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Take It, or Leave It

Take What You NeedBy Cathy Jameson

Every now and then, I discover that someone I know has taken a piece of advice that I've offered.  I like learning that.  It tells me that my knowledge, or something that I’ve experience, was recognized and that it had some value.  It’s encouraging to know that some of my ideas have become someone else's stepping stone.  Every now and then, though, I discover that someone that I know has opted to forgo the advice that they’ve asked of me.  I know that no one is ever under any obligation to take my advice, but I have to admit that it hurts a little to know that something that I've share has been dismissed.  

It hurts a little bit more when I find that not only was my advice dismissed, but that a decision the other person made that went completely against suggestions that I offered.  

It hurts a whole heck of a lot when the advice, the information, the suggestions, and the decision that was made was about vaccines.  

That hurts the most because in that last situation, I was asked to retell how liability-free vaccines negatively impacted my son’s life.  To relive those moments - to hear myself talk about the vaccine injury, the regression, the loss of speech, and also the beginning of the seizures - to hear myself say out loud to the other parent, "If I'd known then what I know now..." there is no other way to explain what it feels like except that it hurts.  It hurts to learn that they’ve opted to go down that same path I now desperately wish I could’ve avoided. 

As much as it hurts, I have to remind myself of one very important fact:  I was merely being asked for my opinion.  And that my opinion is just that - my opinion.  I am not responsible for what someone does with it.  

I am not responsible for other parents.

I am not responsible for their opinions.

I am not responsible for their decision.  

I am not responsible for their actions.  

And I should not let their opinions or their decisions or their actions affect me.  But they do affect me.  They make me want to mutter under my breath.  To retreat.  To keep my mouth shut.  To hide.  

But I won't hide.  And I won't be quiet.  I won't stop sharing my opinions, my decisions, my actions, or Ronan's story.  Why?

Because for every one parent that asks and later disregards my opinion and dismisses the stories so many other parents of vaccine-injured children have shared, at least two other parents have also requested information from me.  These other parents have come to a different conclusion – one that matches mine.  They respect my opinion and the vaccine facts that I shared.  Those parents come back to me months later and ask if they can share something with me.  It usually starts out, "Now that I know what I know..." and ends with a "...thank you.  Thank you for sharing your thoughts, for sharing your experience, and for sharing Ronan's story.  It really helped."  

Those simple thank yous keep me going.  They boost me up.  They bring me peace.  Finding peace in our situation hasn't been easy.  But finding it is important.  Finding it and keeping that peace is a lot better.

I know that with how outspoken I have been about our experience with vaccines that I'll continue to raise an eyebrow or two.  Depending on my audience, I'm sure I'll continue to ruffle a few more feathers as well.  I'm sure I'll continue to lose some friends along the way as I have in the past.  For every friend that I've already lost, because there have been a few, a new one has been made.  Losing friends hurts.  But these new friends, who are parents who spared their children of vaccine injury, remind me to continue to speak up.  For them, my opinion made a difference.  For them, Ronan's story made an impact.  For them, because of what I shared, their child was spared of what my child was not. 

Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.





Hi Cathy,
I think maybe it helps more than you think, even if people don't follow your advice,or dismiss what happened to you completely,( which can happen a lot. ) What you have done, regardless of what they do next, is plant a seed. At the very least, there is now, in the back of their mind, the possibility of vaccine injury. Some of the saddest stories are those who see vaccine injury in a loved one after a vaccine, but don't know enough to ask questions or stop vaccinating. It's these cases where they see increasing damage after each vaccine and keep going , and going , that really break my heart.Maybe someone who has heard about vaccine injury will put two and two together and stop just that bit earlier.
The reality is that fighting the social pressure to vaccinate is almost impossible for most people. They can't do it. Even if they believe your story, it's much easier to go with the flow and have the people in their lives mostly tell them they made a great choice. But, when they start to see injury, when they realize these same people who were all about vaccinating don't give a d--mn about their injured child, and are going to shun them anyway because they can't handle being around disability; then the risk/benefit ratio changes,and they may remember what you have said.
If you think that what you are doing is playing a long game, it may help. And the fact is , you are doing what you believe strongly, is right, and what you would want someone else to do for you. Morally you are doing the right thing, and even those who don't get what you are saying right now, may eventually get it going down the road.


You are reflecting on the market value of Free Advice. What is remarkable enough is that it was given and received. All bets are off after that point - as they should be.
You cannot take ownership for other peoples' choices without risking arrogance - nor are we Gods.

go Trump

Thanks again Cathy. Perhaps you need to hand out a card of some kind with some Autism websites to those who need information.

It amazes me every year when Pharma pays the newscasters to push the FLU shot over and over and over. The public does not understand that they do this to avoid listing all the well known side effects.

go Trump

Thanks again Cathy. Perhaps you need to hand out a card of some kind with some Autism websites to those who need information.

It amazes me every year when Pharma pays the newscasters to push the FLU shot over and over and over. The public does not understand that they do this to avoid listing all the well known side effects.

Kathy Albright

Yes, it certainly does hurt. It aches. But....I've come to realize my only control is over my own choices and words and actions. And, that being said, it's the truth that matters. My heart aches, but my conscience, having been forgiven my transgressions, does not. There is no substitute for honesty nor honor nor character. And above all, love. I've actually learned much from you and shared it too! From another Kathy, thank you!

susan welch

Cathy. Thank you for this article. I always enjoy reading your words on a Sunday.

As Bob says, not sharing advice could be so much worse than having someone decide not to take it.

Slightly different, but on the same lines, this week on Twitter there have been a couple of people saying that they have healthy, unvaccinated children because of hearing/reading about the heartbreaking, witness accounts of vaccine injury on social media.

Seeds are being planted in so many places. When they 'bear fruit' it is heartwarming.


Dear Cathy,

Your bravery and advocacy is inspiring.

My husband and I chose not to vaccinate our children at all, but it was a hard decision to make. Our oldest is now 8 1/2. For years I didn't dare tell any friends that she wasn't vaccinated. When they shared stories of their kids having diaper rash so bad the baby's skin would literally peel off no matter what the parents did, I privately thanked my lucky stars I spared my child that; but, I didn't speak up.

I find Age of Autism honest and inspiring, and it's motivated me to speak up a little more about my decision not to get even one vaccine for any of my three kids. I still fear rejection or that my kids will be punished for my choices. But they are three of the healthiest, smartest, and kindest kids I've ever met.

Other parents want my oldest to play their kids in hopes that her level, empathetic, easy-going personality and academic excellence will rub off. When all the other moms from her class talk about asthma and pneumonia strategy and all the inhalers their children require, I excuse myself. None of my three kids have other had those ailments. They've had colds, flus, and norovirus, and made perfect recoveries, usually under three days.

I am confident in my decision not to vaccinate and to make living in a Vaccine Choice state a priority. But I am still learning to talk about it.

You inspire me.


Hi Cathy, I chose to protect my son from these unsafe products because parents like you spoke out. Seven years later, no regrets. Thank you!

We are not responsible for anyone else's choices. All we can do is provide information; what others do with it is on them. Keep up the good work!


It hurts, I've been hurt the same way, but in part it's my own ego that is hurt at being rejected and disbelieved. Everyone I know offline may or may not listen to me on vaccines, but ultimately they say Oh, well, the doctors would NEVER recommend or do anything that might hurt their patients. Period. And measles would be a disease on the level of the bubonic plague if it came back without almost 100% vaccination and revaccination. No, autism is NOT caused by vaccines. No one knows what causes it, or what happened to all those farms in the country that used to take all the autistic, but no longer do, but the one thing we DO know is that it's not vaccines.

OK, it's their religion. I remember at the time when my daughter was little when I first rejected a vaccine, it was maybe the fourth Hib or the MMR, I didn't feel a qualm when I rejected the varicella vaccine. But for the others, I thought, Oh, no, now I'm invoking fate and she'll get and die of it. And so far, luckily, she's had chickenpox, pertussis (despite three DTaPs), an H3N2 flu in 2003, the EV-68 polio-like virus, H1N1 flu, and many stomach flus and bronchitis. But now she very rarely gets sick at all.

And it's hard to change someone else's religious views. It makes me extremely impatient when people say There is no God. If there were, He would not permit (whatever). I say I know there is God, He has touched me many times in unmistakable ways. This life is a vale of tears, always has been, always will be. The important thing is our noble, generous responses, our love for others (including animals), as this is what hones our soul and makes us worthy of Eternity. Etc. Pascal's wager is one point, you've got a lot at stake if your belief turns out to be wrong. (Although I also believe in Purgatory and the wideness of God's mercy.) Einstein said If God does not exist, why is there Something rather than Nothing? Etc. But an astonishing number of my friends prefer to say, No, you're wrong. This life and its pleasures are all that there is. I cannot conceive that anything else might be true.

Someone on an apparently now-defunct website, Religion, said a month ago that God's presence is like your immune system, always there, always protecting you. I said Exactly, like an armor of light. The Pharma Science tells people Come on, do you REALLY believe that your immune system is that powerful? --- have died of ---- despite their immune systems. (And I am totally not disputing that.) Why not help it out with Vaccines? Now THERE'S an armor of light for you!

And I say that not entirely with mockery. I cautiously recommend consideration of several vaccines, never compulsion. If I were bitten by a possibly rabid animal, I would run, not walk, to get the rabies series of vaccines. But it's the religious aspect which I believe has led to our current morass. All of us seek protection from overwhelming, unseen forces of evil. If you believe that the doctors and the MSM know more about all of this than I (for example) do, then you're going to believe that vaccines are safe and the VPDs an ever-present, deadly threat, and get the vaccines. And then not even think about what caused all your ensuing health problems. Or you nobly (sic) say Well, I took one for my fellow man. Sure, I was paralyzed by the flu vaccine, but I did it to protect my fellow man from the flu, and deserve a medal for it.

Bob Moffit

"It hurts a little bit more when I find that not only was my advice dismissed, but that a decision the other person made that went completely against suggestions that I offered.

Cathy … trust me .. you would feel a whole lot worse had you NOT shared your advice with someone and then learned that someone .. having not been forewarned … suffered the same tragic experience our community knows all too well.

Indeed ... imagine how someone who you did warn about potential dangers of vaccines .. disregarded your warning .. and then suffered the tragic consequences you warned them of?

Now THAT would truly be regretful …

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