MMR Vaccine

Where did this month go? Even though February is a short month it still seems to have gone by exceptionally fast. I joke about our house being a time warp but time really does seem to disappear around here. I feel like there are so many Nora tidbits I want to share but I rarely get uninterrupted time on the computer to make a post or when I do, my mind is in a sleep deprived fog as it is now. So I’ll stop wasting time rambling on and spurt out what’s foremost in my mind before Nora awakes from her nap.

Nora got her first dose of the MMR vaccine (measles, mumps, rubella) at the end of January. Most children get this first dose between 12-15 months but we have always been very conservative when vaccinating Nora and since she doesn’t go to daycare we waited till her system was good and strong before dosing her with a live vaccine. Well initially she seemed to have no side effects from the vaccine, but then about a week and a half after getting the shot (same time frame that the CDC handout you get from the doctors says to watch out for uncommon side effects) Nora began having very frequent stools and some of the worst stomach cramps I have ever seen Nora have. Which is saying a lot because my poor baby girl has had very intense stomach pains off and on her entire life. At first we thought she was just going through a phase she does every so often where she will have more tummy aches than usual, with no other way to really explain it besides it’s just one of the unfun issues that come with short bowel syndrome. But after a few days of stomach pains that would wake Nora from a dead sleep, one night she woke up at 3am screaming and never went back to sleep all night long, it was apparent this was something different. Around this same time frame, Nora developed a faint rash all over her body as well as a big red blotch in the exact spot of the injection site of the vaccine, which had never been red before. Then the light went on that this all must be related to the vaccine. After relaying what had been going on to her local doctor he tells us that he had recently read about research on the MMR vaccine causing intestinal inflammation and the measle virus colonizing in the small intestine.
(insert dumbfounded face here)
Are you serious? I was pissed, worried, frustrated. How could we not have been told about this before we gave the vaccine to Nora? I double check the rare side effects, not listed, I talk to other short bowel parents, they’ve never heard of it either and thankfully their child never experienced this side effect. I ask her GI doctors if they are familiar with this, they hadn’t even heard of it but had seen similar intestinal side effects happen with other vaccines.

I start Googleing and find articles on this “debate” as far back at the late 90’s. From what I concluded this side effect is seen as a debate much like some vaccinations causing Autism is a debate. To me it is very clear cut that this is what happened with Nora and thankfully it didn’t last longer than a week. But a week straight is long enough for her to have up to 10 stools a day, most which were so painful Nora would sometimes even hit her stomach, shake her fist, or cock her mouth and head in an almost seizure looking way. All of which are very out of character actions for Nora. Some of her stools would come out with such force that I felt the vibrations in my feet while standing next to her. It was awful, period. I was furious that research has been going on for over 10 years and there are no warnings, no information easily obtainable out there about it. Parents need to know all possible side effects, especially when it comes to something like intestinal inflammation with a short bowel child.

Had we known about this before giving her the vaccine my initial reaction would be to not give it to her. But it’s still a catch 20-2, not vaccinating can be just as risky but at least we wouldn’t have been blindsided with it all and could have made a more informed decision. From now on I will be researching any vaccine we are considering giving Nora very thoroughly.

At the moment I don’t know of any other way to get the word out about this besides Nora’s blog and the short bowel group I’m a member of. But I plan on trying to find another outlet to spread the word because I think this is very important information that all parent’s should be aware of, short bowel or not, uncommon side effect or not.

Well my sweet angel is up and my blogging time has come to an end for now but I promise to post again soon and the next post will be full of fun, happy Nora stories and pictures instead of scary vaccine stuff. :)

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