Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Hot Lot Shot

I have a love/hate relationship with vaccines. I think some are necessary and have saved many lives. I think others endanger our health by overtaxing our immune systems all at once (especially the immature immune system), are way over utilized, and expose us to more potential danger than we would experience without them.

Now, in our family, there are those of us (me, my son, my mother) who tend to have problems with medicines and even some vitamins. I am hunting down why as I write but testing points toward porphyria which means we would have an enzyme missing that would clear porphyrins from our blood stream. Porphyrins are a naturally occurring by-product in blood. Everybody makes them. But if all is well, they are quickly cleared from your blood and eliminated. If you have porphyria, you have a much harder time with this process. Medicines, some vitamins, alcohol, even a few foods can cause them to build in your system and poison you. So, it's important we try to stay as healthy as possible and not have a need to take pharmaceuticals because if, and when, you get sick from this, you are SICK. It can cause damage in your body, especially the liver and nerves, and, in some cases, can cause total paralysis and even death. Is that what we are dealing with for sure? Can't answer that yet. All my tests are currently with the American Porphyria Foundation specialist and he is reviewing them but I WILL let you know, whether you want to or not!

Now, it was in that mindset we visited my son's immunologist last week. What had been ailing him for about a year had resolved without medical intervention. (Insert GREAT thankfulness to the Lord here.) However, the doctor said (and you know how I feel about doctors) "According to his test he has very little resistance to pneumonia and is at great risk. I think he should have the vaccine." Hmmmm.

There probably aren't many of us who don't at least stop and think when the word "vaccine" is mentioned to us these days. We've heard, read, and seen so much about the risk involved. Because of our issues, I would additionally ask myself, "Wouldn't it be better to try to prevent something from happening since we don't process medicine well?" And that's why I said, "Well...okay." The physician saw my reticence and assured me it was safe and he had seen no negative reactions. The nurse came in and shot Hunter in the arm.

On the way home he told me getting the shot hadn't hurt at all but his arm felt like he got sucker punched by the Incredible Hulk. I know shots can feel that way sometimes so I didn't worry. The next day was our San Francisco trip and he didn't feel on top of his game but I figured it was just being drug out of bed too early. He complained of a little achiness. By the time we made our first stop in Pleasanton, he found it painful to bear weight on his right ankle. Weird. I asked him if he had been sitting on it, tucked underneath him. Nope.

Throughout the day he began to feel more exhausted and fluish. He slept all the way home and when we arrived he could barely put his weight on his ankle as the joint was inflammed. He felt slightly feverish and I tucked him in bed thinking he was probably having a reaction. By 5am he was miserable and running a fever of 103.5. His arm was twice the size of the other one and the red mark where the needle had been inserted was as big as a grapefruit. Bruising began to appear on his hand. I called the office and the on-call doctor told me to administer Benadryl, along with the Advil I had been giving him. That helped to break his fever. I would have considered the emergency room if I had any confidence they wouldn't make it worse, and in our area, make him wait for 12 hours before being seen.

His fever continued to rise and fall through Monday night. I iced his arm and watched him closely, calling the doctor's office again Monday and telling them I wanted that shot reported to the CDC. I got the Lot number and manufacturer and filed two reports myself.

Here's the real rub: When I went to file the reports there WAS no vaccine designed to be given to children except "7 Valent Pneumovax." Hunter was given "23 Valent Pneumovax." That means that, all at once, he was vaccinated for 23 different strains of pneumonia. Only adults are supposed to receive that shot. Children are not small adults. Their systems can only handle so much. It's not a lawsuit, not that I'm looking for that; it's not unheard of, I suppose; but it is HIGHLY imprudent. And I didn't know so I didn't ask.

That's why I'm encouraging you: ASK, ASK, ASK. Make another appointment. Go home and research and don't be pressured into doing something you might regret later. You can always go back. Not getting the vaccine TODAY is not going to put your child (or you) in harm's way unless there is serious compelling evidence to the contrary. I wish I had thought of this and researched before I said yes.

On Sunday, a friend of mine was at church and told me she had experienced a similar reaction to this very shot and she knew of someone else who had as well. Three people in this circle and the DOCTOR had never heard of negative reactions? Really? Can I tell you I think he was being less than truthful? I reported the shot and found out there were four other complaints about it possibly being a "Hot Lot." A "hot lot" is a shot from a batch of vaccine that has a larger number of reactions than normal. For your information the shot is as follows: 23 Valent Pneumovax Lot # 0669X - manufacturer is Merck.

Hunter is better today. He is hardly limping now and the fever is gone. He has resumed normal activity but his arm still has redness and a 3" diameter lump. Why didn't the doctor offer me the lesser vaccine that would have been better for a young person? I don't know. Have I ever mentioned, "I Hate Doctors?" Sorry.....there really are some wonderful individuals but there simply seems to be a bizarrely disproportionate number who are careless at best, and reckless at worst.

Be well, my friends, and thrive. Do not be bullied by the medical establishment. You are your own best advocate and that of your children and other family. Research, pray, and make informed decisions. Vaccine may be the right choice. It has been for us at times and we have declined other recommendations. I just want you to know what you are saying yes to, and why. I know I won't be blindsided again.

Copyright 2009


  1. Wow Robynn. That was hard to read. Because I'm a mom too, and I may have done the same thing, and dang it hurts to see your child hurt. And double dang, it makes me very angry that it even happened to begin with. I know that you're extremely prudent. I'm not questioning you at all. But you would think that the medical powers would be equally as concerned. Sadly, they often are not. And it hurts the patient. I worry about all those that do not ask or question their doctors AT ALL and blindly vaccinate and medicate. This is a hot topic for me.

    I hope Hunter is better ... poor guy.

  2. HI!

    I keep reading your blog and find myself pretty much talking (sometimes yelling) to the screen (saying things like, "WOW I feel the same way", or "is this me writing this?" and so on). So with that in mind, I am dying to chat with you and wondered if you had an email?

    I am so sorry to hear of your son getting ill from the vaccine shot. I have not had the flu in over 6 years and so refuse to get the flu vac, but I can understand how easy it can be to make a rash decision when doctors make you feel "alright" with their medical "woos".

    I was diagnosed with porphyria in 1995 and deal with some of the same frustration with doctors. I have so much to blab about!!!

    You can also email me at
    angelique (at) porphyrins (dot) org

    Take Care!

  3. Robynn, I am so grateful that I no longer have to worry about standing up to the medical community - in regards to my children. They are all adults now. BUT - I do worry about all that they will have to deal with.

    You keep telling it like it is, and the people who "read you" will gain strength from you!

    Tell Hunter that I'm sorry that he had to go through all that misery!

  4. Found you via P-Dub. Have read several of your posts, but this one resonated!

    Personally, I came to the conclusion about 10 years ago that MD's are not much more than pill pushers for the pharmaceutical companies! I go to a naturopath now. I found one that is down-to-earth sensible--not kooky like some are.

  5. Read the "Hot Lt Shot" post... OMGosh(!) Just read about the TWENTY-THREE strains vacc given to your son. geeeezzus. (big fed-up sigh) ...You are so on my wavelength- I have put off the MMR shot for my 30 month old daughter. Am also holding off on a few others that recently came out (varicella -sp?). I'm not throwing the baby out with the bath, but like you say -that can at least INFORM us.
    So glad your son came out okay.