled to change their gender with expensive surgery when there is no clear evidence that it will have a positive impact on their health. Transgender adults have a high rate of suicide.

Health care should be about life and healing. 

There is an interesting passage of scripture in the book of Exodus. The Israelites have left Egypt and are in the wilderness. They are looking for water. God provides water and speaks to them through Moses.

There the Lord made a decree and a law for them, and there he tested them. He said, “If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will  not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord who heals you. Exodus 15:26

He didn’t say that they would never get sick but referred to diseases they saw in Egypt.

As a nurse my first experience with abortion was in a labor/delivery unit of a hospital. It occurred shortly after Roe v. Wade was decided. A young woman seven months pregnant was admitted for a saline induced abortion. Saline was injected into the womb to kill the infant and induce contractions. I was horrified and wrote a letter to my manager stating that I could not participate in abortions. 

Every type of abortion procedure has risks. When I read about the early cases of women that died after using the abortion pill, the procedure became part of the story in my novel, Aliisa’s Letter. The book is about a young nurse, her friend, and a midwife. The story is set in Upper Michigan.   

On January 22nd it was the 46th anniversary of Roe v.Wade, the national legalization of abortion. Since that time the March for Life has become an annual event, pregnancy care centers have sprung up, healing retreats have been organized and a support group for former abortion workers has been organized.

Physical, emotional and spiritual pain surround abortion. I am thankful for the organization, Students for Life. As they educate millennials about the abortion procedure, the infant’s development and experience of pain, young people are changing their mind about the right to abortion at any time in pregnancy.

God’s ways are good. He has created life and calls on us to seek him for help. In our churches we can come along side the unmarried woman who is pregnant and the woman who has an unexpected pregnancy with difficult circumstances. I am wondering and thinking about how we can walk along side young people who are in emotional pain and suffering. How should we, in the church, respond to the transgender person?

I encourage you to pray with me over these difficult issues.

This post is part of #Write28Days. You can follow me on Facebook for health related posts.

First Aid for My Husband

Sometimes accidents happen, and that can lead to making an informed decision about a medical intervention.

My husband came into the living room holding a cup under his left hand. His little finger was bleeding profusely; he was making sure that he didn’t drip on the floor.

He said, “Can you help me? I smashed my finger.”

My husband is a wizard at fixing things and was getting tools from the trunk of the car.The driveway was slippery. As he tried to steady his balance and closed the trunk door at the same time his little finger got caught in the door. I went to get our supply of bandages while he held his hand under running cold water. The fingernail was gone and he was continuing to bleed. I put a pressure dressing on his finger.

As we evaluated the color of his pinky, we made the decision to go to an urgent care facility. A physician assistant took a look at his finger and ordered an x-ray. The tip of his finger was broken. 

The wound was cleansed and dressed with an ointment. The physician assistant gave a prescription for an antibiotic and then ordered a tetanus vaccine. 

Tetanus Vaccine

I was surprised. Tetanus is an anaerobic bacteria. It can grow in a deep wound—not a wound that is bleeding freely. Tetanus bacteria are found in soil and manure. My husband was wearing a glove when his hand was crushed in the door. I explained this to the nice young physician assistant. She said that his finger might have been exposed to some dust. 

The medical profession has policies and protocols. Sometimes we need wisdom to discern whether a procedure or intervention is necessary or in the best interest of a family member.

She left and said that we should talk about it. We found out that there is no single tetanus vaccine. The vaccine offered was the Tdap—a vaccine for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. We said no.

Why not get a booster dose of a vaccine that you don’t need? If you read the vaccine insert you will see a list of risks and side effects. According to the CDC these are mild side effects: 

  • Pain where the shot was given (about 3 in 4 adolescents or 2 in 3 adults)
  • Redness or swelling where the shot was given (about 1 person in 5)
  • Mild fever of at least 100.4°F (up to about 1 in 25 adolescents or 1 in 100 adults)
  • Headache (about 3 or 4 people in 10)
  • Tiredness (about 1 person in 3 or 4)
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach ache (up to 1 in 4 adolescents or 1 in 10 adults)
  • Chills, sore joints (about 1 person in 10)
  • Body aches (about 1 person in 3 or 4)
  • Rash, swollen glands (uncommon)

Although it is rare some people have more severe reactions.

The Tdap contains aluminum as a adjuvant. An adjuvant increases the immune response to the vaccine. Recent research has shown that aluminum which is injected into the body crosses the blood brain barrier. Aluminum that is ingested in food is detoxified by the liver—not so with injected aluminum. The accumulation of aluminum in the brain can cause disorders over time. Click here for an article that discusses aluminum in vaccines and its transport through the body.

As we discussed whether or not to get the Tdap, we acknowledged that the risk out weighed any possible benefit.

This post is part of #Write28Days. You can find links to all of my posts in this series on my landing page. Click here.

Simple Measures for Family Health: Herbs and Nutrients

Moms make many health decisions for their children. When someone in the family gets a cold there is a wide array of over the counter treatments to choose from. The pills and elixirs treat the symptoms but don’t help the immune system overcome the virus.

Over the years I have discovered foods, herbs and vitamins that support the immune system. These include: elderberries, ginger, garlic, bone broth, vitamin C, vitamin D and zinc.

I have elderberry bushes in my back yard and I make elderberry juice to have on hand in the winter months. (If you don’t have access to fresh elderberries you can purchase dried elderberries from the Bulk Herb Store.) When colds are going around my husband and I have 2 tablespoons of elderberry juice with raw honey daily. (NOTE: Honey should not be given to a child under one year old.)

Most people are deficient in vitamin D, which helps in fighting infection. It is good to have a vitamin D supplement. 

Vitamin C  and zinc also help in fighting infection. 

If I cook an organic chicken or turkey I save all the bones and make a broth (adding vegetables and herbs while it simmers for 24 hours). The broth is a rich source of minerals that our bodies need. The broth can be canned or frozen.

When I develop a cold, ginger, lemon and garlic are helpful. Ginger tea helps to clear the sinuses. To make ginger tea: grate 2 teaspoons of fresh ginger and simmer in 1 cup of water for 5 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of fresh squeezed lemon juice. Add raw honey to sweeten.

Garlic helps fight viruses and bacteria. I make garlic toast. I cut up 1 or 2 cloves of garlic into fine pieces. I butter the toast and top with the garlic. If this doesn’t appeal the garlic can be added to a spoon of raw honey or applesauce. (This works with children.)

At the same time there are foods that we should limit or avoid when we are ill. Foods with refined flour and sugar reduce vitamin availability; the vitamins are used up metabolizing the refined flour and sugar. Avoid sugar rich sodas, cookies and candies.

When a cold produces a lot of congestion it is wise to avoid dairy products. Dairy products increase the amount of mucous and phlegm. 

Finally, our bodies need rest when we are ill. We live is a busy world. I know that when I was working I sometimes went back to work too soon. We are in a hurry to get better and keep up with our responsibilities. Our bodies need rest to recover. 

The quick fix is appealing, but taking time to give the immune system support is good for improving health and well being.