Scarlet’s Story - Part 3: Hypotonic Hyporesponsive Episodes or Breath Holding spells?

Age: 1-4 yr old


In Oct/Nov 2014, at about a year old, Scarlet was learning to walk. Like a normal one-year-old, she fell on the carpet, bumped her head, and immediately started to lose consciousness. She arched her back, her eyes rolled back in her head, her lips turned blue, and she began to gurgle and passed-out cold in my arms. We panicked! I thought she broke her neck and was dying. I had never been so scared. We called 9-1-1, and off to the emergency room we went. 


At the ER, they told us this was a “normal” thing called “Breath-Holding Spells” (BHS) [1]. We were not satisfied with this diagnosis because it came with NO answers as to what caused it. Clearly, she wasn’t holding her breath. Clearly, this wasn’t the first time she fell or bumped her head. It was so confusing. We were referred to the pediatrician for follow-up, and he agreed with the ER and did not seem alarmed. We were told by both the ER and the Pediatrician that BHS was behavioral and that there was nothing we could do about it. That she would just grow out of it. We were told to expect it to happen again and that they had no idea what caused it or how to prevent it. I was shocked and dumbfounded. I had never heard of such a thing. The Breath-Holding Spells happened several dozen more times; she would arch her back, go stiff, turn blue, and go limp and lifeless in our arms. It was terrifying each time as we tried to coax her back to reality. 


In the Summer of 2015, After months of random BHS, and my insistence that these “spells” were not normal, her pediatrician referred us to the cardiologist for more testing. So she went in for an EKG, which immediately came back abnormal. This prompted the doctor to tell me that she needed an on-the-spot ECHO test and that she needed to be sedated for it right then! The doc seemed worried, and I was alarmed that he insisted that we sedate her on the spot for the echo. With a lump in my throat, I asked if he could do the procedure without sedation. He said we could try it and see if she could hold still long enough. I agreed and was able to lay on the table with her and watch a movie. The technician worked away while Scarlet fell asleep in my arms. God must have been with us this day because everything turned out to be benign and better than expected. Later my research would point to BHS being caused by nerve demyelination [2, 3, 4]. I suspect it also has something to do with heavy metal poisoning caused by too many shots too soon [5], or maybe related to Hypotonic Hyporesponsive Episodes (HHE) [6, 7, 8, 9]. The BHS lasted from age one year to age three-and-a-half years. 


In 2016, Melanonychia came into our lives [10]. Longitudinal Melanonychia is either caused by a freckle/birthmark (or) melanoma. So off to the ER, we went, and another specialist added to our repertoire. The dermatologist couldn’t tell us if it was cancer without removing the nail, so we opted to leave it alone and spare Scarlet the trauma. She was confident that it was a freckle/birthmark. We were instructed to observe it and if it changed shape, size, thickness, or if the edges became wavy, to call in immediately as that would be a sign of cancer for sure. After a few months of observation, it did not spread to our relief, and it was NOT cancer. It has faded over the years, but still, the bowel issues, crying, and BH spells persisted. At this point, we had a lot of unexplained history, and the only answers we were getting were about what was NOT wrong. The severe constipation was NOT Hirschsprung’s disease or Cystic Fibrosis or Crohn’s. The prolonged crying was NOT something to worry about. The tics were NOT something to be concerned with. The loss of consciousness was NOT anything significant. It was frustrating to see her suffer and never to have any answers. I was losing my mind. 


By spring 2017, Scarlet was not a fan of hospitals or doctors and was starting to show signs that she was feeling the trauma. It was almost impossible to get her examined at the dermatologist and, for that matter, in any scenario; the dentist, the nutritionist, the pediatrician. She also began having unbelievable tantrums, and it was almost impossible to leave the house or get through a day without complete exhaustion from the meltdowns. The tantrums lasted up to 45 minutes, and there was NOTHING I could do to calm her. It would get violent, and she would begin to scratch at her legs while uncontrollably crying. It killed me that I couldn’t help her or stop her. By now, she was three years old and had developed an extreme stutter and would often repeat words up to 9 or 10 times before she got them out. I didn’t know much about Autism, but I was pointed in that direction after asking for advice in a support group [11, 12, 13]. At this point, I was open to trying anything. 

We got her evaluated for behavioral issues, and after testing, we found out that she did NOT have Autism, but she was suffering from Emotional Dysregulation [14, 15], Sensory Processing Difficulty (SPD) [16, 17], and Hypersensitivity to touch, sound, and light. The diagnosis was very validating. These tantrums were not our fault, and we needed to hear that. It was also a huge wake-up call and another learning curve. We had to change how we parented since our child couldn’t self-soothe. We started taking her to weekly therapy appointments with a psychologist, occupational therapist, speech therapist, and even group therapy to get her ready for school. Additionally, I started group and individual counseling for my PTSD and trauma.  I remember being so broke I could barely afford to drive to these appointments. It was such a low point in our lives. 


In August 2017, Everything came to a head. I stumbled upon a docu-series called “The Truth About Vaccines” [18] from the makers of “The Truth About Cancer” docu-series [19]. I started to connect some dots that I had not previously been made aware of, and this began what turned out to be years of researching, documenting, and networking. I was discovering that my daughter’s medical records were coinciding with her immunization records. The more I researched, the more I learned. I realized Scarlet had received 18 shots of 25 antigens by the age of one year old. I didn’t realize that while I was trying to take every precaution to keep my baby safe, I was also inadvertently exposing her to a toxic load of aluminum, mercury, and other dangerous toxoids [20]. We had come to realize that the bulk of Scarlet’s medical issues had likely been vaccine reaction related. It was becoming clear that we were treating medically-induced disease with more medicine. 









[1] Breath-holding spells in infants

“Seizure Like episodes in which children cry and hold their breath to the point of cyanosis and loss of consciousness. The episodes start with a provocation such as emotional upset or minor injury and might progress to breath-holding, cyanosis, and syncope. Maturation delay in the myelination of the brainstem could be the cause of breath-holding spells in children.”


[2] Aluminum in the central nervous system (CNS): toxicity in humans and animals, vaccine adjuvants, and autoimmunity - 2013

“There was an apparent cause-effect relationship between vaccination and the onset of clinical signs associated with the presence of antibodies against myelin. Thus, either viral or other vaccine antigens, or the adjuvants included in the vaccines, might have triggered the formation of anti-myelin antibodies by overstimulation of the dog’s immune system.”


[3] The Spectrum of Post-Vaccination Inflammatory CNS Demyelinating Syndromes

"...there are cases where the clinical presentation was delayed (more than 3 weeks or even up to 5 months post-vaccination) (approximately a third of all the reported cases)."


[4] Neurological disorders post-vaccination

“Acute demyelinating disease of the central and peripheral nervous systems can follow vital and some bacterial infections and can complicate the administration of inactivated antiviral vaccines. The acute monophasic central nervous system disease is variably known as postvaccinal encephalomyelitis, postinfectious encephalomyelitis, or acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM).”


[5] An Aluminium adjuvant in a vaccine is an acute exposure to Aluminium

A study by Christopher Exley, Published in January 2020


[6] World Health Organization - DTaP Information Safety Sheet 

“A case definition defines an HHE as the sudden onset of limpness and reduced responsiveness and pallor or cyanosis. In 1991 the review by the Institute of Medicine concluded that there was sufficient evidence available to establish a causal relationship between the whole-cell pertussis vaccine and HHE. Although HHE occurs most frequently after the whole-cell pertussis vaccine, the reaction has been documented to occur after other vaccines, including diphtheria, tetanus, Haemophilus influenzae type b, and hepatitis B. The cause is unknown, but recovery occurs spontaneously, and no long term sequelae have been documented.”


[7] Hypotonic-Hyporesponsive Episode in a 7-month-old infant after receipt of multiple vaccinations - NOVEMBER 2005

“A 7-month-old boy became difficult to arouse, was limp and had blue extremities 8 hours after immunization with intravenous poliovirus, diphtheria-tetanus toxoids-acellular pertussis, Haemophilus influenzae type b-hepatitis B virus and pneumococcal vaccines.”


[8] Hypotonic-hyporesponsive episodes after administration of hexavalent DTP-based combination vaccine: A description of 12 cases - JUNE 2017

“Hypotonic-Hyporesponsive (HHE) episodes are known and recognized phenomena, which typically occur within 48 hours of immunization. HHE are confirmed as benign events, even after administration of hexavalent vaccination, devoid of negative neuro psychomotor outcome.”


[9] Hypotonic-hyporesponsive episodes reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), 1996-1998.

“HHE does occur after the administration of DTaP and other nonpertussis-containing vaccines.”


[10] Melanonychia: Etiology, Diagnosis, and Treatment

“Melanonychia is a very worrisome entity for most patients. It is characterized by brownish-black discoloration of the nail plate and is a common cause of nail plate pigmentation. The etiology of melanonychia ranges from more common benign causes to less common invasive and in situ melanomas.”


[11] Aluminum Hydroxide Injections Lead to Motor Deficits and Motor Neuron Degeneration

“Aluminum in its adjuvant form can gain access to the CNS. The second series of experiments was conducted on mice injected with six doses of aluminum hydroxide. Behavioral analyses in these mice revealed significant impairments in a number of motor functions as well as diminished spatial memory capacity. The demonstrated neurotoxicity of aluminum hydroxide and its relative ubiquity as an adjuvant suggest that greater scrutiny by the scientific community is warranted. The route of exposure, and perhaps the form of aluminum, may be important factors that determine the potential for toxicity.”


[12] Empirical Data Confirm Autism Symptoms Related to Aluminum and Acetaminophen Exposure

“ The practice of including aluminum in the so-called “placebo” in vaccine trials should be abolished. While we have not shown that aluminum is directly causative in autism, the compelling evidence available from the literature on the toxicity of aluminum, combined with the evidence we present for severe adverse reactions occurring much more frequently following the administration of aluminum-containing vaccines as compared to non-aluminum-containing vaccines, suggests that neuronal damage due to aluminum penetration into the nervous system may be a significant factor in autism. We also observed a strong correlation between the MMR vaccine and autism, which we suggest could be explained by the effects of acetaminophen. We also feel that the vaccine industry should find a way to reduce or even eliminate the aluminum content in vaccines.”


[13] Aluminium in brain tissue in autism, Christopher Exley, et al. 

Autism spectrum disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder of unknown etiology. It is suggested to involve both genetic susceptibility and environmental factors. The aluminium content of brain tissues from donors with a diagnosis of ASD was extremely high. Aluminium was found in both white and grey matter and in both extra- and intracellular locations. The latter were sometimes seen in the environment of extracellular aluminium deposition. This implies that aluminium somehow had crossed the blood-brain barrier and was taken up by a native cell, namely the microglial cell. Interestingly, the presence of occasional aluminium-laden inflammatory cells in the vasculature and the leptomeninges opens the possibility of a separate mode of entry of aluminium into the brain, i.e., intracellularly. The presence of aluminium in inflammatory cells in the meninges, vasculature, grey, and white matter is a standout observation and could implicate aluminium in the etiology of ASD.”


[14] What is Emotional Dysregulation?

“Individuals with emotional reactivity experience intense emotions more frequently and for longer durations. They have significant skills deficits in emotion regulation. Individuals who experience emotion dysregulation have difficulty accepting their emotional response, which can lead to behavioral dysregulation, including non-suicidal self-injurious behavior, suicidal ideation and attempts, excessive substance use, and impulsivity. These behaviors serve to immediately decrease the current level of emotional distress. Individuals with severe emotion dysregulation are often misdiagnosed with rapid-cycling bipolar disorder due to the extreme mood lability, sometimes even within a given day.”


[15] What Is Affect or Emotion Dysregulation?

“Emotion Dysregulation may be thought of as the inability to manage the intensity and duration of negative emotions such as fear, sadness, or anger. If you are struggling with emotion regulation, an upsetting situation will bring about strongly felt emotions that are difficult to recover from.”


[16] Understanding Sensory Processing Disorder

“Sensory processing refers to how the nervous system receives messages from the senses and turns them into responses. For those with Sensory Processing Disorder, sensory information goes into the brain but does not get organized into appropriate responses.”


[17] The Unbearable Sensation of Being: Living With Sensory Processing Disorder

Some Kids Find Everyday Stimuli Excruciating, And Scientists Are Finally Figuring Out Why

By Jane Goodman and Claire Conway - JUNE 25, 2018


[18] The Truth About Vaccines Docu-Series - 2017


[19] The Truth About Cancer Docu-Series - 2015


[20] An Aluminium adjuvant in a vaccine is an acute exposure to Aluminium

A study by Christopher Exley, Published in January 2020

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