#1 ANYone can develop latex allergy! Latex allergy is progressive
- it gets worse with EACH exposure - the ONLY treatment is avoidance.
Testing via skin prick would be extremely dangerous and is NOT the test
of choice because it could lead to anaphylaxis as well as be a dangerous
exposure that would advance the progression of NRLA (skin test, the
latex would be quickly absorbed into the bloodstream) -- those with
serious and/or disabling latex allergy totally cringe at this extremely
#2 Latex exposures are not
just skin-related (absorption). There's airborne (inhalation AND
absorption when it lands on your skin, gets in your mouth, eyes, nose),
ingestion (eating/drinking foods/liquids that are either
latex-cross-reactives or contaminated with latex due to latex gloves in
use in manufacturing/distribution/serving or latex balloons), and
injection (stinging insects with latex-cross-reactive proteins in their
venom, shots with natural rubber stoppers) and more (ie
drugs/supplements that are latex-contaminated or have
#3 Being careful
and taking precautions are not enough for latex allergic people. It's
everywhere (in over 40,000 products and with the airborne factor of
latex gloves and latex balloons, it can piggy-back on people (hair,
skin, clothing, shoes) - get in ventilation systems - carpeting (where
gets redistributed airborne when disturbed by walking, ETC!)... settles
#4 You can't just take medications as
prevention (body adjusts and becomes used to medications taken on a
regular basis, requiring even more and more to stop a reaction)... meds
also dull any warning signs/symptoms that might be present and a person
can suddenly find themselves in the midst of a life-threatening reaction
without even knowing/realizing they'd been exposed to latex. Once latex
allergy has progressed to anaphylaxis, it's only by using epinephrine
that you can stop a reaction from killing you.
you are at risk for latex allergy if you eat food, take medications or
supplements, go shopping, dine in restaurants, travel on public
transportation, stay at hotels, go to hairdressers, visit the doctor's
office, etc ANYWHERE/THING that is where latex gloves or balloons are
present or in use -- you've already had MULTIPLE exposures to latex via
the foods you eat, liquids you drink, places you go, air you breathe,
etc. You're at "higher" risk if you work in the following industries:
medical, clowning, rubber, automotive, have had surgeries or hospital
stays, have spina bifida (because of the hospital stays/surgeries), ETC,
Dogs make quite a difference in the lives of their owners/handlers. They’re
not considered companionship dogs, although they definitely provide that by
nature of their proximity. They’re specifically trained to do things to assist
their owners with their disabilities, whether those disabilities are obvious or
hidden. And by law, they’re allowed everywhere in public that their owner is
allowed. Service Dogs can be large, medium or small, can be a variety of breeds
and are trained for a multitude of tasks—which ones depending on their owner’s
needs. When you come across a service dog in public, do not approach the dog
because they’re probably working. However, you can ask the owner if it’s okay.
Sometimes it is, but most of the time it won’t be. Please don’t feel bad if the
owner says no—it’s not personal, it’s because the dog needs to stay focused on
his/her job. The following is the story about my health situation and service
dog, Keiko Dakota.
disabled in late 2006 with severe natural rubber latex allergy, aka NRLA
(anaphylaxis) and severe multiple chemical sensitivities (aka MCS),
complicated by chronic lyme disease in 2007 and becoming mostly home-bound by
2008 (including no longer being able to go to church). My life took a drastic
turn for the worse in early 2009 (when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, it
did, drastically so). In the space of one week, I almost died twice. My life
became one of severe isolation, made even harder to bear when some loved ones
(family & friends) just didn’t “get it”. I have to avoid latex, doing
thorough homework on anything we bring into the house - from food,
medications/supplements to everyday household products. Fragrances are taboo,
as are most chemicals (ie cleaning products, personal care products, many craft
supplies, etc, etc, ETC!). My worst ‘enemies’ are latex, petroleum, exhaust,
wood smoke and fabric softeners (and fresh cut grass, a latex-cross-reactive).
But that doesn’t minimize the need to avoid them all. For NRLA, the ONLY
treatment is avoidance (it’s an allergy that anyone can develop at anytime and
gets worse with each exposure). For MCS, the 1st treatment is avoidance. In
addition to NRLA & MCS, I’m also hearing impaired. The chronic lyme was
eradicated in 2010 (or remission that has not resurfaced, as there is no test
that can prove you no longer have it). Most notably, the severity of my
reactions and recovery time has improved since working on building my immune
system (repairing the gut) and focusing on supporting the liver’s functions in
detoxification though the use of homeopathic remedies & nutritional
after two years of thinking how helpful it would be to have a service dog, the
opportunity came that we were able to purchase our schipperke, Keiko Dakota.
Schipperke’s are considered the hardiest of small breeds and are extremely
intelligent! They originated in Belgium and were used on barges as guard dogs
and rodent hunter-terminators. We had a Schipperke when our boys were growing
up who died when she was only 9yrs old. Fifteen years later, when I was able to
get a dog to train to be my service dog, the Schipperke was the only breed I
considered and my plan was to train her myself.
picked her up (had to drive out-of-state), we spent a lot of time on naming her
and ended up with “Keiko” (Japanese for blessing) “Dakota”
(Native American for friend)... at that time we lived in Dakota County, with
many Indian populations—including the Dakota tribe). She promptly wove herself
into our hearts. We went through a pretty rough spell during her 1st week with
us—she came to us sick from the breeder and we almost lost her on the 2nd night
(found out she was the ‘runt’ of the liter after we drove almost 3 hrs to get
her). After she almost died and subsequent vet visits, the breeder offered to
take her back for a refund, but there was absolutely no way we were going to
put her back in that environment (turns out the breeder was operating a nasty
puppy mill). Thankfully, Keiko survived and is thriving through TONS of love
and a healthy diet of homemade food (she was also allergic to the food the
breeder had abruptly weaned her to, and the safe food we found and had her on
for 2-3 yrs changed ownership and became quite inconsistent in quality (made
her sick, or she’d refuse to eat it), so we went the homemade route). There are
times when I’ve said she eats better than me—and she does!
I was, and
still am, Keiko’s trainer. From the time she came to us at 7 1/2 weeks old, I
began with ‘basic’ training (the usual potty-training, sit-stay-come-heel and
‘to your mat’) using mostly the clicker method. Then, as soon as she had a good
concept of the basics, I began her training as my service dog. After only a
couple of training sessions for bringing me my emergency meds pouch (had 1 on
every level of the house, 2 on the main floor), she recognized one day that I
was in trouble (bad reaction that was steadily going downhill - progressing
from systemic to anaphylaxis) and brought me my pouch. I could hardly move from
the reactions taking place in my body and my thinking process was kaput, but
scolded her because I thought she was playing & just wanted treats. She
persisted and kept getting it and bringing it to me, several times. Later that
day, it finally dawned on me that she might know something I didn’t, so I
accepted it, thanked her and used my Epi-Pen -- WOW!! she was right - I needed
to use my epi-pen but hadn’t realized it (a frequent/common occurrence with
anaphylaxis when it’s not affecting the airway). She was about 3 months old at
the time. There was one time she stopped me from going into a store... turned
out there were latex balloons present, but she’s never been specifically
trained to recognize latex (too dangerous)!! Over the years (she’s now 5 1/2 yrs
old), she’s come to my rescue countless times—including some very serious
events: I’m literally STILL ALIVE today because of my service dog’s
She is not
just “a” dog—she’s my “service” dog, my LIFELINE at home and in the world
around me. If someone threatens or attacks her, they’re doing it to me
personally, and I will respond defensively on her behalf (like a tigress for
her cubs, just like I did for my children when they were growing up, just like
I will for my grand-kids or any small children who are in harms way). If Keiko
were to be injured, permanently maimed or even killed, I would no longer have a
functioning service dog and my life would drastically go backwards. It would
also be heartbreaking, as any loving dog owner (service dog or not) who has
lost one would agree. I use every available opportunity to help educate
children on how to be kind & gentle to animals—adults should already know,
but some don’t. Even if she wasn’t a service dog, you can’t treat a small dog
the way you would a big dog (think 11 pound dog versus 60+ pounds). For
example, rough-house-like shoving or pulling a dog -- huge difference between
doing that with a german shepherd or great dane versus a mini-poodle, chihuahua
or small schipperke. The shove you’d do with a large dog could seriously injure
a small one—common sense for most people.
service dogs are trained for their handlers, Keiko has been trained to be with
me at all times (exception in following paragraph) with her primary task being
to bring me my rescue meds when I’m having a bad reaction (with or without
prompting). She’s also trained to alert me when people come to the door or
something’s not right outside (I do let her bark at squirrels too (it’s a dog
thing, but even more so for her breed). She can “tree” them, but she’s not
allowed to leave the property to chase them). Schipperke’s are great guard dogs
& barkers, so it was easy to encourage her natural trait—the training is
ongoing for her to understand if it’s okay with me, it’s okay for her. If
someone comes in the house, unannounced, she’ll be in guard mode; and with
those she knows, it can sometimes take her a bit to warm up to them (with the
exception of my parents & youngest son, who she greets immediately just
like she does my husband—they’ve been here more frequently than anyone
else—plus we lived with my folks for 3 weeks when we 1st moved back here).
We’ve had several new neighbors arrive since moving to our current home, so
she’s currently “in training” for recognizing those who ‘belong’ (that’s okay
Keiko, that’s their house, they belong, it’s okay). But, if you truly do not
belong, beware! Schipperke on Duty!! She will fetch things for me and put them
“in my hands” when needed (sometimes my hips pop out and affect my mobility,
residual nerve issues from a serious injury in 2014, or other times there can
be inflammation from a bad reaction that affects my joints that affect my
mobility). The schipperke breed are fantastic “pullers”, which has been a
challenge in training her to ‘walk with’, but a tremendous asset when I’m in a
situation where there’s been a bad exposure and I need to escape... fast! If
I’m shopping and turn to get something and move even a couple feet away, she
will pull the cart trying to get back next to me (currently “in-training” at
Meijer’s where I’ve been able to shop by myself a few times since mid-2016—the
egg frig has been a challenge... having to place the cart far enough away to
get the door open and stay away long enough to check the eggs for damage—this
puts her too close to the wheels (AND the cart between her & me) which
stresses her out—haven’t done it enough to figure out what will work best in
that situation yet). She will also “fetch” Daddy, when he’s home and I’m in
another part of the house and need help. If we go someplace together and we get
separated, Keiko helps me “find” Daddy :-)
constant companion, only now with ‘play-breaks’ when the grand-kids come
over—not only for the extra needed exercise, but also as part of her training.
When we got her, we lived far from family. So, due to the forced isolation that
NRLA & MCS naturally brings, she had not been socialized around kids when
she was a puppy and young dog, with the exception of brief occasional exposure
to our neighbor’s young grand-kids. Since we moved closer to family almost 2
1/2 years ago, she’s been getting that much needed socialization with young
kids which makes for a friendlier & safer experience when I leave the the
house (less stressful for both of us)—whether accompanied by my husband or by
myself (2016 was very memorable as it included three very big milestones for
me... all for the 1st time in 8 years—driving, going out by myself, and going
grocery shopping all by myself). However, most ‘rough housing’ is not allowed
because it goes against her training and forces us to have to go through
‘re-training’ sessions. Hands rough-housing around her face is 100% taboo.
She’s been trained “no teeth” for the sake of babies & small children, and
if a finger makes its way into her mouth she’ll turn her head away. But, dogs
have natural instincts and if you get too rough with them, teeth can connect
accidentally, and sometimes on purpose (dog’s natural defense mechanism). When
using her toys to play with her, caution needs to be maintained to keep hands
clear. Balls are not always a good idea, because in going for a ball that’s in
motion, she may not be able to reverse direction quickly enough if fingers get
in the way. Keiko has nipped a few times (when fingers got too close in rough or
ball play, or someone kicks at a ball she’s going after), but no broken skin.
However, she did “bite” our neighbor one time, very understandably in defense
& fright—the day the EMS came and took me away by ambulance and our
neighbor came to let her outside to do her business—but found her hiding behind
the toilet and tried to pull her out. To this day, she does NOT like uniforms
of ANY kind! (so she’s quite noisy when delivery people come).
It’s truly a
wonder, the difference a service dog can make in the lives of those who are
disabled—regardless of the type of disability. Please don’t judge a book by its
cover... service dogs come in all shapes & sizes, and a person’s
disabilities may be visible or hidden (mine are only ‘visible’ if I’m having a
bad reaction). I truly hope my story helps to give others a better
understanding of living with disabilities and about service dogs (noting that
many service dogs have more strict regimes, ie police, fire & military
GREAT explanation from The Environmental Illness Resource HERE. My MCS began while living in IL - exposure to Kerosene from a portable heater and oil from leaking heat pump in house. At that time it triggered severe allergic reactions (IgE responses, not typical of MCS). It skyrocketed when we moved to MN next to a farm (pesticides airborne, AND pesticides IN the house from previous owners having Orkin spray monthly around and inside the house). Then went to unimaginable levels when a microwave accident emitted plastic chemicals and latex throughout the home, triggering 8 solid days of recurrent anaphylaxis and over. My latex allergy had already gone bizerko in early 2007 (disabling in 2006) and the MCS was remarkably worse. In 2007, I contracted Lyme Disease (it became chronic). By the end of 2008, I could no longer attend church because of the horrible exposures of chemicals from having a large group of people in a confined building (that used TERRIBLE cleaning chemicals, and also greatly contributed to my latex allergy worsening - discovered they were using latex balloons in the main sanctuary during the week!). You can read more about what happened to me on my blog (this post details the MW event that so drastically changed my life: http://www.janiesjewelsjems.com/2009_03_01_archive.html).
Through homeopathic remedies and nutritional therapy, I've been able to gradually get part of my life back. Although it requires extremely lengthy research and coordination, I'm able to travel again (but only by car) -- something we thought was lost forever after the 2009 event. The treatments in 2009 also eradicated my lyme disease! This last Fall, we were able to move back to Michigan and now live MUCH closer to family. And while I'm currently exposed to new construction (our 'new' house and one currently 'under' construction next door), I'm better than I was while living in MN. Our house there (and the farm next door) was slowly killing me! Here, the entire main level is carpet-free! I've also learned a whole lot more about the physiology of our bodies and been able to apply what I'm learning (currently taking classes (very slowly) to become a certified Nutrition Therapy Practitioner -- which is a true miracle! it's really, REALLY hard work, but SO worth it!!). I've been able to add MANY more foods back into my diet, and as such, my immune system is gaining strength (whole foods are SO MUCH BETTER for you!). I've had an increase in sinus and/or throat infections since our move - but have been able to treat them and heal through 'all natural' means. I'll be VERY glad once the construction is over next door and those exposures no longer affect me.
One thing I've done daily since the microwave accident, is take what I call my "detox baths". I put 1/2 to 1 cup baking soda in my bath water, along with 1/2 cup epsom salts - and do this immediately before bedtime. When there's been a major exposure, I'll double the epsom salts. Vitamin C has played a GIGANTIC role in reaching where I am today, right along with Vitamin D and other nutritional musts (some are needed in supplement form).
I've been able to find a couple supplement brands that do not use latex gloves in manufacturing their products, and most are also non-GMO. I stock several of these in inventory (have been selling Heel homeopathics since 2010 and nutritional supplements since 2013). Please feel free to email me at janieinMN (AT) comcast (DOT) net, if you have any questions regarding nutrition's role in our health. If I don't know the answer, I will do my best to direct you to someone who does. For a partial list of the products I carry, you can visit my facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Janies-Jewels-Jems/165835386766094. I do not have an online store as of yet, but will accept orders via email or phone.
WOW! didn't realize how long it had been since I posted, until I just did one. I 'went back to school' the Fall of 2013, in the medical profession, studying to be a "Nutrition Therapy Practitioner". Since then, there's been VERY little time for 'hobbies', so digital-scrapbooking has taken a back seat for awhile. I've done a few pages here and there, but am no longer a member of any CT (creative team). Then, in February last year, I injured my IT band (ligament-like tough fibers that run from the knee to the hip) and tensor fascia lata muscle - throwing out my right hip, SI joint and a few vertebrae and injuring the tissues & muscles between the knee and into the lower back. When a local chiropractor made a house call (again traditional medicine failed me), my right leg was 1 1/4 inches shorter than the other. It's the worst pain I've ever had to endure in my entire life. Add to that, a SEVERE allergic reaction to a new lift chair (necessary 'cuz of the injury) which sent me to ER by ambulance and into a huge nightmare! (and why the Drs protocol for me is "ER as the 'last' resort!"). Suffice it to say, the chair went and the hospital bed came into our home. After an entire month of extensive chiropractic therapy, I was able to say goodbye to the hospital bed and gradually things improved (continued chiropractic therapy up until our move in August). It's now been a FULL YEAR, and while I still have a partial numb area in my leg, the nerve pain is only intermittent and specific (daily) stretches help keep my spine in line and the hip where it's supposed to be! It's popped out a couple times in recent weeks, but was able to get it back in place with a couple stretch maneuvers. THANK YOU to Dr Stephen Bappe of Hastings MN!!
The toughest part was having to deal with all that pain through only natural means. While at the hospital ER, they tried morphine through IV and that took the edge off. However, even that wasn't an option once the simultaneous benadryl no longer kept the allergic reaction to the drug in check. Add to that several trips to/from MI which culminated in an out-of-state move, and it's easy to see why I fell so far behind in 'blogging'. It was all I could do to keep up with facebook! I'm now best friends with garlic (new level!), ginger & turmeric... and magnesium was super helpful with the horrific muscle spasms that were being triggered by the nerve injuries.
My nutritional certification studies were delayed due to medical leave for the IT band injury, and then even further when an extension was needed during my last class because of exposures and reactions related to the move. And now that I'm back on track with that, it's tax time! YECH!!!
Hoping I'll be able to do more writing this year :-) <'///>< Isaiah 40:31
It's that time of year... tax preps! Yech! I used to love dealing with numbers & finances... but since my latex allergy & multiple chemical sensitivities went bizerko, they're one of my least favorite things to do. Not sure what would happen if I didn't use QuickBooks Pro and Turbo Tax! Because of the inks & chemicals in the rects, they're problematic for me... so instead of "keeping up" with them throughout the year (like I would like to!), they pile up and then I have to do EVERYthing all at once (... can be mind-boggling & overwhelming! ...).
Well... I have the rects in date order & grouped by month... yesterday I finished imputing the data for 3 months! (actually only 2, but I forgot June was done the previous day, so I thought it was still waiting... so, for me, that's 3!).
SO, I earned some PLAYTIME!!! and what more appropriate than to use Mags' new kit, Toddler Playground (links below)... and scrap my grandsons' playtime at the park!
I love all things hearts ... so was THRILLED when MagsGraphics designed this FUN & CHEERY valentine kit with all kinds of hearts... along with some owls (a personal reminder to pray for a dear friend of mine who loves owls!). Ended up being the perfect complement to scrap a super fun Facebook event that an old school-mate and I put together last Fall. What can I say...?... I love food too! hehe
PSL time again over at ClubScrap! (pro-scrapper's league). Once again I'll be participating in thenon-competitiveteam (called Paparazzi this time around). The challenges officially begin Feb 11, but I've been kinda antsy and was browsing thru the active posts in the CS community and came across the Feb 2103 Card Challenge... perfect inspiration to make my Valentine Card for my darling hubby!
credits: Up, Up & Away digital kit by ClubScrap, Feb2013
video explaining MCS -- HIGHLY recommend for everyone... NOW's the time
to take action to prevent this from happening to you and/or anyone in
your family. Chemicals are everywhere -- the toxicity is well known
& scientifically proven -- yet they're still in use in everyday
products. Then, in our desire to control our environment, pesitcides
& more are used in our neighborhoods... county's do city-wide aerial
applications (via heliocopter, truck & backpacks) for mosquito
control... these don't just stay outdoors (and they DO STAY!), they get
into our homes!! THIS VIDEO IS A MUST SEE!!
I was delighted when Mags released her Golf Bundle (his & hers). My hubby & I are soon to celebrate our 35th anniversary. Our 1st date was miniature golf... during our 25th anniversary year, we were able to go back to the location of our 1st date... it took 3 digi-layout pages to scrap the highlights :-)
my PC mouse (wired) started jumping all over the screen on bootup
(cursor, not mouse :-) -- it's only on bootup, but was driving me
crazy... what's going on?? possible virus? mouse failure imminent?
hacker? -- so looked up problem online and found TONS... but mainly for
laptops & wireless mice. one forum mentioned the led lens, virus,
drivers, pad surface, etc. WELL, i put on my readers and was checking to
see what mouse it was (system is HP)... WHEN i noticed something
sticking out of the lens/ball... i pulled it and MORE came with it!!! MY
MOUSE WAS COLLECTING "KEIKO" HAIRS!!!!
hahahhahahahhahhahhehehhehehehhe... SO, i pulled them all out &
cleaned off the 3M precision 'latex-free' mouse pad ... and we'll see
what happens tomorrow morning when i bootup ... i'll betcha the mouse
will stay contentedly in its spot til "I" choose to move it ... poor
thing... it was suffering INDIGESTION!! hahahahahhahahhehhehehhehehe...
Vaccines containing latex may be triggering allergic reactions
to common products, like baby pacifiers.
this is REALLY close to my heart, since i'm disabled with latex allergy. i personally KNOW the extreme dangers -- it is PROGRESSIVE (gets worse with EACH exposure) -- it can become life-threatening at ANYtime! -- and ANYone can develop it!! -- for the CDC to state go ahead and give latex-contaminated-vaccines to an infant, child (ANYone!!) as long as they haven't had an anaphylaxis reaction is LUDICROUS to the extreme!! with all the evidence & studies now available, this is literally playing russian roulette with your child... once you're anaphylaxic to latex, there's NO TURNING BACK!!! i'm now disabled because i didn't know anything ABOUT latex or latex allergy (even when i knew i was latex allergic)... back then, when nurses would ask about allergies (at a dr appt) and i'd reply latex, more often than not i'd get a 'rolled eyes' response. and NO ONE directed me to any info 'about' latex allergy until AFTER it was too late. my latex allergy went BIZERKO in Feb2007 and forever altered my life and that of my family (& friends). that in combination with my severe multiple chemical sensitivities (mcs) made life VERY isolating... because the ONLY treatment for latex allergy is AVOIDANCE! and avoidance is the #1 treatment for mcs.
PLEASE! do ALL YOU CAN to protect your child against developing latex allergy -- make sure your baby supplies are latex-free (ie pacifiers, bottle nipples, clothing, etc) and don't allow ANYTHING to be injected into or fed to your child that contains latex (meds, vitamins, vaccines.. anything with natural rubber syringe, stoppers, bottle cap droppers, etc WILL contaminate the contents with latex proteins!).
These are some of the things I've done in my studio that I thought I'd
share with you... hoping these organizational tips will be helpful to others :-)
ClubScrap & More -- ALSB & ScrapRapMagazines in Notebooks (chronologically), Special Editions & Projects in separate notebks, LO sketches, Card Ideas, etc
Cropper Hopper File Storage folders for CS Kits, with divider tabs by year. StampinUp! & misc cardstock sorted by color (bottom), Stickers sorted by theme (using ziploc bags & C.H. sticker storage folders), ALSB pages cut & ready for assembly (lower right in tubs), ALSB pages assembled waiting for pics in 2 gal ziplocs stored upright (next to tubs).
$ hint - JoAnn.com for C.H. file storage - watch for sales and then do online search for coupon codes!
Filing Cabinet storage...
CS Kits - the 8.5x11 papers, cut outs, stickers, etc
CS Kit embellies, 1/2# paper packs, etc
StampinUp! cardstock by color groups
Kitchen & Bath organizers...
Frequent tools & things.
$ hint - Pampered Chef, Walmart
Rubbermaid stackable drawers for punches, reinkers, inkpads & more.
$ hint - Walmart
Fishing tackle, Hardware organizers...
for eyelets, brads, charms, etc
$ hint - Walmart, HomeDepot, etc
Old lunch bag insert & ziploc "pint" freezer bags for clear stamps (page/sheet protectors & 3-ring binder for larger sets). Used white cardstock to fit inside ziploc for labeling stamp sets... filed by category (ie borders, baby, holiday, etc)
It's been three years since I've been able to do "hybrid" scrap-booking (that's what digi-scrapbookers call the "hands-on" scrapping that's been going on for decades). My severe NRLA (natural rubber latex allergy) put a halt to rubberstamping and the severity of my MCS (multiple chemical sensitivities) prevented me from continuing to scrap even using the latex-free materials. That's 'cuz of all the chemicals involved... from adhesives to paints to inks to papers, embellishments & more!
Thanks to a long road of nutritional supplements & homeopathic remedies, my immune system has gotten stronger. I still have to be extremely careful, even though I've been able to add some latex-cross-reactive foods back onto my 'ok' list... even though I've been able to resume "some" hands-on scrapping & other projects in the last 2-3 months, I still have to be extremely careful (repeat intentional). Because although most exposures come from known sources, there are still MANY surprise ones out there... including what caught me unawares a few days ago and rendered me a "couch YAM" for the last couple days (yams are "sweet" potatoes... and because regular potatoes are strong enemies of mine (HUGE latex-cross-reactive for me), I wanted to come up with a different term. My best friend, Melissa, helped me out with that... she knows how much I enjoy eating yams (raw, baked, roasted, chips, etc). Anyway, I had been sorting thru some supplies to set up to make some cards... had just completed a digi-LO for ClubScrap's PSL challenge and my blog post when I got hit... hard and fast... required 2 doses of epinephrine to stop, benadryl and several homeopathics (primarily anti-histamine, but also for gut & inflammatory pain symptoms that accompanied this particular anaphylaxis episode). I'm still not positive what caused this crash, but the couple suspicions came on top of a system that was already engaged in a defensive battle. Over the last couple of weeks I'd been exposed to: hotel fragrances, people fragrances & cigarette smoke, travel stuff (vehicle exhaust, latex-contaminated-road-dust, etc), farming chemicals several times (exhaust, insecticides, fertilizers, etc - we live right next door to a farm that has been SUPER busy this last month in their efforts to rescue & replant crops following the damaging wind/hail storm that hit our area). It's no wonder then, that the scales were tipped and I got hit so hard & fast... the final straw was either (or both!) a new olive leaf supplement (had been confirmed by manufacturer to be latex-safe) that I tried that morning and/or a malfunctioning air purifier that overheated, putting a burnt oil/rubber smell into the air. It is now in the repair shop for warranty service (problem still unknown)... and the new supplement is now on the "do not use" list!!
Even keeping a daily log doesn't always help identify the source of the exposure that causes a life-threatening allergic reaction. I've been keeping a daily log since 2007 (wow! that's 5 yrs!!) which has helped me identify many, many triggers. By identifying them, I'm then able to avoid them... which is the ONLY treatment for NRLA and the 1st/best treatment for MCS. It's fairly easy to identify the triggers for immediate reactions, but harder for delayed ones. I believe my system was already on overload with 'recovering' from all the recent chemical exposures and that contributed to my needing more meds to stop the anaphylaxis and longer recovery time from this episode (hence the 'couch-yam' dressed in robe & pj's!).
Life is always an adventure living with NRLA "and" MCS, that's for sure.
If you arrived at the post doing an internet search for info on latex allergy or mulitple chemical sensitivities, there are a few resource/educational links in my blog footer (you can get there quickly by pressing control-end).
Here's my studio - this photo shows my map-fold books in progress :-)
And here's a panoramic view - photo taken with my Sony Cybershot
I've used U-HAUL mattress bags, cut to fit, to cover my bookcases (scrap-booking supplies, photo albums, books and more) -- this blocks/minimizes exposures to any chemicals off-gassing from the various items. I either push them to the side or roll them up depending whether I'm reaching for something specific or "browsing". I also store scrap-booking & craft supplies in the metal filing & storage cabinets.
For now, the card project is on hold ... we'll have to wait & see what next week brings. Meanwhile, getting all my other air purifiers checked out (1 at a time) to make sure whatever happened with the one the other day doesn't happen with the others (our home is "fragrance-free" and "latex-safe"... we have 4 air purifiers in our home... to keep up with carpet off-gassing, neighborhood chemicals, vehicle/lawn-mower/farm machine exhaust, ETC!).
I've taken the plunge and am signed up for summer camp -- only it's a lot different than it was 35+ years ago. It's a scrapbooking-challenge camp over at ClubScrap. I'm in the Osprey cabin (no pressure, no deadline... if I can do the challenge, great... if not, just get to have fun doing whatever! it's great!!
This is week 3 and the challenge is to use fibers... I LOVE fibers and have quite a ribbon collection (stash!). I just completed a double-DIGI-spread (see previous posts) and have my work station all setup for cranking out "several" cards... gonna make some valentines (yeah, I "know" it's July!) and some all occasion ones. Last week the challenge was "Art Media", but I wasn't able to do anything cuz of being in recovery from weekend exposures and ongoing exposures that week from farming chemicals and a few other things that I can't remember unless I look in my daily log (and I'm not going to run upstairs to do that, so for now it'll remain a "mystery").
If you're ready for some scrappin' FUN... here are some ClubScrap links that you might be interested in...