By Dara Berger
I would never refer to myself as an anti-vaxxer. However, this is how anybody who questions the current vaccine schedule or vaccinations in general is labeled by our "hide the truth" mainstream media.
So who are we? How did we become an anti-vaxxer?
I think Robert F. Kennedy Jr put it best recently when he explained that most people who are against mandatory vaccinations are those that have a vaccine injured child. I think this is true for the majority of us. But then there are also some very holistically minded individuals who don't rely on pharmacology as part of their health regimen or way of life. I think of myself as both these types of people.
I think it's easy for people to call us crazy, especially if they have never walked a day in our shoes. I wish to God that I could go back to being that blissfully ignorant gluten and dairy eating person that I was 10 years ago. But I can't. Autism and vaccine injury changes who you are at the core. It changes you forever. It even changes some people more than others.
Now I am going to give you a comparison model of what it's like to experience something terrible and not have people believe you, since this is at the essence of being called an anti-vaxxer. We'll take it away from vaccine's, so that we can see clearly past the smoke that usually comes out of people's ears and mouths when talking about vaccine injury.
So imagine with me for a moment that you go skiing on a beautiful bright and sunny day. You feel good and your skiing is going great. Then all of a sudden you hit a patch of ice and go flying down the mountain only to land all tangled up in a snow bank. You immediately know that something is very wrong and you have a searing pain in your leg. You try to get up and move your leg the way you normally do. But you can't. This is because your leg is broken. So eventually help arrives and the ski patrol takes you to the nearest hospital. The doctor examines you and orders an X-ray of your leg. Next the doctor comes in and confirms that your leg is broken and explains how long you will be in a cast. Then he asks you how it happened. You explain that you were skiing down the mountain and fell after hitting a patch of ice. He looks up at you and says that you must be mistaken, since nobody breaks their leg skiing. You kind of argue back and forth until he gets very adamant that it didn't happen the way you are saying. So you go home with your tail between your legs and look up on the internet if anybody has ever broken their leg skiing. Not at all surprised, you find a hundred thousand people that have indeed had the same thing happen to them. And they have all been told by their doctor that it must be a coincidence and that it must have already been broken but you didn't notice it.
This all sounds nuts right? And I am the one that they call crazy! Only were not really talking about such a mild example of a broken leg that will probably end up healing to the point where you can forget years later that the whole thing ever happened. In the case of vaccine injury, we are taking about a child that has a BRAIN INJURY and becomes disabled in some way and many times permanently. In my son's case, he lost his speech 12 hours after a vaccination was given. This is not disputable. Then he lost his gross and fine motor skills over the next few weeks, which is again not up for dispute. I have always felt that he had a stroke. Interesting enough, we finally did an MRI this past Fall to try to find the cause of his unrelenting headaches that come out of nowhere and seemed to punch him in the head. His MRI shows an Ischemia, which is when a part of the brain dies from a lack of blood flow to that particular area. The hospitals report says that it looks like an old injury and the neurologist mentioned that it was probably at birth. Really? How can you have an apgar of 8 and 9 at birth if you just had a lack of oxygen to your brain. My son's pediatrician laughed at the notion that the ischemia was from birth. He said there would not have been an apgar that high and he would never have been sent home 36 hours after his birth. I know the day that ischemia happened and I know what caused it. O621R That is the lot # to the vaccine he was given that day. One could never imagine how 4 numbers and 1 letter could irrevocably change my family's life. I still have the vial. I don't know why the nurse left it in the room that day or why I felt compelled to pick it up and take it with me. But I did. It's in a ziploc bag inside a dresser drawer. I look at if from time to time, but try not to do the what if's. It's easier for me to try to make amends and move on, then hurt myself with the what if's.
But here we go anyway. I wish I never brought him in that day. I wish I never vaccinated him. But most of all, I just wish he could have experienced a normal childhood. He deserved it and so did I!
Even after all of this, I am not an anti-vaxxer! This is because I don't care what other people do, except of course for those that I love. I believe that Dylan's injury has saved a bunch of children. I tell as many people that I know all about what we went through and what it's like to live with a vaccine injury. I try to give a step by step of what led to his Autism or a day in the life of description. This way they can make an informed choice not a one-sided brainwashed coerced decision.
I am not really anti anything actually. There is a long list of things that I don't like and have very strong opinions on, but I believe people should have a choice. I believe that I should have a choice, especially the choice not to reinjure my child with another vaccine. I believe the next one would probably kill him.
There are days that I feel lucky, since I know what happened could have been so much worse. I know plenty of families that are living with an injured child that is much worse off then my son. So for this, I count my blessings.
Today Dylan now speaks, rides a bike and skateboard, reads, knows how to use a computer, and most of all is happy much of the time despite his on-going difficulties.
But despite the huge amount of progress that we have made over the years, my son still has no friends. He still spends a great deal of time isolated by himself due to his disability. Dylan is so smart but remains in an ungraded school program. He has spent his whole entire childhood doing therapy and all kinds of treatments to get him better rather than just be a kid.
I hope that like the story of the broken leg that one day I can recover him to the point that we will forget this ever happened. Although even if Dylan's disability can't be seen one day, I doubt I will ever be able to forget those four numbers and one letter. 0621R.
So don't call me an anti-vaxxer again until you spend some time wearing my shoes. I'm a size 8 by the way.
Dara Berger is currently a screenplay writer that just finished writing her first feature length film about her experience raising a child on the autism spectrum.
She is a also a documentary filmmaker that started her own production company in 2003 to produce documentary projects on important topics such as mental health issues.
Dara has also volunteered her time extensively over the last six years to the National Autism Association NY Metro Chapter helping to plan events that support and educate families in the community.