Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Potential Vaccine Schedule (Selective & Delayed)

EDIT:  April 16, 2014
I continue to get a fair bit of traffic on this post, and several folks have asked me for an update. I leave this original post with all its edits as a testatment to my own "journey." It really has been a journey, one of growth & movement, not of stasis.

I've gone from "vaccines are awesome and make us so much healthier" to "wow... 40 vaccines in two years really seems intense, and giving more than one at a time kind of seems a bad idea" to "I think we'll wait until after their brain and immune systems are more developed (so after age 2)" to "vaccines are less important to health than gut health, proper nutrition- especially fat-soluble vitamins-and a strong immune system, and don't work as well as they claim to, so let's focus on the latter" (where I was as I wrote the above posts) to "vaccines have really dangerous side-effects that are far more common than ever thought- including ADD, ASD, asthma, allergies & other auto-immune failures, and wow, are they adequately safety-tested?" to "vaccines actually assault gut health and immune systems and are pushed by biased people who stand to gain from vaccine adoption, and why aren't they truly safety tested at all." As it standsI veiw vaccination is a last resort, even then it would be with MUCH precaution (vitamin loading, detoxing, and PRAYER). Most probable are the mumps & varicella vaccines before puberty if we can't find the natural diseases somewhere. (Interestingly there was a recent outbreak of mumps at Rutgers University... all of the young adults who got it were fully vaccinated.)

In your own journey, you may want to think through the role of hygiene & nutrition in the decline of "vaccine-preventable illness" as WELL AS the decline of diseases that aren't vaxed against (if vaccines are so essential, why did cholera & typhoid also decline at the same time as diptheria?); to read the vaccine failure rates (80% of kids with whooping cough are fully vaxed- the flu shot has a dismal 1% improvement rate-- vitaming D has 8%); also to read the vaccine clinical trials and assess whether you find their "control" group acceptable (never is the "control" group of children given a saline injection or a sugar pill; they are ALWAYS given another vaccine, making it very difficult to assess true effects, and the trials are seldom blind. Double-blind controlled studies are "the gold standard" in science.). You may want to research conflicts of interest in our own CDC... honestly, do we really trust our government in the health field at all? they've had fat & sugar all wrong for the past 50 years and sure look down on nutrition & herbalism! Lastly, two more books to read are Gut & Psychology Syndrome (Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride) and Healing the New Childhood Epidemics (Dr. Kenneth Bock) which come at vaccine risks from oblique angles. Both doctors are still pro-vaccine by the end of it, but they say they should only be administered to healthy kids, and by their own standards, we really don't have very many healthy kids in the US!!

Vaccines are the "sacred ow" of the medical field right now. I don't think most doctors are actually taught about vaccines-- more along the lines of "vaccines are awesome; moving on." (I have yet to meet a pediatrician who understood any of the many reasons why parents might object to our current schedule; no, it's not just about "that one crazy Wakefield guy whose autism research was totally disproved." Sigh.)

The more I read about vaccines, the more I find them to be the absolute opposite of everything we know about caring for our bodies: they are the complete antithesis of natural. We NEVER get diseases injected directly into our bloodstream; much less falsely weakened diseases paired with heavy metals, antibiotics & known poisons. Our bodies are primed to screen pathogens through several "barrier levels:" skin w its protective bacteria & acid mantle; mucous membranes with their legions of white blood cells; stomach with its HCl; gut with its probiotics galore. And then we are programmed to fight disease quite effectively, if properly supported; and once we get one disease, it's usually the last time we ever will. By contrast to vaccines, the more I study herbs, the more impressed I am that this is the route we SHOULD be pursuing; using natural elements that our bodies recognize, taken in ways that our body can use-- aroma, contact, ingestion-- NOT injection. I keep seeing studies pop up along these lines-- curcurmin in turmeric being more effective than the Pc at preventing lung disease; vitamin D from food & sun being more effective than the flu shot... Why aren't we pouring our efforts into studying THOSE! Seems like the classic egg v. egg-substitute or butter v. margarine mistake. We keep thinking we can out-do God instead of figuring out how to better use what He's already given us.  

As a final resource, I highly recommend Rachel Weaver's books "Be Your own 'Doctor'" and "Be Your Child's Pediatrician"-- she's a master herbalist/midwife. We've seen simple herbs cleanse our son of parasites we didn't even know he had (and suddenly end his constant congestion) and heal the eczema our daughter been fighting for years in a matter of 2 weeks. I've seen a friend's baby come back from the brink of death (intubated in the hospital) with the application of herbal extracts (essential oils) -- he coughed up the mucus that was choking him to death within seconds of application, and was extubated & heading home the next day. It's just amazing. God is so much smarter than us; the best we can hope to do is figure out how to use what He's made-- the glory of God to conceal a matter; the glory of man is to seek them out, as Proverbs puts it!

Today (originally 11/16/10), I'm putting up an acceptable (to me) vaccine schedule.  As a bonus, you get to see my reading list.

Tomorrow, I'll put up an explanation for why we are thinking this way, with questions for you to consider as you make your own family vaccine schedule.

Then, on Friday, you'll be able to read (if you want) a detailed "paper" of sorts going in more technical/ medical detail.

That's the plan- short & sweet, then a "Questions to Ask" guide, then finally the full shebang which you are under NO obligation to read. :)  It's written mainly for my own peace of mind (I actually like writing papers), but our family doctor will be getting a copy, and I *might* try to do more with it if I think it's good enough.  EDIT:  this became my 3-part series on Keeper of the Home.  I have uploaded the full Q & As on chicken-pox & polio, and abbreviated ones for all the possible shots.

So, without further ado, here is it is: (DTaP 4 doses, Pc 2 doses, Hib 1 dose):

12 mos--DTaP Dose 1 (can provide partial immunity against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough/pertussis)
15 mos--  Pc Dose 1 (can provide partial immunity against meningitis)
18 mos-- Hib sole dose (can provide partial immunity against meningitis)- no further doses needed if given after/at age 15 mos.
2 yrs- Pc Dose 2- no further doses needed if first dose given at/after age 12 mos.
3 yrs- DTaP Dose 3
4 years- DTaP Dose 4 (no further doses needed if given at/after age 4)

10 years- MMR & varicella vaccines, separated by at least 6 mos, only IF our kids don't get chicken pox (varicella), and rubella (German measles) naturally.  We're hoping to catch the live versions, so if you have a kid down with any of those, invite us over!! :)

(We do not plan on getting flu, Hep B or A, rotavirus, HPV or IPV vaccines.)

**Edit September 2011- because of sickness, we have held off on several vaccines and will be even more delayed; I'd rather not further tax my daughter's immune system when it is already fighting off a virus, even if it's "just a little cold."  I am also seriously considering completely skipping the DTaP completely with our next child(ren), due to the danger & relative uselessness (if the current epidemic is any indication) of the pertussis components  (don't really care so much either way about the diptheria elements).  However, because tetanus is a real danger and there are no vaccines available before age 2, I am making myself aware of which hospitals/treatment centers have TIG (tetanus immune globulin) on hand in the event of an accident before my children are old enough to get the single tetanus vax.  Proper wound cleaning & care is the best defense against tetanus... and keeping an eye on my baby while at the park.

Reading list:
The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child (Sears Parenting Library)-by Bob Sears (though he has an alternative schedule, he is fundamentally FOR vaccines)
Vaccinated: One Man's Quest to Defeat the World's Deadliest Diseases- by Paul Offit (essentially a biography of the man who made many of the vaccines still used today- gives a lot of insights into his world view, motives & motivations)
Vaccines: What Every Parent Should Know-Paul Offit & Louis M. Bell (try not to let its oversimplified tone insult your intelligence so much that you throw it away after one chapter)
CDC Vaccine Guide

The Vaccine Guide: Risks and Benefits for Children and Adults- by Randall Neustaedter
The Virus and the Vaccine: Contaminated Vaccine, Deadly Cancers, and Government Neglect-
 by Debbie Bookchin & Jim Schumacher
Make an Informed Vaccine Decision for the Health of Your Child: A Parent's Guide to Childhood Shotsby Mayer Eisenstein
"A User-Friendly Vaccination Schedule" by Donald W. Miller, Jr.
"The Danger of Excessive Vaccination During Brain Development" by Russel L. Blaylock
"The Challenge to Mass Vaccination" by Barbara Loe Fisher
"How We Are Making our Children Sick," by Sean Manning, in Pathways, issue 20
"A Personal Perspective on Vaccination,"by Jean McAulay in August/Sept 2008 of Today's Chiropractic Lifestyle

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Life in Crazy Land

This captures my day so well
In case you hadn't heard, our lives are crazy full right now over Chez Szrama.  In addition to our own precious kiddos growing and getting into all sorts of fun, we are hosting two extras kiddos (from within my extended family) while their mama gets some stuff sorted out.  V just turned 6 and is in kindergarten, while A is 3 and a half.  I also still nanny for L, who just turned 2, 3-ish days a week.  So, what's life like with 5 kiddos underfoot?

Well, it's busy.

But I'm living my dream. :)  Since the time I was very small, I dreamed of running a house full of children, especially children who needed extra love.  As a teenager I wrote imaginary Christmas newsletters updating my future friends on all my imaginary children year to year. (Ryan still hasn't read these.  Babe, you knew I wasn't normal when you married me, sorry.)  Working with children is something the Lord keeps leading me to; I've been told I'm good at it, and it brings me great joy.  So I'm over the moon.  Having kids simultaneously napping all over our house also kind of makes me feel like I have my favorite super power of sleep-induction.  Maybe I should see a psychologist.

In all seriousness, one of my favorite Bible verses is Psalm 68:6-
"He sets the lonely within families; He leads out the prisoners with singing, but the rebellious shall live in a sun-scorched land."  
I love being a part of fulfilling that verse, whether it was by bringing home college friends for Sunday dinner, sharing the Gospel with hurting people, welcoming old friends to our family table no matter what our food budget was, or now by tucking in two more at bedtime.

Also, we knew this was something God wanted from us.  When we became aware of the girls' situation, both Ryan and I immediately wanted to say "yes."  When Ryan and I agree on anything, that's kind of a divine sign. :)  (Especially if it involves me saying "yes" to anything... Ryan's usually my "let someone ELSE say yes-- you can't do it all!" coach.)  And as countless before me have experienced, when He calls, He enables.

Even youths grow tired and weary; young men stumble and fall.  But those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength; they will rise up on wings, like eagles.  They will run & not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.  Isaiah 40

Our day to day routine starts like this:
6:45 ish- roll out of bed & into my bathrobe, get downstairs to start making V's lunch and commence breakfast.
7- rouse V and get her to start dressing herself through any manner of threat and coersion  (Of course on Saturdays this is reversed and she wakes up raring to go.  God's sense of humor is kind of sick sometimes.) As she eats, I do her hair, cook breaskfast for everyone else, make my coffee, pack her lunch, write her a little note, and review our memory verse.
7:40- Ryan takes V to school, which is mercifully 5 minutes away from us on foot.
8- the other prisoners (ie Eowyn, William & A) are allowed out of their beds and begin munching.  Usually during breakfast L gets dropped off.  (If you're wondering at what point I take my shower and get dressed... ummm, yeah... I haven't really figured out how that fits in, either.)

Since Classical Conversations is over for the school year, we are settling into a homeschool routine that we like.  I aim to do "circle time" with everyone 3 days a week, followed by a math lesson (A kind of tags along and the boys make general mischief).  I get the girls at the table to work on handwriting (E) and number/letter/color/shape recognition (A).  Wednesdays we head to dance for E, during which I get to Zumba (the other kids try it too), then library story time, then lunch at Nina (my mom)'s.  E & I do one lesson in Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons about 3-4 days a week.  E is enjoying experiments with TOPS Get a Grip math supplement... during lunch we work on Bible verses from My ABC Bible Verses.  There is a lot of playing.  E is LOVING having sisters!  The little boys absolutely adore each other and come up with games of their own invention (such as the "ow" game, where they pretend to knock their heads against a hard surface, intoning "owwww" and laughing uproariously).  Another favorite is "Jump," in which case one or both of them hauls any object-- stool, book, beanbag, anything else Mom hasn't yet confiscated-- to the middle of the floor, and they jump off of it.  Repeatedly.  We head to parks pretty often, too.

Everyone naps between 1 & 2 (well, E naps every other day or so-- the off days she picks a quiet activity and plays ALONE as long as others are sleeping).  Usually that includes me.  Ryan brings V home around 3, and she goes straight to the kitchen table for a snack and homework.  I often make us some tea to share and she's starting to learn how to tell me about her day.  Her situation has made her quite behind academically, so we started at the beginning of TYCTR and have done one lesson each school day.  Then I coach her in handwriting, drill some sight words, and if E isn't napping, we do a number or word game together.

By this point usually some of the kids are awake and if it's remotely sunny they are clamoring to go outside.  This is where my life is much easier in some ways than it used to be. THEY ALL PLAY TOGETHER!!  Outside they troupe, usually first to ride bikes/push each other in the stroller/ pull each other in the wagon, and then they transition to some form of story-play.  Last week they've been poor people looking for a home, mother birds sitting on nests, Easter bunnies hiding eggs, mommies visiting each other, or cafe vendors selling smoothies & coffee.  Liam just wants to play basketball.  I try to interact with them a bit-- reading books aloud to everyone, playing, pushing or pulling on bikes, doing sidewalk chalk art, acting out a fairy tale (we really like the Three Billy Goats Gruff).  L's mama comes around this time and whisks him away; often we chat for a while (or a long while =D).

I make dinner... I've learned to get the kids started cleaning up earlier so it's done by dinner time.  They clamor to help me set the table and I let them.  We try to eat by 6:30 but we often are late-- either I haven't gotten my act together or Ryan works late.  Dinner is chaos... between our anorexic, highchair-hating-toddler (that would be Liam), an incredibly slow eater, kids still needing various degrees of help, trying to hear about everyone's day and a sudden advent of eye-ball-popping-out and poop-related stories... dinner is not for the faint of heart.  And just about every night amidst all the craziness and me giving someone the evil eye my heart just melts and I tell Ryan "oh please, when can we have some more?"

Dinner is swiftly followed by bed time.  That is one thing that DOES take longer the more kids you have!! Right now we are preparing for Easter with our Resurrection Eggs, which I love doing with the kids.  I am amazed at how much Liam loves them!  He begs to open "eggies" throughout the day, squeals with delight as each is opened, and is a generally enthusiastic nuisance the whole time they are out.  Hopefully he's learning something.  The girls are certainly starting to grasp the narrative of Passion week, and I pray that the reality of the Atonement sinks in.

Once eggs are opened and closed, Ryan takes over.  He supervises teeth-brushing, PJs & final potty-ing, and then reads them a Bible story.  We are into the NT in The Jesus Story Book Bible.  He sings & prays with them.  Meanwhile, I take Liam & get him into his PJs and we have our own little bedtime routine.  He asks for "che-che" and "Bobo" and I tell him "no!  Che che is yuck!"  He laughs and says "no!  che che is NUMMM!!!" (his version of "yum), or he will tell me "Mama, che-che is yuck" and then laugh and correct himself.  Once he's all dressed and holding as many lovies as he can cram into his arms, I settle into our glider to rock and nurse him to sleep.  I love the chance to snuggle him and smell that sweet little-boy smell.  He is getting so big and I know these days are numbered.

Once he's drowsy or asleep, I plop him in bed (well.... sometimes I might read an extra article online or comment on FB...) and make the rounds of kissing the girls & tucking them all in. Usually they're all waiting up for me.  E usually has some minor medical emergency like a hangnail or toeache or scratch requiring a band-aid...

That's pretty much how it goes!

they played "Doggy" in their self-made "cage" for hours
Don't get me wrong; there are times when I basically just tell everyone to sit down and stop talking... when I tell them that the next person who tattles gets to live outside... when I realize I've been ignoring "Mom! Mom! Mom!" for about 10 minutes... when I realize it's been a week since I opened my Bible... when I just want to be by myself for a whole 5 minutes... when I call my sister and add a topic to our "Least Favorite Ways to Spend My Time" list... when I lose it and shout and sin against my children... when I realize I've made the wrong call and need to backtrack... But overall, this is a good life.  It's a busy season, but it's one I'm enjoying.

We are being blessed by so many others, too.  Our extended family helps with the kids in countless ways; pitching in to get them to and fro, keeping them overnight so Ryan & I can get some us-time, bringing us meals, helping with chores.  We also have been so well-served by our brothers & sisters in Christ -- for the first three weeks after we got the girls, my cooking consisted of re-heating meals others had made.  People have brought over bags of hand-me-downs, given us bikes & toys, welcomed us with all our craziness, and come over and helped us clean.  It's so cool to be at the center of God's plan for His people to serve women & children in need ("widows & orphans")... you get a lot of tangential blessings, to put it geometrically. =D

And let me close with a "plug" for the Daddy of this crazy family.  If our family "tone" is of welcome and friendship, it's because he leads in it.  He excels at entering into people's stories and loving them in them.  He's also been amazing at doing lots of dishes and making sure I don't go insane.  I married a keeper.  =D

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Thoughts on the "Parents, You've Been Lied To" Articles.

My thoughts on the back-and-forth
A pro-vaccine article has been circulating lately; you may have seen it, entitled "Dear Parents, You Are Being Lied To."  Hosted on the Illustrious "I F-ing Love Science" page, authored by "Anonymous," you can tell it's a real winner... a friend asked for my thoughts on it, so here are a few thoughts as well as some links you can check out to do your own research.  [An excellent, well-supported (full of links!!) rebuttal can be found here:  "Dear Parents, you are being lied to."]

- The article title begs the question-- who, exactly, is doing the lying?  The article never says... because makes no sense. There is no organized "they" who is financially or otherwise served by sending out lies... People who are cautious about vaccines or doubtful that they are worth their inherent risk (all drugs have risk & side effects) have either seen negative effects of vaccines first-hand or they've been researchers who changed their minds as they read for themselves. People who don't view vaccines as the modern savior are generally challenged at every turn & very much in the minority. On the flipside, there is a very strong bias-pressure to love vaccines, with our own CDC almost completely composed of men & women employed by vaccine manufacturing companies. There is a definite group of people who stand to gain by encouraging vaccines. Parents who choose not to face many obstacles, and health professionals who speak out face even more.  Here is a great article comparing the vaccine-SIDS question to the x-ray-cancer question a generation ago.

- The "measles outbreak" that caused such a hubbub was at the time of the outbreak, 8 kids... none of whom died. The totals for measles the entire year for the entire US last year was under 200... hardly the panic-worthy epidemic the media implies. Measles IS very mild in healthy kids; comparing it to measles in malnourished kids is totally unfair. It's documented that a Vitamin A deficiency (a fat-soluble vitamin, so one lacking in any starvation, carb-heavy, diet) makes measles far more serious. In normal kids it's usually about as "serious" as a cold...
"Several recent investigations have indicated that vitamin A treatment of children with measles in developing countries has been associated with reductions in morbidity and mortality. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) issued a joint statement recommending that vitamin A be administered to all children diagnosed with measles in communities where vitamin A deficiency is a recognized problem and where mortality related to measles is ≥1%. [...] Vitamin A is a necessary substrate for preserving epithelial cell integrity and in addition plays a role in immune modulation." (Study: "Vitamin A Treatment of Measles")
"Vitamin A deficiency is a recognized risk factor for severe measles infections." (Study: "Vitamin A for Treating Measles in Children") 

- As far as safety tests go, there are NO-- literally zero-- vaccine studies where there is a vaccine-free control group. All required shots are tested against another shot, never against a placebo (with the exception of the flu shot). So these tests can only say that a shot is more or less safe or effective than another shot... a true double-blind study with a control group is the "gold standard" of science. Also, vaccines have never been tested in conjunction with one another; they are tested one at a time, though they are administered 5 at a time (or more), and in quick succession (within a few short months of each other-- we'd expect someone who had a cold and then got the flu and then got strep to react to each differently than a person who just got strep). There is no safety data at all on the type of administration that is the recommended norm here in the US.  Two recent studies have found correlations in infant death and vaccine numbers:

"The US childhood immunization schedule requires 26 vaccine doses for infants aged less than 1 year, the most in the world, yet 33 nations have better infant mortality rates (IMRs). Using linear regression, the immunization schedules of these 34 nations were examined and a correlation coefficient of 0.70 (p < 0.0001) was found between IMRs and the number of vaccine doses routinely given to infants. [...] These findings demonstrate a counter-intuitive relationship: nations that require more vaccine doses tend to have higher infant mortality rates." (Source-- this study examined infant deaths relative to number of total vaccines recommended) 

"Our findings show a positive correlation between the number of vaccine doses administered and the percentage of hospitalizations and deaths reported to VAERS. In addition, younger infants were significantly more likely than older infants to be hospitalized or die after receiving vaccines. Since vaccines are administered to millions of infants every year, it is imperative that health authorities have scientific data from synergistic toxicity studies on all combinations of vaccines that infants are likely to receive; universal vaccine recommendations must be supported by such studies."  (Source-- this study examined infant hospitalizations & death relative to number of simultaneous vaccines received)
- As to WHY there are no studies comparing vaccinated & unvaccinated kids,vaccines are considered so essential to safety that to withhold them -- even on tests intended to ascertain whether they are indeed essential to safety-- is seen as "unethical." Talk about the cart before the horse! However, many parental groups have offered up their members as volunteers, because they already intend to not vaccinate.  Populations who refuse to vaccinate for religious reasons, such as the Amish, would be valid control groups, or for a new vaccine, even children otherwise vaccinated but receiving a placebo for that new shot (which is clearly not proven to be effective or safe!) would be acceptable. Or, start with a retrospective survey of matched groups of children, controlled for other variables, with the variable being full vaccination or no vaccination... so long as the study participation was in no way tied to the government (due to fear of punitive action over differing medical opinion being viewed as "parental neglect"-- Justina Pelletier, anyone?), most parents who have foregone vaccines would jump at the chance to participate!!  If I can imagine three scenarios for true placebo-controlled studies, why can't professional researchers who make scientific investigation their full-time jobs come up with even one?

-  Funding for studies coming from a vaccine manufacturer tends to bias results.  As an example, a recent Cochrane review of all the data on flu shots found that studies sponsored by vaccine companies tended to be more favorable than those done by independent parties. Third-party-researchers do exist-- or teams made up of both "special interest" (vaccine-cautionary) and pharmaceutical (pro-vaccine) representatives could do it. There are a hundred feasible ways that fair testing could be done.  While all researchers SHOULD be trying to disprove their hypothesis, in reality most are likely to attempt to affirm their own beliefs. However anything that comes up with a vaccine-cautionary bent will face much more scrutiny than anything done in "support" of the majority opinion.

"This review includes trials funded by industry. An earlier systematic review of 274 influenza vaccine studies published up to 2007 found industry-funded studies were published in more prestigious journals and cited more than other studies independently from methodological quality and size. Studies funded from public sources were significantly less likely to report conclusions favourable to the vaccines. The review showed that reliable evidence on influenza vaccines is thin but there is evidence of widespread manipulation of conclusions and spurious notoriety of the studies. The content and conclusions of this review should be interpreted in the light of this finding." (Source-- Cochrane Review on Vaccines for Preventing the Flu in Healthy Children")

- Speaking of funding... does it not strike you as odd that drug companies only agreed to make vaccines (drugs) if they were financially shielded from any safety-related lawsuits?  If an automobile maker would only sell a type of car under the condition that they didn't have to pay any damages if it malfunctioned, we'd probably assume there was something wrong with the car!  This piece makes the excellent case that, in the words of pharmaceutical companies themselves, vaccines are "unavoidably unsafe."

- A final word regarding specifically the investigation of a link between autism and vaccines.  It is lunacy to say there is "no found link."  Just read a few of the studies amassed here (a fairly exhaustive list of research done on vaccines & their long-term effects, specifically ASD).  There is research on many aspects of this issue, and none show "no link."