Physical and emotional effects of an exposure

In 2004 I had begun to be sent to various doctors for the defense in reference to my worker’s compensation claim.  As many others with environmental illness/multiple chemical sensitivity know, the symptoms from an exposure can be physical (coughing, chest pain, muscle weakness, brain fog) as well as emotional (depression, emotional to the point of tears, anger).  I was experiencing so many of these symptoms and my appointments to some of these doctors had been made very close together compounding my problems.  After one such appointment I wrote the following in my journal:

When Dr. Spitzer began to clean my sinuses he could not believe how bad they had become in a short amount of time. The exposure two days earlier had caused my sinuses to produce a large amount of mucous. He said that if he had not seen it in me, he would not have
believed that one exposure such as I had in the office building could cause anyone to produce as much mucous as I had.

A couple weeks after my defense appointment, I was still feeling bad and the depression was becoming worse. On September 26, 2004, I wrote, “What makes them think I am coping? What makes them think I am handling this? They should just read from my journals and then they will soon discover what life is like for me. For I EXIST – I do not LIVE! I eat to live—I do not live to eat! I feel like a caged animal at the zoo, on display for the morbid curiosity of others. Look at the crazy woman. She can’t come out around us. She wears a funny mask! Why did God keep me alive? What purpose am I serving?” I also wrote a couple days later, “I just want to die! I refuse to live like this forever. I would rather be dead! I am going to stay focused until my case is over and then I don’t care what happens to me. Maybe I will quit my shots, maybe I’ll drink beer, wine, and sodas, maybe I’ll eat bananas until my throat swells shut! Maybe maybe maybe maybe I will continue my treatment and speak out loudly against mold. Maybe I will help someone else or be a pain in someone’s side. Maybe maybe maybe I don’t know and I don’t know if I care. I am in a horrible funk! I feel like ‘me’ is slipping away, layer by layer.”

I am certain that many of you can identify with this.  Unless you have a physician who is truly compassionate and accepting of your limitations, a doctor’s visit can be hell.  I have experienced my fair share of these exposures in the doctor’s office.  Fortunately for me I do have some medical professionals who care for me that are willing to make accommodations to keep me as safe from exposure as possible during my visits.  To be told to change doctors (as my workers’ compensation authorized medical examiner told me to do) can cause much panic and anxiety.  I have had two very wonderful doctors as well who passed causing me sadness at their passing and panic at having to find replacements.  I wish all of you the best in finding medical professionals who do not minimize your condition or describe your condition as all in your head.

I have decided to do my best to survive no matter how painful things become.  I have become determined to speak out about mold and about this illness.  I have a voice and I am going to use it.  I ask you all to do the same.

6 responses to “Physical and emotional effects of an exposure

  1. Kathy:

    I admire your courage in persevering despite all of the roadblocks thrown in your path. We have known each other since meeting at Dr. Rea’s clinic over nine years ago. You have walked a very difficult path, but I know your progress and your courage inspire many. I applaud you for speaking your truth and for speaking out to educate others. Blessings and love, Jennie

  2. Kathy, your courage has also inspired me! But more than that your friendship and encouragement has blessed my life! I am so thankful that you chose to stay in the fight for my sake and countless others who are on this “moldly road” behind you!!

  3. PS.
    Oops forgot to also mention that for anyone reading this from the midwest, you may find it very difficult to find any health care providers that know how to even test you for mold exposure, much less treat you for it. Your only choice may be to travel out of state for help if you can afford it.

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