Most people have a lot of baggage in their lives….unpleasantness that they carry with them and let cloud the here and now happiness that they could be experiencing. I know this because I have some baggage of my own that is clouding my happiness. As I told a friend recently I have always felt like I have the Midas touch…either that or I have always been super lucky. :) I always got everything I wanted and everything went my way. Until last year that is when I got some news that knocked me on my arse…literally…cancer. Honestly, I never would have thought something like that would happen to me and it had messed with my confidence big time. My body turned traitor on me and made me sick. Now we have some trust issues my body and I. ;)
For the past year I have had a feeling that the other shoe will drop and with an attitude like that it probably will.
But the other day I was talking to someone and they had a BIG situation in their lives and they were hashing out their options. As he went through all the potential ways he could handle it he was very calm and he said he already knew what he was going to do…he was going to “choose happiness.” Say what? It cannot be that simple right?
I think it just might be. Not only will choosing to worry about what “could be” mess up my happiness right now it could be a self fulfilling prophecy. I have to choose happiness.
So last week when Andreea Ayers sent me a t-shirt from her company Tees for Change it was soooo perfect that she sent one that said…you guessed it….choose happiness. These t-shirts are awesome!
Basically these shirts are a reminder to live think positively. As it says on the web site, “We only have this moment – why not make it the best it can be?” The t-shirts come with a variety of inspirational phrases such as be fearless, live fully, laugh often, live mindfully, and chase dreams. I love the chase dreams shirt too. Apparently Andreea came up with the idea for these shirts when she was pregnant and she was continuously bombarded with negative attitudes about her decision to have a home birth. Everyone around her kept reminding her of all the bad things that could happen and how things could go terribly wrong. She was getting this from friends, family, and strangers. And then during a prenatal yoga class the idea came to her that she should have a positive message on her shirt to look down at whenever she ran into one of these negative forces so she could remember to stay positive and Tees for Change was born.
All the shirts at Tees for Change are ethically crafted from 100% organic cotton or a 70% bamboo/30% organic cotton blend. They are dyed using low impact, eco friendly dyes and screen printed with non-toxic, water based inks. In addition to that they have partnered with American Forests Global Releaf to have a tree planted for every shirt bought at retail price. So they are tees for mental change and environmental change…a win, win.
And to leave this post I thought I would share a quote I read on the Tees for Change site: Always listen to experts. They’ll tell you what can’t be done, and why. Then do it. – Lazarus Long
Probably the most popular environmental tip ever is…yep…you guessed it…change your lightbulbs. We should all be using Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs or CFLs to save energy and reduce our carbon emissions. We all know this by now right?
Well, perhaps a lesser known idea is that we should also be taking care to dispose of CFLs properly as they contain small amounts of mercury. They shouldn’t be tossed in the garbage. Well, I thought it might be difficult to find a place to take my used CFLs since I have heard so many bloggers say as much lately but frankly I found this to be untrue. I live in a pretty small town and if I have 4 resources here for CFL disposal than I would hazard a guess that it isn’t so hard to recycle these babies.
First, you should check with the retailer you bought them from to see if they will take them back. Home Depot and Wal-Mart love to sell them and claim “greeness” but they are not so quick to take them back. Ikea though, is one retailer that will take them off your hands. If I still lived in Arizona this would be an option but alas I have no Ikea in central Ohio (crying).
Next you should call the private or public (whichever it may be) recycling service that you use and ask them about recycling CFLs and while you are at it recommend that they do start this practice if they don’t currently offer it. I use a private recycling service and had no luck here either.
My next step was to check with Earth911. I LOVE this site! I typed in Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs and my zip code and found 4 places I could drop off CFLs for disposal and interestingly one was a Goodwill and one was a Salvation Army…so if they are offering this in my small town you might be in luck too.
A last option you could use is a commercial service like lightbulbrecycling.com but their prices are pretty hefty so use this as a last resort or spend a little more moola on LED lightbulbs and forget the CFL hassle.
I posted last week about Jenny McCarthy’s appearance on Oprah and her new book Louder than Words. If you missed it, Jenny shared how vaccines played a part in her son’s autism and how she was determined to help him recover from this condition. This morning I was reminded of this topic again…twice.
First, I watched Jenny again on The View. It was another good interview. She talked about vaccines and the possibility of recovery for the autistic yet again. I did find Barbara Walters a bit irritating when she kept arguing with Jenny’s explanation of how autism can be reversible. Whoopi Goldberg too was a little too quick to butt in and tell parents that Jenny’s experience should not motivate parents to decline vaccines. BUT overall, this was another great message for parents.
Then, I sat down to listen to Carrie’s natural mom podcast in which she interviewed the author of The Boy in the Window, a book about the author’s son and his traumatic injury after a DPT vaccine. It was a great interview and I plan to read this book very soon.
These two interviews this morning got me thinking about my own experiences with this issue. When I posted last week about Jenny’s interview on Oprah I got several comments that implied that mercury is the scapegoat that moms who oppose vaccines are targeting and that in our folly we are overlooking the fact that autism rates have not decreased since mercury (thermisol) has been systematically removed from most vaccines. That means vaccines can’t be contributing to autism right?
I was irritated by the comments. While I do believe that mercury has no place in vaccines let us not overlook the fact that vaccines are full of other chemicals too and these chemicals work together to overwhelm the immune system. Just look at the fact that “some” doctors will refuse to vaccinate children who are ill. Why is this? Because they know that these chemicals can overwhelm their already weakened immune system. But why is that they don’t care to know if their immune system can handle the vaccine even if they are NOT currently displaying symptoms of illness? Why is it that they do not consider that previous vaccines may have in fact compromised their immune systems and that further vaccinations could be harmful? We may never know.
What exactly is in a vaccine? Try some of these on for size…formaldehyde, aluminum hydroxide, aluminum phosphate, ammonium sulfate, formalin, and monosodium glutamate (MSG) to name a few. These are chemicals and heavy metals for cripes sake! If you look up some of these chemicals you will see that they are labeled hazardous and toxic. How in God’s green earth we can possibly think that these ingredients have NO effect when packaged in a vaccination shot? How can we think that cumulative exposure is not dangerous…especially combined with all the other exposures that occur in daily life? I like the comment left by one of my readers on another post: If you think these things are not dangerous…you are living in “Fantasy Land”.
When I share my opinions about the danger of vaccines I do not isolate the MMR shot or mercury as the cause of autism or other typical vaccine related injuries. The MMR is NOT the only shot that is dangerous and mercury is only of one many dangerous ingredients. I have researched this issue for 11 years now and I am 100% confident in my decision to deny all vaccinations for my children at this time.
Usually around this time I tell people that it was my son’s own vaccine injury that led me to where I am now. I did mention a bit about his story a few weeks back and I got several personal emails from a couple moms who basically said that what happened to my son was unfortunate but I could NEVER prove vaccines caused his injury and therefore I shouldn’t publicly declare that they did. One woman even implied that he was an acceptable loss for a product that otherwise does a lot of good in the world. I am horrified that moms can have this attitude about child safety. The picture below is my son after a vaccine injury. He is in ICU.
My journey really began on day two of my son’s life. His birth was pretty easy and when I had finished laboring I had a perfect little boy in my arms. He was calm and curious right from the start. He had many guests that day and all marveled at how serious he looked and how he didn’t cry at all. He slept in a bassinet next to my bed in perfect peace and he breastfed immediately and without trouble.
Then on day two the nurses came to get him and give him a Hepatitis B shot. At the time I had no reason to think I should not give consent. I knew nothing about vaccines except the fact that Doctors tell you need them and schools require them. Had I known he was being vaccinated against a sexually transmitted disease I might have questioned it but I am not sure. :(
The baby they brought back to me was not the same baby they left with. This was not my calm, serene baby. This baby cried furiously, refused to fall asleep in the bassinet, or even be put down. I joked several times that we had a baby mix-up going on here but I tried to dismiss all thoughts that maybe…just maybe the vaccine did this. One day wasn’t really enough time to know if there had been a REAL change in his behavior right?
When I brought him home he had to sleep in the crook of my arm to be able to go to sleep. You could not put him down for even a moment or he would scream. Family members had to help with the constant holding and since I rarely got a break…or any decent sleep…I gave up on breastfeeding after only 4 months…a decision I regretted.
He went in for more shots at 2 months and 4 months old. Each time he would become sick for an extended period of time but his Doctors assured me that I did not need to worry. He was sick so often that I decided to delay his six month vaccinations until he was 10 months old…at which time he got a DTP shot. This is shot changed our lives forever. :(
He became very ill after the shot with a high fever that lasted for days. The doctors kept telling me it was normal. When his fever jumped to 104 degrees I got in the car with him and went to the emergency room. In the triage they confirmed his fever and sent us out to the waiting room. I sat and held my son and began to notice something strange. I can’t explain it other than to say that I felt that he was leaving me. He was gradually loosing eye contact and alertness and his eyes and arms were ever so slightly twitching. When I started snapping my fingers in front of him and he didn’t respond I freaked out. I ran into the triage and told them something was terribly wrong and described what I was seeing. A young nurse scooped him up and took him into a nearby room and began examining him. He also tried to get my son’s attention and when it didn’t work I could see panic on his face. Then my son’s twitches turned into a full blown, violent seizure. The nurse got on the intercom and called for immediate assistance. Two other people came and they wheeled him into another room. I stood just outside trying to see what was going on and I recall that they told me they were going to give him an anti-seizure medication and then one of them ran outside and yelled to all the medical staff, “we need to bag him!” He had gone into respiratory arrest. His room filled with about 10 people and they ushered me away.
Fearing the worst I called my husband at the nurse’s station but I couldn’t even get the words out…I could only cry into the phone. A nurse had to give him the details because I couldn’t. After he got there they explained to both of us that our son was being air-lifted to a hospital that could handle this type of situation. We had to follow in our car and over the next week he stayed in the hospital with the first days being in ICU on a ventilator.
I knew in my heart what had caused this and when I asked the treating neurologist about it…he would only say that I should trust my instincts. He wouldn’t give absolute confirmation but he wanted me to know that I was right. At a later time he would tell me that my son was not a good candidate for any further vaccinations. I also found out that my son most likely had an immune disorder at the time he got that last vaccination and really should have never received it. But medical professionals do not currently check things like that. Vaccines are one size fits all.
Unfortunately for my son this information was too late. He had many more violent seizures and he ended up with mild brain damage and since his seizures would not stop they decided to start medicating him for epilepsy at age 5 after he almost fell down a flight of stairs during a seizure. I was not happy about medicating him but I did take comfort in the fact they said it didn’t have to be permanent and that I could evaluate alternative therapies in the mean time.
In between these two events though I became pregnant again and the issue of vaccines came up on a discussion board. I was horrified to find that I still wasn’t committed to denying all vaccines for my new baby….perhaps rationalizing that my son’s case had been unique. Another mom suggested that I retrain myself and start researching vaccine injuries. I did and I found that my son’s case was not unusual. There are thousands upon thousands of children that have been harmed by vaccines. And alarmingly I found even more confirmation that vaccines had caused my son’s injury when I found hundreds of stories just like his.
By the time my second child was born I was confident in my choice to decline all vaccines. Of course that is only half the battle. Sticking to your guns on the issue can be challenging because I met with many moms and doctors that were down right militant when I expressed my opinion on the issue. They act as though they know what is best for your child and they hope to shake some sense into you so you can be the good, vaccinating parent your child deserves. They dismiss all protests that vaccines can injure children by talking about how the statistics show that the number adversely affected is so small it barely matters…..yeah right…unless you are the parent of one of those insignificant statistics. And of course they talk about all the good that vaccines do, ignoring the fact that many other factors besides vaccinations have contributed to a decline in these diseases. But if you stick you your guns…it gets easier to deal with these people.
Contrary to what others might say I do not write about these things to convince other parents that vaccines are bad and that they need to deny them. I just want other parents to know that there is risk involved. I would “think” that most parents would want to know about that. I believe in informed consent. Tell all parents both sides of the issue….the good, the bad, and the ugly, and allow them to choose for themselves. Right now most parents are only getting one half of the whole story and they are basing their decision to vaccinate on that incomplete data. Tell them that there are risks!!!
If they still decide to vaccinate that is fine…at least they know the whole story and they made a conscious decision. I will not fault them for their decision at all. I just hope that they can see why I and many other parents decided that the risk was too great and respect our decision as we respect theirs. Meanwhile I share my son’s story to help other moms see that there is another side to this issue that many don’t want you to know about. It is your right as a parent to know the whole truth.
So how is my son doing today? Much better! We have made a lot of changes in our lifestyle to eliminate further chemical exposure, we have made many dietary changes, and we have learned to adjust. I am happy to say that I after the changes we made I was confident that he could function without the epilepsy medication. Call it mother’s intuition. :) I was right. He was taken off meds after 6 months and he has had no seizures. His weight loss has reversed itself and he is at a much healthier weight now and he no longer scratches his arms until they are a mass of bleeding wounds. It has been a long road but we are seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. I now realize that we were not one of the unlucky ones. We were one of the lucky ones.
Update 11/2011 – This past year my son was diagnosed (finally) with high functioning autism at the age of 11. Was it the vaccine, even if not the infamous MMR? I don’t know. It really doesn’t matter much. All I know is that daily life is a struggle and I still think we were one of the lucky ones.
I am a big fan of voting with your money for the world you want. This may sound simplistic to you but I really believe it. The people we choose to spend our money with have a great impact on our environment, the political system, and the state of our world. Even the food you buy at the grocery store is essentially a vote. Something as simple as buying a bag of apples can mean you are condoning slave labor and the use of illegal pesticides. When you pick up that bag of artificially cheap apples from the grocer what message are you sending that company if it is not that you approve of their business practices AND you support them? Makes you think doesn’t it? Instead of buying that bag of apples you might instead choose to buy a bushel of apples from a local, organic farmer. You might even pay twice as much per pound but the important thing is that you are voting for sustainable farming and you are supporting your next door neighbor instead of a greedy and corrupt corporation.
This reminds me of a conversation that I had with my mom recently when we went to the farmer’s market. Her immediate instinct was to say that most of goods were too expensive to buy…she could get them elsewhere for a better price. I had to remind her that there were more important issues at work here than money. I mean, I love saving money, but I love making my dollars count for something important even more. I LOVE being able to say that my purchases are not only furnishing my home or feeding my family…they are furthering the values and ethics that are important to me. What price can you put on that? Now, that is not to say all my purchases are made with only the most ethical companies…I have a long way to go yet in that respect…but I am “voting” in the right places more and more every day.
Today I ran across an article from Forbes that shows the 400 richest Americans. This list shows more than anything where American priorities are and I am not encouraged by the results.
Take a look at the top 25 companies that WE are making rich….the top 25 companies that represent our monetary “votes” and our values and ethics as a country. 5 of the richest people are affiliated with Wal-Mart…King of cheap and unethical. Two on this list are in oil, two are in entertainment, one is in the casino industry, and 3 are in the junk food (candy) industry. Add to those a bunch of computer industry moguls (just to round out the list) and you have American values in a nutshell. The list just gets even more depressing if you dig deeper. It also made me remember that we are heading into one of the biggest seasons for purchasing…the holidays. Think of all the voting that will occur.
These are the people we have catapulted into financial success…but have they done anything truly noble? Are they making the world a better place or are they helping to tear it apart? I am sorry but it bothers me to see big oil, junk food, and casino representatives making a fortune off the American people while 46.6 million of them have no health insurance. What if Americans started deciding to send their hard earned money to companies that make the world a better place…what an amazing world that might be…
I had a blast last weekend! No I did’t attend a rave or even catch a cool flick at the theatre. I wore a T-shirt and I caused a stir. :) I decided to wear my new BYOB shirt from Reusablebags.com. BYOB stands for Bring Your Own Bag and this particluar shirt says “Plastic Bags Blow” on the front and then on the back it says says BYOB and explains the concept. All throughout my shopping that day I had people stop and ask about the shirt. Some just stared and I really wanted to exclaim “Hey quit looking at my boobs!” for a laugh but I decided against it. LOL. A few people rolled their eyes and one lady made a rude comment about my “silly shirt”. But I was happy to to bring attention to an environmental concern in this way and since I did have so many good conversations that day I am looking for more shirts with eco slogans.
The shirt is 100% organic, made in the USA, and is made under fair labor conditions. The BEST part though is that they are only $4.95 right now!!!!!! I am off to buy one for my husband!
Do me a favor though and don’t get caught holding a plastic bag while wearing your BYOB shirt. That would be…bad.
For another Eco Friendly Friday Tip visit In the Key of Life