Life after Transplant

Because she’s been through enough…

Vaccines seem to be a pretty hot topic these days.

In 1998, Canada was declared measles-free, with no endemic cases (cases which originated in Canada) found in that year.

21 years later, we are seeing a small, but significant resurgence of this once eradicated disease in our Country. As of week 7 of this year, there have been 8 cases of Measles reported in Canada – many of which began in a Private French school in Vancouver. A family with 3 boys went on vacation and amongst their souvenirs, they brought back the measles virus as well. These boys did not have the advantage of being vaccinated when they were small.

Globally, measles is making itself known, with over 14,000 cases in the Philippines so far this year causing 136 deaths. In the United States, there have been 228 cases of measles so far this year, largely caused by a couple of isolated outbreaks. (according to the CDC)

Measles isn’t the only disease on the prowl though. In Saskatchewan, this flu season has taken the lives of 6 people, 3 of which were young children who were otherwise healthy.

Raising children is scary business. There is so much that we need to look into – what can they eat, what can they drink, how long should they be breastfed/formula fed, what is this stuff that the doctor/nurse is injecting?

To be clear, even when fully vaccinated, you may get sick. You might catch the flu, whooping cough, or even measles. The likelihood is, though, that you won’t get so sick that you need to be admitted into the ICU and hooked up to a ventilator. You should be able to ride it out at home because although you still got the virus, your body has some protection.

Let’s talk for a minute about vaccine injuries. Vaccine related injuries are a real thing. Some people have allergic reactions to one of the ingredients, others develop shoulder injuries and fewer still may contract encephalitis (swelling of the brain).

I feel for the people who have gone through this or witnessed their child endure one of the adverse reactions which can occur after a vaccination. It sucks that they had to go through that – it truly does. I know that it sucks because my child was also an anomaly… her heart defect is FIXED 99% of the time but hers wasn’t. She didn’t get better, she got much, much worse. I do not, however, go around telling people to avoid the Arterial Switch for their babies born with TGA because that would be insane. My daughters poor outcome does NOT negate the fact that this surgery is one of the most successful cardiac surgeries around.

Which brings me to the real topic. My daughter has been through enough. She has battled collapsed lungs, heart failure, 6 open heart surgeries, dozens of surgical procedures and a heart transplant. Since becoming immune-suppressed she has endured pneumonia, strep, GI issues and recurrent colds.  She visits the ER so often that she now, at 2.5 years old, is excited to go to the doctor because afterward she will get ice cream. She also breaks hearts in the ER by telling them she needs to see the heart doctor 😉

Laura – Spring 2019

When Laura gets hurt, even with a simple tummy ache, she now thinks she’ll need to see a doctor. Blood work is normal for her. She assumes that anyone in gloves and a mask is going to stick her with a needle, or give her a catheter, or shove a swab down her throat.

The last thing she needs is to contract a ludicrous disease like measles or chicken pox. She has no protection. She can not receive the MMR vaccine because she doesn’t have a strong enough immune system – and NO, it is not the same for your child unless they are also taking strong medications to suppress their immune system. The vaccines have been tested and have been found safe for the age that they are administered – you don’t have to worry about your babies’ immune system being overburdened with the load – the scientists made sure it was okay before the schedules were created.

So, if you choose not to vaccinate your child because they are “scary” and full of chemicals (*insert face palm*) then please take a moment to read through Laura’s story. All of those scary reactions (which you are HIGHLY unlikely to witness) are still better than what Laura will have to endure if she catches a virus which causes her body to produce antibodies, creating the possible need of another heart. Intubation, sedation, surgery – all of which we have seen way too much of and, frankly, we would be happy not to experience again for a while.

If you want to know just how tiny the number of people who had moderate to severe vaccine injuries was, check out the government of Canada’s website at https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/immunization/canadian-adverse-events-following-immunization-surveillance-system-caefiss.html .

2 thoughts on “Because she’s been through enough…”

  1. Love your analogy! I had a heart transplant last year and live in Washington state which is where one of those isolated measles outbreaks has occurred. Luckily it isn’t in my county but it is still very scary. I wish your little one well.

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