Every few weeks I wear a t-shirt I purchased several years ago from the National Autism Association. The front of the shirt says, “I WISH I’D KNOWN”. The back of the shirt includes five tips:
A lot of times I wish I’d known a heck of a lot more before I vaccinated my children. I have actually said out loud, but to myself after Ronan has a setback, “Dangit. I wish I’d known!” How life might be so different with just an ounce of knowing just one of those tips.
Life is different. It is very different. Life is difficult, and on some days it can be very, very difficult. It can also be unpredictable even with eight years’ experience under my belt as a warrior parent. Those years of experiences haven’t been in vain, but they sure could have been a little bit easier if I’d known then what I know now.
Thinking about just how much I wish I’d known quite possibly could have changed life as I know it for both Ronan and me. Maybe now I would be a typical parent not ever stepping foot into the special needs arena. Maybe I wouldn’t care so much about the things I care so deeply about today. Maybe I’d have had an entirely different outlook on life altogether! But, because life is different, and sometimes difficult, and includes many life lessons learned the hard way, I wondered instead of “I wish I’d known” what if I had a t-shirt that said “I wish I didn’t know…”because there are a few things I almost wish I didn’t know about.
I wish I didn’t know about thimerosal in vaccines.
I wish I didn’t know about aluminum, formaldehyde and human diploid cells from aborted fetal tissue either.
I wish I didn’t know about our over-inflated and one-size-fits-all vaccine schedule.
I wish I didn’t know about live viruses and viral shedding.
I wish I didn’t know about encephalopathy, seizures, developmental delays and autism.
I wish I didn’t know about hot lots, table injuries and vaccine court.
I wish I didn’t know about special ed, 504s and R & S.
I wish I didn’t know about acronyms like ASD, PDD, OT, SLP, PT and IEP.
I wish I didn’t know about the dietary intervention, the biomed community and recovery.
I wish I didn’t know about Simpsonwood, the Lily Rider and the Interagency Autism Coordinating Community.
I wish I didn’t know about the Canary Party, The Thinking Moms’ Revolution and Generation Rescue.
I wish I didn’t know about Age of Autism, VaxTruth, VacTruth, National Vaccine Information Center and SafeMinds.
I wish I didn’t know Kim, Mark and Dan or the hundreds of friends I have because of vaccines and autism.
I wish I didn’t know everything I do know because that might mean autism skipped over us, that it wasn’t ruling our home every hour of every day of every week, month and year of our lives.
I really wish I didn’t know!
If I didn’t know all of what I do know, I most definitely wouldn’t be who I am today. Ronan wouldn’t be who he is either. My closest friends who know how to hold me up, to cheer me on, to pick up where I physically can’t wouldn’t be a phone call, email or text away. Our paths would never have crossed nor have needed to cross. Our lives would never need to be filled by each other’s hopes, wishes and dreams. Our children would never be a thought in our mind or a prayer in our heart. It would be so, so different. So very different.
But I do know. I know too much, so much but then on some days, not enough.
I know about vaccines, and autism, and special ed, and about all those acronyms. I’ve read the history behind vaccines and that autism can be a result of vaccines. I hear about the greed, the cover-ups and the on-going deception. I know more now than I have ever known before. I belong to a community because of that knowledge. A community was formed because of some awful realizations and that greed that intruded in our children’s lives. Formed for parents like me who also felt that stab of betrayal, this community stands out speaking up to offer help, hope and the truth.
I jumped into this community too many years ago happy to have found it but also thinking I’d be long gone with a recovered child by now. His needs and the damage done to his health are still so great, so I remain. I hang onto every word shared—in the biomed community, on the special needs parenting boards, in the local support groups that we’ve made for each other. Created for us, and by us, to survive what we wished we’d known but didn’t. With that revelation our eyes are now opened. So much has been revealed, and we will never be clueless again. Seeking the truth we wished we never thought we’d ever have to find out, and making sure that what we discover is shared, this has become and likely will remain a way of life.
Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.