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hpv16 vaccine

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The HPV16 vaccine article in Consumer Reports pushes hot buttons across the board. It’s easy to understand why.


I’m a father of two, but it’s more than that. Too many parents are overwhelmed with the joy of their own reproductive skills and the bundle of joy as a result. I know I was.


Our kids are a legacy, and start out as a blank slate. Whether nature or nurture, we imprint the best of who we are on them. That’s the good part. We also imprint the worst. That’s the part we tend to ignore.

First off, I did read the article. Second, I’ve read the comments. Now you know I’m a reader, not a knee jerk reactor. Third, I started and finished HPV16 neck cancer treatment this year. How did it go?


Pretty awful. Talk to anyone who took the treatment without opioids, anti-anxiety, or nausea meds. Why didn’t I hit the meds? Cancer treatment was bad enough, I didn’t need an addiction on top of that. What’s this got to do with vaccination? I can’t really speak to cervical cancer, but I’ve got a pretty good idea how P16 neck cancer develops.


According to the Food and Drug Administration, the vaccine is 100 percent effective at preventing infections from several serious HPV strains when given in the right doses at the right time.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that young adolescents (ages 11 to 14) receive two doses of the HPV vaccine, six months apart. Those who begin the series later, between 15 and 26, will need three doses.


The treatment might be the most harsh in the book because it affects breathing, eating, drinking, sneezing, coughing, all the stuff your neck does. With any luck you don’t fall into a death spiral of depression. Since I did, and it seemed like a normal response to the hammer blows of chemo and radiation to my neck, I speak up at times like these.


So save the fake news talk, the medical conspiracy, profiteering; I can tell you from the other side this isn’t something you want to live through, or watch someone live through. The treatment is a killer experience that leaves you feeling like death warmed over.


One factor may be the way doctors talk with parents and their children about the vaccine, says Pamela Phillips, M.D., chief of pediatrics at Cedars-Sinai Medical Group in Los Angeles. In 2015, her practice had one of the highest HPV vaccination rates in the state, with 47 percent of males and 37 percent of females getting all three doses by age 13.


“The language one uses to present a vaccine and the confidence with which a doctor talks about it makes a big difference,” Philips says.


Children get their time, deserve their time. What parent wants to be reminded of their kid’s future sex life, or their own for that matter. I can tell you from this side, it gets murky explaining a P16 cancer diagnosis to a wife of thirty years. Imagine the questions asked, and not asked.


I’m not supporting or denying any vaccination, let alone the HPV16 vaccine, just telling my little story. I’m no he-man tough guy, but I get mistaken for one on this. Instead I got tagged by HPV16 neck cancer. You don’t want to be ‘It’ in this game.
About David Gillaspie


  1. Linda Barrow says:

    I’m so sorry you suffered this. Prayers that you are recovering. I’m so very sorry to hear you have suffered with this.

    • David Gillaspie says:

      Hi Linda, thanks for coming in and leaving a comment. Your words are a difference maker in so many who will read about this type of cancer.

      The suffering part was nearly insufferable. One witness said he’s never seen this sort of suffering, which would have been more interesting if I hadn’t been the sufferee. I reminded him that his mother in law lived with he and his wife at the end of her life.

      He amended his observation to, “I haven’t seen this sort of suffering in someone that isn’t dying.”

      That made me feel a little better, like maybe I wasn’t dying? For impressive suffering, this one takes the cake.

      It’s hard explaining the suffering part to parents deciding to vaccinate their kids against HPV or not. We want our kids to have a chance at life without the sort of suffering that might take them down, and this one is a take down. If you’re not wired right from the beginning, it’s easy to say you’ll lose the will to live. And true.

      From a physical point of view, HPV16 neck cancer is a game changer, but it’s not Lou Gehrig’s Disease, ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. On the mental side it just feels worse than anything because of the location. Like good real estate deals, it’s all about the location, location, location.

      If you pass this link around, I want to say out loud this neck cancer isn’t pretty, is barely tolerable, and if you can avoid getting it you should.

      Like the twins in Austin Powers, Fukeeyou and Fukeeme, this one left me wondering who had it worse, me or the people suffering around me. Call me weird, but I felt sorry for them.

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