Verse of the Day

Friday, March 6, 2009

SLOWLY Recovering!!

I certainly didn't think I'd be down for the count for this long! While in "recovery" from the exposure/systemic reaction (2/5), we had an incident with our microwave that had long-lasting and devastating effects. I accidentally added time to a "defrost" because the power level button didn't register... resulting in a frozen leftover of rice cooking on high and burning to a crisp. The unfortunate result also included a GLAD plastic food storage container (proclaimed to be "safe" for food, "microwave, dishwasher & freezer safe") melting & burning right along with the rice.
This was the start of 8 horrific days of recurrent anaphylaxis -- my husband thought he was going to lose me twice -- I thought I was going to die -- then I thought I'd have permanent brain damage. It was a nightmare!! Fortunately, we discovered the cause quite timely when I called our insurance company during off-hours. The gentlemen I spoke to knew immediately what had occurred as soon as I mentioned the plastic container. He used to work at a plastics company! There was a plant fire and now he is latex-sensitive!!
Plastic, when it melts, emits not only the toxic plastic chemicals, but also LATEX!! God put that man in the right place at the right time... because this immediately changed the safety of our house and how it would have to be cleaned!! This is HORRIBLE!! The public has a right to know this kind of information!!!! How many others have been affected by the microwave "accidents" that occur so commonly. This particular type plastic emitted non-permeable latex, meaning it would settle as dust. Other plastics can release permeable latex when melted. This was all confirmed by an industrial hygentist that the cleaning company had consulted with.
We tried to clean the house ourselves (with our neighbor couple), but as I continued to have anaphylaxis events... and my brain turned to mush... couldn't talk... couldn't think... could barely walk... couldn't remember one word to the next... couldn't breathe... -- we realized we had to get out & do so quickly. BUT, we had no "safe" place to go -- latex & chemicals everywhere -- and because I can't eat in restaurants, we needed a place with a kitchen. We finally found a hotel that was able to prepare a "green" room (chemical-free)... but it wasn't.... it had a fireplace... that leaked!! Even though DH tried to seal it off, I continued having anaphylaxis... the reactions were decreasing in frequency, but increasing in severity -- it was a very scary time!! My hubby sat down with the hotel manager & engineer and they came up with a plan... and were able to get us transferred (after 4 days) into a "true" chemical-safe & latex-safe room. From that point on, I gradually began to recover.
It's now been one full month since this "further" life-changing event -- "disabled" now has a whole new meaning for me -- and life is even more restrictive now. We're still at the hotel -- the 1st cleaning company called us the day we were to sign the contract and backed out of the job. We were able to find another company, more qualified to deal with our situation (an environmental cleaning company vs just fire restoration)... another miracle! After a few more delays, they were able to start working on our house this Tuesday -- YIPEE! A scientific group will be collecting samples next week for lab testing for latex (air, porous & solid surfaces). If they're negative, we get to try to return home. If it's positive, then more work will have to be done before we can depart this one room studio at the hotel.
A great plus at the hotel is the capability of having 2-3 "steamy" baths per day (#1 treatment for a toxic reaction for MCS'ers is Sauna Therapy)... the bathtub is the closest to a sauna I can get... and with how small the bathroom is (only toilet & tub/shower), I'm able to get it really steamy for a good hot soak with baking soda & colloidal oats. I've also been able to connect with a couple of alternative medicine professionals (one local to the hotel and another out-of-state) and have begun some homeopathic remedies and nutrient therapies. I've learned to like YAMS which are filled with nutrition and have greatly helped my extremely limited diet. There are SO many foods that are cross-reactives to latex (or cross-reactive to a cross-reactive of latex), OR contaminated with latex proteins from latex glove use in food manufacturing, packaging, distributors & resalers (including restaurants, delis, grocery stores, etc), OR filled with chemicals, dyes, preservatives. I was already attempting to eat more organic and now that's almost all I can do. Unfortunately, we live in a very COLD state... no farmer markets in winter... no organic coops nearby -- natural food stores are loaded with "natural" items -- natural is not synonomous with safe for me. So, we're limited to what is at our local grocers. Fortunately, we found another store here by the hotel that also has another location a bit closer to us (within 30 minutes). So, I'll be sending my sweety there at least once a month to shop (might have to be once a payday, cuz there organic yams are the best around!!).
One thing that stayed with me during those 8 horrific days... when living from reaction to reaction... not knowing which end was up or down... no matter how mushy my brain got (it was "stop & eject!" - think of a tape in a VCR), my Lord was with me and sustained me with this recurring thought -- that in spite of the condition of my brain, was as clear as could be and did not waver! -- "only what's done for Christ will last". My God intervened, protected & sustained me. No matter what I've lost in the past... favorite things to do... foods... church... friends... ability to travel to visit family (3 married sons, 1 grandson (almost 2yo!), parents)... I can survive because of my Saviour. And when it comes time to leave this earth to join Him in heaven, I can only pray that the words He will say will be, "well done, thou good & faithful servant".
So, -- what now? For starters, we'll be "downgrading" drastically -- symplifying our home & belongings -- doing whatever is in our power to make our home "safer" -- bumping up priority of some projects that were waiting to "fit in the budget". Things that "have" to be done in order for me to be safe at home and not face further exposures. Carpets that always off-gas chemicals are going out the door. But, it's not an easy task to find replacement flooring that will be "chemical-safe" and "latex-free". So, we're in the research phase right now. Meanwhile, I have a new motto -- in 2007, my motto was "if in doubt, throw it out" when we were busy de-rubberizing our house -- now, the new one... "better to be alive & in debt, than debt-free and dead". So, even in this falling economy... we'll be making businesses happy. We had to replace the natural gas applicances last Fall, install a whole house water filtration system the year before, purchased a new "natural rubber & latex-FREE" vacuum cleaner (SEBO HepaVacuum -- -- at a wonderful shop in Rochester MN), more online shopping here at hotel (replacing cordless phones (EMF's bad for me!) with corded, finally got my new flour mill, etc.), and now we get to remove the carpeting (possibly just sealing some with AFM Safecoat Sealers -- -- have products safe for the chemically sensitive), flooring... etc), and who knows what else...
We're going to be selling our cars (don't need 2 because it's no longer safe for me to drive alone) & getting either a truck or larger SUV, capable of pulling a small RV (only way I'm going to be able to travel to visit family). One of our kids is planning on buying our 2003 Mazda Tribute (wonderful vehicle!! love it!) and then we need to sell the 2005 Mitsubishi Gallant. Not the best time to be selling a car -- but some great deals out there for buying new -- just waiting on word from the car manufacturer about the natural rubber & NR latex content in their vehicle before we can move ahead.
So, in today's economy and WITHOUT any government interference or incentives, we are "increasing" our spending!! Of course, we'd much rather be able to save and to be debt-free... but that's just not possible in our lives right now. We just need to step out in faith, complete the projects needed to make our home a "safe haven" and place where I can continue to recover... and trust in the Lord to provide for the financial needs that are in our path. Ideally would be to move to a house that's been built "chemically-safe" and "latex-free" from the bottom up (especially with the corn field behind our house -- BEAUTIFUL scenery during the changing seasons -- but a very strong allergen for me), but it's such a tough time to sell a house right now... and with decreasing home values (for those of us who maintain our mortgages) because of those who default (whether because of income lost or getting in over their heads), it's hard to think of pouring more money into it -- but it seems to be our best option, just to have a safe zone that's latex-free, latex-safe and chemically-safe.
Many times in our lives, when going through the valleys... not knowing what was around the next bend... we can hear God's gentle voice through it all... "do you trust Me?" Well, this is about the darkest challenge we've ever faced -- "do you trust Me?" -- "yes, Father God, we trust you and will continue to love & follow You, Lord -- with all our heart, soul, mind & strength -- no matter how strong or frail, no matter how rich or poor, no matter what our health, no matter how isolated we become, no matter what else falls our way -- this is it -- our love will never change, except to grow stronger -- because You, our God, our Saviour, are the same yesterday, today & tomorrow... always & forever! -- always in control... in the precious name of Jesus, amen."
I hope to be able to upload the layouts I had completed the week the "MW meltdown" happened. I really like how they turned out -- our wedding and celebrating 30 years!! The Chocolate Cherry Collab provided the "perfect" ingredients for the 2-page digi-spread. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did putting them together and seeing them now. Digi-Scrapping will NOT be included in the downgrades!! This is one creative outlet I hope to continue to participate in & enjoy -- to leave a pictorial legacy of our faith & family.
in Him,


Anonymous said...

These jems are really breathtaking. I love them.g

Liberty said...

sorry to find this so late. my understanding from what I've read and heard over the years is that the AFM carpet sealer does not work well at all. because of the uneven surface, there's no way a liquid applied product can seal all vocs outgassing from the underneath of the carpet unless it made a solid surface with no holes. (in which the carpet wouldn't feel like carpet anymore :)

my experience with their Safecoat hardseal has also been negative. they do not guarantee 100% VOC blockage and even after 5 or more coats, vocs still get through.
But I have pretty bad MCS and some who only have it mildly have had luck with these products.

If you do choose to tile the floor, you have the option of using only portland cement as both the adhesive and the grout - so as to avoid any latex. make sure it is portland cement only - with no additives :-)

wishing you all the best and may you have safe housing soon!

Liberty said...

p.s. this pdf file from the site has some tips for using cement grout/adhesive - it's not like using the regular stuff and contractors need to know the differences

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You are not simply making a choice for yourself,
You are making a choice for everyone around you."
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