Category Archives: Allergic to Life: My Battle for Survival

Nose Blind?

I, and several other bloggers who suffer from multiple chemical sensitivity, talk about how hard difficult it is to navigate  public places and deal with the multitude of fragrances both in the buildings themselves and on those in the buildings. Have you ever walked by and thought the person you just passed must have bathed in perfume?  Since becoming ill I have thought that these people have masked to chemicals or have simply lost the ability to smell. Therefore, they keep putting on their fragrances until they can detect the fragrance.

I remember returning to my last workplace after becoming ill and being absent for many months. I had gone to gather my things because it was obvious that I would not be able to return to work. I walked in with my mask to gather up my belongings. Suddenly I realized that their were fragrances. The fragrances were everywhere I turned. They were overpowering even with my mask on. I quickly walked out. My fellow co-workers wanted to visit with me. I had to stand outside and keep them at a distance. I asked them if they had always worn perfume? They all replied that they had. Why hadn’t I noticed before? Why didn’t I notice the odor of the paint that was being applied to the door facings while I sat at my “new” desk with “new” carpeting still being laid down around me? My only answer is that my sinuses, because of so many infections and surgeries, just could no longer detect anything. I was sick everywhere I went but had no idea all these chemicals were adding to my body’s already weakened system and over all body burden.

It wasn’t until recently when I had a bad night and could not sleep that I turned on the television and heard a commercial. AHA! There was the answer. I  had been “nose blind” due to all that my sinuses had gone through. This also explains why so many others not only where perfume or cologne, but bathe in it. They are “nose blind” until they get to a certain level of fragrances.

 

The commercial was for “Febreze”. The person was talking about their pets and the odors they caused. The person said she had become “nose blind” to all the pet odors. When friends came to visit it was like visiting a place with twice as many animals. The answer, of course, was to just spray the house with “Febreze”!

The chemical industry is bombarding us with more and more chemicals on a daily basis. I forget the number of new chemicals that are introduced each year; the number is staggering. Dr. Rea said once that we were just the tip of the iceburg so to speak when he talked about chemical sensitivities.

We need to stay vigilant and continue to speak out about the dangers of chemicals and the debilitating effect they have on us.

 

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Outshine Ovarian Cancer Anniversary

Karen Ingalls (@kareningalls1) recently celebrated a blog anniversary at Outshine Ovarian Cancer. I have been following along with Karen and her story for quite some time and have read her book Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir.  Outshine is an inspiring book that not only chronicles her battle with ovarian cancer but shows a deep faith and spirit.

Karen had a giveaway to celebrate the anniversary of her blog. I was a lucky winner of this beautiful plaque that now graces a shelf in my office alongside a photo of myself in my early days of illness and a beautiful glass that belonged to my paternal grandfather (one of the few possessions of his that I am able to have in my home).  The plaque reads: I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength…Phil 4:13 .  Thank you Karen for such a lovely gift.

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Since writing Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir, Karen has had a recurrence of cancer and gone through yet another round of treatment. Karen is a brave lady and I am happy to call her a friend despite never meeting in person.

Thank You For Following Me!

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I have had many new followers in the past week thanks to the I Am A Writer’s $300 Holiday Cash Giveaway that I am participating in. Following my blog is my entrance requirement to the giveaway. I would like to say “thank you” to all my new followers. I hope you will continue to follow along and learn more of my journey with mold-induced illness and multiple chemical sensitivities through my blog posts and my book.

Thank you also, to my loyal followers and especially to those who take the time to not only read my posts but comment and re-blog them.

The Rave Awards! Have you voted?

Today is the final day to vote for your favorites in the Rave Reviews Book Club’s Rave Awards. Voting ends at midnight CT. Hop on over and show these amazing people some support.

Rave Reviews Book Club is rounding out its first year with the Rave Awards. The club has been growing strong over the last 12 months. Book Club members and the public are invited to vote on their favorite Blog, On The Shelf Interview, and Book Trailer.

I am excited to say that I have been entered into all three categories! Please take a moment to hop on over and look at all the wonderful interviews, blogs, and book trailers and vote for your favorite (I hope that you like mine). Voting ends at midnight CT on December 5th.

I am getting my evening gown all ready for the red carpet! What color should I wear? Oh,no! I don’t have my speech yet.

I began the year as Membership Director but as you all know my health is tenuous and I have stepped down as Membership Director and taken on the roll of a general member and Social Media Assistant. I am so happy and excited to be a part of this club. Rave Reviews Book Club has done so much for me this past year. If you are an avid reader, an author or soon-to-be author, please take a look at our FAQ page. If you like what you see and think our club is a good fit for you, click on the Join Here button and don’t forget to mention that I sent you.

$300 Holiday Cash Giveaway

Who couldn’t use a little extra cash during the holidays? I have joined together with an amazing group of authors and bloggers in this year’s Holiday Cash Giveaway sponsored by I Am A Reader.

Holiday Cash Giveaway

An Amazing Group of Authors & Bloggers have joined with me to bring you 1 fabulous prize

1 lucky winner will receive $300 Cash!

 

Holiday Cash Giveaway Sponsors

I Am A Reader
FeedYourReader
eBooksforReview
Kathryn Chastain Treat
TMBA Corbett Tries to Write
Amy Harmon
Kelsey Ketch
KellysLuckyYou
Ann’s Afterthoughts
Margaret Anne @ Natural Chow
Lori’s Reading Corner
Corina Lombardi
Heather Gray (Author)
Cynthia Luhrs Author
Donna Hatch
LeahSay’s Views
Laurie Treacy, Author
Glistering Bs Blog
Unshelfish
The Discerning Reader
A Tattered Copy
My Book Self
Author Inger Iversen
Simple Wyrdings
Deb Atwood Author
Reviews from a Bookworm
Sarah Ballance
Lexia Press
Rockin’ Book Reviews
A. Wrighton, Author
Scrapn’ Today
Angela Myron
Leisure Reads
Author B. Kristin McMichael
Laurie Here – Cont Fiction and MORE
Author Melissa Wright
MoreThanaReview

 

Giveaway Details

$300 Paypal Cash

Ends 12/21/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use money sent via Paypal. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author, bloggers and publishers on the sponsor list. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

 CLICK ON THE RAFFLECOPTER LINK BELOW AND BEGIN EARNING ENTRIES!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sewing: A Tale of Two Lifetimes

I have talked many times about how I used to sew so many different things from clothes for my children and myself to shirts for my husband. I sewed Halloween costumes, made curtains, and stuffed animals and dolls.

After becoming ill, I began having issues with visual and sensory over-stimulation due to the mold exposure. I could not look at a pattern piece with its shape andthen place it on a patterned piece of fabric and decide how best to lay it out without having anxiety attacks that led to tears. I gave up sewing because I just could not manage it. What used to be a calming thing to do became a nightmare of gigantic proportion.

Scottish Doll

Scottish Doll

This doll (made nearly 20 years ago) was  for a friend who wanted a Scottish doll. I took a Raggedy Andy pattern and began designing. I took the shirt that closed in the back and made it open in the front with color and buttons. I used the same pattern and designed the jacket first out of muslin and then out of tweed fabric. I bought red gingham fabric and fashioned the legs to give the appearance of socks. I practiced again on muslin to fashion a kilt that would fit the doll and then using the precious piece of his clan’s fabric made the kilt.  The hat was fashioned out of felt and I used orange yarn to make his hair and beard. My father using his upholstery machine and know-how made the bag.

Back of Doll.

Back of Doll.

It wasn’t until my first granddaughter Sadie was born eight years ago that I attempted to sew again. I wanted to make her a dress. I was going to be a grandma that could make things for her. My first attempt was a simple pattern with bloomers.

First Dress

First Dress

Then I wanted to make her first birthday dress which was a huge undertaking. It was made of coordinating polka dots (blue with white and white with blue). It also had many details. I was determined that this grandma was going to figure out a way to sew again.

Birthday Dress

Birthday Dress

An American Girl Witch

An American Girl Witch

This same granddaughter asked if I would make a Halloween costume for her American Girl Doll Sage last month. She wanted either a witch or pirate costume. Looking online for doll patterns that would work for American Girl Dolls, I found several. Much to my chagrin they were $17.99 on sale for about $8.99. Still too much for a doll pattern. Armed with my muslin I began trying to create a simple dress and cape. After several attempts, this was the end product. I presented it to my granddaughters (because sister needed one for her doll as well). She loved it. Of course she asked where the hat was and I told her that grandma just couldn’t figure it out. Had this been a request of me ten or eleven years ago, I would have just sat and worked at it until I had a hat.

While my sewing now resembles two different lifetimes, I am so thankful that I have recovered enough to be able to sew again.

And isn’t this the season for thanksgiving? I am so thankful for the things I have managed to get back into my life. I am thankful for my family and the friends who stood by me. I am thankful for my wonderful doctors.  I am also thankful for those who I have met and the lessons I have learned because of this illness. I am thankful for all you who follow along with me on my journey and those who have purchased my book to learn more of my journey.

Blessing to you all!

 

Calgon Take Me Away!

calgon take me away

Am I dating myself with this phrase? How many of you remember the Calgon commercials? Back in the day before I became sensitive to chemicals and realized all the stuff these products contained, I loved letting Calgon take me away! Today is one of those Calgon take me away days. It started with my grandson sitting on my wicker love seat cushion and wetting through his diaper forcing me to remove the cover and wash it and take care of the inner cushion. More has happened but I won’t go into detail here.

What do I do to “take me away”? I get in the car and go for a drive. So much has happened over the last few months: my father becoming ill and passing within a matter of weeks, my grief and helping my mother get through things which added even more exposures to my already overburdened body, suddenly developing swelling in my ankle and learning that I have a blood clot and needing to start blood thinners, and now the addition of a sinus infection. My doctor gave me the okay to get away as long as I am careful about my time sitting in the car.

A few weeks ago my husband took me for a drive to the mountains to the little mining town of Columbia just to walk around and get away from it all.A few days later we joined my daughter and her family at the Pumpkin Patch. It is a 45 minute drive to my daughters and I was able to walk around before the drive to the Pumpkin Patch where I was able to walk around to look at the pumpkins and enjoy the scenery. The following week my husband and I drove to my favorite place, the beach. We had to stop along the way for me to get out and walk around but it was well worth it. Nothing recharges my batteries like the ocean breeze on my face.

Today I cannot do any of those take me away things. My alternative is to sit with a cup of hot green tea and read a book and allow the adventures of May Dodd from the book 1000 White Women to take me away.

What is your Calgon “take me away”?

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My new Dutch Oven

In September I was honored to host author Raani York as she debuted her book, Dragonbride on my Be My Guest blog. Raani had a drawing for those hosting and I was excited to learn that I had won a $50 Amazon Gift Card.

I have had the card for a bit trying to decide exactly what I wanted to purchase with it. I wanted it to be significant! Something that I would have for a while. Last week I was making a pot of soup for my husband and I. My 6 quart dutch oven was used even though I was not making a big pot of soup. I kept saying that I should get a smaller one for those times I am making soup for just the two of us. Today I ordered a pretty 3 quart dutch oven from Amazon.

dutch oven

Don’t you think this is a very pretty dutch oven? Thank you Raani York for your generosity.

 

It’s an ahem milestone birthday!

I won’t say how old I am but it is one of those darn milestone birthdays. You know, the ones they make special cards for.

happy birthday to me

The interesting thing about this is that since becoming ill, I feel like I am in a time warp. There are many years that are totally lost in my mind. I remember what happened and all the bad things I went through during those years but yet it feels as if they didn’t happen. I shouldn’t be this age! It is like somehow even though my body and mirror tell the truth that indeed I am older, there is something in my brain that still cannot register those “lost” years.

1999 Just getting sick.

I am not complaining about getting older, we all do it. And I am forever grateful that I have made it to this birthday. There were many days that I didn’t know if I would make it through the day, the week, much less to experience this monumental birthday.

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My husband took me to lunch today to a special place where I can eat outdoors and they will accommodate all my food allergies. My daughter is fixing me dinner tonight.

 

And The Winners Are….

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The Allergic to Life Giveaway is over and I am excited that there were 496 entrants in the Goodreads Giveaway. Goodreads selected the three winners and all books are on their way.  One of the winners is a fellow Rave Reviews Book Club member, Kenneth Kerr. Congratulations Kenneth your book is on its way!

During my Giveaway, I promised that I would also give away three e-books. Using a generating tool, I entered the names of all the contestants who commented on my giveaway blog posts. I have sent an email to each winner with information on how to claim their prize. Congratulations to:

Jill Ward

Colleen

Ruby Benasky

Because of the number of those commenting, I chose to have one more name selected. I would also like to congratulate: Princess and the Pea.