Category Archives: Body

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.


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”?


Beauty of a Woman BlogFest 2014

beauty of a woman

I am pleased and honored to again participate in the Beauty of a Woman BlogFest hosted at August McLaughlin’s Blog (Please visit August’s site and read all the other submissions).  To visit my Beauty of a Woman BlogFest post from last year, click here.

In going through my files on the computer recently I came across a file entitled “Tears of a Woman”.  It was a video clip that I found and had saved some time ago because I thought it was so beautiful.

The words that are displayed as the music plays resonates with me; especially the following:  “You see my son, the beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, nor is it in her face or in the way she does her hair…The beauty of a woman resides in the eyes.  It is the door to her heart; the door where love resides.

We are conditioned through magazine photo after magazine photo that beauty needs to be achieved through hair products, clothes, and make-up.  It is hard to get through a commercial break on television without seeing an ad for beauty products.  I bought into that in high school.  I began wearing make-up.  My freshman year I had to have the latest hair cut, the Sassoon.  Of course the hippie culture was all around us and I began wearing less make-up but never left without blush, mascara, and lip gloss.  My clothes weren’t department store fancy but they were my own creations.  I had learned to sew in junior high school and a neighbor girl down the street and I would spend hours at the fabric store picking out patterns and trims. Some of the dresses I made were from these patterns (patterns that I can’t have any more but had my husband take pictures of for me).

This dress was done in olive green suede cloth with beautiful embroidered ribbon all along the front zipper.

This dress was done in olive green suede cloth with beautiful embroidered ribbon all along the front zipper.

As I grew older my amount of make-up didn’t change much.  I did spend money on lotions and creams for my face and body.  I spent money and time getting my hair done (highlighted or colored and cut).  When I chose to go back to work, I spent more money on my clothing.  My jeans, tees, and sneakers from time spent as a stay-at-home mom wouldn’t be acceptable in the “work world”.  I was finding myself (or so I thought) and becoming more of a woman of the world.  My hair was done, my clothes were new, I had new shoes, and even started getting manicures (including the infamous gel nails).

Suddenly all that changed!  I was exposed to mold in my work place and I began to develop sensitivities to all chemicals.  I began to feel ugly as I gave up my contacts for old glasses that I hadn’t worn in years.  I gave up coloring my hair and getting it cut because not only could I not tolerate the chemicals in the hair color but I could not tolerate the salon either.  I gave up my nice new clothes because they were contaminated with mold and mycotoxins and were making me ill.  They were traded in for cotton clothing that could easily be washed.  I gave up all my lovely new shoes for a pair of ugly white sneakers.  And worst of all, I gave up my identity.  Survival meant that if I were to leave my house for the doctor’s office I needed to wear this ugly charcoal mask that hid my face and all expression.

Me wearing my mask.

Me wearing my mask.

I was sent far away from family and friends to the Environmental Health Center in Dallas for treatment.  What I found there surprised me.  I was not alone! There were other women like me.  These women were wonderful, compassionate, helpful, and supportive.  They opened their hearts to me.  The women also hid behind masks, sported uncolored and uncut hair, and wore simple clothes.  Despite their lack of what the world tells us is beautiful, these women were beautiful to me.  These women had gone through similar loss of health, loss of friendships, loss of belongings, and loss of identity.  I was not judged by my looks.  My unkempt and uncolored hair did not draw strange looks of disapproval.  My mask did not draw fear that I was somehow carrying some dreaded disease nor did it draw the looks of sympathy that I had seen in the outside world.

These women were beautiful through their eyes and their hearts that they opened up to me freely and without reservation.  Their beauty was in the kindness and compassion that comes deep from within.  I have found this kind of friendship and compassion through this blog as well.  It has come from women who know this struggle and from women who do not share my struggles but have reached out and touched me through their kind spirit.

Again, I dedicate this to all those women who have struggled to keep going and who have been forced to give up what society feels is beautiful.  For all those women who have struggled, been forced to give up their identity through their clothes and cosmetics, and dealt with the pain of chronic illness (both the visible and the invisible), I say to you:  “YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL TO ME!”  This blog is dedicated to you.  May your spirit continue to show through those lovely eyes of yours and pour from your beautiful hearts.

Cervical Cancer: Is it Preventable?

My dear friend, fellow blogger, and cancer survivor, Karen Ingalls (Outshine:  My Ovarian Cancer Memoir) posted that January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month.  I have had my own scare with the possibility of ovarian cancer many years ago.

Please take a moment to check out Karen’s post at Outshine Ovarian Cancer.

Can Perfume Make You Sick?

For most of you who follow my blog, you already know my answer to this.  You have heard me talk about it many times including a post I wrote, Layers of Fragrance.  From the time a person gets up in the morning (and probably more so with women), they are putting layer upon layer of fragrances on their skin and at the same time adding chemical after chemical which is absorbed through the skin.  From the shower products, to the lotions and perfumes, to the laundry soaps and fabric softeners or dry cleaned clothes, and lastly their perfumes or cologne, all those chemicals are slowly poisoning their bodies.

Their answer is that they smell nice and they like the way their shampoo leaves their hair smelling or the lotion leaves their skin smelling.  They haven’t become sick (Or Have They?) so why give up these wonderful delicious smelling products.  I say that they are having health issues that are not sending big signals that they are aware of.  They may be having big health issues that their doctor isn’t able to figure out the cause of so they are given medications.

Thanks to a recent Facebook by my dear friend Jennie Sherwin, I read this article from Prevention.  It just repeats what many of us who suffer from chemical sensitivity (MCS) have been saying for some time.  The chemicals in all these products are indeed making us sick.  Thank you Jennie for sharing this.


How many have I converted?

At my book launch and  signing last month I gave out samples of my “safe products” thanks to some great donations from the companies that make them.  I have some extras and have been handing them out to people who say they have sensitive skin or allergies to certain products.

Magick Botanicals Gift Bags

Magick Botanicals Gift Bags

I have begun wondering.  Have I converted anyone?  If yes, how many?  Have any of these people given up some of their toxic products for safer choices?  I may contact those that got samples to see if any of them have actually tried the products.

Seventh Generation Dish Soap Samples

Seventh Generation Dish Soap Samples

Catch-Up Monday: Energetic Shifts – revisited

This post was originally shared on August 21, 2012.  I believe understanding energy and how it works in my own body has had a helping hand in my healing.

On July 19th I posted on the physical and emotional effects of exposure.  Today I want to talk about how these exposures and recovery affect our energy.  We all have energy running through our bodies and illness can cause the energy to be blocked.  During my healing I have done energy work to balance my energetic fields and in an effort to release these energy blocks.  A big energetic blockage happened when I had my hysterectomy.  The incision for the hysterectomy went through the meridian that ran across my stomach.  I learned by accident in one of my sessions, that by moving my legs in a bicycle fashion, it would release some of the blocked energy and calm a reaction when the tremors were unbearable.

Recently I spoke by email with a friend of mine, Jennie Sherwin, about what can be experienced during energetic shifts.  These experiences can be physical in the form of dizziness, fatigue, extreme nervousness, GI upsets and anxiety to name a few.  One can also experience emotional symptoms such as crying, emotional outbursts, feelings of depression and anger.  Energetic shifts can present themselves mentally in the inability to concentrate or process information.  Someone may also experience a spiritual disconnection and for me I also experienced a lack of emotion and inability to cry.

Energy balancing can sometimes relieve these experiences and symptoms as it helped me.  Sometimes it can cause more shifting and different symptoms may occur before relief occurs.  After some of my sessions, I would go home and just sleep peacefully.  Some sessions would cause restlessness and anger as my body was trying to bring itself back into balance.   I remember having difficulty writing as I shared in the July 19th post with a copy of a page from my journal.  If I wrote for more than a few minutes my writing would become illegible and I would find myself once again holding the pen or pencil in some strange and unfamiliar fashion.  After one particular session I returned to my condo to find myself very relaxed and much in need of writing in my journal.  Suddenly I realized that I had been writing for over a half hour and my handwriting had not made its usual downward spiral.  I was so amazed at how my body was responding.

As we heal from chronic illness, our body goes through many changes.  It is important to realize that some of the symptoms and experiences I have mentioned are part of the healing process.  Once I realized what was going on, I was better equipped to deal with them when they would happen and allow myself to go through them without fear but with the knowledge that their passing often led to another step toward healing both physically and emotionally.  I have gone through many of these healing crises over the past twelve years and am sure I will encounter them again as I push myself forward on my healing journey.

Jennie Sherwin is the author of the recently released book “Intentional Healing:  One Woman’s Path to Higher Consciousness and Freedom From Environmental and Other Chronic Illnesses” available from Amazon.

Building His Own Sauna – Video #5

Today I am posting my friend Brian’s fifth video clip on building his own sauna.  I first met Brian through our shared membership on Planet Thrive.  I also have a sauna but mine is a purchased sauna through Heavenly Heat.  On Planet Thrive Brian shares the following:

Here I talk about the process I went through planning the layout and dimensions. Challenges presented themselves because lamps protrude 7″ into the space and sitting in the center of the floor on a bench requires more space overall than up against a wall. Considerations for how far the body should be from the lamps (18″ – 30″) is talked about.* In then end, I end up with a finished space that’s 4′-2″ X 5′-3″. With the consideration for the width of the studs (3-1/2″), the size of the platform will actually be 7″ longer in each direction. So that gives us 4′-9″ X 5′-10″. Finally, the 3/4″ of wood that will be fastened to each wall will add an additional 1-1/2″ overall to either dimension. This gives us 4′-10-1/2″ X 5′-11-1/2″. A lot larger than I was hoping for. I may end up putting the enclosure in the basement. I may also want to make steps that allow for easy disassembling and moving – in case I want to take it with me to a new home.  References:
Sauna Therapy:
AFM Safecoat Hard Seal (for sealing hard surface against VOC out-gassing):

BRIAN’S DISCLAIMER:  Brian always claims that he is not an expert in electrical work, etc.  These videos are his way of sharing what he has learned regarding sauna therapy and building his own sauna.  As always, Brian states that safety is the utmost.

You can find links to the previous four videos on Building His Own Sauna – Video #4.  I spoke with Brian recently and he is still working on his sauna when he can find the time and will post video #6 when he can.  I will share it when it is available.

Moon River Products

Recently I had someone follow me on twitter from Moon River Soap Company.  The home page states:  Sufferers of dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, as well as those with weakened immune systems will find relief in our gentle soap. We never use petrochemicals, sulfates, synthetic fragrance or phthalates.  

I have just begun to delve into the various ingredients to determine if there is anything I will be able to use.  I am just curious if any of you have heard of these products or have used them. Please check them out and let me know what you think.

Relaxed and De-Stressed

I am relaxed and de-stressed.  So much so that I thought I would watch some video clips on youtube about the new Google+ but can’t seem to focus or concentrate on them.   I just want to sit and do nothing.

It has been over two years since I have had the luxury of  a massage.  I was getting a massage weekly and it felt so good to have my body relaxed with the added benefit of lymphatic drainage.  My massage therapist would put on a tyvek suit and come into my home and use my oils and she was fragrance-free.  She  hurt her back and I never found anyone else to truly take over.  Finding a safe place to go was impossible.  I had someone else come a couple of times here but that was connected to my chiropractor and wasn’t working out.

I have truly missed those massages.  And until workers’ compensation started to give me problems with all my medical bills, they were paying for the massages as ordered by my doctor.

About a month ago I asked my acupuncturist if she knew of anyone who would come to me.  She mentioned a spa located at the end of her building.  I phoned and made an appointment to meet with a therapist to see if I could tolerate the room as they use no fragrance and do not burn candles.  I arrived at the spa in time to meet with her.  I had just come from the oral surgeon’s office that put me in bed for two days.  I checked out the room and thought maybe it would work but of course how could I truly know?  I was in a chemically induced brain fog and had just taken a histamine injection to stop my reaction from the earlier chemical exposure to air fresheners.  A few days later when my body and brain were functioning again I knew that my test was not an accurate one.

Last week I made another trip to the spa straight from home.  I seemed to do okay and I was told that we could try in her room and if I didn’t do well and had to leave in the midst of the massage, she wouldn’t charge me and she would then come to me.  She was even willing to don the beautiful and amazing tyvek suit to enter my home.  I scheduled to have a massage this week.  I would be the first person in the spa as an extra precaution.

This morning I got up and packed my bag.  I took my own set of sheets and my own towel.  I packed my unscented lotion, my jojoba oil, and my jar of Egyptian Magic to see what would work best.  I arrived on time, put my sheets on the bed and got ready for the massage.  I left my mask on and climbed onto the table face down.   Oh, having my tight muscles massaged felt like heaven and I didn’t want it to stop.  When it was time to turn over I continued to leave the mask on and was doing okay (hoarse, but okay).  We hadn’t decided what we were going to do about my face.  Braving the risk of a reaction, I removed my mask long enough to have my face massaged.  I knew immediately that this was not a good decision.  My energy changed, my body tensed, and I got whooshing in my head.  Lesson learned!

Despite the episode from removing my mask, I feel relaxed and calm.  My head sits higher on my shoulders.  I want to do this again!  I will not, however, remove my mask again for my face.  We can do my scalp and forehead and forgo the rest.

As much as I would love the weekly massages from the past, I will have to settle on once a month and depending on my financial situation (maybe twice a month on occasion).  The thought of pampering myself and the added health benefits of massage have me so excited.