Tag Archives: fungus

I am allergic to my bonsai tree.

This was a search question that led someone to my blog. Yes it is possible to be allergic to a bonsai tree. We can develop allergies and sensitivities to most anything we come in contact with over time. The other thought is that this person could not only be sensitive/allergic to the bonsai tree but if the plant is indoors they could be reacting to mold in the soil of the plant.

I don’t keep houseplants. I don’t want anything that will remain wet and set up an environment for mold to grow in. I have been recently thinking about growing plants in water to have greenery and to filter the air. I used to root philodendron plants in water and they would just grow like crazy in whatever jar I put them in. I did a little research and found that basically most plants can be grown in water. http://www.rodale.com/easy-houseplants

As soon as I can get some clippings I am going to start my own indoor plant garden.  I promise to post pictures when I get my own going.  Below are some plants that are grown in water.


Energy balancing, osteopathic manipulation and acupuncture in one

Recently I went to my chiropractor because my left shoulder has been giving me problems.  I experienced this a year ago and with the help of chiropractic work, acupuncture and my IV’s, the shoulder calmed down.

While at one of my sessions with the chiropractor, I mentioned that I no longer had an acupuncturist (mine moved out of the state in January of this year).  He told me he knew an osteopathic doctor  who also did acupuncture including the cupping often used with lung issues like my asthma.  I made my appointment and went to my first visit two weeks ago.

This doctor had never seen anyone quite like me but was encouraging and didn’t make me feel like I was an alien or better yet that I was “crazy”.  The first acupuncture session was going well until another staff member came in wearing body spray to take out the needles.  That set me off into a coughing fit and the doctor had to come and remove them before doing some manipulation.  I left the office feeling like the acupuncture session was good.  However, because of the experience with the body spray I wasn’t sure if this was going to be a good fit for me.

Last week I went again to see how things would go.  I also took with me my letters written by Dr. Rea for her to look at which explains my illness and what I have been through.  She placed the needles and left the room.  When the timer went off she returned and took out the needles.  She talked about the letters and started to do some osteopathic manipulation on me.  One of her first comments was that she felt inflammation on the left side of my face.  I told her that I had experienced an unavoidable exposure the day before and that this was the result, my trigeminal neuralgia acting up.  As she began to help with the inflammation, I could feel the energy in my body moving (much like the energy balancing I had in Dallas at “A Healing Place”  under Deborah Singleton.  At first my thighs became heavy, tingly and warm.  Slowly the sensation went to my calves and then felt stuck at my feet.  She moved down to the legs and then touched my toes.  Immediately my body stiffened and then calmed as the stuck energy was released.

I was amazed.  It was like having three treatments in one.  I had done energy balancing back in Dallas, done acupuncture here at home but never had the osteopathic manipulations.  I walked away feeling terrific and look forward to a session this week.  To learn more about energy balancing and healing, visit www.ahealingplace.org.


Hooray!  I got my first acupuncture treatment in months.  My acupuncturist moved out of the area and I was still waiting to find some one.

I got some acupuncture and cranial sacral manipulations.  My body feels so much calmer than it did.  Who could imagine that having a few needles placed in specific spots on the body could cause such peace and calm.  I could do this every day!

Out with my clothes again!

On March 1, 2004, I wrote a sad note in my journal: “I have to detox again and throw away my clothes…. I am all alone, she said—No one can enter my world—I speak but no one understands—no one listens—I tell them no mold—and they let me step into it anyway—I am all alone, she says—In my sterile shell of a house—only come in if you dare—adorn a suit of white vinyl—mustn’t make me sick—the woman sits all alone—looking out her window—watching….”

I wrote this shortly after having a bad exposure at a defense doctor appointment.  I was so tired of being sick, being made sick and having to get rid of my clothes and start over.

Aspergillus Flavus

Shortly after my third sinus surgery on August 1, 2000 I received news that the culture from the surgery revealed Aspergillus Flavus.  I was placed on an antifungal.  There was still a possibility that I would have to start IV antibiotics for osteomyelitis (bone infection) in my sinuses again.  I had just had the PICC line for the last IV removed only six weeks before.  Everyone kept asking if I knew of anyone else like me and I didn’t.  After I started searching on the internet I found a group online through yahoo groups.  Not only did I find the site and a wonderful woman to communicate with who had the same fungal sinus condition, I found a great support system made up of wonderful and caring people who were suffering like I was.  To visit the aspergillus support group or the fungal infection trust:  www.aspergillus.org.uk/newpatients   www.fungalinfectiontrust.org

In my book I write:

The more I read, the more terrified I became.  Aspergillus is not something that just goes away on its own.  It is extremely difficult to get rid of.  There was more than one form of Aspergillosis.  ABPA (acute bronco pulmonary Aspergillosis) affects the lung.  There was also the Allergic Fungal Aspergillosis (allergy to Aspergillus) as well as a colonizing form of Aspergillosis (Aspergillus spores colonize in a particular area of the body).  The worst form was invasive Aspergillosis (In this form, the Aspergillus spores get into the blood stream).  The invasive form usually results in death.  Those were not words I needed to read especially in the depressed state I was in.

Every time I saw my ENT I asked, “Are you sure it isn’t invasive?”  Each time he reassured me that he did not think so.   I am on antifungals pretty much all the time because if I stop, a flare up results and the fungus takes off again in my sinuses making me very sick.  While I do have to deal with this, I thank God every day that it wasn’t the invasive form.

Could My Office Be Making Me Sick?

While I was in the midst of my six weeks of antibiotics, my boss began to wonder if the office could be making me sick.  The office was tested and there was moderate growth of several species of mold.  Yet the tester didn’t believe it was making me sick since I had at first been presenting with sinus infections and we had yet to get fungus to grow out of my sinuses.  (I have learned since that fungus is very picky and sometimes will not grow in the culture plates every time.)  I had not been sick like this until after starting work in this building.

Meanwhile as I sunk deeper into depression I was sent to a doctor in the Bay Area because a RAST test had shown very high allergies to mold and some foods.  I couldn’t believe my ears when I was told that I had to quit eating many of my favorite foods including chocolate, soy sauce (there went my Chinese Food lunches with friends), corn and wheat (Practically everything has some form of corn or wheat in it.)  What was I going to eat?  Was I expected to learn to make foods without all these ingredients?  As the depression got worse I phoned a friend.  From my book:

I began phoning a friend who was a grief counselor.  I talked to her quite frequently.  What was wrong with me?  Why did I feel so bad?  I had never felt like this before.  I just couldn’t quite put my finger on how I felt but I knew that I was in pain.  It wasn’t like the pain I had in my face.  I hurt deep inside and felt empty.  I felt that there was no end to my being sick and that no one could really understand what I was going through.  I told my friend that I now understood what drove people to suicide.  I had never and was not now contemplating it but understood how they must feel.

I had been crying a lot and Dr. Spitzer put me on an antidepressant in hopes of stabilizing me.  He also wrote a note stating that I needed some time off from work to allow the medication to work.  I felt better for a while and had more energy.  I cleaned my house like a wild woman.  The wonderful feeling didn’t last long and surgery number three happened August 1, 2000.  Three surgeries in nine months!

Who Are We?

We all define ourselves by who we are and what we do.  Our lives revolve around these roles.  We are teachers, parents, bankers, lawyers and nurses. 

For years I defined myself by what I was.  I was a daughter, sister, wife, mother and friend.  I also defined myself by what I did.  I was a friend, PTA president, Booster Club Member, School Board Member, 4-H Leader, Band Mother, Room Mother and Secretary.  I was someone who loved gardening, loved to cook and bake and loved to sew. I loved to take my daughters shopping and I loved to lunch with friends.

What happens when we suddenly lose the ability to be what gives us our identity?  What happens when what we did that defined our lives is no longer there?  Do we suddenly become something else?  Do we move on or do we give up?

When I no longer was able to work, go to the movies with friends, participate in my everyday activities, volunteer or even attend one daughter’s graduation or participate in the planning of my  other daughter’s wedding my world came to a stop.  I no longer felt I knew who I was.  I wasn’t the person that I had been.  I didn’t look the same or feel the same.  Who was this crazy woman behind the mask that could only eat a few limited food items, could not color her hair or wear her contact lenses any more?  My IDENTITY was gone; stolen away from me. 

For years I wrestled with this.  Who I was hadn’t changed.  I was still a daughter, sister, wife, mother and friend.  But I was not a Board Member, PTA Member, 4-H Leader or Booster Club Member.  I didn’t bake because I couldn’t eat the things I baked.  My cooking skills diminished as I had very little to cook.  I didn’t sew because it caused anxiety to try to look at shapes and colors and prints.  I didn’t  lunch with friends or take my daughters shopping because going into stores and malls made me very ill.  Because of all these losses I felt I had no identity.  I felt I had nothing to offer.  I found myself writing poems about this in the middle of the night when I could not sleep.  From my book a portion of a poem entitled, “Who Am I?”:

Who Am I?  Stripped of all the things that were once me.  No more contacts – I now have the weight of my glasses on a face that always hurts.

Who Am I? I am the one whose hair makes her feel old – gray with time.  I am the one whose face feels hollow and sunken.

Who Am I?  I am the one sitting patiently by waiting for a treatment to bring her back into the real world.  I am the one trying to be strong when constantly given more bad to deal with.

Who Am I?  I am the one who cries secretly at night – alone in her room.  The one who prays to God for the strength to go on.

It has taken a long time to realize that I can still have an identity without the labels of what I can do.  I am “me” and no one or no illness can take “me” away. 

Osteo What?

I had my first sinus surgery in November 1999 shortly after the attempt at aspirating my sinuses failed.  By January I was still sick and and getting black mucous from my sinuses that my doctor suspected could be fungus.  A second surgery was performed in March 2000 to try and alleviate all the pain I was having.  I continued to be sick and in pain.  By April things had gotten horribly bad.  From my book:

…I received a devastating phone call from Dr. Spitzer.  The news was not good.  He had received the results of the bone scan.  The scan showed I had osteomyelitis (an infection of the sinus bone) and I would have to take antibiotics intravenously for six weeks.  He had scheduled for a home health nurse to come to my home that night and start and IV…..After several attempts by the home nurse to place a line in my hand, she gave up…the nurse phoned my doctor and I was told to come in at 7:45 a.m. and he would place the IV line and I could take my first dose there…

The schedule for taking this antibiotic (Primaxin) was exceedingly difficult on me.  Taking Primaxin is like taking a chemo drug.  The IV schedule was three times a day for six weeks.  I lost sleep because of having to get up early just to get the medicine out of the refrigerator so I could take it an hour later and going to bed late because of my night time treatment.  I lost my appetite and began losing weight.  Depression came on me like a big black cloud.  Eventually I had to cut my work schedule to half days because I was too tired and depressed to work a full day.  Here I had only been working less than a year and had taken time off work for two sinus surgeries and shortened my work days.  The guilt I had for leaving my co-workers in such a mess just deepened my depression.  Even then I was confident that I was going to get well and had no idea the ride I was in for.

Victim or Survivor?

We all have had bad things happen to us.  Some have been in accidents, some have had someone treat them badly and others like myself have developed unusual and life threatening illnesses.    As Joel Osteen has said, “Trouble is inevitable, misery is optional.”

For the first several years I was angry at what happened to me, angry at my workplace where I got sick, angry at friends I lost because I could no longer do what I did before, and angry at the defense’s medical doctors for not believing me and that my workplace had made me ill.

I was a victim and stayed in the victim role with all my anger penetrating deep into my soul.  During my treatment I was constantly with others who were as ill as I was.  We shared stories and tried to comfort each other.  However, they felt as angry and victimized as I did, and the more I was around them the more angry and victimized I felt.  It was a perpetual cycle that seemed impossible to stop.  Finally through the help of my family, a few close friends, my wonderful therapist and the doctors I had who cared for me and believed me I began to realize that being angry was not going to make me any better.  Being a victim and acting like a victim was not healthy.    I had to make a choice:  would I continue to feel sorry for myself and what I couldn’t do or would I focus on what I could still do?  My choice was to focus on what I could do and to try to find things that made me happy.  I surrounded myself with my new grandchildren and their unconditional love.  I began to try to sew again after years of being too sick and unable to handle the stimulation of shapes and patterns. I was still a wife, mother, sister, and daughter despite all the changes that had taken place in me.   I struggled for years after my illness with my identity.  (I will elaborate more on this in another post).

I hope that anyone dealing with severe illness or some other tragedy is able to look beyond the anger and get to a place where they can forgive and allow themselves to pull out of the victim role and begin a healing journey.  Anger has its place but continued anger is not healthy and is bad for soul.

Layers of Fragrance

I wonder how many give any thought to how many layers of fragrance they are wearing and the amount of chemicals they are being exposed to as a result of these layers.  I know that I never thought much about it until I became ill and my body refused to tolerate fragrances and chemicals of any kind.

Think about it for a moment.  You get up in the morning and shower using fragrant or scented soaps, shampoos, and conditioners.  You exit the shower and put on scented lotions, hair gels and hairspray.  Next comes make-up and perfumes.  Last you put on your clothes that have been laundered in scented soaps and fabric softeners or worse yet come from the dry cleaner.  Every one of these products you have put on your body is full of chemicals.

Your sense of smell over time becomes dulled as your body masks itself to all these fragrances.  Have you ever walked by a little old lady and thought you would keel over from her perfume as if she had taken a bath in it?  After years of putting it on I believe she has become so masked that it takes more and more for her to even smell what she has put on herself.

We need to be more aware of what we are putting on our bodies and absorbing through our skin.  I have learned to do without a lot of products that I have not been able to find that are safe enough for me to wear.  I no longer color my hair, wear fragrant lotions or use fragrant products.  I think that what we put on our skin is worth thinking about.