Sunday, December 28, 2008

An angel


  You may have heard about this story.  If you haven't it is totally amazing!  What an amazing God we serve.  He is among us!

  This is from our very own Presbyterian hospital downtown......

Diane Bynum works at Presbyterian and she told me Sunday at church about this picture and how everyone at Presby is talking about it. I keep up with a little girl who has cancer on Caringbridge and her mother posted this on Ellie
s site today. It was sent to her to encourage them as they fight for Ellies life. 
So many of you have heard me tell the story, but I wanted to pass it along anyway to those who didn't hear it and for those who wanted it in email.

A couple of Wednesdays ago, I got an evening phone call from the pediatric ICU at Presbyterian Hospital , where I work as a child life specialist. Usually when they call at night, it means something bad has happened. This, however, was different. My coworker told me that the most amazing thing had just happened and she just had to call to tell me.

We had a patient who has really grown up in and out of the hospital. All the staff knows her and her family. She had been in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) for about a month, and had been intubated - on life support. She was not doing well. The doctors had approached mom about taking her off life support the Saturday before. Mom was okay with it, and said that she'd been through so much and if was her time to go she wanted to honor that. So they had taken her off.

It was Wednesday and she was still alive. Amazing. The doctors approached mom about taking off her oxygen mask. Mom was supportive, and began praying over her daughter. The mother of another young patient who was in the bed next to her began praying with her.

The nurse practitioner went to the nurses station to chart that she had taken off the oxygen mask. While doing so, she looked up at the security monitor that videotapes the double doors leading into the PICU. It records anyone who may be waiting outside the doors to get in since it is a secure unit. She saw a man standing there, and it looked a little funny to her, so she decided to walk down the hall to open the double doors personally. When she opened them, no one was standing there.

She walked back down to the nurses station to finish charting, assuming he had walked away, but saw him still standing there on the monitor. So she opened the doors with a button near the nurses station and leaned over to see him walk in, but no one was standing there.

She pulled over another nurse and both stood staring at this man on the monitor and opening the doors to find no one there. The nurse practitioner leaned in closely to look at the man on the monitor and said, 'Oh my gosh. That's an angel. You can see his wings!' 

They said that the sun starting shining so brightly and the whole PICU was strangely filled with light. They said he was a tall man and you could see wings behind him.

They pulled over all the staff of the PICU and the two praying mothers and everyone was staring at this man on the monitor and opening the doors to find no one there. Crying, everyone pulled out their camera phones to take pictures, but no one could get it to show up on their camera. The mother of the girl pulled out her camera phone and finally got a picture of the angel who was guarding the doors to the PICU. He turned out as a man of light. I have attached the picture from her phone.

The girl was later discharged from the hospital to go home.
A Miracle.

This story makes me so grateful for the way that God reveals himself to us, and the how Great He is really is. We have much to be thankful for this holiday. :)

Katy L. Field, CCLS
Certified Child Life Specialist
Presbyterian Blume Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Clinic
Charlotte , NC 


Monday, December 22, 2008

What did the girls say?

So, what did the girls say when we told them we were having a baby?

Gracie didn't believe us.  She kept saying -no you're not, yeah right, etc...  It took some convincing but she finally believed us:)  She is quite excited.  A few days after we told her, she told me that "I was going to have my hands full!"  I assured her I already do:)

Piper was instantly thrilled and asked to see the baby. She rubs my belly and kisses it.  The morning after we told her I was getting in the shower and she said, "NO MOMMY, don't get my brudder (brother) wet!" 
  Then when I was going in for my first check-up she was very upset.  She said "I don't want him get a shot, I don't want them to hurt my brudder."
  Yes, we have warned her that it might be a girl:)

They are so funny!  The best part of being pregnant so far is how the girls are responding.  They are super duper excited about the baby and it's so sweet.  They are already ready to hold the baby.  We have to talk about how it will be a LONG time before we get to see the baby and hold it.

The girls have also been incredibly kind and helpful to me.  They are very understanding when I am not feeling well and they do everything they can to help me.  Sweet little blessings.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Don't be a Scrooge

This is an excellent article that our pastors posted on our church's blog.  Enjoy! 

 It was written by R.C. Sproul.

1120260_christmas_eveThere was a time when I felt guilty celebrating Christmas.  I was a fairly new Christian and believers I respected were informing me about commercialization, pagan roots and the danger to our kids from Santa.  So for a few years I backed off of Christmas.  Since then I have approached the holiday with what I hope is a more Biblical and balanced perspective.  It was in light of that experience that I enjoyed reading the following post by Dr. R. C. Sproul.  Hope you will enjoy it as well.

One word of warning.  Dr. Sproul is strong in expressing his opinions.  Stronger than at times I would be comfortable with.  So, if you disagree with his perspective please know that I respect your convictions in this area.  One of the great things about being a Christian is that we can disagree in some areas but still love each other and maintain our unity around the thing that matters the most, the gospel.

[written by Mickey Connolly]


“Marley’s Message to Scrooge” by R.C. Sproul

“Bah! Humbug!” These two words are instantly associated with Charles Dickens’ immortal fictional anti-hero, Ebenezer Scrooge. Scrooge was the prototype of the Grinch who stole Christmas, the paradigm of all men cynical.

We all recognize that Ebenezer Scrooge was a mean person - stingy, insensitive, selfish, and unkind. What we often miss in our understanding of his character is that he was preeminently profane. “Bah! Humbug!” was his Victorian use of profanity.

Not that any modern editor would feel the need to delete Scrooge’s expletives. His language is not the standard currency of cursing. But it was profane in that Scrooge demeaned what was holy. He trampled on the sanctity of Christmas. He despised the sacred. He was cynical toward the sublime.

Christmas is a holiday, indeed the world’s most joyous holiday. It is called a “holiday” because the day is holy. It is a day when businesses close, when families gather, when churches are filled, and when soldiers put down their guns for a 24-hour truce. It is a day that differs from every other day.

Every generation has its abundance of Scrooges. The church is full of them. We hear endless complaints of commercialism. We are constantly told to put Christ back into Christmas. We hear that the tradition of Santa Claus is a sacrilege. We listen to those acquainted with history murmur that Christmas isn’t biblical. The Church invented Christmas to compete with the ancient Roman festival honoring the bull-god Mithras, the nay-sayers complain. Christmas? A mere capitulation to paganism.

And so we rain on Jesus’ parade and assume an Olympian detachment from the joyous holiday. All this carping is but a modern dose of Scroogeism, our own sanctimonious profanation of the holy.

Sure, Christmas is a time of commerce. The department stores are decorated to the hilt, the ad pages of the newspapers swell in size, and we tick off the number of shopping days left until Christmas. But why all the commerce? The high degree of commerce at Christmas is driven by one thing: the buying of gifts for others. To present our friends and families with gifts is not an ugly, ignoble vice. It incarnates the amorphous “spirit of Christmas.” The tradition rests ultimately on the supreme gift God has given the world. God so loved the world, the Bible says, that He gave His only begotten Son. The giving of gifts is a marvelous response to the receiving of such a gift. For one day a year at least, we taste the sweetness inherent in the truth that it is more blessed to give than to receive.

What about putting Christ back into Christmas? It is simply not necessary. Christ has never left Christmas. “Jingle Bells” will never replace “Silent Night.” Our holiday once known as Thanksgiving is rapidly becoming known simply as “Turkey Day.” But Christmas is still called Christmas. It is not called “Gift Day.” Christ is still in Christmas, and for one brief season the secular world broadcasts the message of Christ over every radio station and television channel in the land. Never does the church get as much free air time as during the Christmas season.

Not only music but the visual arts are present in abundance, bearing testimony to the historic significance of the birth of Jesus. Christmas displays all remind the world of the sacred Incarnation.

Doesn’t Santa Claus paganize or at least trivialize Christmas? He’s a myth, and his very mythology casts a shadow over the sober historical reality of Jesus. Not at all. Myths are not necessarily bad or harmful. Every society creates myths. They are a peculiar art form invented usually to convey a message that is deemed important by the people. When a myth is passed off as real history, that is fraud. But when it serves a different purpose it can be healthy and virtuous. Kris Kringle is a mythical hero, not a villain. He is pure fiction — but a fiction used to illustrate a glorious truth.

What about the historical origins of Christmas as a substitute for a pagan festival? I can only say, good for the early Christians who had the wisdom to flee from Mithras and direct their zeal to the celebration of the birth of Christ. Who associates Christmas today with Mithras? No one calls it “Mithrasmas.”

We celebrate Christmas because we cannot eradicate from our consciousness our profound awareness of the difference between the sacred and the profane. Man, in the generic sense, has an incurable propensity for marking sacred space and sacred time. When God appeared to Moses in the burning bush, the ground that was previously common suddenly became uncommon. It was now holy ground - sacred space. When Jacob awoke from his midnight vision of the presence of God, he anointed with oil the rock upon which he had rested his head. It was sacred space.

When God touches earth, the place is holy. When God appears in history, the time is holy. There was never a more holy place than the city of Bethlehem, where the Word became flesh. There was never a more holy time than Christmas morning when Emmanuel was born. Christmas is a holiday. It is the holiest of holy days. We must heed the warning of Jacob Marley: “Don’t be a Scrooge” at Christmas.


Read the article on the Ligonier Website

Gingerbread house and Christmas Baking

One of our Christmas Traditions is baking day at Nanny's house....

Gracie and Piper are ready!
Tristen, Gracie and Piper in front of Nanny's tree
Sugar cookie making
Note to self: Bring aprons next time
To be honest:)  I didn't do any baking.  I wasn't feeling well, so the girls let me take a nap.  Thanks Mom and Ab and LaLa!  They even took these pictures for me with my camera.

Our counter is overflowing with Peanut Butter Balls, sugar cookies, white trash (the chex mix stuff), and pretzels drizzled with chocolate:) 

And lots of cookies from Lisa's annual cookie exchange!

Our first ever Gingerbread House....  Well we attempted to create this awesome manger scene last year but it was wayyyyyy too hard.  Jeremy and I couldn't even figure it out.  It was extremely detailed.  So I opted for the easy version this year:)

LOTS of candy

The girls did most of the work.  They did a great job.

There are a few traditions left for next week:)  Can't believe Christmas is seven days away!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Friends and Family,

Christmas came early to our house...

(turn up your volume:))

That's right, we are HAVING A BABY!!  Due in August:) 

August 9th to be exact, LaLa's birthday is Aug 8th:)

We are shocked and amazed at God's kindness.  This one was totally natural and we weren't exactly trying:).   Gracie and Piper were conceived with fertility drugs.  so, here we go! Baby number three!

I would appreciate your prayers, I am sick this time.  I wasn't sick one day with the other two.  What a different world this is.  

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Hey sweet friends!
  Jordan started his chemo last night.  Please pray for him and Jessica.  They are anxious.  I can only imagine.  
  He will take it for five nights and then be off for 23 days.  This will go on for 6 months. So I think that puts him finishing up in June.
  There were some hold- ups with insurance so that's why he is just now starting.  Please pray that God heals him through these meds.
  Thank you:)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Worthy of your time!

Hey Friends:)

Hope you all are having a great week!

Many of you are aware that Jeremy and I have chosen not to vaccinate the girls.  The reasons are many.  I usually don't talk about it unless I am asked because it's such a sensitive subject with many out there.  But I came across this article today from Dr. Mercola's website and I really felt like it was worth sharing.

It is lengthy but there is a ton of great information in there about what is going on in the vaccine world.  And it's not anti-vaccine.   I really feel strongly that it's a must read for all mommies out there.  We have to be able to make informed decisions for our health and our children's health.  It's time we stop believing everything the medical community tells us and start researching what we are agreeing to let them do to us and our children!  Many of them never question what they are taught in medical school.  They aren't willing to step out of the box.

From Dr. Mercola:

You may remember a the article I posted a couple of months ago written by Dr. Donald Millerthat provides a great overview on the toxicity of mercury from various sources. After his piece was posted, Dr. Miller received responses from parents wanting to know what vaccines, if any, he would recommend children receive.

His response is a new piece that discusses the mindset behind the vaccine madness and a different approach that differs greatly from "obediently following the government's schedule."

In Dr. Miller's view, and grounded in good science, parents should consider a more "user-friendly" vaccination schedule, one that takes the best interests of the individual into consideration rather than what the government judges best for society.

That's a far better approach than the "one-size-fits-all" approach foisted on Americans that pushes the necessity of yearly flu vaccines although few people actually die from influenza and an admission by the CDC last year these vaccines don't work anyway.

By Donald W. Miller, Jr., MD

Vaccination is a controversial subject, and many parents worry about subjecting their children to them. Readers of my article, "Mercury on the Mind," about vaccines and dental amalgams, have asked what vaccines I would recommend their children receive. This article addresses that question.

In the Recommended Childhood Immunization Schedule put out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 12 vaccines are given to children before they reach the age of two. Providers inject them against the following:

  • Hepatitis B
  • Diphtheria
  • Tetanus (lockjaw)
  • Pertussis (whooping cough)
  • Polio
  • Pneumococcal infections
  • Hemophilus influenzae type b infections
  • Measles
  • Mumps
  • Rubella (German measles)
  • Chickenpox
  • Influenza (the flu)

Infectious disease was the leading cause of death in children 100 years ago, with diphtheria, measles, scarlet fever and pertussis accounting for most them. Today, the leading causes of death in children less than five years of age are accidents, genetic abnormalities, developmental disorders, sudden infant death syndrome and cancer. A basic tenet of modern medicine is that vaccines are the reason. There is growing evidence that this is so, but perhaps not quite in the way conventional medical wisdom would have it.

The Conventional Schedule

A 15-member Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices at the CDC decides which vaccines should be on the Childhood Immunization Schedule. It calls for one vaccine, against hepatitis B, to be given on the day of birth; seven vaccines at two months; 6 more (including booster shots) at four months; and as many as eight vaccines on the six-month well-baby visit.

Before a child reaches the age of two, he or she will have received 32 vaccinations on this schedule, including four doses each of vaccines for Hemophilus influenzae type b infections, diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis -- all of them given during the first 12 months of life. Seven vaccines injected into a 13-pound, two-month old infant are equivalent to 70 doses in a 130-pound adult.

The schedule states, "Your child can safely receive all vaccines recommended for a particular age during one visit." Public health officials, however, have not proven that it is indeed safe to inject this many vaccines into infants. What's more, they cannot explain why, concurrent with an increasing number of vaccinations, there has been an explosion of neurologic and immune system disorders in our nation's children.

Fifty years ago, when the immunization schedule contained only four vaccines (for diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and smallpox), autism was virtually unknown. First discovered in 1943, this most devastating malady, in what is now a spectrum of pervasive developmental disorders, afflicted less than 1 in 10,000 children.

Today, one in every 68 American families has an autistic child. Other, less severe developmental disorders, rarely seen before the vaccine era, have also reached epidemic proportions. Four million American children have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). One in six American children are now classified as "Learning Disabled."

Our children are also experiencing an epidemic of autoimmune disorders: Type I diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and bowel disorders. There has been a 17-fold increase in Type I diabetes, from 1 in 7,100 children in the 1950s to 1 in 400 now. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis afflicts 300,000 American children. Twenty-five years ago, this disease was so rare that public health officials did not keep any statistics on it. There has been a four-fold increase in asthma, and bowel disorders in children are much more common now than they were 50 years ago.

The Deteriorating Health of Children

Health officials consider a vaccine to be safe if no bad reactions -- like seizures, intestinal obstruction or anaphylaxis -- occur acutely. The CDC has not done any studies to assess the long-term effects of its immunization schedule. To do that, one must conduct a randomized controlled trial, the lynchpin of evidenced-based medicine, where one group of children is vaccinated on the CDC's schedule and a control group is not vaccinated.

Investigators then follow the two groups for a number of years (not just three to four weeks, as has been done in vaccine safety studies). Concerns that vaccinations in infants cause chronic neurologic and immune system disorders would be put to rest, and their safety certified, if the number of children who develop these diseases is the same in both groups.

No such studies have been done, so vaccine proponents cannot say that vaccines are indeed as safe as they think they are. (One proponent, interviewed by Dan Rather on 60 Minutes, who has financial ties to the vaccine industry that he did not disclose, claims that vaccines "have a better safety record than vitamins." He neglected to mention that the U.S. government has paid out more than $1.5 billion in its Vaccine Injury Compensation Program to families of children who have been injured or killed by vaccines.)

There is a growing body of evidence that implicates vaccines as a causative factor in the deteriorating health of children. The hypothesis that vaccines cause neurologic and immune system disorders is a legitimate one -- vaccines given in multiple doses, close together, to very young children following the CDC's Immunization Schedule. This hypothesis should be tested by a large-scale, long-term randomized controlled trial.

Rather than obediently following the government's schedule, there is now sufficient evidence, grounded in good science, to justify adopting a more user-friendly vaccination schedule. One which is in the best interests of the individual as opposed to what planners judge best for society as a whole.

New knowledge in neuroimmunology (the study of how the brain's immune system works) raises serious questions about the wisdom of injecting vaccines in children less than 2 years of age.

A Child's Best Time Table

The brain has its own specialized immune system, separate from that of the rest of the body. When a person is vaccinated, its specialized immune cells, the microglia, become activated (the blood-brain barrier notwithstanding). Multiple vaccinations spaced close together over-stimulate the microglia, causing them to release a variety of toxic elements -- cytokines, chemokines, excitotoxins, proteases, complement, free radicals -- that damage brain cells and their synaptic connections. Researchers call the damage caused by these toxic substances "bystander injury."

(Pediatricians and other professional colleagues who question this should read these two reviews by the neurosurgeon Russell L. Blaylock: "Interaction of Cytokines, Excitotoxins, Reactive Nitrogen and Oxygen Species in Autism Spectrum Disorders," in the Journal of the American Nutraceutical Association [JANA 2003;6(4):21 -- 35], with 167 references. And "Chronic Microglial Activation and Excitotoxicity Secondary to Excessive Immune Stimulation: Possible Factors in Gulf War Syndrome and Autism," in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons [JAPS 2004;9(2):46 -- 52], posted online, with 54 references.)

In humans, the most rapid period of brain development begins in the third trimester and continues over the first two years of extra uterine life. (By then, brain development is 80 percent complete.) Until randomized controlled trials demonstrate the safety of giving vaccines during this time of life, it would be prudent not to give any vaccinations to children until they are 2-years-old.

From a risk-benefit perspective, there is growing evidence that the risk of neurologic and autoimmune diseases from vaccinations outweigh the benefits of avoiding the childhood infections that they prevent. An exception is hepatitis B vaccine for infants whose mothers test positive for this disease.

A user-friendly vaccination schedule prohibits any vaccines that contain thimerosal, which is 50 percent mercury. Flu vaccines contain thimerosal, which is reason enough to avoid them.

One should also avoid vaccines that contain live viruses. This includes the combined measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine; chickenpox (varicella) vaccine; and the live-virus polio (Sabin) vaccine. This stricture would not apply to the smallpox vaccine (also a live-virus one), if a terrorist-instigated outbreak of smallpox should occur.

Finally, a user-friendly vaccination schedule requires that vaccinations, after the age of two, be given no more than once every six months, one at a time, in order to allow the immune system sufficient time to recover and stabilize between shots.

Which vaccines should be put on this schedule (among those that do not contain live viruses or thimerosal) is not entirely clear. The top four would be:

  • Pertussis (acelluar -- aP -- not whole cell) vaccine.
  • Diphtheria (D) vaccine.
  • Tetanus (T) vaccine (the first three on this list are to be given separately, not together, as is usually the case).
  • The Salk polio vaccine, with an inactivated (dead) virus, one that is cultured in human cells, not monkey kidney cells.

Perhaps, it should only contain these four vaccines. A good case can be made for avoiding the three other newer vaccines on the CDC's schedule: The hepatitis B, pneumococcal conjugate (PCV7) and Hemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccines.

Your Doctor Won't Like This

Your pediatrician will not like this schedule. They are taught in medical school and residency training that childhood immunizations are essential to public health. As one pediatrician puts it, "Achieving adequate and timely vaccination of young children is the single most valuable thing a doctor can do for a patient." They do not question what their professors teach them, nor are they inclined to critically examine studies in Pediatrics and the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) that tell them vaccines are safe.

There were 482,000 cases of measles in the U.S in 1962, the year before a vaccine for this disease became available. Now, with all 50 states requiring that children be vaccinated against measles in order to attend school, there were only 56 cases of measles in a population of 290 million people in 2003.

These facts are well known and proudly cited by vaccine proponents. What is less known, and doctors are not taught, is that the death rate for measles declined 97.7 percent during the first 60 years of the 20th century. The mortality rate was 133 deaths per million people in the U.S. in 1900, and had dropped to 0.3 deaths per million by 1960. Measles caused less than 100 deaths a year in the U.S. before there was a vaccine for this disease (in 1963).

The same thing happened with diphtheria and pertussis. Mortality rates dropped more than 90 percent in the early 20th century before vaccines for these diseases were introduced. This was due to better nutrition (with rapid delivery of fresh fruit and vegetables to cities and refrigeration), cleaner water and improved sanitation (removing trash from the streets and better sewage systems), not to vaccines.

The World Health Organization promotes mass vaccination, but knowing these facts states, "The best vaccine against common infectious diseases is an adequate diet," fortified, one might add, with vitamin A.

Since the measles vaccine came into widespread use in this country, this disease has virtually disappeared, and it has prevented 100 deaths a year. But now, instead, several thousand normally developing children become autistic after receiving their MMR shot. Termed "regressive autism," it accounts for about 30 percent of the 10,000 to 20,000 children who are diagnosed with autism in this country each year.

To put to rest concerns that MMR vaccination might cause autism (in a small percentage of children), NEJM, in 2002, published a population-based study from Denmark, where its authors concluded, "This study provides strong evidence against the hypothesis that MMR vaccination causes autism."

The NEJM did not disclose that the "Statens Serum Institut," where three of the authors work, is a for-profit vaccine manufacturer, Denmark's largest, or that four other authors have financial ties to this company. Only one of the eight authors is not associated with this institute, and the CDC employs him.

The study compares the prevalence of autism in 440,000 MMR vaccinated and 97,000 unvaccinated children in Denmark born in the 1990s. A statistical slight-of-hand in age adjustment makes the study show no causal effect. But, when unmasked and reformatted, the data actually shows a statistically significant association between MMR vaccine and autism (as Carol Stott and her coauthors make clear in "MMR and Autism in Perspective: The Denmark Story," in the Fall 2004 Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, posted online).

Pediatrics and the Journal of the American Medical Association also have published studies like this supporting U.S. vaccine policy, written by authors with similar, undisclosed conflicts of interest.

Looking elsewhere, however, one comes across a number of disquieting facts about vaccines.

  1. Investigators have found, for example, live measles virus in the cerebral spinal fluid in children who become autistic after MMR vaccinations.
  2. Antibodies to measles virus are elevated in children with autism but not in normal kids, suggesting that virus-induced autoimmunity may play a causal role.
  3. A study published in Neurology this year implicates hepatitis B vaccine as a causative factor in multiple sclerosis.

One For All

A communitarian ethic increasingly governs health care in the U.S. It places a greater value on the health of the community, on society as a whole, than on the health of particular individuals. Public health officials have put together a vaccination schedule designed to eliminate infectious diseases to which the population is prey.

Officials recognize that these vaccines will harm a small percentage of (genetically susceptible) individuals, but it is for the common good. The communitarian code posits that it is morally acceptable, if necessary, to sacrifice a few for the good of the many. Or as one observer more bluntly puts it, "Individual sheep can be sheared and slaughtered if it is for the welfare of their flock."

In this framework, health care providers become agents of the state charged with injecting vaccines into people that the central planners deem necessary. Physicians who remain true to their Hippocratic Oath and place the interests of their patient above that of the herd are considered to be out of step with the times, if not an anachronism.

Like central planners everywhere, the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) promulgates a self-serving, one-size-fits-all vaccine policy. Members of this committee have ties to vaccine makers, such that the CDC must grant them waivers from statutory conflict of interest rules. Even so, and with little evidence to show that it is safe to subject young children to the ACIP's crowded immunization schedule, states nevertheless dutifully make its vaccine recommendations compulsory.

All 50 states require children to be immunized against measles, diphtheria, Hemophilus influenzae type b, polio, and rubella in order to enroll in day care and/or public school. Forty-nine states also require vaccination against tetanus; 47, against hepatitis B and mumps; and 43 states now require vaccination against chickenpox.

In order to shield themselves from any liability for making vaccinations compulsory, all states provide a medical exemption and 47, a religious exemption. Nineteen states allow a philosophical exemption. Some require only a letter from a parent and others, from a physician or church leader. (To see the exemptions allowed in your state, their wording and requirements, []click here.) Parents, of course, can refuse vaccinations, but if they want to enroll their child in public school they will need to obtain one of these exemptions.

Doctors who conclude that the risks of the government's immunization schedule outweigh its benefits are placed in a difficult position. If they counsel parents not to have their children follow it, health care plans, which track vaccine compliance as a measure of "quality," will find them wanting.

Weighing The Risks

And if their patient should contract and develop complications from the disease the vaccine would have prevented, they may find themselves confronting a lawsuit. If a child becomes autistic following a vaccination, however, the doctor is protected from any liability because the government requires it and the child's parents, if they had chosen to do so, could have obtained an exemption. (Anti-vaccine advocates call developing autism, asthma and Type I diabetes after vaccinations "vaccination roulette.")

Parents should have the freedom to select whatever vaccination schedule they want their children to follow, especially since health care providers and the government (except via its Vaccine Injury Compensation Program) cannot be held accountable for any adverse outcomes that might occur. But if parents elect to not follow the CDC's immunization schedule, delaying some vaccinations, refusing others, or avoiding them altogether, then they must accept the risk that their child might contract the disease that the vaccine against it most likely would have prevented.

One consideration, which vaccine proponents do not address, is this: Could contracting childhood diseases like measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox play a constructive role in the maturation of a person's immune system? Or, to put it another way, does removing natural infection from human experience have any adverse consequences?

Our species' immune system -- a one-trillion-cell army that patrols our (100-trillion-cell) body -- serves two main purposes:

  • It destroys foreign invaders -- viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens.
  • And it destroys aberrant cells in the body that run amuck and cause cancer.

Our Natural Defense System

Behind the barricades of skin and mucosa, our innate immune system (composed of phagocytes, natural killer cells and the 20-protein complement system), which all animals have, is the body's first line of defense. It reacts to invaders lightening fast and indiscriminately, but it is not very good at eliminating viruses and cancerous cells.

Vertebrates have evolved a second line of defense: The adaptive immune system. It targets specific viruses and bacteria and has better artillery for eliminating cancerous cells. This system matures during childhood, and it has a cellular (Th1) and humoral (Th2) component (Th = helper T cell).

The viruses that cause measles, mumps and chickenpox have infected countless generations of humans, akin to a rite of passage for each member of our species. Contracting these diseases strengthens both parts of the adaptive immune system (Th1 and Th2). Mothers who have had measles, mumps and chickenpox transfer antibodies against them to their babies in utero, which protect them during the first year of life from contracting these infections.

Vaccinations do not have the same effect on the immune system as naturally acquired diseases do. They stimulate predominantly the Th2 part of this system and not Th1. (Over-stimulation of Th2 causes autoimmune diseases.) The cellular Th1 side thwarts cancer, and if it does not become fully developed in childhood, a person can be more prone to have cancer as an adult.

Women who had mumps during childhood, for example, are found to be less likely to have ovarian cancer than women who did not have this infection. (This study was published in Cancer.) Could the fact that cancer has become a leading cause of death in children be a result of vaccinations? Only a randomized controlled trial can conclusively answer this question.

With rare exception, a well-nourished child who contracts measles will recover smoothly from the infection. Fifty years ago, almost all children in the U.S. had measles. And after contracting this disease, one has a life-long immunity to it.

The protection provided by vaccination is temporary. Adults who contract measles (when the protective effects of the vaccine wears off) are much more likely to have neurological, testicular and ovarian complications. Likewise, rubella is a benign disease in children, but if a woman acquires it during pregnancy, fetal malformations may develop.

One can argue, heretical as such an argument may be, that it would be better to let children have measles, at an age when the infection helps the adaptive immune system mature in a balanced Th1/Th2 fashion and complications from this disease are minimal, rather than vaccinate them against this disease (especially considering the risks of vaccination).

Pertussis and Diphtheria are a different matter. These diseases are more virulent. Children who contract whooping cough (pertussis) can be incapacitated for more than a month. Polio can be devastating in susceptible individuals. And no one wants to get tetanus (lockjaw). A user-friendly vaccination schedule would include vaccines against these diseases.

Whatever vaccination schedule one chooses, mothers should breast-feed their child for as long as possible -- a year or more. Failing that, add Omega-3 fatty acids, especially DHA (docosahexanoic acid), to the child's formula.

In summary, this is a vaccination schedule that I would recommend:

  1. No vaccinations until a child is two years old.
  2. No vaccines that contain thimerosal (mercury).
  3. No live virus vaccines (except for smallpox, should it recur).
  4. These vaccines should be given one at a time, every six months, beginning at age 2:
    • A) Pertussis (acellular, not whole cell)
    • B) Diphtheria
    • C) Tetanus
    • D) Polio (the Salk vaccine, cultured in human cells)

American children are the most highly vaccinated kids in the world. This schedule is an alternative to the one that rules our "vaccine nation" (as the Village Voice terms it). In contrast to the CDC's immunization schedule, it is user-friendly.

Donald Miller is a cardiac surgeon and Professor of Surgery at the University of Washington in Seattle and a member of Doctors for Disaster Preparedness and writes articles on a variety of subjects for, including bioterrorism. His Web site and you can contact him at

Any thoughts???

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Ray's Splash Planet

Here are some pictures from Gracie's party at Ray's Splash Planet:
It's an indoor waterpark- Kid's dream:)
Alyssa, Tristen, Faith, Gracie, and Rhiannon
Rhiannon and Nanny in the lazy river
Pipey and Gamma's arms
Gracie wasn't thrilled about the lazy river unless I was with her
Macy and Gracie

Tristen and Ellie playing in the water spouts
Sliding down.  I think that's Piper.  Nope can't be, the legs aren't chubby enough...
Papa helping the girls hold the water back
Daddy and Piper
Anthony (Gracie called him Ansofee for about six months)
Faith (Gracie called her Faif for the longest time)
Birthday Girl
Two of her favs.  A water bottle from Tristen and a Webkinz from the Lucas boys.
Faith, Tristen, Jackson, Gracie, Alyssa, Piper, and Christopher

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Christmas at our House

Christmas begins at the Gibson house on the day after Thanksgiving.  We love it around here!  All the christmas cheer, the lights, candles, baking, yummy smells, nativity scenes, and most of all, the birth of our Dear Savior.  We have lots to celebrate.

On Saturday we took our annual trip to the mountains to get our Christmas Tree....

Up the mountain we go!  And by the way, it was very cold and rainy.  Dedicated to gettin that tree though!
Up we go, which one is looking good from here???
Even the man in red was at the tree farm.  Piper was petrified of him.
There's the one!  It's perfect:)  Jeremy picked it out.
Satisified with this tree and ready for hot chocolate!
Down they go!
In the barn there is horseback riding for our little horse lover!  She rode twice.
Ummm, warms the heart and the tummy

On Sunday, it was time to decorate the tree.  Well, honestly, the girls were so worn out by Sunday night we ended up putting them to bed and decorating it together, just Jeremy and I.  It was a really nice quiet time together:)  We saved several ornaments for the girls to put on the next day.  

One of the new fun ornaments my hubby bought me.  Thanks Love!
Love glittery stuff on my tree...
Pipes putting an ornament on..
Our nativity scene... Gracie wants to sing Happy Birthday to Baby Jesus everyday.
Just a little decorating here and there...
Our beloved snowman...
Stockings all hung by the chimney with care... Even Reilly's
My favorite, my feather trees:)
So that's what has gone on so far at our house... Oh yeah, I gotta get out our new advent calendar!  Stay tuned for that one.