Both DEADLY, but only one is vaccine preventable. So Vaccinate!!!

Two deadly diseases both in Africa and the US. One bacterial one viral. Both are spread the same way. Both have short incubation periods. Both cause hemorrhage and death. I know this too well because I watched my only child die with one of them. He developed  fever and an ear ache, joint pain, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain and with in 14 hours he had blood coming from every orifice of his body and he died.
Each year in the US this disease attacks several thousand. Many like Ryan die horrible deaths. Many are left with severe scars, limb amputations, the loss of their faces, organ damage leading to transplant, severe digestive disorders, infertility, vision and hearing loss, serious brain damage causing mental disorders and learning disabilities. The suffering doesn’t stop once they leave the hospital most of the time it last a life time. It cost our government millions of dollars to care for one victim of this disease, not to mention the toll it takes on the family and community.
One is vaccine preventable and one is not. The most at risk for one  are infants – age 22 and those with compromised immune systems. Teens are most often the victims.
Their symptoms are almost the same. They both can be misdiagnosed. By now you have guessed that one is Ebola.  Did you know the other one is meningococcal meningitis/meningococcemia. That is right, the disease the CDC recommends you vaccinate those  children age 11- young adults age 22.
Right now in the US only 4 of the 5 serogroups (A,C,Y and W135) of meningococcal disease are preventable with vaccines. There are 2 vaccines on the market. One vaccine (Menactra) is approved for ages down to 9 months. One vaccine (Menveo) is approved for ages down to 2 months.  However FDA is currently reviewing 2 vaccines for the prevention of group B.
Remember group B is what cause the outbreaks at Princeton and the University of California earlier this year. Group B vaccine was brought in to the US to vaccinate students in the outbreak. Many parents at least the ones who can afford it, because it is approved in Canada are taking their kids there to get the B vaccine.
Right now it appears according to the latest statistics that about 60-70% of teens in the US are getting the vaccines. Most of those are in states that require the vaccine for middle school and college entry. Just yesterday a young man in Florida died with it. Be aware that meningitis does not stop at the dorm room door.
Ebola has reached our shores. It is not vaccine preventable.  Fear will abound until this disease is contained. Meningococcal disease has been here for years.   In fact did you know Helen Keller was left blind and death as a result of  meningitis? We don’t have to fear it!  IT IS PREVENTABLE!! So as a mom who lost her only child and the national director of an organization that works with hundreds of victims and families,  I am asking you to talk to your health care providers, your health departments, your policy makers and make sure your state is vaccinating at middle school entry and high school exit.
Do you know the signs and symptoms of these deadly diseases? They are listed below.
The signs and symptoms of Ebola:

  • fever (greater than 38.6°C or 101.5°F)
  • severe headache
  • muscle pain
  • weakness
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • abdominal (stomach) pain
  • unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising)

Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to Ebola, but the average is 8 to 10 days.

Death is common.

Meningitis/meningococcemia symptoms In addition to a stiff neck, can include:

  • severe headache
  • fever
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • a rash
  • joint pain
  • internal hemorrhaging
  • sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  • irritability
  • seizures
  • mental status changes, such as lethargy, delirium, hallucinations, etc.
  • a bulging fontanel in infants whose fontanel or soft spot hasn’t closed yet.

Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 10 days after exposure and death or complete debilitation can occur within 24 hours or less

If you think you are somone you love may have either of these diseases seek emergency care immediately.  You may even express your concern when making that 911 call to prevent the spread.

For more information on Ebola or Meningococcal Meningitis or other vaccine preventable diseases; visit http://www.CDC.gov or for meningitis  visit http://www.Meningitis-Angels.org

Please Dn’t W8 2 L8 2 Vaxn8

Frankie Milley

Ryan with Mom 

3 Moms, 3 Choices, You Decide! by Frankie Milley

Motherhood is an amazing thing. We will sacrifice our own life to save our children or keep them from harm, or do we all? Today I am looking at how we as mothers as parents care for our children.  
 I watched a documentary on Ebola last night. I was both heart broken and horrified as I watched hundreds of children literally die. One family in particular left a forever impression on my mind. It was a  mother and her six children. They are particularly a burden on my heart. This mother was told no matter what, not to touch her children. This mother watched her child, who was infected by Ebola,  suffer, vomit and covered in diarrhea cry in horrible pain and dragged away by quarantine workers. She was helpless. She had done everything in her power to protect her children from this deadly disease including sacrificing and letting one go from her care to protect the others.
 
It took me back to a day in an emergency room as I watched my only child laying on an emergency room table, tears of blood coming from his eyes and blood from every orifice of his body and being told I could not touch him as he was infected with a vaccine preventable form of meningitis.
 
By this point, uncontrollable tears poring down my cheeks as I watched this same mother and the rest of  her children become infected and sick.  They, like her small son were taken to a quarantine facility. She found when they reached the makeshift clinic there were no more beds, no medicine, no food and no hope for her children. They would once again be laying in mud and dirty water with little food, no care and waiting for a horrible death to claim them.  She found out after arriving her little boy had died. She did not get to hold him in his last minutes. He died alone and afraid. Someone had taken a photo of him almost nude sitting on a bucket. He had become know as “The Little Boy on the Bucket.”
 
Through tears and a sad heart for this mom I thought about a reality show I had recently watched. The parents  were against any kind of vaccinations for their infant/toddler.
Ok, I am not so hard that I can’t understand a parent’s fear of drugs including vaccine. Believe me as a mom, an activist, and a Christian who is supposed to care for the least of His, if I truly believed that vaccines were bad for infants and children, I would be on the front lines fighting to fix it. But I don’t believe it. Too much information, research and facts say different.
 
On this same reality show a family member, a nurse  visited the mom and told her horror stories of children whom she had watched suffer and even die from vaccine preventable diseases. The mom seem to listen while still trying to make her point against vaccines. Ok, Again I get this! That fear of what is the right choice for your child in every circumstance. However what I did not get or understand is the fact that she and her husband decided to take their infant/toddler to a “Chicken Pox Party”. They made an almost what seem to be rebellious, conscience decision to expose their baby to a disease that can lead to serious and even deadly complications. Here a parent  not only chose first not to protect them with vaccination but intentionally expose them to a potentially deadly disease, a risk to the whole community. A disease at the very least that will cause fever, blisters, severe itching and dehydration not to mention the scars it leaves. I am still covered with them 50 years later.
 
This made me recall a story a good friend and respected physician shared about a mother whom she begged to vaccinate. This mom instead chose a “Chicken Pox Party.” The little child died a few weeks later from complications of Chicken Pox.
 
We all have to make decisions for our children.
 
Had I known about and could have made the choice to use the vaccine that could have prevented Ryan’s death, he would have had it. He would be with me. Instead, I fight everyday to prevent other children and their parents from going through this nightmare. Ryan is remembered as one lost to a preventable disease and possibly his legacy left behind is that lives were saved because of it.
 

Had this mom in Africa had access to a vaccine that could have prevented her family and even her own life from being taken, I have no doubt that she would have chose the vaccine. Instead she had to make a choice to let one child go in order to try and save her other children. Now her little family is just gone with the exception of a heartbreaking photo of “The Little Boy on the Bucket” a lasting symbol of what can happen when deadly disease strikes and there is not a vaccine  

Finally a mother who made a choice not to vaccinate but instead expose her child to a possibly deadly disease.

One simply has to walk around an old cemetery to realize the value of vaccine. For me it is a constant pain in my heart, a stroll down a hallway filled with pictures and memories of my sweet boy and a grave stone with his name.

For the thousands of parents in the Ebola outbreak it is trying to survive, not being able to comfort their children, while stepping over other  dead children in the streets.

For the parent who chooses not to vaccinate but expose their children to deadly disease, I have only these words. I believe if infants and children had a choice of a vaccine over deadly and debilitating disease they would choose vaccine. They don’t have a voice or a choice. We have to be that voice, the voice truth, real science, prevention and life 

How many must be debilitated or die and how many tears must we cry before they listen.

 

PBS NOVA Vaccines – Calling the Shots

IMPORTANT ALERT: PBS NOVA Vaccines – Calling the Shots premieres tonight!
Please SHARE!!!
Some really great friends and people are involved in this amazing film.
Now matter what side the feence you are on with vaccines! Please watch tonight!!
PBS NOVA Vaccines – Calling the Shots > Wednesday, September 10
Many PBS stations on East Standard Time and Central Time will be airing President Obama’s address live at 9 p.m (EST) and 8:00 p.m. (CST).
The PBS NOVA program, Vaccines—Calling the Shots, will air immediately following coverage of the President’s address at approximately 9:20 p.m. (EST) and 8:20 p.m. (CST). Please share this with everyone you know.
For More Information: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/vaccines-calling-shots.html

A Gift for Baby Shawn “Preventing Pertussis”

 It had been almost 12 years since Ryan’s vaccine preventable meningitis had taken his life.
ShawnA loss that still hovered our family like a terrible nightmare which we would never wake from.

Then the announcement came brining extreme joy and excitement to our family. The first baby in 12 years was to be born into our family.

Mom was given the Tdap during pregnancy.

I thought about a sweet family in Texas, whose baby, in and emergency was delivered, by dad, at home. Grand pa had been ill for a few weeks with what was thought to be a cold then dad began to show the same symptoms with a bad cough.

This beautiful healthy baby girl was born and one month later she died from pertussis. If only the vaccine had been recommended or required as it is in some states now.

Those of us throwing the baby shower for baby Shawn, decided to ask everyone who was attending the shower, who plan to visit or hold the baby be vaccinated with Tdap and bring proof to the shower.

Thus a gift for Baby Shawn.

Vaccines are the gift of life and love for our infants, children and teens. Remeber adults and the elderly need vaccines too.

Pertussis is a deadly vaccine preventable disease. Thousands of infants have died in recent years form this deadly vaccine preventable disease.

We at Meningitis Angels challenge all of those who are celebrating the birth of a new baby be vaccinated.

Frankie Milley

Vaccinate or Not? That is the question or is it?

 Awake at 4 a.m. as usual; going through the daily press releases and media forums on meningitis and other vaccine preventable diseases, holding my breath, knowing that once again I will read about a child dying from a horrible disease that was vaccine preventable, I came across several articles on the documentary film “Invisible Threat.” As a mother whose only child died from a vaccine preventable form of meningococcal meningitis and a mom who was featured in the film for that reason, I have to say, I am disappointed and even shocked that anyone or group would take offense or worse “go after” as we say in Texas, the high school students, who made the film in such vicious ways. 

We as Americans are always concerned and vocal about freedom of the press in our country but sometimes it seems, we are only for it, if we totally agree with it and it supports our views.

A few years ago, I was approached by student film makers. They stated they wanted to make a fair and unbiased film about vaccine preventable diseases and vaccines.

I believe when the public has an opportunity to see the film, they will see the film did just that.  A few of them even stated, they were not sure what they personally thought about vaccines themselves.

Of course, I jumped at the chance to share my precious Ryan’s story and by doing so hopefully; once again, I could prevent other families from dealing with what all of us at Angels deal with everyday.

Of course, I believe in vaccines because a vaccine could have saved my son’s life. I have seen time after time that a vaccine could have prevented horrible debilitation and death from preventable diseases.  

However we must focus on the real issue addressed in these daily articles around a movement slandering and trying to prohibit the film from being shown. 

Trust me, when I say there are many films and materials out there that I wish weren’t, not only on this but many issues. However I also believe we have to step outside that small, sometime even selfish world we create for ourselves and we have to respect and protect everyone’s right to voice their opinions.

I believe, that for the first time, in this never ending vaccine controversy, this film has given the opportunity for real open discussion from both sides.

As I was allowed to watched the finished product, even though a strong vaccine advocate for obvious reasons, I was compelled to listen to all parents and experts on both sides featured in the film. I personally understood the concerns of both sides of the issue. I felt the pain and confusion of the parents and I was reminded of my own feeling of horrible preventable loss once again.

I thought to myself these kids really did an excellent job. Maybe for the first time, because of it, we can actually get real dialogues going on this important issue. 

With the outbreaks of diseases such as meningitis, measles, mumps, influenza, pertussis and even polio like syndrome across our country and serious outbreaks of polio and deadly diseases in other parts of the world, which we so often hear are only a plane ride away, we must all strive to make sure accurate information is given to parents about these deadly diseases and the vaccines to prevent them so parents can make informed and educated decisions. We want do that by name calling and false accusations. We want do that by trusting just anything we read on the Internet . We will do that by making sure we all strive to communicate with each other and seek out fact based information on the diseases and the vaccines which prevent them.  I know from personal experience sitting down with parents who were vaccine hesitant/resistant and having actual, open, non intimidating discussions, just parent to parent, great truth was revealed and confusion deleted.

There is a quote that says, “The truth shall set you free.” Gloria Steinem a feminist activist said, “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” Think about that for awhile!

Because I have spent the last almost 17 years seeking the truth about why Ryan died, I found that the truth is vaccines are the most safe and effective way to prevent deadly vaccine preventable disease.

If I had known what I know now about meningococcal meningitis and the vaccine that could have prevented it, I would still have my precious boy with me.

Visit http://www.CDC.gov for the most updated information on vaccine preventable diseases and the vaccines to prevent them.
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 

Mother’s Day Lost

Ryan and mom

Mother’s Day Lost! Vaccine could have prevented it!

Another Mother’s Day is about to come and go. It’s 3 a.m. in the morning and once again sleep is replaced with tears, memories and another dreaded Mother’s Day lost. Because of a vaccine preventable form of meningococcal meningitis, I face another one without my only child’s voice to speak his love, his arms to hug and his life to share.

As I sit here and write, my mind goes back to a time when a tiny little baby boy would climb into my lap, bottle and blanky in hand and say, “sing me Elvis mommy.” I would sing Elvis songs, mostly “Love Me Tender” until he fell asleep in my arms, this beautiful gift from God that brought me so much joy.

His life all in front of him, it seemed like only days before he stood before me a young man graduating high school. He would share his dreams and hopes with me (now over six foot tall) and pat me on the head, hug me and say “Bear loves the momma.”

Little did I know that in less than a month from that day, he would lay on an emergency room table, blood coming from every orifice of his body and his very life drained from that beautiful body.

Standing in a corner of an emergency treatment room as I watched his dad tell him “Daddy loves you baby boy” my heart in so much pain that I could hardly breathe. Ryan’s last words were “I know.” Then his voiced grew silent and in its’ place the voice of a doctor pronouncing time of death.

This was all preventable. No one had told me about a vaccine that could have saved him. I didn’t have a choice.

Sadly, today the voices of infants, children, teens and  adults are still being silenced by this and other horrible preventable diseases. It is time that all of us, as mothers, stand up and speak out for all the children.

We must speak out for vaccines that can prevent horrible diseases that can take the lives and the voices of our children away from us. We must help educate on these diseases such as meningococcal and pneumococcal meningitis, measles, mumps, polio, influenza, HPV, hepatitis A & B, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, Rubella, chicken pox, Hib and diseases that are preventable with vaccines. We must advocate for the use of the vaccines that can save lives.

This Mother’s Day, I can still hear that tiny voice saying “Sing me Elvis mommy.” I can feel little fingers moving my mouth when I did not start soon enough. I can hear a tall, beautiful young man say, The Bear loves the momma.

However the words to “Love me Tender” remind me that I will never be the parent at a wedding, I will never hold a grandchild and when Bob or I have leave this earth, we will not have the comfort of a child to hold us in our loneliness.

I believe if children had a voice and or choice they would choose vaccine over deadly disease, but they don’t! So we, the mothers have to be that voice, the voice of life, health and truth. We must protect them with all that we have and know. We must make accurately informed decisions on vaccinating against these deadly diseases.

Don’t let the music and the voices of the children be silenced. Don’t let your Mother’s Day be lost.

Love, protect and vaccinate your children.

Ryan’s mom, Frankie

Ryan with Mom

Love Me Tender

Love me tender,
love me sweet,
never let me go.
You have made my life complete,
and I love you so.

Love me tender,
love me true,
all my dreams fulfilled.
For my darlin’ I love you,
and I always will.

Love me tender,
love me long,
take me to your heart.
For it’s there that I belong,
and we’ll never part.

Love me tender,
love me dear,
tell me you are mine.
I’ll be yours through all the years,
till the end of time.

(When at last my dreams come true
Darling this I know
Happiness will follow you
Everywhere you go).

 PS:

My sweet mom died with a secondary infection of Hib pneumonia. Also vaccine preventable.