Daily Gasp 03.18.13

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Wood Smoke…
beware it can be quite harmful

I sit here on the couch writing this latest Daily Gasp, doing just that, gasping.  I have had light chills and fever, body aches, a nasty headache and a most unusual sore throat, for the past 48 hours.  All due to wood smoke.

But I’m ahead of the story.  Let me take you back to where it started; Why and How I got here and most important, HOW to prevent the same situation for reoccurring.

Over the past couple of months, we have been noticing a disturbing smell in our house.  The smell of hot dust. You know the smell. The one you get when you turn on a lamp – that has set undisturbed for some time  – after the bulb warms, the collected dust heats us creating a distinctive odor without any smoke or flame.  Because the odor diffuses quickly it is very difficult to track down the origin.

Each time I sensed the odor – and I did so quickly – I would rush between outlets, feeling each cover and equally feeling all the areas of wall around each outlet for warmth. Nothing. Grabbing up power strips to smell and touch.  Nothing. Only the pungent smell. The more we sought to find the source, we were able to determine that the source had to be downstairs, but that was as far as our investigation went.

A most annoying and frightening mystery.  The premonition of the condo burning was not pleasant.

We awoke as normal on Friday morning last, to a cooler than normal house. The furnace, we found out, was not working.  I called and was able to get a repairman out that morning.  After a couple of hours of troubleshooting and repair, he announced, ‘it should work’..  And it did all day Friday.  But again we awoke Saturday morning to no heat.

It wouldn’t have been too bad, had the weather report held with what was forecast at midweek. But, alas, it didn’t! The weather and temperature took a very seasonally strange turn toward COLD!  Wind. Temperatures with highs in the low-20’s and windy, made for a rather miserable time.

We were not going to be home, so we just ignored the cooling house and figured we could ‘hold-out’ until Monday; in order to keep from paying for ‘weekend HVAC repairs’.  Besides – we had the little fireplace to ‘knock-the-chill-0ff’.  It wasn’t a problem since we’d it for the last couple of years – off-and-one – with no negative problems.  Cool ..! We’ll just light-up the fireplace and enjoy some romantic, old-time comfort.

Famous last words ….

The Turn of the Tide

I did just that. Prepared the fire, as I had done many dozens of times before.  I grew up on a farm. For years we heated with wood heat, from a stove.  My parents moved from the farm and built a new house with a fireplace and woodstove insert. I knew all about building a fire and what wood to use.  What I was not prepared for was the result of inhaling wood smoke as an MCS sufferer.

The fire started and the heat was rolling out.  Ohhhh! It was nice and welcome.  For roughly 6 hours we enjoyed the familiar and cozy warmth of a wood fire.  Then the wind began to blow.  By 10 PM the wind was blowing about 20 mph with gusts to 40+. That was when I noticed the puffing of smoke out of the fireplace doors.

This wasn’t something of too much concern, since most fireplaces have ‘backdraft’ problems when wind gusts get too strong. Past experience told me it would be ‘smokey smelling’ but that would dissipate rapidly and then we’d be back to normal.

But it didn’t work that way.  Shortly after the smoke began to roll out the doors, I began to become quite congested.  Soon after a headache began. Within an hour I was into full-blown MCS FRAGG!  Fibromyalgia. Chills. Headache. Cough. Rash. Foggy-brain. The whole shebang!

By this time I had managed to extinguish the fire. But the damage was done.  And we had to open the windows and doors in an attempt to air the condo out.  Well after about 2 hours, my wife could no longer stand the cold and we had to shut the windows.  For her the smell of smoke was gone. For me it was imprinted upon my olfactory like an indelible tattoo.  The saga had begun.

Sunday I awoke more in the realm of the dead-walking, than in the living. I could barely move – and chose not to.  Bedridden except for mandatory bathroom trips.  My wife was both angry and perplexed.  We had never encountered this reaction before.  And what were we going to do, if the furnace could not be fixed soon and the temps -constantly falling- were not looking to warm up for several days.

Showering would have been an exercise in masochistic insanity.  But since my wife had to go to work on Monday, we needed heat! But the fireplace was a total ‘NO WAY’.  I was in bed all day; in and out of a state of pain induced confusion.  I was no help and going south fast.

Fortunately the HVAC pros were able to come early on Monday and finally fix the furnace.  As it turned out the cause of the problem was ‘factory-based’ – so the repair was covered under warranty. But that was the only good part of the whole ordeal.

I don’t know how I will react to wood smoke from this point forward, but I can say for sure, I will be avoiding it at all cost.

UPDATE  04.20.13 —-

Over the past month I have encountered wood smoke:  a) outside the condo from others burning wood in their fireplaces;  b) while walking;  c) driving down the road – in each case, the reactions – thought not as severe, have all had the same results: it make me sick.  Just the slightest smell is all it takes to set the MCS FRAGG into motion.  In this case.. it may be a pseudo-MCS; smell induced memory, in which neuroplasticity is at play; that is the true culprit. Regardless, the smell-of-woodsmoke induces an MCS FRAGG reaction.  I have not allowed myself to go far enough into a FRAGG incident to see it the results equal that night with the fireplace. And frankly, I am not that self-experimental and don’t have that much desire to know.  It happened once – and that was enough for me.

More ‘casual-causal’ observations will be needed to draw a full conclusion. In the meantime… I am avoiding ALL wood smoke.

Just one more thing, which I enjoyed before-MCS, I have now lost.   MCS is a tragedy to life.

YOSAKIME

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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