For a person of many words, I have to say, words to describe my feelings right now are somewhat elusive.
It started this weekend when I opened my facebook page to see a young man well known in the vaccine safety community lost his battle with vaccine injury. I don’t know this young man or his family personally, but am all too familiar with vaccine injury and the devastation it can cause. As I scrolled through and saw post after post, I found myself not even reading. I mean, as the Executive Director of Texans for Vaccine Choice, it’s just another day for me. The stories are never-ending. I have found myself, quite honestly, becoming numb to them.
There is not a day that goes by that I am not approached by, or my path doesn’t cross with someone who has been affected by vaccine injury in one way or another. Just a few days ago it was my lovely barista. She had noticed some TFVC material and asked what it was about. I gave her the quick run down on the organization and she shared her story of her child who had a severe reaction to his vaccines which landed him hospitalized with seizures. As she stood there with tears running down her face, I sincerely prayed for God to never let me become desensitized to the hurt and pain so many experience.
Yet I open up my Facebook just days later to see yet another tragedy and to realize I have done just that – scrolled on by. Numb.
In a conversation with my 14-year-old son, he pointed out, “Mom, we can’t go anywhere without a story of sick children. I can hardly take it. How many children have to be affected before people wake up?” I find myself thinking back to my journey and secretly saying to him, “This fight is JUST getting started.” And I find myself bitter and angry and sad, guilty of turning a blind eye or becoming desensitized to it all.
Years ago I shared a conversation with a friend that quite honestly broke my heart and left me shattered. It was my youngest daughter’s birthday party and right as the celebration started, a friend openly joked “I GOT MY FLU SHOT and I TURNED OUT JUST FINE!”
Well, lucky you. Because guess what? MY CHILD DID NOT. I was a FULLY-VACCINATING-TRUST-THE-CDC-AND-MY-PEDIATRICIAN Mama, and MY child DIDN’T TURN OUT OKAY.
I cried about it and I ultimately lovingly confronted this friend, who was sincerely apologetic for her comments. I explained to HER this analogy:
Say you leave here today and you are hit by a drunk driver. Your child, in an instant, is robbed of her life as you know it. She becomes disabled, reliant on you for the rest of her life. Your family is broken, financially devastated, and you are left picking up the pieces. As you struggle to put things back as best as you can – all while feeling alone and isolated – I call you and nonchalantly joke with you about how I drink alcohol often, but have never crashed!! Lucky me, right?
I explained that I am not opposed to her getting any vaccine she deemed appropriate for herself or her children, but joking about how “lucky” she is just WASN’T appropriate in any way, shape, or form. Ever. It’s a glaring example of the complete and utter disregard we have for families whose lives have been destroyed by a vaccine injury.
Let’s replace vaccine injury with chicken pox. If a child got chicken pox that led to a brain injury and permanent disabilty, what sort of treatment would that child receive from their community? Would that child become the punch line of late night TV host? Never. Would the parents be called quacks and mocked by their community? Never. Would medical professionals turn a blind eye and refuse to acknowledge just the possibility maybe the disease caused the injury? Of course not.
One must question WHY that’s precisely what we have done with vaccine injury. It’s anything and everything BUT the vaccine.
I, if I had the time and energy, could sit here all day long and reference article after article, blog after blog, story after story of offensive attacks on our families and our children and the blatant attempt to marginalize, discredit, and even poke fun at our children and our stories. I could reference all day the long history of problems in the vaccine industry & in the marketing plan of the pharmaceutical companies. I could go on and on and on about the 1986 law that catapulted many of these predicaments we have found ourselves in today. But that’s not the point of this blog.
So, here I sit. Praying to God for forgiveness for becoming numb to it. For not looking at each life and each story passionately and lovingly. Praying for a fire to burn so thick that the flaming passion to fight NEVER goes out, fiercely defending our community.
Here I sit, praying to God to never let ME take MY health or the health of those I love for granted. As the parent of a medically dependent, vaccine injured child with special needs, as a parent of two other neurotypical children, may I cherish every blessing of health and progress that comes our way. I pray that those who have healthy neutotypical children never take it for granted. I pray as a society that we indeed create a culture of life that honors and respects individuals, including those who have been injured by vaccines.
Rest in Peace, sweet Colton. I never knew you personally, but for you and all the families affected, I will fight. Fiercely, prayerfully, and unapologetically.
With love and gratitude,