If you’ve been around Many Hats Mommy for a while, you know I pretty much stay away from political stuff. I just don’t have the energy to deal with figuring it all out and the snarky comments that could come my way. Fibromyalgia, autism, parenting, and life in general occupy my time.
Dr. J was never vaccinated, so that is not the cause of his autism. However, I cannot discount those who have watched their children disappear after a series of shots. Therefore, I’d like to honor those families. Here is one story. John is the son of my dear friend Cheryl. He is now 19, and Cheryl has been a true warrior mom to get her son where he is today. I’m sure she had many moments over the last 17 years when she felt like giving up.
I know many people who are thankful she didn’t. Here’s part one of John’s story.
Life was rocking on quite nicely going into the start of John’s second year of life. Just days before John’s first birthday I was in Walmart, John was in the shopping cart facing me and all of the sudden he pointed upward and said “Momma, kitty cat…mmmeeeeoooww… kitty cat!!” His face shining with delight and I turned to see John pointing to a bolt of fabric hanging from a back wall, grey with little brown and white kitty cat faces on the fabric. I looked back at John and wondered how he had seen it from so far way. I looked at his sweet smiling face and thanked God for this smart little guy, and I knew the next year would be one full of adventures and fun.
John may be physically slow from the mild cerebral palsy, but he sure was on top of other skills. There was no way I could have known then, every word John said I would cherish and hold onto long after his voice was gone. There was no way I could have known that the simple act of pointing would become a skill I would have to teach him over and over. John turned one with the normal fanfare of family birthday party and gifts.
That night I was bathing John and watching the bath water swirl around my happy son. His face glowing with happiness, laughing and playing with his new bath time toys. I felt so happy and so excited to embark on the journey of the next year with John. Babies change greatly that first year and the second year brings many new skills and everyday is an adventure in learning. I was so excited to have a second son to raise and enjoy. Nothing could spoil this wonderful feeling of Motherhood; it would just be one exciting day after the over. Boy was I wrong, oh was I ever wrong.
It would be in that year after John’s first birthday that things would start to change from normal to strange. John was still struggling with his gross motor skills, but his fine motor skills where nothing short of amazing. John loved to draw and had a knack for drawing tiny circles and working puzzles. Like most boys between one and two he developed a love for race cars and Thomas the Tank Engine. We lived near a rail road track and I often took him to watch the train that he called Thomas. John grew stronger in his ability to pull up stand and walk. It would be at his fifteen month check up and routine vaccination that I questioned why he had lost skills in the first place. I questioned the vaccines and was reminded that I didn’t want my son to get sick now that he seemed to be doing better. No, no I did not.
But I also did not know that was exactly what would happen in the next three months. I didn’t know that children were starting to develop issues shortly after multi vaccines, nor did I know that for some the MMR is a straw that breaks the health of select children and sends them into a head first dive into autism.
John developed an extreme diarrhea problem within hours of that last set of shots. He developed an odd rash that covered his body and his hair started falling out. He cried almost all the time. At a visit to a developmental pediatrician we discovered John had lost so much weight that he dropped off the chart and was diagnosed as failure to thrive.
“What is that, and why?” I ask.
“Oh, I am sure you are not to blame, I have watched you with your son, I know you love him and aren’t neglecting him.” The doctor said reassuringly.
“Why you would even question my care for my son, I am here to get him well!” I snapped back.
“I know, it’s just…when a child isn’t fed or loved…well..that causes failure to thrive..but your son didn’t change until he was between fifteen months and now, so something has changed, you know, maybe he has some underlying medical issue or genetic problem we don’t know about yet.” She offered.
I grew upset at the idea that I could or would in any way mistreat John, but said nothing. We discussed trying to remove different foods from his diet and supplementing him with vitamins and a wait and see what works plan was set in place.
I started changing John’s diet and for a while removing dairy seemed to help John greatly. John slowly caught up with his physical skills and we stopped seeing the physical therapist. John hit a plateau though with his speech. I noticed he stopped adding new words. When I mentioned this to his pediatrician he dismissed it saying that John was above average for speech, and now that he was working on his physical skills, not to worry. It didn’t make sense to me, but I let it go.
By the time John turned two I was quite sure he would catch up. At preschool he was playing with other children, enjoying circle time talking about the weather, and doing all the typical two year old play time activities. Then one afternoon, everything changed.
John was drawing on a dry erase board in our home when I heard him chanting “eyes, eyes, eyes,” over and over. I look over to where he was drawing and saw the board was covered with tiny circles. John was standing on his tip toes flapping his arms like a bird and saying softly “eyes, eyes, eyes,” as he stared into the circles. I froze as the word autism crossed my mind.
“JOHN!” I shouted and ran to him. “JOHN JOHN JOHN!!!” I yelled but he did not move, or even seem to hear me. I clapped my hands behind his head and he did not flinch. Without warning John’s feet went flat and his arms dropped to his sides. He turned and looked at me and said “Hi Mommy, circle!” and went happily back to drawing on the board. I sat down on the floor and shook, what had I just witness, what was happening to John and where had he gone for a few minutes?