Athena was born on January 1, 2005 in the United States. She suffered adverse effects after receiving five vaccines when she was just three months old; however, following the series of vaccines she received at 13 months, including MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella), she experienced anaphylaxis, immune system problems and sepsis which resulted in serious physical and neurological health challenges that continue to this day.
This is Athena's story. . .
. . . as shared by her mother, Angelice
At around three months Athena had five vaccines. Also around that age was my first battle with her struggling to live. I noticed her not sleeping at all, crying a lot, wheezing, refusing to eat. I called the ER and they told me not to bring her in unless she had a fever; which is one of the many regrets I have -- listening to anyone regarding my child.
Her fever came full blast within an hour of the call. It was 106. Her father and I packed up and rushed her to the ER. As nurses were checking her out, a lady Doctor was walking by. She happen to peek in. She picked up Athena and yelled to the nurses to get her a bottle of juice now and ordered fluids as well as a lumbar puncture, i.e. spinal tap. At that moment it all shut off for me. Every emotion I could feel stopped.
The nurses told me I had to leave. I did not want to. I wanted to be there. They explained it would cause an association of pain that was not good for our bond. With that I went to the waiting room with her father.
Family members came, phone calls were made. I heard the screaming of my baby as they punctured her spine and then it hit me that my baby might die.
Athena was put on fluids; so many little stickers on her chest; and tubes everywhere. My mother tried to prepare me if she should pass. Her other grandmother came to take pictures for us. She stayed five days and finally came home. They never could give a diagnosis.
Now it was about time to go get those shots for Athena's 13 month series -- MMR, Varicella, PCV, HIB, and Dtap. I helped hold her down. It took two MA's to give them. They handed me the pamphlet and told me to give her some Tylenol for her mild fever and swelling at the injection sites.
From Bad to Worse . . .
It had been about 45 minutes from the series of vaccines. We were at home and I noticed Athena's color changing as well as her head size. She was blowing up like a balloon. Her lips turned blueish purple, as did her fingernails and toenails. I felt her head and read once again 105 and rising. Off to the ER again.
We get to the ER and nobody is paying attention to us; so I start screaming at everyone to help my baby. We go back and nurses -- about six -- tried to find a vein. They could not. Once again I held her down as she screamed again once more. They stuck her 12 times; finally just gave up and got her foot.
I have blocked some things out from this point. What I remember next is her doctor calling me and telling me she had also contracted a bacterial infection of the blood from the hospital. She was hospitalized and again tubes, antibiotics, everything once again, and once again I stay there wondering if my child will live or die. I remember in thought asking myself, can you handle this?
Athena recovered about a week later. The doctor was afraid to talk to me. I can't say I was mad. I can't say anything. I turned off my emotions. I just wanted my baby to be alive and healthy.
CDC (Center for Disease Control) was contacted. I was never told about vaccine court or any of that. I knew nothing at all. I was so ignorant and no one was informing me of anything for that matter.
Since all of this happened, my child is diagnosed with Asthma, ADHD, PTSD, SPD, auditory issues and weakened immune system. She gets sick every year with bronchitis or pneumonia. Sometimes she coughs for weeks on end. Her education is affected by lost days and ADHD. Athena has extreme anxiety from her PTSD, so much so that she has run out of school and I have to chase her.
Click here to learn more about "Vaccine Court" -- the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.
Please offer a thought or prayer for Athena and Angelice, and for all the children and families whose stories are shared at "We Remember" and "Families Speak."