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Up Your Nose

The More Things Change...

1991nikeicarusneon12_1By Julie Obradovic

A few Saturdays ago was my twentieth high school reunion. I had a ton of things to do that day, not the least of which was running three different children to three different activities before noon. After that was over, there were errands to run, and of course, time needed to get ready. The day was planned out carefully in advance, my parents being nice enough to help out.

My dad came into the house with his huge, "hell-OOOO" which sounds like "yell-OWWWW" and a smile. He's a busy man, my father, and often times when you are talking to him you get the feeling there's a mental clock ticking letting him know your time is almost up. You have to talk fast. I could tell from his demeanor this was one of those times. There was a checklist of items he needed to make sure he communicated before he would be out the door. After getting through the first few items or so, he remembered something not on the list. This has happened about, oh, ten times.

"Oh, yeah, so I wanted to tell you," he remembered suddenly. "I wore that pin the other day. I know I tell you this all the time, but man, any time I wear that pin, at least five people start a conversation with me about it. I ended up talking to a bunch of nice people, several whom want your web site and email address. Would you mind writing that down for me again? And you know," he continued, implying somehow this was my fault, "you should really have a card."

My father talks with easily thousands of people a year and has for over thirty years. The pin he is referring to is a blue Autism Speaks puzzle piece he puts on his suit lapel. No matter how many times I have told him I don't have a web site but that I write for Age of Autism, he doesn't remember. And no matter how many times I explain to him that I don't support the blue puzzle piece organization, he doesn't pay attention. He doesn't support them either, he says when I bust him,"but it always starts a conversation." Okay, whatever. Anyway, dad.

I wrote down the information and listened to him describe the same conversation he has had multiple times. I know because many of these people email me or friend me on facebook. This one's grandchild has Autism, and they want to make sure he's taken care of. This one was a teacher for forty years and never saw sick kids like her grandchildren. This one is a young couple that is trying to buy a house but just got the bad news and don't want one by a lake anymore. Regardless, it always ends the same. "You should really talk to my daughter..." And so they do.

We spoke briefly and soon he was back in check with his internal clock. Dad gave me a kiss, told me how proud he is of me, and yelled out a collective good bye that reverberated through the house so all the kids could hear. I love my dad dearly.

The day continued as planned, and by 5:30, I was ready to head out. One of my best friends picked me up right on time. We snapped photos like we were going to homecoming and giggled in excitement as we tore out of the driveway. We pulled up in time to help our other friend, the coordinator, finish up with the last minute touches. Shortly afterwards, our classmates began to come in. (All names have been changed.)

Hi, Jayson! How are you? It's so good to see you! Really? That's fantastic! Gosh, you look the same! Oh, thanks! No, really, thanks! You, too!

And so it went for the first half hour or so. It was genuinely good to see everyone doing so well. I had some wine and made my way around the room. There's Mike! Oh, gosh, I wonder what's up with him? 

Hi, Mike! And then it started.

Mike got cancer last year. He had surgery and appears to be doing well. 

No, they have no idea why it happened, but life is good and my two children are growing up fast. You have a child with special needs right, Julie? I thought I heard about that. Did you use Early Intervention Services? What did you think of them?...Well, no, they seem okay. One of mine has a pretty bad speech delay, and the other, well, he has this thing about insisting on walking on his toes. He has sensory, sensory, sensory something...Sensory Processing Disorder?...Yes! Sensory Processing Disorder, but they think his toe walking is just a habit now, not a real problem...Mike, it's a problem. You need to trust me on this...Oh, no, Julie, I'm making it sound worse than it is. It's fine....No, Mike, it's not fine.

And so it went with Mike. But there's Sandra! Sorry, Mike, I have to run. I've been dying to see her!

Sandra, Hi! Hugs and kisses. 

Oh, you look amazing! You too! How are you? And who's with you? Your sister? How nice of you to come! Did you go to school with us? Oh, three years ahead of us? Wow, that's great.

"Julie is really involved in all things Autism," Sandra blurts out immediately. I feel exposed and taken off guard. I had no idea how many people knew this about me, but so far, it's 100%. She explains. 

My sister's son is on the spectrum...Oh, I'm sorry...Yes, it's my daughter...She's doing phenomenally actually, thanks...Yes, we did do a lot of things for her.

Now the awkward pause. Is this someone who will push that and ask for specifics? And if she does, is that going to force me into yet another uncomfortable conversation about vaccines, toxins, and our messed up world when damn it, all I want to do is have some wine and hang out with people like me who had never known anyone with Autism when we were in high school? Yep. She wants to know. 

I don't mince words anymore. I simply don't have the time or desire to make my experience more palatable to people. I really mean that. If you think I'm a lunatic, I don't really give a shit anymore. 

"That's when it happened to our son!" Her eyes open wide as she gasps. "At 18 months! I took him in for his shots and within a few days, he was gone." 

Her eyes tear up as she speaks the words. She's still "in it", as I like to say. It took me many years to get to the point I could speak of the descent without tears. She's not there yet. We grab hands, now bonded for life having known each other for all of two minutes, and she continues, squeezing them hard.

"You wanna know what the kicker is?" She smiles but not sincerely, still fighting back the tears. "I'm a trauma nurse. My husband is a surgeon. We are so overwhelmed by the betrayal of our profession. We feel completely bamboozled."

She and I continue talking a few minutes longer when a great song comes on and we decide to dance instead. The air is lifted momentarily, and I go back to that time when life was simple. Fifteen minutes goes by. Tops.

John! Oh, my gosh, John! I had no idea you were coming! It's so good to see you!

John and I catch up, and as we are already facebook friends, he knows a little about my situation. I'm beginning to regret how much of my life I put on there for a moment (about ten other people by this point have already mentioned something about it) when he grabs my arm and says sweetly, "Don't ever apologize for that, Julie. I know what it's like to have a sick kid, too. My daughter was diagnosed with leukemia when she was two. You never get over it."

My mouth drops. In a matter of less than an hour, I have just talked to three people I haven't seen in twenty years, and among us, one of us has had cancer, and one or more of each of our children is sick. Really, really sick. My head is spinning, and it's not from the wine.

We change the conversation to lighter things, and I'm happy to learn his child is in remission and doing well. But I kid you not, it is only a few conversations later someone else is asking me for advice about Autism or telling me about their neighbor, their nephew, or their own child. It's a dark shadow cast on an otherwise bright night, and it sticks with me until the morning.

I wake up with a slight hang over, grab my coffee, and log on to the computer to see if anyone has uploaded any photos. Instead, it appears I have some new email. 

Hi, Julie. You don't know me, but I got your email from your father. He thought you might be able to help us...

I lean back, take a sip and get ready to launch into the lengthy and personal response I write to whoever reaches out to me. As I collect my thoughts and breathe deeply I have a haunting thought. 

The more things change, well...the more things change. And one of my biggest fears now is that some day people won't remember how very much, and how very quickly, they have.

Julie Obradovic is a Contributing Editor to Age of Autism.



Great story! The more I try to educate my friends and family (about the dangers of toxins-"shots"), the more I get shot down-no pun intended. BUT I know I get them thinking and wondering. Today I got an automated call from the school. It was the superintendent stating it was from our public schools and THE RI DEPT OF HEALTH. (ahem..bullshit) I didn't listen to the whole thing but it started off by saying that we should protect our children from the flu and take them for a flu shot.... So THANK YOU- YES, I WILL protect them and NOT take them for a flu shot. We also got several notices about the school flu clinic coming up. The funny thing is that one my son's classmates is the nurse's daughter and my son informed his classmate all about the poisons that are in flu shots. Run home and tell your mommy that lol I'm sure I'll get a phone call from the nurse complaining about my son and I'll just say, "My 12 year old with ASD decided to educate himself about the dangers of vaccines...Did You??!!"

Kfuller Yuba City

We are everywhere. In every isle, in every store. At every party, at every meeting. We are everywhere.


This statement is certainly a classic for the medical community.

They need to visit the Today Show.

"That's when it happened to our son!" Her eyes open wide as she gasps. "At 18 months! I took him in for his shots and within a few days, he was gone."

Her eyes tear up as she speaks the words. She's still "in it", as I like to say. It took me many years to get to the point I could speak of the descent without tears. She's not there yet. We grab hands, now bonded for life having known each other for all of two minutes, and she continues, squeezing them hard.

"You wanna know what the kicker is?" She smiles but not sincerely, still fighting back the tears...... "I'm a trauma nurse. My husband is a surgeon..... We are so overwhelmed by the betrayal of our profession. We feel completely bamboozled."


Great article, Julie. This is what we now call the "new normal". I had my child late in life and I don't remember my friends who had kids earlier dealing with the medical and behavioral issues we see in kids today. As a medical professional, I see this "new normal" in our adult population. The rise in cancer, diabetes,obesity,IBS, autoimmune diseases and neurological diseases has been frightening. No one will ever admit that the toxins in our food and environment are causing these problems. Too much money is at stake. Mainstream medicine only treats symptoms (drugs) and rarely looks at the cause. A recent study showed that 51% of our children have a chronic disease. Why isn't that front page news?


"... I don't mince words anymore. I simply don't have the time or desire to make my experience more palatable to people. I really mean that. If you think I'm a lunatic, I don't really give a shit anymore.

"That's when it happened to our son!" Her eyes open wide as she gasps. "At 18 months! I took him in for his shots and within a few days, he was gone....."


I than God everyday for people like you Julie, who choose to tell this story for what it really is.

Because I’ve also chosen to take this stance. I didn't choose it because it was the easiest, or the least controversial. In fact I didn't really choose it all; I came to it through my failed attempts to find a single shred of scientific proof that vaccines even work .

One of the biggest surprises for me however, is the opposition I've received from fellow parents of vaccine injured children. Most are aware that we’ve invested considerable time and money into our ongoing effort undo my sons vaccine damage. And although we’ve managed to make considerable gains, the entire damage is at yet completely undone.

One such parent made no effort to hide her skepticism, and seemed to believe that our efforts are at best ill advised. One night, after a meeting with fellow parents, she asked me how our efforts were progressing. I said they were going well, but that the road ahead was still quite long.

To which she replied ” Well... you do realize that Autism is a genetic disorder, right?”

"No" I replied " I didn’t know that. How do YOU know that?"

"Because" she said, "Scientific studies on identical twins have shown that if one child gets autism, there’s a 70% chance that the second child will get autism as well."

To which I replied “Identical twins have identical DNA. Do YOU realize that anything less than a 100% chance of the second child developing Autism, is scientific proof that autism CAN NOT be a genetic disorder???” She obviously disagreed, because she has never spoken to me since.

Autism is just the name that's been invented for vaccine damage, by the people responsible for inflicting that damage. It represents one of the ugliest crimes in the history of humanity, and it needs to be stopped now.


"We are so overwhelmed by the betrayal of our profession." I hope that the medical couple works through their grief phases quickly so they can become equally as articulately outspoken as Julie. The only way vaccine policymaking can change is if people speak out -- especially if affected medical professionals detail their families' vaccine injuries. They're harder for the guilty parties to dismiss.


This is an excellent article!

Theresa O

Bravo to you, Julie, for telling people what you really think. It can be very hard.

In my group of friends (high school class of 1996), it's the food allergies that are overwhelming. My own child is not affected, but getting together with the girls is basically two hours of discussing the best "free from" products. And I recently ran into one of my less close friends--a track star, back in the day--and she told me her her son has apraxia... another "new normal" disorder.

With my friends, I try to ease things into the conversation--Did you know that most of the flu shots have mercury in them? Did you read about the PCV contamination in the rota shots? You might want to avoid them, as they're not required for school. Vinegar works as well as fabric softener--probably worth a try on baby clothes... stuff like that. And I give everyone the Deirdre Imus book as a baby gift. I try to bring things up gradually, because they value my opinion less than their pediatrician's, and they're thisclose to writing me off completely... I hope I am making a difference on the periphery. I just don't know if it's enough. I'm torn between giving advice I think they'll take, and telling them what I think about everything.


That's the very sad reality now. Most of my friend's kids have a little something going on. It really is breathtaking when you see this happen with friends and in the schools since around the mid eighties. I hate when my friends bring up Gardasil but I don't mince words about it.

Tempora Mutantur

The phrase "vaccinating us back into the stone-age" comes to mind.

Not an MD

Julie, you have said so much in this article that resonates with what I have personally felt and experienced. (Are we related?) I very much relate to this comment:
"I don't mince words anymore. I simply don't have the time or desire to make my experience more palatable to people. I really mean that. If you think I'm a lunatic, I don't really give a shit anymore."

My neighborhood is a war zone of vaccine damaged children up and down each street, and around each corner. Without even turning a corner, I still can't count the vaccine injured kids on my street using less than two hands worth of fingers. I just met a neighbor's child for the first time who could be the poster child for ADHD. He was one I hadn't even known about until last week. I am constantly amazed by the sheer numbers of affected children.

I thank God every day that I realized vaccines caused my children's problems, and I believe the best thing I have done for them is to stop their pediatrician from poisoning their blood on an annual basis at every "well visit."

What you are doing to educate others is vital. I wish you the best, knowing that it can be exhausting explaining the reason for the carnage.

Adam M

My wife's fifteen year reunion was this summer. We talked at length with an old friend of hers about our son's autism and as soon as brought up the vaccines she volunteered that growing up she never got vaccinated. She said "but it was when I joined the National Guard and got all those shots I got so sick.


For one of the brain injuries my son has I joined a group. Since my sister's daughter has toe walking without any other symptoms I had a brief communication with a Mom about her daughter whom did not have the brain injury (her son was effected). The daughter was diagnosed after a diagnoses of scoliosis with something called Occult Tethered Cord. After an operation the daughter felt she got her life back. She said the sooner treated the better.


Just beautiful. Keep the fire burning.

Deb in IL

Mike-if you're reading this-IT'S A PROBLEM! Go to a DAN professional and get the right treatment.

Julie-if I may, have a word document prepared briefly describing your journey, research and conclusions.

Have links to helpful websites. Then reply with the attachment to save your time.

If you can, share with us so we can do the same.

One by one, we are changing the course. We are. Not politicians. Not religion. Not the government. You, my friend, are a fine representative for us.


Donna L.

Maybe in another five years, when they start holding high school reunions at autism conferences, someone will finally admit we've got a real epidemic on our hands.



That puzzle pin is a great conversation starter..

I can totally relate. After my son was dxed, friends I've known for years tell me they have a niece, nephew, child or grandchild dxd with autism. I've had casual conversations with strangers who reveal their child is affected. At least 6 people I know at work have kids on the spectrum. My coworker and I are thinking of staring a support group. I know many people in my town who's kids are dxed. The boy across the street, the kid down the street.

I actually started to write down the names of people I know with kids on the spectrum and came up with at least 20.
It's at the point where I think I know more people with ASD kids than NT.

Meanwhile everyone seems to accept this as the "new normal". Normal? No way, No this is not normal. I think either the world has gone mad or people have been brainwashed to think this is just the way it is so accept it. The denial is thick as the polar ice cap.

Sometimes I feel like Mia Farrow in "Rosemary's Baby when she discovers she's surrounded by devil worshippers who want to harm her baby and no one believes her. Everyone acts like she's the crazy one. Now be quiet and drink your Tannis root.

Accept it? Never!


"Just a habit,--- you are making it sound worse than it is"
Yes, I was told that when mine were little by family members about their own kids on both sides of the family.

On my own side, when we went to Ohio to mostly funerals they all watched and discussed mine behind my back, when they should have been paying more attention to their own.

The older they get; the whole situation becomes really a lot worse than sounds.

Lisa Thompson

When I attended my 30th high school reunion a few years back, the news that there are so many of us with kids diagnosed with autism spread like wild fire. Very early into the evening, I had several people approach to inform me that I just had to speak with so and so, because we both had children on the spectrum. One was clearly on board with the toxic/vaccine link, the others, not so much. But all were clearly taken aback that we should all end up in the same "club".


How true this is! You can not go anywhere anymore with hearing that someone is affected by autism. There is no more neurotypical child, there just isn't. And the cancer rate for children in Connecticut, specifically in the southeastern area-WOW! So sad and disheartening to say the least.


Its because of the Warrior Moms like you that the rest of us have a path to follow. If you kept your mouth shut and didn't let us know how you got here, we'd think we are alone.

And we are not alone. Not by a long shot. There will come a time - and its coming soon - when they will not be able to deny our voices. And then, then they too will work to help the children they've damaged.

I have started getting to the point where i dont' tear up immediately when we talk about my son's regression. I've started being able to tell people that xyz is something they need to get looked at further. I've started answering the emails people send from my blog asking for help. Its because of the ones before me, because of YOU, that i have the courage to do this.

So thank you. You make me proud to be standing next to you.

John Stone


Tells it all: beautiful piece - God help us!


Bob Moffitt

Julie .. if there were a picture in Webster's dictionary to describe "warrior mom" .. it would recommend it be yours.

I suspect a school reunion during the "civil war" years would have reflected that in the conversations held.

I suspect a school reunion during the "depression" .. ditto.

The same for "WWI", "WWII", "Korean War", "Vietnam War" .. and .. the conversations at your recent school reunion clearly indicate your generation is living in the "Age of Autism".

God grant us the end to this maddness.

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