I have mentioned so many times about my isolation. I have also mentioned that I have become strong enough that I can make a 20 minute journey (only with my mask on) into Target to grab an item or two as long as I don’t make a habit of it. Usually I don’t go by myself unless it is very early in the morning and the store is pretty much deserted. Recently I needed two graduation cards and my Seventh Generation Laundry Soap. I got up early and headed for the store. I managed to get the cards without a problem. Then I needed to get my laundry soap. The problem is that all laundry soaps are in the same area (including my Seventh Generation) along with all other fragranced household products.
As I made my way towards that section of the store, I worried about a reaction that might render me brainless and coughing and gagging. When my daughter or husband is with me I just stay a few aisles back and let them fetch my soap. Hmmm. Suddenly I saw a Target employee. I said, “Excuse me. I need some help.” He asked what I needed and I pointed to my mask and said that I have a very hard time with chemicals and could not go to the cleaning section to get my soap. Without any hesitation he asked what I needed and went off in search of my soap. A few minutes later he returned with my exact brand and size. He told me not to hesitate to ask for assistance any time I needed help.
Fast forward and I have made a quick trip with my daughter to pick out some party supplies and leave. Suddenly I hear someone ask if I need help getting anything. I turn around and see the gentleman that helped me weeks before. I said I was fine and he again reminded me that any time I needed assistance to feel free to ask for it. This made my day.
As we celebrate National MCS Awareness Month, I found it encouraging that not only did the gentleman help me but that weeks later he recognized me (Okay how could he miss me with my white charcoal mask with strings hanging down on the sides?), offered to help and once more reminded me that I should never hesitate to ask for help. While it is difficult to get out and do these short trips, I believe I am bringing some awareness to the plight of those suffering from multiple chemical sensitivity and environmental illness. I also I believe that I am showing my strength by venturing out in public with this mask covering my face, walking tall, and not allowing the mask and the looks on the faces of others to make me feel less than I am.
We who suffer with MCS and other environmental or “invisible” illnesses are much stronger than we realize. This is evidenced by the stance we take and the growing number of blogs and articles being written to raise awareness. We are STRONG and we will continue to raise awareness one blog or one article at a time. As I type this post, I am reminded of a song by Sister Sledge.
YES, WE ARE FAMILY!