Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Or Else!

We got a reminder note from the kids' school a few weeks ago.  One of our children was "due" for a booster shot.  Documentation of that booster would be required prior to the start of the next school year.  We were not given the "...or else!" threat that's usually added to school shot notices, but the tone of the letter certainly implied it.  

I'd be lying if I said I didn't let the notice bother me much, but it did bother me.  A lot.  

After rereading the current law - to include the section about vaccine exemptions, I wrote an email to the school nurse.  Knowing what I know about school shots (that in many states they are in fact not a requirement for school entry), I knew just how to respond to the misinformation that the school had sent home with my child. 

Now, I could've gone all Encyclopedia Brown on her citing the law word-for-word.  Or I could've ripped her a new one for bullying my son into getting a vaccine he didn't need (the way the note was worded, he was so worried that he wouldn't be able to return to school in the fall without this booster). But in my email to the nurse, I was kind, cordial, and very respectful.  I did that not just because that's how people should be treated but because this woman, and the staff she works with, will be the first people my child must rely on in an emergency medical situation should there be one on campus.  We need a positive working relationship with the staff, not one full of animosity.

So in my email, I simply asked for clarification.  

Will the exemption that we have on file with the school still be valid for the 2016-17 school year?  If no, I shall provide an updated one promptly.  

Then, I prayed.  Oh, how I prayed.

I haven't had the best of luck with other school nurses, which was one reason why I wrote this piece a few years ago.  Thankfully, the nurse we've been working with recently has been more than helpful, more than knowledgeable, more than understanding, and more than accommodating.  She usually stays abreast of the law, to include recognizing that parents have choices. But she failed to add that in the recent letter that came home.  That's why in my email, besides an 'exercising of my parental rights' notice, it was also a gentle reminder to her:  Psst.  You forgot to mention one of the most important parts of the law - the exemptions!

I waited for her reply all the while praying that not mentioning exemptions was just an oversight. 

It was.  

In her reply the following day, the school nurse apologized for not including all of the information. She also assured me that the current document we had on file would suffice.  




I thanked her, and since I had her attention I added, can you please consider revising the notice that was sent home to include that exemptions are also acceptable as I'm sure other families would appreciate being aware of that information.  She replied that future notices would contain that information.  

We've yet to get any other vaccine-related notices this school year, but I'll be looking for a line that states that parents may certainly submit an exemption in lieu of a booster shot.  I know that other parents are not so fortunate, and my heart breaks for them as I think about the stress they've encountered while trying to advocate for their rights and for their children.  

It is a sad, sad day when threatening another human (forced vaccines) is the norm and when withholding a child's education based on a medical procedure (no shots...or else!) is an acceptable practice.  Shame on those who think that that's okay.  

Because it's not.  

xo, Cat    


Curious which exemptions exist in your state?  Check out this link for information.  

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Dotted Line

After chiming in on a thread with some other moms yesterday, I was reminded of this post.  In that post, I shared some tips for parents who've found themselves face-to-face with a pushy pediatrician. Having been in that situation myself, I'm all too familiar with breaking up with a doctor.  

Saying ¡Adios! to a doctor may not be something that parents ever thought they'd have to do, but I'm finding that more parents are doing just that.  Breaking up is never easy, but when a parent is belittled or when their child's health is on the line, it really isn't too hard to walk away.  
Sometimes, it's the doctor who dismisses the parent and not the other way around.  A mom on another thread mentioned that.  I was discouraged to read that but was encouraged by something I saw when I continued to read - the newly shared document that the VaxXed team has added to their website.  

Not the sign-your-rights-away-form that the AAP wishes parents who question vaccines to sign, the form that the VaxXed team suggests using is for the physician to sign.  

I saw it.  

I liked it.  

If we need it, I'll be using it.  

For those who would like their doctor's "stamp of approval" that all those safe and effective vaccines they want to administer are truly 100% safe and effective, go ahead and ask them to sign that form.  

Be prepared for some backlash if you pull it out of your diaper bag mid-exam, though, but always remember this.  It is you who are ultimately responsible for your child's health, not the doctor, not the vaccine manufacture and certainly not the government who oversees the vaccine program.  

Now, some people are okay with everything that their doctor and that the vaccine program has to offer. They don't need to worry about printing out that new form or this one either.  But for those folks who find themselves in disagreement with their provider or who want to be selective with the vaccines that they are being offered, well, they need other options.  The form found on the VaxXed webpage is a perfect place to start.  

I know some people may lose their spot in their doctor's practice should that form not go over well. After breaking up with the doc, I'd encourage those parents to do some digging.  Make some calls.  Ask your like-minded friends who they see.  Surely someone knows of someone who can help.  Then, choose wisely.  Chose someone who understands the choices you want to make.  Choose someone who respects your parental rights.  Chose a physician who has you and your child's best interest in mind.  They're out there.  And when you find them, if you've chosen wisely, I bet they'll be a perfect fit.        
xo, Cat 

Monday, June 6, 2016

A Family Member Speaks Up about VaxXed

Painfully aware of what's happened to Ronan, extended family members know that vaccines have done more harm than good.  Not every family member is in agreement - and have made that quite clear to us, but a few have quietly supported us through every hurdle, seizure and setback Ronan has experienced.  I don't know if I'll ever be able to fully express how much our their support means to me.  
When I found out that some of our extended family were going to be attending a Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe screening in their area, I cried.  Then I made sure to thank them.  By attending the screening, they jumped out of their comfort zone and bravely spoke up with us.  

One of my favorite photos of Ronan
who's getting a hug from
his favorite Aunt!
After seeing Vaxxed, my sister, who has been one of Ronan's biggest and most vocal cheerleaders over the years, felt called to share her thoughts about the film.  I know that she may get flack for sharing what she did on her FB wall, but she shares as an eye witness to what happened to Ronan.  I can think of no one better to offer such important information than someone who has seen firsthand the negative consequences of vaccines.  

After I read through her post, I asked my sister if I could share it here.  She said yes, and I'm so glad. 

My sister is my best friend.  She's an amazing aunt (and Godmother!) to Ronan and also a great writer.  She's put together some great points - ones that the autism-vaccine community has shared over and over again but ones the mainstream news so quickly glosses over.  

I hope you take time to read through her post (below).  I also hope that you share it.  It's so very well written and should be read by many. 

xo, Cat


From Ronan's aunt:

This weekend I was able to go see the movie Vaxxed, which was followed by a Q&A with the director and the producer. I was both deeply moved by the stories told and deeply disturbed by the information presented. I've been hesitating about whether to say anything about the movie since it involves such a hot button topic, but I've decided that I must. If you don't care to read any more, just keep scrolling past this. If you don't mind reading more, then buckle in. I've compiled a list of reasons why you should go see this movie while you can. 

1. You do understand that a person can have an adverse reaction to a vaccine.

2. You think the science is 100% sound and shouldn't be questioned.

3. You think anyone who questions vaccine safety is a quack.

4. You have ever referred to a vaccine questioning parent as "stupid" but figure maybe it's time to back that name calling up with some info.

5. You think that the manipulation of data has no business in science.

6. You are ok with the manipulation of data if it's for "the greater good."

7. You understand that most people who question vaccines actually know someone who was vaccine injured.

8. You believe that parental rights still mean something, especially with regard to medical procedures with known adverse reactions.

9. You check all the ingredients for every food your child with food allergies may ingest but you've never checked the ingredients of the over 30 shots that a child is supposed to receive by age 6. 

10. You are pregnant or have an infant right now and want more information about why anyone would question vaccine safety.

11. You are African-American and had never heard that the original data of the CDC MMR Autism Study was manipulated to hide the fact that your children are at greater risk of walking away with an autism diagnosis post-MMR shot.

12. You have contemplated using a vaccine exemption...if your state/diocese still allows it.

13. You think it's bullshit that pharmaceutical companies cannot be held liable for any adverse reactions that result from vaccines.

14. You have ever railed against big corporations controlling everything in government but have no problem with big corporations controlling everything in medicine.

And last but not least, you know someone - a best friend, a good friend, a fellow home school mom, a church friend, a former patient's mom, a neighbor, a fellow hockey mom, a high school classmate, a college classmate, me - whose beloved family member was severely vaccine injured. My nephew Ronan, whom I love beyond measure, was severely vaccine injured as a baby. He is still severely vaccine injured as a 13yo. He has seizures, is non-verbal, and requires constant care and supervision 24/7. Like my sister said after she watched the movie, none of this had to happen...but it did.

The movie isn't about the actual products (vaccines); rather, it is about what the CDC did with regard to the manipulation of data involving one particular vaccine. If the CDC was willing to manipulate the data regarding one vaccine, what else are they willing to manipulate?

Information is power. What are you doing to arm yourself?
The film they don't want you to see.