Daily Gasp 07.21.11

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I have been under treatment since May 2006 to counter the affects of MCS (multiple chemical sensitivity). The treatment is NAET (Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Treatment) .  It is working.

I no longer get violently sick when exposed to most fragrances and cleaning chemicals.  Emphasis on MOST.  Since at any time I can run into a new variety of chemical formulation: either new on the market or ‘new’ to my NAET treatment: and it will toss me back into a very painful period – from 3 days to a couple of weeks – before my system regains control.

Today, I can actually tolerate being in close proximity with a whole array of chemicals without getting violently sick. Exposure to most chemicals is now more a matter of being uncomfortable. Because I have become hyper sensitive to the fragrances, what most people consider a wonderfully fragrant perfume, cologne or other personal care product,  for me is a gag-reflex, congestive, air-way clogging experience. Not something one would choose to be exposed to.  BUT, quite unlike just 6 months ago, since the last four NAET treatments, I have NOT gotten sick due to exposure. This is NEW.

I have had a number of people ask, “Well if it doesn’t make you sick anymore, then why don’t you resume social contact activities?”   My reply is simply this.  For me, reverting back into the constant exposure to the chemical swill, is no different from the person with an addiction who avoids – for the rest of their life – whatever they are have as an addiction.  Just as a person is never cured of an addiction, for the MCS person – whose protective barrier; the bodies immune system; that buffers such toxins, is broken and there is no cure that would allow re-exposure without very costly results.

Just because I don’t currently get sick from exposure to the chemicals does not preclude it won’t happen again.  The NAET treatment eliminates an allergy reaction to whatever the treatment is for. NAET removes the negative-state reactions the body and immune system fall into, thus allowing for a more natural process of healing.

NAET is NOT a cure!   It IS a restorative process; a re-alignment with a state of BALANCE (more on this later);  NAET offers the body’s immune system a path BACK to health.  Change paths; veer off the path toward health and immune system restoration; and you’re right back on the path to illness.

Here’s the real kicker.

Every human alive WILL BREAK and become MCS  *WHEN*  they are exposed to the level of chemical trauma beyond what their body is capable of buffering against.

 

Incursions are accumulative.  Each chemical-FRAGG-incursion builds upon the previous:  steadily destroying the immune system’s ability to buffer chemical exposures.  Insidious and slow – until, one day, the entire system crashes and the person is no longer capable of tolerating the chemical assault.

Coming back is a long process. It requires avoidance of all the foreign elements that caused the problem in the first place. In today’s society this becomes more difficult with each new fragrance product, cleaning chemical and now – genetically modified products – that come to market.  Avoiding the chemical onslaught becomes more difficult with each passing year.  The number of places, on planet earth, where a person can go for relief, shrinks with each passing year.

So, for now I will continue to be a FRAGG AVOIDER.  Being isolated from the majority of society is NOT my desired path, but it’s the path I am on now.  I can either walk the path or set beside the path.   I can choose to drown in self-pitty and disintegrate into a drain on society.  That’s not my style.  Or, I can take-back control and develop a path that works best for me and my health.

Truly, so much in life should (read: MUST) be lived in the mode: It’s NOT about me, to fully realize the benefits of others and the fullness life can offer.  But in this case – as is the case with a number of personal illnesses – one MUST adopt the MCS 1st Amendment, to this 0therwise priceless wisdom.

The MCS 1st Amendment is this:  “When you are broken, your first priority is repair and to do so, life becomes all about assessing and providing your needs first.”

This in no way means to imply, suggest, promote – or in any way shirk – the responsibility of every MCS person to be a caring, thoughtful, servant to others.  In NO WAY!  One of the best ways to counter the loneliness of isolation  is found by ‘reaching out’  to others. It  is a powerful tool in our mental healing. And that has vast influence on our physical condition as well.  In our efforts in reaching out, don’t overlook (consciously or not!) the benefits in continually forgiving others, who knowingly or not, trespass and do us harm.  Avoid the increased stress brought on by ill-feelings toward others, when their ignorance or callousness causes pain.  One source of pain is enough.  Don’t feed another more damaging source.  LET IT GO.

This is my style. Writing about the problem and the changes needed.  My style is kicking up the dirt until someone is willing to filter the air.

My access to an enjoyable time with other people and with the outdoors is now a compromised condition at best.  In most cases such access is gone. and a thing-of-the-past  So. there’s no chance in HELLO that I’m going to keep quiet about it.

I’ll take my medicine. I share in the blame for my lack of good health principles.  But, everyone who is responsible for the chemical swill we are forced to live in, will hear about it.  WHAT they are doing.  WHY they do it.  HOW it affects and hurts many for the benefits of an economically increased minority. WHEN they do it.  WHO(M) they are hurting.

I forgive each offense and the offender.  But will not forget the greed fed callousness that rains hurt and destruction upon the rest of society: the canaries first, the rest in due time.

So, to those who dare to offend – be forewarned.

YOSAKIME !!!!

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Daily Gasp 12.27.10

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I was just reminded to write about a situation that ‘FRAGGED’ me the other day.

First what reminded me: the EHP Online Journal (Twitter: @EHPonline) Research Triangle Park, NC USA, posted, this morning, a warning, on their Twitter account, that retailer Sears Canada, Inc., just announced a major recall of reusable shopping bags due to high levels of lead. “???”

OK. I’m going to assume this contamination has something to with the printing ‘on’ the bag. For putting lead ‘in’ the bag – though such an action may be an interesting way to reduce the amount of ‘stuff’ people buy – would be at best idiotic, at worst criminal!

What I’m going to write about, does not lead to or deal with LEAD, but it does concern shopping bags.

Last week my wife and I engaged in one of our regular shopping routines. I drive her to the store – providing a driving service and watchful guardian-eye as she steps from car to front door and back again. While she is inside shopping, I remain in the car – out of the chemical soup that so many stores have become. It’s the only way we have been able to retain some relationship to our outings ‘to the store’ of yesteryear, these days. To the choir I speak, I am sure. But it is none-the-less irritating and aggravating.

My wife, Deb, is careful to wear clothing that is not – or at least minimal – absorbent of fragrances. She doesn’t wear wool into a store or FRAG ZONE. Instead she will opt for hard cotton in warmer weather. In cooler-to-cold weather, for a top coat, she wears a pile coat – made from synthetic materials. Synthetics are less effective in absorbing the chemical odors; though they do ‘catch them’.  These ‘remora fragrances’ are relatively easy to dislodge by

  • walking into a wind or
  • by waving the clothing around to create a ‘breeze atmosphere’.

She does this to avoid bringing the odors back into my ‘auto-environment’.

The store she went to was J.C. Penny. For those unfamiliar with this company – specifically those overseas – J.C. Penny began quite humbly in 1902, in a small town in Wyoming. It soon grew though, into becoming one of the most prominent catalog based stores in the USA. Though not as big as SEARS, they have outlasted many others, and they carry a very influential position in the retail world. This was her first time shopping at J.C. Penny for several months.

Lesson #1: Expect ALL Stores To Toss You the UNEXPECTED!

When Deb came out of the store – as we’ve adapted to for several months now – I drive up closer than where I’d been setting-and-watching, from the parking lot area – but far enough that she is able to ‘air out’ a bit before getting into the car. This protocol has worked well for the past several months. Thus we continue it.

Lesson #2: Be Prepared To CHANGE!

This night was -partially- different. Different store. Different incident. FRAG was still distasteful.

The fresh and falling snow, and the winter night’s darkness in a not-too-well-lit area, sped up Deb’s normal entrance into the car. She tossed the ‘bags’ into the back seat, closed the door and entered the passenger door. I drove off. OK. All as normal.

YOW! Not so fast. Within 20 feet I expressed an all too typical… and for Deb, annoying, “OOOOO! You stink!” comment when she gets swathed in chemical soup and brings it unknowingly into the car.

Her reaction was one of, “What are you talking about? I don’t smell a thing.” I did remember seeing her doing her bird-flapping-it’s-wings routine as she came out of the store .. to do what she could to air out in the short time she went from door to door. But still, she seemed to wreak with the ‘sickening sweet odor of some perfumminess’ that just seemed to languish in the car!

Disgruntled and miffed (both of us!)… I drove on.

Lesson #3: Don’t Take It Out On Friends!

By the time we got to the Post Office (last stop before heading home) – maybe 15 minutes of driving – I was feeling the effects of a ‘mild FRAG’. Shortness of breath, sniffle, headache, upset stomach and itchy eyes.

She got out to pick up the mail. While she was gone, I still smelled the ‘odor’ (aka, fragrance!). It wasn’t a lingering odor, either. It was really quite strong. So, it quickly became obvious that Deb was NOT the source of the odor. Immediately suspect #1 became – the ‘bags’.

I reached for one and was slammed back the moment I moved it. “Wheeewwwweeee! That thing stinks!”, was my immediate outburst! I may have profaned the ‘thing’ a bit, too. Don’t remember. But it ‘could have happened’!

Immediately, I tossed them both outside the car and slammed to door. Backed up, rolling the windows down and pulled OVER 3 spaces. Yes, that was new ‘stuff’ my wife just purchased in those bags. But I didn’t care! Much faster than anything of value, they had become pain-causing-items-to-avoid. And I did!

It’s called, survival reaction.

Fortunately, my wife came out quickly .. before someone drove up and ‘over’ the bags and goods inside. She was not too happy to see the bags on the ground. She was less happy about not being allowed to put the bags back into the car.

I wasn’t exactly sure how to deal with this situation. I knew what I wanted to do – but that wasn’t going to happen. Plan B?

I did have choices, but they weren’t all that clear-cut.

  • pull the goods from the bags and toss the bags; seems obvious right? Well, yes and no. The ‘stuff’ inside was likely wreaking as well. So what do we do with that ‘stuff’?
  • leave the ‘stuff’ in the bag and tie the bag to the roof rack or back wiper. We didn’t have too far to go, but it was snowing pretty good and we couldn’t (she couldn’t!) tie the bag up tight enough to keep the snow out.

Solution was good.

I retrieved a length of cord from the tool bag, wrapped it around the bags tops, closing them, and tied them to the rear wiper. We got home with them all just fine.

Lesson #4: Best Solution is NOT Your First Reaction!

Now, wouldn’t it seem sensible to think that driving a mile on a cold (12° F) night, with heavy snow, would ‘wash’ the bag free of smell.

Not a chance.

I was walking out of the garage when my wife came by with the ‘offender’ and it nearly knocked me off my feet!

WHEW! that was strong.

Donning rubber gloves, my wife pulled out the goods – hung the clothing in the garage and left the paper containers setting on the floor. She put the ‘offending bag’ into another plastic bag and tied it up tight, putting it into the garbage can.

The next day I left the garage door open for a while to air it out. Then when I drove to pick up my wife at work, I took the offending bag – tied to the roof rack – to a nearby dumpster and got rid of it.

Man! How much more of a PiTA (no that’s not a misspelled word – just think of ‘new’ translation for this acronym!) can a plastic bag become. Just one more reason for NOT using plastic bags.

Lesson #5: Plastic Bags Do Not Offer Solutions Worth Their Costs.

But a bigger question: How can a company consider themselves ‘socially conscious’ at all, when they intentionally put your products inside of a time bomb for anyone with MCS? !!! Oh, I forgot. That implies they would even care. Right?

There are more and more such incidences. I’ll write more about another such incident that ‘hit’ me again: using fragrance in marketing. Really! No, really! You’ll see what I’m talking about when you read my commentary.

I’d love to hear your stories of unexpected FRAG incidents. The stories need to get out and be told. So, please, help me tell the whole story. Send me your comments!

Until next time, take care and be aware.

YOSAKIME

Gasp: 11.11.09

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Today is my 57th birthday.  It should be a happy day.  Especially for me.

Some background

My father was 56 when he died 30 years ago this past August.  Albeit due to an accident, but still the entirety of my 56th year has been a bit touchy.  I’ve been looking forward to reaching 57, as a bit of a milestone. It’s here – I’ve made it –  but I’m less than jubilant.  I just don’t feel jubilant.  I hurt too, much.

In the past I’ve been asked, on birthdays, if I felt any different, any older.  And in the past, my typical reply has been, “No. Nothing out of the ordinary.”  But that is not the case this year.

Today, I feel much older than my 57 years.  Today, I can say I actually feel OLD

Why? How can this be?

Not 30 days ago, I was barreling down the slopes of the Snowshoe, WV ski resort on a mountain bike and, though with a bit of a struggle, climbing back up on the same mountain bike.  I was tired, but – as the outdoor athletic will say – a ‘good tired’.  I’ve felt this ‘good tired’ many times before.  And it felt good to ‘feel it’ again.  It had been a while.

But today, I’m in a new era.  Not to do with age, but to do with my MCS condition.  It is getting worse.

Aching joints. Muscle spasms. Shortness of breath.  Conditions that – out of the clear blue – are foreign to me.  I’ve done nothing – in the ‘normal sense’; exercise, outdoor work, or the like; to ’cause’ any of them. But something has happened.

As I wrote yesterday,  my exposure to the ‘waiting room’ of the Unity Health Center of Lafayette, IN, has resulted in a series of reactions.  These ailments are among those reactions.

This is new for me.  I’ve never experienced this level of discomfort stemming from a ‘hit’.   But there is nothing else to account for the current problems.

So, I’m staying very low – meaning I’m not going anywhere that could result in contact with chemicals.  Hopefully, the pain and discomfort will let up due to being in a ‘clean zone’.

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YOSAKIME is an acronym for  Your Smells Are Killing Me.

Yosakime has been created to give a voice to the problems I encounter daily since developing a toxic chemical sensitivity to nearly all ‘fragrances and chemicals’ about me daily.

Yosakime will raise awareness, create conversation, still interest, educate … and hopefully, inspire the Non-CSC (Chemical Senisitivity Community), to make the changes necessary for us to lead more ‘normal ‘lives once again.

Continue Hope… but Honestly!

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In this, the first article published on YOSAKIME, how appropriate that it fire a first salvo across the bow of both the Fragrance and the Advertising Industry.

Serendipity once again smiles upon my publishing efforts.

I found in the article,

Fragrance In The Workplace: Campaign For The Recognition Of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity As An Illness

a very clear and precise commentary  on the problems of ‘fragrance pollution’ facing the worker in today’s work environment: enclosed office or outdoor environment.

After reading the article, which I thought was quite good, I placed the following comment on the  blog, Pierce Mattie Public Relations New York.

I appreciate the comments found attached to this blog article. I will make a link to this piece from my new blog YOSAKIME .. an acronym for Your Smells Are Killing Me.

The chief problem with chemical – specifically fragrance – pollution, is an issue, first felt by the Chemical Sensitivity Community(CSC), but as Betty Bridges (first commenter) clear back in August 2007 states so correctly,

“…decreasing the exposure to fragrance is a health issue for us all.”

Yes, the CSC feels it first, but the rest of society is close to impact themselves! Far closer than any would care to believe. They just don’t realize it yet! When they do … it will be too, late to ‘correct’. At that point they can only struggle to adjust… like the members of the CSC do every moment, of ever day.

I invite ALL who suffer from Chemical-Fragrance Sensitivity, those – like this blog – working to draw attention to the issue and those working to educate – and in some cases, legislate – to clean up the air environment – to join YOSAKIME in our efforts to push for action.

Not just words, but ACTION !!!

My own personal condition has locked me out of nearly all social interaction with friends and family. Many either don’t think or don’t care to make concession for my sensitivities. Even though I am the one who suffers, I feel bad constantly asking people to concede to my needs and restrictions.

The psychological impact on the suffer is immense! Guilt. Anxiety. Frustration. Fear. All of it, co-mingled with anger: at self and the ‘inconsiderate’. The toxic environment becomes both internal and external. It’s not a pretty picture.

I can no longer work in the ‘regular’ work space environment. I am even limited in a ‘non-standard’ work environment. A ‘walk in the park’ becomes a dangerous game of ‘roulette’ with the with every wave of people I encounter. Will they or Won’t they … engulf me in a cloud of neurologically hyper stimulation chemicals … or not ? This becomes the focus. Not a calm, peaceful walk in a natural surrounding. Par for my new course in life. Hell’s Other Half Acre.

None of us ever truly knows or understands, just how debilitating such a physical ailment as Chemical-Fragrance Sensitivity can be. Not until we are standing in the shoes-of-experience ourselves.

I would not wish this on my worst enemy.

But it does seem that, most people are inured to understanding the immensity of the impact of their ‘casual use’ of various fragrance embedded products. When it happens to them, they are amazed at just how serious their own threat was to others.

Unfortunately, once that threshold is crossed, there is no return. At least, not yet.

I do still have hope. I work toward that hope.

One day, I and the others in the CSC will live a normal life again.

It doesn’t take much analysis to see that I have a very personal investment into this project.  And you might understand the double-take I did when I read this piece, from the same blog.

It also does not take a rocket scientist to understand the implications and profound confusion such mixed messages send to the already ignorant-as-sin and lazier fair attitude general public!

Thus, my HOPE is this:  That those who are willing to publish the realities of the problem of Chemical-Fragrance Sensitivity maintain the relevance of their conversation with dignity, honesty and integrity.  If you stike out against the problem of Chemical-Fragrance Pollution, then keep your edge at the throat of the beast!

Don’t – one minute hold IT at bay with steelie-edged commentary and the next be caught snuggling up to its financial cuddling.   Make a stand. Hold your ground.  Be either Friend of Foe.  It’s that simple.

If you’re for a Fragrance Free Environment, then say so.  Show it in your actions.  Don’t backslide. Duplicity does nothing but muddy the waters and extend our suffering.   I don’t need it.  No one in the CSC needs it either.

If you’re NOT going to stand for a Fragrance Free Environment, then say so.  Don’t toy with us.  We don’t want or need your confusing duplicity.

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