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

UPDATE: News Outlets around the country are reporting on a State of Emergency in Rockland County, New York. From USA today: Starting at midnight, anyone who is under 18 and not vaccinated against measles will be banned from public places. This ban will last until the declaration expires in 30 days or until people are vaccinated. . . . Noncompliance will carry penalties of six months in jail or a $500 fine, although Day said law enforcement would not be deployed at any location seeking proof of vaccination.

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.

Sharing this post with Friendship Friday.

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?

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.

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.

Should We Fear the Measles?

News reports about the measles are appearing in several states including Michigan and New York. The tone of the reports is fearful. It urges everyone to be sure they have been vaccinated . . . unless they were born before 1957.

Everyone born before 1957 is assumed to have natural immunity. I had the measles as a kid, and so did my siblings. We had a fever and a rash. We stayed home from school for a week.

Research indicates that a healthy diet and vitamin A supplementation is beneficial in recovering from this childhood illness. The immune system is put to work, is exercised, and that is beneficial to health. The result is natural immunity.

The development of a vaccine for measles has been considered a great step forward in health care. It might be time to review the science and the long term results from a vaccine that was introduced in the 1960s.

An article in BMJ, a British medical journal, discusses the effects of the measles vaccination program on a population.

There is a fact rarely considered by public health officials: vaccination is not an intervention that eliminates disease exposure for individuals. Vaccination replaces wild exposure with artificial exposure, and they are not equal. We are many decades into mass vaccination campaigns, and it is alarming that instead of the medical and scientific community stepping back to examine the overall impact on public and individual health to see if current strategies should be reevaluated, the focus is on those who question or refuse vaccination.

Science must always be open to questions and re-evaluation.

Dr. Semmelweis argued that hand washing was important for doctors tending to women in childbirth, but it was decades before the truth of his claim was realized.

Women were given thalidomide during pregnancy to treat symptoms and later it was realized that thalidomide caused birth defects.

Hormone replacement therapy was common for women in menopause until a national study showed an increased risk for heart disease and cancer.

Currently the media is bashing people that have concerns about the vaccination schedule. The topic has become so hot that objective discussion seems impossible. For the sake of the children in this country we need to address the concerns and pay attention to independent research (free from conflict of interest).

Sharing this post with Tuesdays with a Twist

Always More to Learn

On Fridays I respond to a writing prompt that Kate Motaung gives. Over the past 24 hours I have mulled over the word given and am finally tapping the keys of my computer. The prompt is: COMPLETE

We spent a week at my daughter’s home—taking care of the grandkids, the dog, the cat & kittens, the fish and the butterflies. We had a good time, although we felt our age.

My daughter and her husband were at a medical conference while we were caring for their household. I thought about what she told me about the conference. She told me that the conference sessions affirmed the choices I had made as a mom when she was a toddler.

When she was 15 months old her health deteriorated after multiple courses of antibiotics and the vaccines given on schedule. I wrote about the stomach pain and the way her speech and behavior regressed after the MMR on this page of my blog.

At the time the pediatrician advised more medications. The gastroenterologist said that I was an over involved mother. He wanted me to admit this child to the hospital, leave her in his care for a week. This doctor told me I should stay home with my other children.

My husband and I took her to a different gastroenterologist who performed an intestinal biopsy while we stayed at the hospital. He said there were red patches on the lining of the intestine but he found nothing that he could diagnose.

During this time I was praying for God’s guidance.

I continued to journal all the meals and snacks that I offered. I wrote down the timing of the episodes of gas and abdominal pain and adjusted her diet.   Through a friend in the  Mothers  of  Twins  Club  I found  an  allergy/alternative medicine doctor. He guided us in treating the food intolerances and choosing supplements that would help.

I am thankful for the answers to prayer.

Now my daughter, as an adult and pediatric nurse practitioner, is grateful for the path we took.

As a nurse I am aware of changes in practice that have occurred because someone challenged accepted practice. It took many years for the importance of hand washing promoted by Dr. Semmelweis to be accepted. He observed that doctors were going from patient to patient and sometimes from an autopsy without washing their hands. He said that the failure to wash hands was causing childbirth fever. Despite the papers that he wrote, the lectures that he gave, he was ignored by many in the medical profession.

When I started working in labor and delivery making a cut in the pelvic floor—an episiotomy—during delivery was routine. Midwives have shown the benefit of delivering without an episiotomy. Routine episiotomy is no longer the rule.

Antibiotics were introduced in the 1940s. They successfully treated infections and before long they were being over prescribed. It took many years for the medical profession to see the effects of the over use of antibiotics.

Science is never complete. There is always more to learn.

Visit the Five Minute Five Community here

Two Different Viewpoints on Faulty Vaccines

On July 27ththe Wall Street Journal published an article titled China’s Vaccine Scandal. Parents in China have led protests on behalf of their children. I read through the article noting several paragraphs.
     Over the past couple of weeks parents in China have learned that a compulsory public-health program injected an unknown number of children with substandard vaccines. They are understandably furious.  . . .
     Chinese are particularly angry because similar cases have happened in recent years, followed by promises to crack down. In 2010 and 2013 hundreds of children were hospitalized and several died from faulty vaccines. Chinese companies have used official connections to avoid accountability for producing a range of defective products that kill and maim.

Today, July 31st, The New York Times published an article titled Angry Parents Protest in China Over Bad Vaccines for Children. The tone and conclusion of this article was a little different. Here are a few paragraphs:
     The protest followed reports this month that hundreds of thousands of children across China had been injected with faulty vaccines for diptheria, tetanus and whooping cough. . . .
     While the vaccines were not harmful, officials say, they left children at risk of contracting illnesses that they should have been protected against. . . .
     Public officials say that the problems at the two companies [pharmaceuticals] could lead to a broader backlash against vaccines in China, where an aggressive immunization effort in recent decades has helped eliminate polio and drastically reduce the spread of other diseases.

These two articles demonstrate different perspectives on the same situation. Vaccine safety is extremely important issue. I pray that the government in the United States would look carefully at vaccine safety. The pharmaceuticals have been relieved of any liability for harm to children. Who is going to make sure that profit doesn’t become more important than the health of children?

Required Vaccine Safety Reports Were Not Done

Parents have differing opinions about childhood vaccines. That is okay. I am a nurse and my children received the recommended vaccines in the 1980s and 1990s. But my daughter had vaccine reactions and eventually developed fibromyalgia.

Because of my family’s experience with vaccine reactions I support informed consent and parent involvement in decisions about vaccines.

It is good to understand the history behind our current vaccination program. In 1986 the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act was passed. So many lawsuits were taking place because of vaccine injuries that pharmaceuticals were relieved of any liability. Instead the government would compensate for vaccine injuries. More than 3.7 billion dollars has been paid out through this program.

Robert F. Kennedy has spent years researching vaccines, the ingredients in vaccines and the impact on childrens’ health. He looked at the law that was passed in 1986 and realized that the law included a mandate for improved  vaccine safety. The law required that the department of Health and Human Services submit reports to congress regarding the studies done and progress made for safer vaccines.

In August of 2017 a FOIA request was made for these reports. The result of the FOIA request for these reports has been made public. The reports cannot be found. It appears that they were never done.

Today the prompt for Five Minute Friday is: DONE

Viewpoint of Alternative Science: Breast-feeding is Unnatural

Cathy Areu was a guest on Tucker Carlson Friday night. She argued that breastfeeding was not natural because it put too much pressure on a woman to feed her baby. She insisted that it was natural for a dad to feed the infant formula. She referenced a recent “study”.

I watched the astonished expression on Tucker’s face as she made her case. Lol.

The argument was so bizarre that I looked for the study on-line. Ms. Areu was referring to an article that was published by Heatstreet on April 26, 2017. The article, “Study: Describing Breastfeeding as ‘Natural’ Is Unethical Because It Reinforces Gender Roles” was written by Jillian Kay Melchior. She writes:

It’s “ethically inappropriate” for government and medical organizations to describe breastfeeding as “natural” because the term enforces rigid notions about gender roles, claims a new study in Pediatrics

I checked the link to Pediatrics and found the opinion piece that was published on April 1, 2016, a little over a year ago. Not a recent study.  The article,  “Unintended Consequences of Invoking the “Natural” in Breastfeeding  Promotion,” * was written by Jessica Martucci and Anne Barnhill.

They wrote: Promoting breastfeeding as “natural” may be ethically problematic, and, even more troublingly, it may bolster this belief that “natural” approaches are presumptively healthier. This may ultimately challenge public health’s aims in other contexts, particularly childhood vaccination.

This perspective really startled me. I looked for other viewpoints. CNN had an article about the study and I was grateful that they included an opposing view. Carina Storrs authored the piece entitled, “Are there unintended consequences to calling breast-feeding ‘natural’?”

In her article she included this quote: “(The authors) are using this article to label the breast-feeding group in a very negative way, and to equate breast-feeding with people who don’t want to take immunizations,” said Eidelman, who was lead author of the 2012 AAP policy statement on breast-feeding.

It was troubling to me that, in the Pediatrics article, assumptions were being made about women who breast-feed and women who have questions about vaccines. It is true that some parents are reluctant to vaccinate their child because their child was injured by a vaccine.   Some have studied the issue and are concerned about the risks.    They have   legitimate concerns. The vaccine controversy will not go away by labeling people and denigrating them.

Wow! Over the next few hours I kept thinking about the dismissal of breastfeeding. We know that breast milk has immune factors that formula cannot provide. We know that it is most easily digested and absorbed by an infant. It is recommended that a mother breastfeed her infant for six months to avoid food allergies. The benefits are too many to enumerate.

Breastfeeding

I found that I agreed with one statement that Ms. Areu made. Breastfeeding is hard. The first time a woman breastfeeds she needs support and guidance. But her labor and birth experience have also had an impact .

My observation as a labor/delivery nurse is that the interventions that take place in the hospital can influence the breastfeeding experience. Medications given to induce labor and for pain management can have negative side effects. Women that have cesarean sections have a more difficult time establishing breastfeeding.

How soon the baby is placed in the mother’s arms (hopefully skin to skin in the first hour of life) influences early success in breastfeeding. If the mother has been traumatized by the manner of birth, breastfeeding may be more difficult to establish.

As I tried to understand the upside-down way of thinking that Ms. Areu was demonstrating I wondered what has happened to science.

Are we being asked to consider all medical interventions as natural? When we observe normal physiology and gain practical insights, are these unnatural?

I am sad because the turmoil in science and medicine is only making it hard on parents. My hope is that the medical community will listen to the concerns parents have and treat them with respect.

If you found this article interesting I hope you will visit my Facebook page.

*Jessica Martucci and Ann Barnhill, “Unintended Consequences of Invoking the “Natural” in Breastfeeding Promotion”, PEDIATRICS Vol. 137 No. 4 April 01, 2016