A father's struggle because of Gardasil

by Cynthia A. Janak

August 12, 2008

I received this letter from a father whose daughter is having a severe reaction to the Gardasil vaccine. It is a beautiful letter and deserves to be published for all the fathers that have daughters struck down by this vaccine. The world needs to know what you are going through and how you feel.

I read an excerpt of this letter on August 5th on WINA, Rob Schilling show out of Charlottesville, VA. I will not say anymore except keep the tissues handy.

It is difficult to express the feelings I have as a father about our daughter's struggle with adverse reactions to Gardasil.

Truthfully, I am angry. I am angry that a trusted physician of years who is very familiar with Brittney's health issues involving immune system difficulties and allergies would so very easily strongly recommend the HPV Vaccine shot to Brittney, and do so with little or no mention of the possibility of adverse reactions. To me, it seems this physician took it upon themselves to presume she was at risk to come into contact with this HPV virus, which we have since found is most likely to be contracted primarily through sexual activity. Contrary to this "assumption," there are many young women who still save the gift of sex for a marital relationship, and I know Brittney is among them. This anger is fed further by the fact this same physician has refused to acknowledge the diagnosis of a reaction to Gardasil, insisting upon the hypothesis that these symptoms were brought about by a deep seated psychosomatic cause or "something" else.

I am also angry that in many ways many in the medical community which we dealt with have taken such a cavalier attitude toward Brittney's health issues. As is the case, this reaction does not fall within the realm of normalcy, which seemed to be more than enough reason for many "healers" to not even attempt to deal with. I might add that this experience with physicians has been echoed over and over again among those having adverse reactions to Gardasil. I find it amazing that it is usually the last area of investigation, rather then the first, even though symptoms appear shortly after injections.

I do not expect perfection in physicians, as there is much we do not understand about the human body. I do, however, expect compassion for patients who are suffering and a passion for healing that does not easily give up. We're not talking about the family car here!

I was once recited the statement that a "physician should do no harm." I think the message being sent was that a physician should not deal with what they do not understand and possibly cause more harm than good. I fear the way several physicians dealt with Brittney could more accurately be stated as "do no good." Certainly the creators of Gardasil felt it worth the risk, and I might also add, the financial investment, to journey into areas they did not understand completely. Their intent was to heal, and I know from personal experience with our daughter that they also very much risked doing "harm." Obviously, they felt it was "worth it." If all physicians operated with this approach of "do no harm," there would be many curable and treatable conditions of today that would have never been discovered. I guess we should forget radiation and chemo treatments of cancer patients, as these usually do harm also. Need surgery? Forget it... "do no harm."

Here's what I have seen as a father. All fathers want to see their daughters find their way in this life. Gardasil has tried to rob me of that joy. I was looking forward to watching Brittney find her career path and develop some strong lasting relationships. This is what occurs in the young adult years and often sets the tone for a lifetime. I was looking forward to seeing her experiencing the joy of blossoming into her own person and standing on her own. There is not much of that going on these days, as much of the time Brittney struggles just to walk and to deal with pain. Relationships are pretty much limited to phone calls and a sparse few quick visits. Basically, other young adults do not seem to want to mess with someone who at the moment is not fun or cannot offer them some sort of contribution.

I think there is nothing more painful to a father or mother than to know their child is suffering. However, please understand that this suffering goes far beyond the physical, which is significant. This suffering also reaches into her spirit and mine as well. It breaks our hearts. There is the frustration of many set-backs, and the constant sense that there are those medical professionals "out there" who refuse to acknowledge this illness as even worthy of their time. Frustration has become a way of life for now.

Brittney is blessed in many ways. She is not as bad off as some of the others who have experienced this. We do hold out hope and have faith in our God that she will one day beat this. Her mother is a treasure beyond compare in never ceasing to be selfless in her love and diligent care. I honestly am finding that I am not equipped on an emotional basis to give the kind of care and understanding my dear wife does. I am lost in this. She is one of those angels who walk around the planet masquerading as humans. Even as I write this, I cannot help but feel sad for those young women who may experience adverse reactions to Gardasil of this nature and not have the kind of support Brittney has.

As in any serious illness, it is not only the child who suffers. The whole family suffers. Life is not the same. And....in this case, it simply was not necessary and could have been avoided with truthfulness and caring counsel.

Surprisingly, I am not advocating the total denial of Gardasil to perhaps countless millions who "may" benefit from this. I realize there are countless many more young women who do not react to Gardasil as Brittney and others have. I am, however, strongly advocating that the TRUTH of this vaccine's effectiveness and application to cervical cancer causes be clearly and openly identified. I feel that I have seen "enough" suffering and read about enough suffering in others to warrant that this vaccine be halted until more is known. As the good doctor might say... "do no harm." I fear very much that many other fathers who have "little girls" will experience what we have experienced due to greed on the part of the pharmaceutical company responsible and also on the part of doctors who may benefit from pushing their products. I have read many opinions of medical people that this drug was not nearly adequately tested and to the same extent as other drugs before being released to the general public. I am certainly opposed to making this a mandatory vaccine for school aged young women, as I have seen what can go wrong. I would like for physicians to be truthful in their presentation of this option. I think much is being learned about possible triggers which may set-off adverse reactions to Gardasil. These should be clearly identified and paid heed to before another young woman has to suffer needlessly.


Cynthia Janak is a freelance journalist, mother of three, foster mother of one, grandmother of five, business owner, Chamber of Commerce member. Her expertise is as an administrative professional. Her specialties are adoptee and genealogy research and research journalism. Hobbies: Writing prose, crocheting, Conservative Studies, and rehabbing houses. You can contact Cynthia Janak at cj1951@ameritech.net

Copyright 2008 by Cynthia A. Janak