Verse of the Day

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Studio FUN !?!?!

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!).

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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NRLA—Natural Rubber Latex Allergy

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