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A Mother’s Journey After Her Child’s Bad Vaccination Reaction

Joette Calabrese,HMC,CCH,RSHom
Published in Wise Traditions, Winter 2010, “The Politics of Food”

WTW2010Nearly thirty years ago, I worked at NBC as an account executive. It was interesting work because I witnessed firsthand how corporate America functions. One of my prized accounts was Pepsi Cola. I never directly met the people from Pepsi Cola, but had a working relationship with their advertising team in Chicago. This account was what we in TV media called a “bread and butter” account. That meant I counted on their regular spending on our TV station to make my monthly budget. One Tuesday morning I entered my office to the phone ringing. It was the rep from the Pepsi Cola team who unsympathetically and sternly stated, “Get it off the air.” “Get what off the air?” I asked.

“Your news exposé on the detrimental effects of sugar on children's health that ran last night. It must not run again or we'll pull our budget off your station and distribute it amongst the other TV stations in the market.”

Unknown to me, our news department had produced a news clip that ran the night before and was scheduled to run for four more consecutive nights as an addendum to the nightly fare. I had only a vague idea of what the news department was running nightly, yet this advertising rep was keenly watching over her firm's interests.

Allow me to beg your absolution. At that time in my life, I had no appreciation or concerns about nutrition, particularly in relation to children. I was not a parent and it seemed to me that if a mom didn't want her children to drink soda, she simply didn't buy it. I had no understanding of how pervasive sugar, preservatives and dyes were in children's lives. I didn't realize that it was not enough for parents to refuse to serve the stuff. I've since learned that it's when kids leave the home that they get into it. It's the hockey coaches, teachers and school administrators who agree to the vending machines in the corridors, other parents at parties, even grandparents. So I hadn't any awareness of how important it was to educate folks on the detrimental effects of drinks like Pepsi-Cola.

My response to the call that Tuesday morning was just as the rep could have predicted. I promptly roused the chief, my sales manager. He had more clout than even I realized as evidenced by his purposeful stride to the other side of the building where the news manager resided. The sales manager asserted as plainly as the rep had, “Get it off the air.”

Despite the news department's protests, my sales manager stood unyielding. He knew that he had a position of strength; the sales and marketing department always trumped the news department. Hence, the story was indeed removed from the airing schedule and the reel with the warnings against sugar was chucked into the garbage.

At the time, I viewed this anecdote as a lesson in the way corporate business is run. It wasn't until many years later, when I started my own family, that I realized the impact that these kinds of decisions have on society.

Now, allow me to set forth the fact that I value the free enterprise system. It's evident to me that the TV station has every right to keep their advertisers content. It makes good business sense. If we value free enterprise, then we must expect these kinds of deals to take place every day. In fact, this NBC affiliate was in the twenty-ninth market in the country. That meant that directives such as this occurred in at least twenty-eight other, larger markets, to the other two affiliates plus the independent stations across our nation. One thing was crystal clear: the education of those who watched TV was skewed to the advertisers' interests.

Now, I ask you, is that shocking? Well, at first blush, one might say yes. But if our government regulated these kinds of messages instead, what assurance do we have that we'd be protected in any better fashion? For it's our government, after all, that has foisted upon us the erroneous food pyramid, dubious vaccination requirements, and raw milk regulations. And probably in a more sinister fashion, it has led citizens to believe that if the government permits a certain practice, it must be safe. Can we trust government regulations and those who impose them to make better decisions than the dictates of big business?

I believe the point here is the same as the one the Weston A. Price Foundation has advanced for over a decade. That is, we must educate ourselves. The message throughout the land is to stay informed, study, learn. We must read, think outside the box, and bravely teach others the same. We must hold group meetings, speak to our schools and politicians, but most important, we must make the commitments to our families. Our first responsibility is to our children and grandchildren.

What does this have to do with homeopathy? If you can fast forward a few years with me in the story of my life, I can relay how my thinking progressed even further from a corporate marketing executive to a homeopathic mom, and then to a practitioner and educator.

Because of my own failing health around this time, I had taken to studying what I could about natural health. Indeed, I was so taken by what I was learning in the world of natural healing, natural mothering, and natural foods that I eschewed all that was corporate and governmental. I even affixed a bumper sticker to my car that read “Kill Your Television.” But I was only partially correct.

When our first-born was a mere six weeks old, I took him to the pediatrician for a “well baby check-up.” I had had a discussion with the pediatrician before the birth of our son to make it clear to him that my husband and I had not yet decided if or when we wanted our baby partially or wholly vaccinated, or to have the vaccinations postponed. As the pediatrician was checking over our healthy boy, the nurse trotted in and nimbly poured something into our son's mouth. “What was that?” I gasped. “Oh, just his polio vaccine,” she casually answered. Polio vaccine?! But I had made myself clear that we were going to at least postpone the vaccines until later in life! Too late, he had already swallowed the stuff.

Two days later, my healthy, vigorous six week- old had spiked a fever of 105 degrees, and was listless and barely nursing. I knew that if I returned to the doctor's office our baby would be on his way down the antibiotic-and-analgesic pike. Our little one would then have vaccinosis, a 105 degree fever, plus antibiotics and analgesics in his young system. The potential damages were snow-balling in my mind.

A few months before our son was born I had begun a class on using homeopathy at home. I had purchased a simple book, an audio tape and a homeopathy kit. Because of this rudimentary education, I made an audacious move. I decided not to return to the doctor's office with my weak and fevered newborn and instead to figure out what to do and treat it on my own.

I read the new homeopathy book with my son in my arms, scrutinizing it page by page. There was nothing in it about vaccine reactions, but the chapter on fevers was enough to calm my fears. I pored over the differentials of the top remedies. Was it Belladonna or Sulphur? Perhaps the best remedy was Hepar sulph. Hours turned into nearly two days, my son still suffering from high fever and lethargy, until I finally made my first bold judgment.

Today when I look back at that decision made some twenty-three years ago, I don't exactly recall what my rationale was for choosing Sulphur 30, for it was an embryonic deduction. But I can tell you that it worked. And I don't mean eventually or partially. My mother and closest friend were with me in my kitchen when after much discussion among us, I finally administered the four little homeopathy pills into my baby's parched mouth and breathed a Hail Mary.

To this day, my mother still recalls the miraculous tipping point that turned our baby well. “I wanted Joette to take him to the hospital or the doctor, but she was stern in her resolve and all I could do was watch in anxious anticipation.” It was no more than thirty minutes when my mother, friend and I witnessed a complete and full recovery. My tiny babe looked up at me, commenced nursing for the first time in more than two days, became firm again in my arms, and the fever adroitly melted away! Not diminished. Not suppressed nor subdued; but vanished. Never to return again, not even months or years later. There are times in a mother's life when we wonder whether there is an angel flapping above. This was one of those times.

I had successfully treated vaccinosis with a seven-dollar homeopathic remedy and an inexpensive book. To say that I was converted and motivated is an understatement. It was too compelling a reaction not to take this medicine seriously. As a result of this single incident homeopathy became my life's passion. Subsequently, I learned that homeopathy indeed treats vaccinosis time and again, and in fact there are homeopathy medical books and entire courses on the subject that I've personally taken for my post grad requirements.

Accordingly, my mind and heart went into full gear. There weren't enough homeopathy books, tapes and articles to satiate my appetite. Now after years of practice and many degrees and certifications later, my passion is to teach others so that moms recognize that they are the healers. Did you hear that? Healing belongs in the hands of mothers.

When corporations give the green light to soda pop, when the media are permanently tilted towards the advertiser, when the government regulates our food choices, and when pharmaceutical companies are granted safety status for their vaccines, it's time to find our own way. A recipe for a happy, productive life is one that we control without the constraints of others' dictates. We need to guard our brains, our children and our rights.

Perhaps you'd be interested to know that our son, now robust at twenty three years old with flawless health, has never needed to visit an MD since that significant day.


We must defend our children like mother lionesses. Let me also point out that “mother” is a term I use for anyone who has loving charge over another. The same holds true for the “mothers” of friends or pets. Here are my strategies to become the healer in your home:

  1. Always protect your thinking. When you're told that the only way to address an ear infection or fever is with an antibiotic, learn enough homeopathy not only to prove otherwise to yourself, but to offer the same success to others.
  2. Create distance between your chosen method of mothering and those who criticize your choice. This doesn't mean that you purge family and friends. Instead, saturate yourself with enough homeopathic mastery to protect your family from negative influences.
  3. Learn basic homeopathy strategies and stay connected with others who do the same. That may mean joining a homeopathy study group or starting your own. (See the free monthly ezine and blog at www.homeopathyworks.net.) Once you've mastered some of the basics, don't stop there. Homeopathy has an undeniable compendium of medical literature from around the world from which millions of mothers have drawn their skills.
  4. Use the naysayer as motivation. Remember…the best retribution is a life well lived. Go out and cure a dog of an ear infection, treat a neighbor who was just stung by a bee, help your spouse get over that insomnia and anxiety. Arm yourself with just enough homeopathy to get the ball rolling in your life so that others can't help but eventually recognize your skill.
  5. Employ pig-headed willpower. Commit to staying on track. Being a “good little patient” will not serve you or your family. Keep yourself stimulated with knowledge and information. Utilize learning techniques by using your time cleverly. Download classes on your Zune and study via CDs. They're a first-rate way to exploit otherwise wasted time in your busy day. Constant learning and reaffirming will hold you to your convictions.

As you become a grandparent or great grandparent, my hope for you is that you will be able to look back at your life with a satisfying inner smile that speaks of what was set right by your hands. Hold your head high and declare: I raised my family. I healed my family. I cured friends and neighbors because I used my God-given intelligence and committed time to a life worth living. Then, when you see an ad for Pepsi Cola or a billboard for another flu vaccine, you can smile knowing that your power was in your resolute knowledge.

Fowl Cholera Epidemic! Homeopathy Averts a Catastrophe in the Flock

Joette Calabrese,HMC,CCH,RSHom
As published in “Homeopathy Today”, September / October 2005

homeotodayWhen our family moved to the country some years ago, it seemed a natural decision to raise chickens. So we purchased 30 chicks from a farmer near our western New York home. Up to that point I'd never treated an animal with homeopathy before.

Then, one afternoon at about 1:00, our sons noticed that one of the chickens was “walking funny.” I guess I would have described it as a “rigid gait.” She soon developed violent diarrhea and vomiting and we observed that she was taking frequent sips of water from the trough. By3:00 p.m. she was lying on the ground trembling and salivating. By 4:00 p.m. she was dead.

My first thought was accidental poisoning since our free ranging chickens have been known to go off our property to a neighbor's barn. As this appeared to be an isolated incident, we buried our chicken and kept the flock closer to home. Two days later, however, another chicken began to show the same symptoms. This one appeared cold and trembling from the onset. Still assuming it might have been poisoned, perhaps by arsenic put out by our neighbor to get rid of rats, I gave the chicken the homeopathic remedy Arsenicum album 30c—but with no response. She died so quickly (less than three hours) that I didn't have time to repertorize to find a better remedy choice.

I phoned a veterinarian friend who said it sounded like fowl cholera. Realizing that I needed to take quick action to protect our flock, I looked up fowl cholera in my Chicken Health Handbook by Gail Damerow, and sure enough, the symptoms matched. The book said that it is contagious disease caused by the bacteria, Pasteurella multocida, and that one should expect a 45–55% mortality rate from fowl cholera in a flock, even with the use of the recommended antibiotics. It also said that the surviving birds would often be left with debilitating chronic cholera that would result in the inability to lay eggs.

I prided myself on the health of our chickens, giving them homemade organic mash including flaxseeds and plenty of worms. I certainly didn't want half the flock to die and the others to be chronically ill. Moreover, our hens were not only our egg source but much loved pets.

By the time I got off the phone, our 11-and 6-year-old sons came into the house with two more sick hens … their favorites, Gloria and Gladys! Gloria was lying on her side, salivating, with slight tremors. I knew that meant she could have less than an hour left. Gladys was still at the thirsty stage with diarrhea and vomiting.

Quickly I looked under “Rectum, cholera” in my homeopathic repertory, hoping that fowl cholera was enough like human cholera to require the same remedies.* Cuprum metallicum, Veratrum album, and Camphor were the leading remedies. I didn't bother to read about these different possibilities at that point, as I knewCuprum metallicum's indications included stiffness of the extremities, which would explain the odd gait the chickens all displayed. I ran to my remedy stock, found Cuprum, opened Gloria's little beak, and inserted two pellets. Gladys got the same.

After administering the remedies, I relaxed slightly and began to research these remedy possibilities further. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed that Gloria was sitting up—just three minutes after she'd gotten the Cuprum. Also, Gladys had stopped vomiting and no longer had diarrhea, so the boys and I just watched and waited. When Gloria began to tremble again and go down on her side, I gave her a second dose ofCuprum.

Within five minutes, she was walking! Gladys' second dose revived her so that she was soon pecking the floor—a good sign for chickens. Gloria received a third dose approximately two hours later when she again appeared to be weakening. This revived her to full chicken activity by the end of the day! Later I gave Cuprum metallicum 30c to the entire flock as a prophylactic measure, in keeping with Hahnemann's method of giving the “genus epidemicus” remedy during epidemics. Because fowl cholera is epidemic, I viewed each chicken as part of the whole community and assumed that they had all contracted cholera, since we have only one watering trough. My sons brought the chickens to me one by one, and I administered the pellets ofCuprum.

In hindsight I realize I could have just as easily put one dose into their water and they all would have ingested it, but at the time, it felt good to treat each one. We watched our chickens carefully for the next two days but there were no relapses or new victims. In scrubbing down the coop, we found the probably source of the infection: a dead wild bird under the hay pile. Fowl cholera usually strikes chickens that have come into contact with an infected wild bird.

It's been seven years since this incident. We have lost many chickens since then, but not one from disease—only from possums, dogs, raccoons, and foxes. Our chickens are healthy and contented. The typical lifespan for the breed we raise (Domique) is 4–9 years, so our chickens are doing quite well. Gloria and Gladys each happily lay a daily egg nearly year round, as does the entire flock. What a powerful reminder of homeopathy's sterling reputation in an epidemic!

* While human cholera and fowl cholera may have similar symptoms, they are different diseases. Human cholera is caused by the bacterium, Vibria cholera, and is typically acquired from ingesting contaminated food or water (rather than from person-to-person contact). It infects the intestines, causing diarrhea, vomiting, and leg cramps. While many human cholera cases are mild, severe cases can lead to dehydration and death.

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