How Anti-Vaxxers Harmed My Medically Fragile Son

How Anti-Vaxxers Harmed My Medically Fragile Son December 24, 2018

Around 4% of parents refuse to vaccinate their children for preventable diseases. According to a study done by Blue Cross, Blue Shield the rate of parents refusing vaccines increased from 2.5% in 2013 to 4% in 2016. As a result, outbreaks of measles and whooping cough continue to occur around the county. In 2013, my son contracted pertussis, and his lungs are permanently damaged. Anti-vaccine parents fail to release their choice not to vaccinate affects children and adults that are immunocompromised, and their decisions have deadly consequences.

My son was born prematurely. He arrived in the world five weeks early. When he arrived, it was clear to doctors that something was off about his health. The moment he was delivered he didn’t cry, and his coloring was off. The doctors whisked him away to a nursery to stabilize him, and I was unable to hold him for more than 6 hours after I delivered.

We went through a lot in the first few months of his life. He spent thirty-eight days in the NICU. When we came home, he was still very, very weak and unwell. After only a few weeks at home, my son stopped breathing in our house.

Within hours at the hospital, my son was on full life support. He was in cardiac arrest, respiratory failure, his blood sugar was 7, and his organs were beginning to shut down. After several days on life support, the doctors identified he had a rare disease called PanHypoPituitarism (PHP). As a result of the PHP, my son had an adrenal crisis that nearly killed him.

Due to the magnitude of his adrenal crisis, his doctors recommended we delay almost all vaccinations because his body was too fragile for them. We started to vaccinate very, very slowly. His pediatrician developed a plan that would spread them out and reduce the impact and stress on his system.

We knew there was a risk with this method, but it was the only way we could keep his body safe and give it time to recover from near death. By the time he was a year old, he was at the vaccination level of about a 6-month-old. The chart our pediatrician laid out had him entirely caught up on vaccines by the time he would be 18 months. The older he got, the stronger his lungs were becoming.

At 13 months, my child was exposed to another child that was coughing and had a horrible cold. A few days later, we found out that the child had pertussis (whooping cough). I was not upset with the parent because their child was vaccinated. They had zero reasons to believe that their child’s cough was anything more than a terrible cold.

Unfortunately, the vaccine had lost its effectiveness as the child was seven at the time, and it is now why the CDC recommends additional vaccinations for pertussis at age 5-6. The child that infected my son caught the disease from an unvaccinated child in her class at school.

After receiving the call, I made a frantic call to my son’s pediatrician. She told us to stay at home, and she immediately prescribed us a strong antibiotic.

My son started meds, but he did end up getting the disease. At times he was coughing so hard he was vomiting, ran a high fever, and he was miserable. We gave him breathing treatments every two hours. Doctors prescribed prednisone to reduce inflammation in his lungs. For more than two weeks, the disease ravaged his lungs and body.

Eventually, he recovered from pertussis. However, his premature lungs never recovered from whooping cough. At 18 months, Doctors diagnosed him with severe asthma. For the next two years, my son had more than a dozen emergency asthmatic events that required hospital-level care.

In addition, his “new” asthma, my son’s adrenal insufficiency gave him two life-threatening diseases. When he received the asthma diagnosis, his pediatrician sat us down to share devastating news.

The combined asthma and adrenal insufficiency at his young age could mean certain death if our child was left in the wrong hands. She forced us to pull our child from daycare. To care for my son, I had to quit my job. Everything in our lives flipped upside down.

Over time, his asthma improved from severe to mild and persistent. He still needs daily medication to manage his breathing. Additionally, when ill he requires monitoring for oxygen levels and added nebulizers.

While his asthma is better managed today, he will likely have asthma for the rest of his life. His asthma didn’t have to happen.

Because parents refused to vaccinate their children, my son’s health will never be the same. He went from only having meds to managing hormones to daily nebulizers. In the first year following pertussis, he had more than a dozen emergency episodes that needed hospital-level care.

There are thousands of people in our country that cannot be vaccinated due to allergies, being immunocompromised, illness, and numerous other reasons. We have to keep these populations safe by vaccinating our children.

Vaccines are designed to help prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria. Many of these diseases are the hardest and deadliest for the elderly and medically complex. These populations are counting on you to choose to help them.

Choosing to vaccinate is not a personal choice. The choice to not vaccinate affects everyone in the country. My son was lucky his pertussis wasn’t worse. He had 2 of the three vaccinations of pertussis. Due to his vaccines, the pertussis was milder than it could have been.

The CDC estimates that at least 20 babies die each year from pertussis. Most of the infants that die are less than three months old and too young to receive the vaccines. That is 20 deaths that are entirely preventable.

While my son did not die, his lungs took years to recover, and we are still dealing with asthma to this day. Please think of this choice from the perspective of the entire population rather than just your family.

Please don’t hate the pharmaceutical companies for developing the vaccines or working with the government to get the vaccines out to the masses.

These are necessary vaccines that keep people safe from viruses and bacterias that kill.

I am pleading with you to choose to help everyone and not just yourself.

Thank you.

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  • Reblogged this on Without a Crystal Ball.

  • I had no idea that adrenal insufficiency could cause an adrenal crisis. My daughter has adrenal gland unsufficientcy. They tested her 3 months ago and she was producing no cortisol. She is on a medication now for it but no one ever informed me of an adrenal crisis. I read about it on your blog. They acted like it was an every day finding to not have cortisol. I very much appreciate your blog.
    I’m glad you shared your story about vaccines.
    My daughter had her kidney removed at 4 months old so we had to postpone her vaccines until she was almost 3 until her kidney and ureter and bladder were functioning properly. I did not even THINK about the other parents that has not vaccinated. I guess 20 years later I am glad I didnt’ know or I would have been more of a wreck.
    Most people have no clue what a parent goes through with a chronically ill child. They just have no idea. It is nice to see someone who understands although I am so sorry that you and your child have been through so much.

  • They really said it was no big deal? Please feel free to email me if you like with questions Also check out – they have a ton of info on this condition. I’m here if you need to talk. Thank you so much for reaching out.

  • I just sent you a quite lengthy email. No rush. Whenever you get time. Thank you so much !

  • I will respond after I get Von in bed. His daddy is out with a friend so I’m flying solo

  • Oh please. No rush at all. Just whenever you get time. I am getting food ready for my daughter now too.

  • shay simmons

    Too bad you weren’t able to id the witless wonder’s crotch fruit that infected your son. I’d have sued the parents for every dime they ever hoped to possess.

  • Elizabeth A. Root

    I am so very sorry, not that that helps much.

    When my mother was in a continuing care center, and almost totally non-responsive, some of the people thought it was odd that I insisted that she get flu shots. They knew that we didn’t believe in heroic measures. I would explain that it was to protect the other people as much as her. Someone else might not be able to be vaccinated.


    Hearing about these jerks who are anti-vacciners really burns my rump! I’m almost 60, my roommate is 48, and we always get the appropriate shots. Note that he’s so needle-phobic you practically have to strap him down (j/k!). Every year we both get flu shots without fail. And not just to keep us both healthy–we don’t want to pass anything along to each other or anyone else. We both ride the bus to get around, and every time I get home I wash my hands. You wouldn’t believe how many people out there (especially on the bus) have NO clue about covering their coughs, sneezes, etc.–and it seems as though the parents never teach their kids to do it either. I have asthma and some severe allergies myself, so I understand (to a small degree) what your son must be going through. He must be a really brave young guy to keep fighting all this. Here’s to awarding him a bronze star for his guts and bravery. I salute you both.

  • Darkstarr

    People like you and your son are the reason why I’ve always believed that vaccines should be mandatory for anyone who does not have a valid medical reason not to get them. There should be NO “religious” or philosophical exemptions whatsoever. The US Supreme Court has ruled effectively that my right to swing my arm stops just before my hand comes in contact with any part of your body without your permission; the same principle should apply to vaccines–my right to get sick is VASTLY overruled by the right of everyone around me to enjoy good health. I have a severe phobia of hypodermic needles and I STILL get a flu shot every year, and I regularly ask my doctor if there are other shots I should get just to keep others around me from getting sick. Diseases like polio, whooping cough, and HPV can be easily prevented by one little shot, and there is absolutely no excuse why healthy kids should not get their shots when they need them. Obviously anyone with legitimate medical reasons should be exempted, but that should be the ONLY reason for not getting shots, ever.