Thursday, March 20, 2008


I never liked inoculating my children. I read all the books against it when my children were small. I heard the horror stories of adverse affects due to immunizations. In fact, we had a living breathing example of the DPT shot gone horribly wrong in the form of a 30 something man who roamed our neighborhood in a protective helmet. He was the youngest of 5 boys and his retired parents shared with us how he had been given the DPT shot at 6 months of age. Later that day he began to convulse ending up mentally retarded and prone to seizures for the rest of his life. He could not read or write or hold down a job. His parents had even won a court settlement against the state of California for the damages done to their son.

I’ve listened to the debate on both sides, reading the information from our pediatrician and eventually I did inoculate all of my children, but not on the recommended time table. I waited until they were older. I always agonized over the decision. Of course, when each of my girls traveled to East Africa with their father, they were covered with the full range of precautionary immunizations, not to mention malaria medication.

But now, I’m thinking, inoculations may not be so bad…

Because I belong to a Ewings Sarcoma group e-mail list, I receive many studies and reports concerning a wide variety of areas of childhood cancer. The articles range from new clinical trials and drugs to how a child with chronic pain relates to his or her parents. Recently I read a report about the mental health of childhood cancer survivors and their siblings.

In conclusion the article stated:

”Compared with population norms, siblings fare better in physical function and general health, and both survivors and siblings report better mental health than does the general population, as well as high levels of current life satisfaction.”

“We could explain our findings as ‘‘posttraumatic growth’’ or the psychological resilience that develops in coping with adverse circumstances (36, 37). That is, experiencing childhood cancer or being a young sibling of a sister or brother with cancer inoculates individuals to other negative life experiences and provides them with feelings of life satisfaction and overall psychological well being.”

Even though it’s been out of my control, all of my children have been inoculated with “life satisfaction” and “psychological well being.”

Is this one small piece of silver lining in the storm cloud? I hope so.


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