Friday, June 17, 2016

On Autism, Vaccines, and Why the Unvaccinated Are a Threat

Wait, I know you're about to ask, why on a blog about your journey through theology? Bear with me, you'll soon see.

1. I am a survivor. It turns out I was exposed to rubella when my mom was pregnant with me. She nearly lost me at five months. I was born tiny. I was born sick. And all because of that rubella exposure. Doctors gave me five years outside of a bubble. I have since surpassed by, but it means that the rubella exposure did not do anything to help me. To this day, we know that I have a progressive congenital rubella syndrome. And it has impacted me systemically.

2. Because of that rubella exposure in the womb, my development was disrupted. I was born without an entire component of my complement immune deficiency which makes me more susceptible to bacterial infections. And I most likely had what would have been called global developmental disorder, but it turns out I am autistic. So I am autistic and immune deficient.

3. Mom was exposed to Agent Orange during her service during the Vietnam Era. Getting the VA to do anything has been like pulling teeth from a crocodile. Not to be insensitive to anything that has occurred this week. We suspect to some extent that agent orange could also contribute to the autism.

4. As a result of what is now CVID (common variable immune deficiency), I am unable to get live vaccines (chicken pox, measles, mumps, rubella, shingles, and flu mist). This means I need all who are medically able to be vaccinated. I had chicken pox. In adulthood. And I have no antibodies. I had measles four months later. I am fortunate to have antibodies. I also have antibodies to rubella. But despite vaccinations, I have no antibodies for mumps. And despite having had it and vaccines, having no antibodies for chicken pox could mean a repeat and worse case for me. Chicken pox followed by measles followed a mutated strain of flu four months after that led to a partial sensorineural hearing loss - reverse loss. Reverse loss only has two causes: damage from prolonged listening to loud sounds or damage from high fevers associated with infections.

5. Why are the unvaccinated a threat? Babies too young to be vaccinated. People like myself who have immune deficiencies. People like myself who have other medical conditions that can make it harder to safely vaccinate. Cancer and leukemia patients. Patients with autoimmune diseases. I will refer you to Immune Deficiency Foundation with regard to herd immunity.

6. No, vaccines did not cause autism. To even say that is to discredit the autistics who lived before vaccines ever existed and to discredit the unvaccinated autistics. The Denmark study confirmed that autism is not in any higher rates in the vaccinated than in the unvaccinated and that rates were pretty even among both. And it is not the only one. Also, for a vaccine to cause autism, it would have to go from the muscle into which it is injected, jump over into the bloodstream, then change the very wiring in the brain where autism is AND the DNA. I know vaccines can be strong in preventing diseases, but I don't think they are strong enough to jump through all those hoops?

7. Rise in rates of autism? Not really. When I was a child, not a lot was known about autism. We did not have internet in homes like we do now. We did not have 24/7 access to media and information like we do now. And it was very rare that girls were diagnosed. As for before I was born, most were sent to institutions or homes and were hardly ever seen again afterward. Autism also went by many names other than autism - touched in the head was a term I had to research after reading it in a book whose main character encounters an autistic who is nonverbal and at risk. In other words, they thought autistics were possessed by the devil at one point. The spectrum was broadened to include all levels of autism, including Asperger's. We now have more access to more information. And as a result, the rates seem like they have gone up even though the reality might be just the opposite and rates might have actually stayed the same. Plus, because of autistic adults like myself who have been pushed off the societal cliff with regard to services we need, there is a huge push to diagnose as early as possible.

Now how does any of this relate to theology?

God created all people, autistic or not, in His image. And if you consider how God relates to His children, there are several things about Him that technically could be on the autism spectrum itself. Brutal honesty is one. Creativity. Loyalty. Loving. Yet also angry and torn. Emotional. You cannot separate God from nature. And God's nature is immutable. If God's nature is immutable, then He cannot create anything that is broken or damaged. Sin can disrupt things, but otherwise, everything is just as God intended it to be.

Some people say they refuse to vaccinate on the grounds of religion. When asked, they cite "fetal tissue cells from an aborted baby." Do we know for sure that the tissue cells were actually from an aborted baby or maybe it was just a baby that died from natural causes? Even if it was an aborted baby, there might have been medical reasons for that woman to abort. And even further still, God gave some men and women out there the brains to be able to redeem a seemingly tragic situation and turn it into something that has since saved millions of babies, children, teenagers, and adults from diseases that used to kill or disable someone. Also, now that we grow vaccines in eggs, would they really still be using that cell line?

It doesn't take a genius to follow the history of diseases before vaccines to see the good they do. And it was never God's intent for His children to avoid medical prevention just because they want to find the grey areas in the scripture. Not one person who has used religion as an excuse has been able to actually provide a specific scripture where vaccines would be prohibited. They instead refer to Psalm 139 or the Ten Commandments. Of course, the trouble with arguing with an immune deficient autistic is that I can usually throw the Ten Commandments back at them with the admonition and reminder that it is wrong to murder and how bringing back diseases that are now preventable would be akin to murder if I am exposed.

Also, if you want to follow an interesting discussion, look up Marco Arturo and his video. The kid is literally a genius. Too bad some "adults" thought it would be appropriate to bully him like they did. All they did was hurt their cause when they did that.

Dear God, I am going to end my post here. But if even just one person reads it and learns something from it, that is one more person who needed to read it and learn something from it. Thank you God for another day of life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

How to Effectively Deal with a Bully

So this is about a repeat offender who has chosen a two month old comment about my personal experience with autism and how I was impacted by being exposed to rubella in the womb. I have reported him, but clearly Disqus has chosen to allow him to continue. Well, after much prayer, I have decided to once again out him for his bullying. And this is probably more effective than responding to him.