Friday, January 16, 2015

Living With Chemical Sensitivities

I've done it again. Without stepping outside the walls of my home all day yesterday I still managed to run into toxic fumes that have made me ill. This time it was the new Keepsake Quilting catalog that I couldn't resist peeking into. It's much safer for me if I can exercise some self control when those things come and let them air out a day or two before studying the contents. It's rare that I have that much self control however.

The day before yesterday it was my husband who inadvertently brought toxic fumes into my environment. He has a co-worker who wears potent fragrance (a male). Enough of those particles cling to my husband's suit jacket or sweater that it sets me off when he comes home. We learned long ago that it's best for me if he changes his clothes and showers (washing his hair) when he comes home from church before we get close to one another. Apparently he should have done that when he came home from work the other day.

If I expect to be in a toxic environment I can prepare by packing frozen blueberries to eat as soon as I leave that environment. About half a cup makes a huge difference in how violent my reaction will be, depending on what and how long the exposure is. Blueberries make it possible for me to shop locally. I will still have a reaction but generally it's bearable.

I have made changes in my diet that have made it possible for my body to rid itself of  a great deal of the toxins that had accumulated in my organs and tissues. Unfortunately it's probably not possible to get rid of all of it. And every new exposure just retards the process that much more.

Riding this roller coaster of well being and illness is frustrating to say the least. The most bizarre effect in my opinion is that some toxins actually seem to cause changes in my mood, my personality. That's unnerving. Fortunately it's doesn't happen often. Still, it makes me think twice - or three times - before I go anywhere.

Short rides in the car seem to be okay. It's worse during the winter months because I can't use the recirculate feature in the air conditioning/defrost system. Using the air conditioning helps to filter the air coming into the car's interior. When the defrost setting is in play more toxins are allowed in. I can't drive with my carbon filter mask over my nose and mouth for very long because my glasses fog up. My husband has to put gas in my car (I can't tolerate the immediate area in and around a service station) and do the weekly shopping. It's all a balancing act, and sometimes it gets very tiresome. I never know, from one day to the next, how I'm going to be feeling or what I may be able to accomplish. That hasn't helped me to work with more dedication when I do feel good though. I'm still working on that stumbling block. And right now I'm on the lookout for an engaging project that won't set back the healing in my arm and shoulder. Many are tempting but few are suited for my current circumstances!


  1. It makes me feel less alone when I read your posts about MCS. I still get hung up on thinking it "is all in my head" since I know no one personally who suffers the same. But then why would I since we tend to isolate to protect what health we have. In addition to your symptoms I just get a glazed over or brain fog condition. I have not yet used a mask to protect myself. Sadly I am experience skin rash and roughness on my fingers when I sew, especially hand sewing. It may be occuring even with my pre-washed fabrics but I have not given up completely, just slowed down. It feels good to have a chance to express myself to someone who understands. Thanks for listening.

  2. Oh yes, Laura, I am painfully familiar with the brain fog. It's one of the multitude of symptoms I experience after toxic exposures. The mask does help but it's no guarantee of protection. What kind of laundry products do you use? Maybe a different brand would eliminate the rash.

    I wish you would list an email address so I could reply to you in person.

  3. Sorry for your challenges. it's amazing how many of us battle different physical heath challenges.But even better that we all keep going one way or another!


Due to my health issues I am frequently unable to respond to your comments but please know that I do try to acknowledge your thoughtful responses. I cannot respond to 'no-reply' bloggers either, much to my frustration.