Letters to the Editor – May 2015Vitality Magazine May 1, 2015
MMR Feeding Frenzy
[Re: “The Illusion of Vaccine Safety” – Update and Correction Notice; March 2015 http://tinyurl.com/nzhylu8]
I appreciated your article (and correction) during the MMR vaccine feeding frenzy. I was feeling very alone. Thanks heaps.
Tara McDonald, Ottawa
Immunizations Ruined My Life
Although I can’t remember the doctor’s name, I will never forget her words: “At your age, there would probably be only one pregnancy and it would be a shame if anything were to go wrong.”
I had married late, close to 40. The doctor had been trying to persuade me to have a rubella shot. An antibody titre showed that I didn’t have immunity. Women who get the rubella virus during pregnancy expose their babies to potentially serious birth defects. I had a dozen young godchildren. When the doctor told me I could catch rubella from any one of them, I let her jab me.
When she asked me about my ‘other shots’, I told her I really didn’t believe in immunizations. In those days, I had no need for doctors. She told me I was irresponsible and coerced me into a cluster of vaccines to “bring me up to date.” Within two weeks I was fatigued and weak, and several of my joints were swollen. I grew progressively weaker and more profoundly fatigued.
I worked in the audio-visual industry and was heading to a video shoot when I realized I couldn’t lift my equipment. And I couldn’t squat – my knees had become stiff and wouldn’t bend. I was stunned. I had difficulty getting into a car for the drive home.
My knees burned. My fingers curled up and looked like claws. My gnarled hands couldn’t hold my camera; I didn’t even have enough strength to pick it up. A few weeks earlier, I’d had no problem carrying 30 pounds of camera gear. I lost my livelihood.
I couldn’t hold my arms up long enough to wash my hair in the shower. I had to go to a hairdresser, but I didn’t have enough strength to lift my head out of the washbasin. My husband had to help me out of chairs. I developed digestive problems and major insomnia, and I was in constant pain. I was too crippled to even contemplate having a child.
The doctor diagnosed me with chronic fatigue syndrome, and a specialist diagnosed me with atypical inflammatory arthritis. I read in Maclean’s magazine (1984 issue) that 20% of women get some sort of arthritis after having been given the rubella shot. I read elsewhere that the rubella shot should not be given to women over the age of 30.
I had been given much more than just a rubella shot. No one diagnosed me with vaccine injury.
I received therapy at an arthritic and orthopedic hospital. Being there was demoralizing – everyone else was 30 to 40 years older than me. I was prescribed anti-inflammatory medications, which gave me stomach pain. I lost weight and was told I was anorexic. I was assessed several times at a sleep disorders clinic and was prescribed benzodiazepines to help me sleep. I walked with a cane and occasionally needed a wheelchair.
I was told repeatedly that chronic fatigue syndrome was all psychological. And then the psychiatrists got involved and the blaming and undermining started. They told me that I had a bad childhood, a bad relationship with my mother, a bad marriage, and a bad attitude towards work – whatever they could think of. They never told me that perhaps I had a bad doctor.
Unfortunately my husband believed them, had contempt for me for being weak, became angry, and told me to “get over it.” My mother was devastated. I do so despise psychiatrists. I kept one of their mocking consult letters.
Over the years I did get better – through struggle, determination, and exercise. I met a great doctor, Carolyn Dean, who put me on a gluten- and sugar-free diet and introduced me to orthomolecular medicine; and a great dentist, Dana Colson, who replaced my amalgam fillings. The idea was to take as much environmental burden as possible off of my immune system.
A rheumatologist who was a consultant at a sports medicine clinic made it possible for me to have supervised exercise for free at an exclusive health club overlooking the city. I limped around the walking track as others ran. I also used an electrical muscle stimulation device.
My digestive problems and my sleep disorder continued for years. I look totally ‘normal’ now, but in many ways I am still ‘waiting to live’.
At a recent funeral, a woman who hadn’t seen us in years referred to me and my husband as ‘DINKS’ – double income, no kids. If she only knew.
Thirty years after that ill-advised cluster of vaccinations, waves of sadness come over me at times as my godchildren have their own children, and my friends become grandparents.
One of my godchildren quipped: “You didn’t have to worry about catching rubella from us; we’d all been immunized.”
There are degrees of vaccine injury – some quite dramatic, others not obviously connected to the vaccines. How many have vaccine injuries that are denied by their doctors? How many get diagnosed with CFS?; with autoimmune diseases? How about the kids? What are the dangers of too many immunizations? Or too many at one time?
By the way, OHIP paid for the immunizations which crippled me; OHIP did not pay for my recovery.
Maie Liiv, Toronto
Re: “Vanessa’s Law Reinforces Need for Integrative Medicine”
[Article by David Carmichael; March 2015 Vitality]
As a follow-up to my article “Vanessa’s Law Reinforces Need for Integrative Medicine” that was published in your March 2015 issue, I strongly encourage your readers to participate in the Health Canada consultation about Vanessa’s Law to help ensure that the legislation gets enforced.
As MP Terence Young states, “sadly, there will continue to be preventable deaths from adverse drug reactions until Vanessa’s Law is implemented and enforced.”
To participate in the online consultation, which will take about 10 minutes, visit the home page at EnforceVanessasLaw.ca and click on “HEALTH CANADA CONSULTATION.”
Thank you in advance,
Executive Director, People’s Right to Integrative Medicine (PRIMcanada.org)
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