Thursday, August 25, 2005


I've had a lump in my throat and a pit in my stomach since I read this story yesterday about a 5-year-old boy with autism who died in his doctor's office during chelation therapy. I don't know this boy or this family, but I just can't stop thinking about them.

This is a scenario that plays on all of the darkest fears that I try to keep buried in the furthest recesses of my mind and heart. We have not pursued chelation with Bud. In fact, though the thimerosal/ mercury link rings true to me on an intellectual level I find that I have been unable to deal with the possibility of it on an emotional level.

How can the universe possibly make sense if something I did to keep my son safe actually did him irreparable harm?

When I allow the anxiety to surface, this is the form it always takes. Because we know so little about autism - because we don't know what causes it - because we don't know what helps it - because we don't know what could cure it - how can we as parents be anything other than immobilized with fear?

Who do we trust? How do we trust? If I hadn't gotten him vaccinated, would Bud be healthy and happy now? Or would he have died from a complication brought on by chicken pox? Or would he be just as he is now: happy, healthy, and autistic? I can't know. I will never know. And that is what makes the dark days almost unbearable.

Because if I can't even see the path that brought us here clearly in retrospect, how can I possibly envision the road ahead?

When I give Bud his daily dose of Strattera, I experience simultaneous hopefulness and dread. Am I giving him a fighting chance? Or am I making a horrible mistake? Is Bud's doctor our greatest ally? Or is Big Pharma our most insidious enemy?

And so, as I follow this unfolding story I cannot help but cast myself in the role of mother to this poor little boy in Pennsylvania. I can feel to my core how much I love him. I know that I will do anything in my power to give him every opportunity to have a full, rich life. And then I watch, as in a nightmare, while I stand rooted to the floor, unable to speak, unable to move, unable to scream, as the very action I took to save him somehow, cruelly and inexplicably, takes him away from me.

How can this possibly be?


Octoberbabies said...

Bud's mom,
Just yesterday I ordered testing for my daughter to see if she has been poisoned by mercury. I have absolutely no idea what I will do if the results come back and she does, in fact, show high levels of mercury. As a mom, I can't help but point the finger at myself for her Autism and if her mercury levels are high, I may never forgive myself. I'm so torn between "there's no way I could have known" and "I did this to my child". I pray that it comes back negative.

Will we always be this heartsick?

Kristina Chew said...

I just posted a critique of Kirby's Evidence of Harm. We decided not to "go the next step" and chelate Charlie--all the risks just jumped out at us--I like how you note about the mercury/autism theory making sense at an "intellectual" level. Nonethless I think it's something we all need to look at critically and more than, more than carefully. kc

Anonymous said...

my question is how many kids have been recovered with chelation? how many has died?