To Anyone STILL Saying Vaccines Cause Autism, Please Stop Now

To Anyone STILL Saying Vaccines Cause Autism, Please Stop Now

Do your research, people.

Growing up as the daughter of a nurse, I was taught to be a very health-conscious person. My mom always made sure we were at the top of our health game, especially when it came to our vaccines.

I vividly remember getting our flu shots as a family every year. While I used to complain back then, I am now extremely grateful that my mom chose to vaccinate us not only for little things like the flu, but all the vaccines that every child should have.

I have seen multiple videos and posts on Facebook about how "vaccines cause autism" or other horrible diseases and illness. I would like to shine the light on this issue in the most educated way possible.

Vaccines are meant to introduce one's body to an illness so that it can develop antibodies to fight off the illness if it is ever encountered again. Sounds like a great idea, right? That's because it is.

In my abnormal psychology class last year, my professor told us the story about how the supposed link between vaccines and autism/other illnesses came about. A medical researcher by the name of Andrew Wakefield originally "conducted studies" in 1998 on a possible link to autism and bowel disease caused by the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (commonly known as the MMR vaccine). He published a paper with his findings.

Many medical researchers tried to replicate his findings and could not. It was eventually found out that his data was faked and his entire paper and experiment was a fraud, but by that time, it was too late. The paper was out there and taking over the media by storm.

Ever since, thousands of medical professionals and public health agencies have attempted to spread the word that there is no known link between vaccines and illnesses, but the public chooses not to listen.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has released statement upon statement that there have been studies done revealing that there is no link between vaccine and illnesses. Autism Speaks, an organization that often tries to get the word out about autism, has it stated on their website under the causes of autism that there is no link.

The biggest problem with this ongoing debate is that people are unwilling to listen, putting our society at risk. We are seeing an increase of illnesses that are rare or had previously been eradicated completely due to parents choosing not to vaccinate their children. We share videos and articles on Facebook from unreliable sources and people believe what they see without checking the facts first.

There are so many sources out there if you have questions on vaccination. The CDC has an entire page dedicated to parents who are unsure of vaccinating their children. We are so quick to believe things we hear without doing research and it is causing damage to our society.

So please, do yourself and our society a favor. If you hear something, read something or see something on this subject, do the research before passing it along.

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Invisible Disabilities

My Story

Not All Disabilities are Visible.

I have contemplated and debating publishing my first article. Writing has always been something that has been therapeutic for me. I am a very confident, strong young woman with my whole life ahead of me. However, it is time for me to acknowledge something very personal to me that up until now besides my family and three of my good friends.

There is no manual on how to be a successful person with a disability. The piece about my disability I do typically disclose is that I was born with a condition called congenital hydrocephalus. The way it affects people varies. I am thankful that I am one of the people that can function on a relatively normal level—for that I am eternally grateful.

The biggest obstacle I have had to overcome/learn to adapt to involve spatial relations. What people do tend to notice are my hand tremors—which I also attribute to my mental health battle with anxiety. I also learned how to ride a bike a bit later than those the same age. To this day, I am unable to drive myself independently and at this point, I may or may not ever be able to drive a car independently. Up until now, I have been ashamed and embarrassed that I have been unable to drive independently. I have been ashamed and embarrassed by something I cannot change about myself.

I read an interesting article that I urge you to read—especially if you care about me in any capacity. I want people to understand more about hydrocephalus—there are less than 200,000 cases diagnosed in a year. I have a VP shunt which was first placed the day I was born—however; it wound up getting infected the second day and a new one had to be placed. To this day I have only had two shunt revisions. The second revision was back in 1997 or 1998 when I was two or three years old. The most recent revision was done back in December 2008. I have had this current shunt for less than ten years. Others diagnosed with hydrocephalus can go through many revisions.

I urge you to research about congenital hydrocephalus and hydrocephalus in general. I would also like to invite you to ask me questions about my condition. From this day forward, I am no longer allowing my condition to embarrass me. I am a strong, confident, beautiful twenty-two-year-old young woman who is so much more than a medical condition.

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Social Media Changed My Perspective On Living With Diabetes

Thank you for changing my life, Instagram.

I have been living with Diabetes for over 16 years now, and am inching closer to that 17-year mark. I have gone through many different stages in how I choose to look at living with a chronic illness. I have gone through stages of denial, anger, sadness and every other emotion you can think of.

Lately, however, I have been overcome with a sense of motivation that has absolutely changed my outlook on this horrific disease.

My motivation to take care of myself with regard to my Diabetes didn’t start until I was a freshman in college, which is something that I wholeheartedly regret. At that point in time, I was my own source of motivation to do well. I was also my own worst enemy by really getting down on myself when things didn’t go exactly how I wanted them to in terms of my blood sugar.

It wasn’t until this past summer when I came across an entire Type 1 Diabetes community online that I realized how common everything I was feeling is.

There are two main outlets that I use: Instagram and Beyond Type 1. Beyond Type 1 is a forum type of application where fellow Diabetics can share their questions, tips, struggles, successes and more.

Of these two applications, Instagram has made the largest impact on me.

I have always known that Diabetes (type 1, specifically) is not as uncommon as it feels. But, when you are living with something that takes up every ounce of your energy, you can’t help but to feel alone in the battle.

It wasn’t until I randomly came across Type 1 Diabetes focused accounts on Instagram that I started to feel like I wasn’t alone in this and that there were others out there that truly understood what I was going through, and not just people who sympathized with me.

When I saw that others were going through the same things as me, I started to feel a sense of comfort in this disease. I started to realize that everything that didn’t go my way was going to be ok.

I have been able to both give and receive advice, and I have come to realize that you truly never stop learning about the ins and outs of Diabetes.

The amount that I have learned from others is miraculous in my eyes. I have also been able to gain more insights on tricks that I can use to maintain my health and foods that are good/bad for blood sugar that I would never have considered before. I have been introduced to a whole support system that I never thought existed.

There are dangers of this, though. I find that it is easy to put yourself in comparison with others, especially those who seem to be doing better than you. Of course, this is something that has to be taken with a grain of salt because not everyone is as transparent on social media as you would hope.

I must admit, as well, that I have found myself to become even more obsessive about my blood sugars than I ever have before. It is frustrating, and it is easy to be hard on myself, but it has also led me to be the healthiest that I have ever been.

The best thing that I have taken out of all of this is the confidence in sharing this disease and being open about it in a more public manner. I have always been open about educating people on the disease, and I have never been closed off when people ask me questions about it.

I was, however, very secretive in allowing Diabetes to be something visible on me. What I mean by this is that I never liked to check my blood in public, and I never wanted people to be able to see my insulin pump.

Now, however, I proudly wear my pump in some of the most visible parts of my body and have nothing but confidence about it! So, thank you Instagram. You have truly changed my life for the better.

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