Verse of the Day

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Winter to Spring Transition

We attempted a trip to the zoo last month (got some FANTASTIC photos! will share digi LOs later). It wasn't easy trying to avoid the people with their stinky fragrances & chemicals (lotions, shampoos, deodorants, aftershaves, laundry detergents, fabric softener, ETC!). The hardest part was when parents grabbed their kids & pulled them away. I'M NOT CONTAGIOUS!! But, if the shoe were on the other foot, would I have done the same? I hope not, but what if I already did in past years and just don't remember?
The isolation that comes with being disabled with SEVERE multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS) and SEVERE natural rubber latex allergy (NRLA) is real. It's only the grace of God & the support from a loving husband (and our kids & parents) that keep me going. When I do leave the house, we have to take tons of "stuff" with us... emergency battery operated air purifier (full hooded respirator), emergency change of clothing & medical supplies, emergency medications (epi-pens, inhaler, antihistimines, homeopathics, etc), all my food & snacks AND water for the day/outing. I wear HEPA/carbon nasal filters, surgical face mask, hat, gloves, long sleeves and long pants (even in the heat of summer)... have to protect my airway and cover as much skin as possible.
With MCS, you don't have to breathe it to be affected by it (chemicals). Same goes for latex proteins. There are 4 main routes of exposure that I have to guard against: inhalation (breathing), absorption (skin & membranes (like eyes)), ingestion (eating, drinking contaminated food/drink), and injection (insect stings (several stinging insects are latex-cross-reactives... their venom has similar proteins to latex... making them an EXTREME double-whammy!! another form is any type of syringe/shots... have to make sure the syringes are latex-free and that there hasn't been any latex contamination of the serum).
Even with keeping my guard up, there are bound to be surprises in addition to the known exposures. So a simple outing to walk in the park has the potential of a bad exposure & reaction. We do our best and enjoy what time we can spend outdoors in the midst of God's AWESOME creation! We have some WONDERFUL state & regional parks in MN & WI... and our own Lock & Dam on the Mississippi River gives us some great exercise and fantastic photographic moments (lots of wildlife, birds and such).
I had a pretty tough & dangerous winter with neighboring snowmobilers that were cutting across our property and then polluting our backyard with their petrol/exhaust. Finally, the last snowmelt occurred and aaahhh, relief! THEN, the farmer sprayed his field with amonia sulfate (AWFUL stuff for EVERYbody!!!) and my body has been feeling the affects from that ever since (and more so when he came by a couple days ago and made 2 complete passes to turn the soil under - THAT was a HORRIBLY painful day). Thankfully, our neighbors give us advance warning when they're going to mow & that helps me establish a defense zone (air purifiers on high, avoid opening windows/doors, keep exhaust fans off). It doesn't prevent chem exposures, because the petrol/exhaust and grass pollens (latex-cross-reactives!!) come in thru intake & exhaust vents... I just do what we can to "minimize" the effect. Since we got our Oreck Air Purifiers, life has been much better in the house. When it gets bad outside (from petrol/exhaust, neighborhood fabric softener, farm chems), I also turn on our Hunter HEPA air filters as backup to the Orecks. Sometimes though, the best thing to do is just crawl into bed for the duration & beyond.
If you have any questions about MCS or NRLA, please feel free to write a comment to this post with your email addy & I'll pass on what I've learned. Here are a couple great websites to get some info. For MCS: For NRLA, go here:
Well, that's all for now. I've got 6 LOs to share with you another day (zoo trip and visit with grandsons!). Meanwhile, PLEASE focus on PREVENTION so you don't end up with MCS or NRLA. Remember, ANYone can develop these health conditions at ANYtime. They get worse with EACH exposure! I'm now disabled because I didn't know hardly anything "about" them until it was too late. For starters, use safe unscented AND fragrance-free cleaners and personal care products. AVOID perfumes (200+ chemicals!!), AVOID fabric softeners (ALL types!!), AVOID latex gloves & latex balloons. AND do the research! learn as much as you can about the chemicals you have in your home and work hard & diligently to make your home safe for your loved ones & you!!
For those of you that find yourself in my shoes with either MCS or NRLA (or both!), I hope the links I've included for some of the "stuff", that helps me participate in life, is of help to you.

Isaiah 40:31

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"When you choose to use fragrances, chemicals, or pesticides,
You are not simply making a choice for yourself,
You are making a choice for everyone around you."
© MCS America

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