Living With Vaccine Damage

By Allison Edwards

Our son Jonathon, arrived by caesarean at thirty-eight weeks of gestation instead of forty as I had a low-lying placenta – but all was well. It was the morning of a bright new Labour government under Tony Blair, Friday 2nd May 1997. A good birth weight, no oxygen required, he fed hungrily at the breast for forty-five minutes, our second son - his brother Charlie was three. Eight weeks later we started the DPT, Polio and Hib. I wish on reflection we hadn't and if I could I would go back and do it differently. I should have insisted the vaccines took Jon's prematurity into account just two more weeks' growth might have helped. In effect he was only six weeks of age, known to be when the infant system has a white blood cell count dip. The day after his first jabs his brother came out in full-blown chicken pox. Given the exposure we should have held back but I didn't.

Jon was blossoming well, all the same. A lively giggler, he hero worshipped his brother finding everything he did worthy of a big beaming smile. We adored him for his happy responses caught beautifully on family video. Aged six months I gave him boiled egg mashed up in a cup as he was a hungry boy and needed solids but he came out in a pin-prick rash all over. A couple of months later I tried him with it again and he had the same rash; he was allergic to eggs. Again if I'd know then not to give egg-allergic children MMR perhaps things would be different. At fourteen months (July 1998), he was due for the MMR but in the April prior to it Dr Andrew Wakefield published a paper in 'The Lancet', and held a press conference questioning its safety. This had a marked effect upon our family and changed our lives forever. Because I didn't listen to his warning...

My husband immediately decided Jon wasn't to have the combination jab even though Charlie had and was fine, mainly because he had had the diseases as a child and so had I; we had life-long immunity, that blood made our son. They weren't the killers described so he said I wasn't to take him for it. My ears had been pricked up and in respect of his wishes I shot off to the surgery and collected a forty-page document from the Health Visitor. Armed with that and advice from the Government of its safety I went ahead. Chances of a reaction I was told were a million to one, that day I won the lottery.

That night he was hot and irritable, I gave him plenty of fluids, cold compresses and Calpol as instructed. From then on he developed a raging thirst. Downing practically his own height in fluids in seconds, I would fill up another lidded sports cup; this went on every day. Jon stopped playing with his toys, things we'd enjoyed together, pressing buttons, lighting up, brick buckets were crawled away from. He started hand flapping, eyeball whizzing along objects and making terrible distortion noises. Outside in the garden, no playing with his brother just minutely examining sand particles for hours on end. Skills he'd had, sitting looking at books, disappeared. Vocalising stopped. In fact he still has now, aged ten, the same speech he had then. Things just never moved on, as if the clock stopped on his development. I was with him everyday watching his painful slide away. He started to avoid eye contact with everyone but me, wriggling out of hugs and became obsessed with Disney videos, saddest of all was the disappearance of his spontaneously reactive giggles. He'd crawl at an incredible pace or bounce kneeling on his lower legs, bunny hopping. He was x-rayed, there was no physical reason why he couldn't walk; his mind just didn't let him. At two, he was diagnosed with severe autism. Months and months we strapped him into a standing frame every day to strengthen his wasted lower leg muscles and eventually at age three and a half he got up and walked. We all cried.

We watched him drop farther and farther into autism, which incidentally has not existed in either of our families tracing back as far as the 1880s. He was checked for the inherited gene, Fragile X, again none. Without detailing every single reaction, I had watched with my own eyes his terrible regression.

Every time a so-called ‘expert' dismisses the connection between autism and MMR I find the fury and anger fizzle to the surface. Not one of them has sat by and seen what I've seen. I would warn anyone now before heading out to load your beautiful healthy baby child's system with known neurotoxins found in vaccines, like formaldehyde, mercury, aluminium, and various others to consider these dreadful daily facts.

Our son is ten now, severely autistic, still in nappies, he can't dress or feed himself. He has no speech or understanding, has pica, a condition which connected to pregnancy that has seen him eat window sills, paintwork, numerous nappies and their contents, shoes, a bunk-bed, countless t-shirts, jackets, socks, zips, buttons, stones and anything he picks up off the ground outside or at the shops. He screams when I take him to crowded places, is frightened and visibly shaking at the sight of stairs and wants carrying – he's almost up to my shoulders now! He has no sense of danger, strangers, hot, cold, traffic or water. I have locks on all my inside doors as he'll drop things down the toilet to hear the splash – just never what he's supposed to drop! He's got to be watched at all times when in the garden as quick as a flash I've caught him drinking the water from the drain at the kitchen window. The dangers of what he can do to himself are always apparent; one day I noticed he'd nibbled through to the wire of the telly cable whilst it was plugged in. He's put broken glass in his mouth at a public park having run to a far corner;, we both bolted like Steve Austin to save his little tongue. I am now his carer and will be for the rest of his life.

The most stressful aspect are his nappies as he grows. We only get four per day free to cope with everything, that's one every six hours – a shockingly disgusting national rule on continence. Our most vulnerable aren't getting what they need, decided by bureaucrats who never have their toilet habits counted or curtailed. Also I have to lay him down on dirty public toilet floors with his head under the pan where someone else has just peed. I don't like putting my handbag down on some floors; why on earth should I be expected to lie my precious son on them?. There should be changing facilities with an adult sized hydraulic bench (to save the backs of the nation's precious carers) for people in public places who can't use a loo. If you want to join me campaigning for this see Mencaps “Real Lives Stories” and make as much noise as you can to free those imprisoned by disability. I am also trying to take the NHS to task over it's nappy policy – any support there would be welcome…..(yes and this is the sort of thing you do the rest of the time while you're caring…battling for reforms).

How ironic the child born to the Blair mantra, “education,education,education” couldn't get one, I had to fight. Have had to fight for speech and language therapy still virtually non-existent investment and so much more…

Autism has devastated our family but we love our son with every ounce of our being. Autism is unfair because to everyone else he looks fine on the outside with no limbs missing to show the extent of his problems we have had to cope with some very odd and downright cruel treatment from others whilst out. Not always though, the very kind and wonderful people I have also come into contact with make me glad to have had my son to experience the help and love they've shown me, a total stranger.

Looking back the jabs including men.c and travel vaccines I gave my small but robust son before the age of 3 horrifies me to think I had done what no other generation had done before and over-loaded his little system. Watch out there's more coming – and ask yourself – is it truly worth it?

Incidentally, Dr Maurice Hilleman, pioneer of the MMR, noted in the first trials in the 1970s that over 50% of the children in those trials developed neurological and bowel disorders.

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