Friday, 13 April 2012

Honestly Sick

Hi all.  I certainly didn’t plan for my hiatus in the blogging would to last THIS long.  I knew we had a lot to tackle and it would be difficult to keep up, but I simply had no idea what was yet to come.  My life is inexplicably bizarre and quite difficult right now.  Describing what has happened to me feels like an insurmountable task, but I will attempt to describe most of it as best I can. 

First of all, thank you to those who have supported me both in real life and online with your words of encouragement, help with my children, general tasks, etc.  The family and friendships our family has been blessed with are literally the only things keeping us going right now.  And God.  No, I don’t mean to give HIM last place; it’s simply that I see God realized in so many of you.  There is a dear, dear friend reading this right now, who is new to my life, but she has been my angel on earth.  She too suffers through this unimaginable existence every day.  Without her, I question whether I would even be alive right now.  Many others in my life have stepped up and gone above and beyond their own comfort levels to help in any way they are able.  Some wish they were able to come inside our home and help me cook, clean, repair, deCORNtaminate, etc., but alas, no one can come in.  We are Fort Knox.  Which brings me to the bizarreness . . .

Since I last blogged, I made a command decision to eliminate ALL medications in my life.  Before you freak out, please know that the two remaining drugs, Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and a Proton Pump inhibitor (Nexium), were not intended to be long term solutions.  My homeopath wanted me to faze them out.  She probably didn’t want me to cut Diphenhydramine cold turkey, but well it’s kind of hard to cut a capsule in half and that was my only option (remember, all of my meds are compounded).  After some tests results came in, she also determined that the Nexium was impairing my digestion, in particular my fat digestion, and creating low stomach acid.  Her recommendation was to stop the Nexium.  Other medications are currently being compounded that may stop the progression of inflammation and multiple chemical sensitivity. (Corn free compounding takes forever. I repeat: FOREVER. I’m still waiting.) Going “natural” has forced me to realize just how sick I truly am.  I’m horrified by the person I see in the mirror and the way I feel each and every day.  Simply stated, I feel quite awful.

On a positive note, I can at least say that they changes in my diet have allowed me to tolerate not being on any acid reducing medication with fairly positive results.  There are flare ups, of course, but at least that’s something.  Please note, I eat the blandest diet known to man.  Without getting into a lot of detail, I think it’s worth mentioning that I also don’t consume gluten, wheat, soy, rice, dairy and peanuts. “Is she out of her ever loving mind!?”  No, but let’s just say I have VERY good reasons for eliminating those common allergens.  Some of them may be reintroduced to my diet later, but I know not all of them are going to work for me.  I’ll take it one step further and blow your minds again: I maintain a very low sugar diet to combat Candida (yeast overgrowth) and I must also chose foods that are low in acid due to my Intersitiacial Cystitis (bladder inflammation).  Feeding a corn allergic person is extremely difficult.  Feeding me is somewhat impossible, but we’re kinda sorta managing . . . mostly.  I think. (That sounded confidant, huh?)  

Here is the downside to my natural status: I gave up diphenhydramine (AHEM, ya know, an antihistamine).  I’m ashamed to say, but I had been using it every night as a sleep aide.  (Don’t ask for how long . . . you really don’t wanna know).  My regular dose was only 37.5mg.  ONLY.  Hmmm . . . don’t let “only” fool you.  That 37.5 mg was enough to play some SERIOUS mind and health games with me.  That tiny bit of antihistamine was perpetually present in my blood stream and therefore reduced or blocked histamines by preventing them from attaching to their receptors, thus causing symptoms.  They probably weren’t completely blocking all of them, but they were certainly reducing the number of histamines.  Otherwise, I would have been completely symptom free while on them.  It’s really not a good idea to spend one’s life medicated with antihistamines to cover up symptoms.  For one thing, your body will eventually become resistant to the medication and it will no longer work.  Sadly, not a lot of research has been done with regards to long-term diphenhydramine use, but the information I could find was not terribly encouraging.  If you’re currently taking this medication on a regular basis, and feel it’s time to stop, I would strongly encourage you to use a tapering method if at all possible.  I’ll spare everyone the details of my cold turkey experience.  It. Wasn’t. Pretty. 

So it’s gone.  It’s all gone. Here’s where it gets ugly.  (Are you noticing a theme w/ my blogs?)  Ya, me too.  Some day that has to change.  More band aids have been ripped off.  (It’s just as well; the adhesive is likely made of corn.  LOL!)  Well as you already know the corny carpet powder I once used has rendered our finished basement unusable to me, but rooms of safety seem to be falling weekly.  Not long ago we discovered a mold issue in our master bathroom. Okay, I should say I discovered it. My husband has almost no sense of smell. (Ironic, isn’t it?)  We’re very limited on cleaning options, so despite my sweetie’s efforts, the mold still stands (in the shower).  We also have carpet in our bathroom (KICKING OURSEVLES over that one!) and we believe it has retained some mold growth as well.  So simply stated, until further notice: No master bathroom (and closet – it’s inside the bath) for you, MizCastle.  Okay fine, we have three bathrooms and I can still use one of them.  I share it w/ a 3 and 7 year old, but we make it work. Though I must say, their bathroom etiquette is even worse than their father’s. My youngest child’s room is an issue too.  Her room has always been the nursery and therefore has 7.5 years’ worth of baby powder, poo smell cover upper, heavily chemicalled (ya, I invented a word) toys, corny books, polyester stuffed animals and just general ickiness.  Simply stated: A chemical nightmare. I can’t avoid this room all together, but it def requires a mask.  This room will soon be getting a major overhaul, though I doubt I can be the one to do it.  Beyond rooms, I’ve also been subjected to a new toxin: finished wood furniture.  Well yes, the wood is obviously not made from corn, but the sealants & varnish definitely can be.  That’s not good, but what’s really getting me and I must emphasize REALLY getting me, is what lurks inside or even used to lurk inside.  All under the sink cabinetry must now be avoided.  Sure, we gave away all of the those products: cleaning agents, polishes, makeup (ya, ladies ALL of it), lotions, sprays, powders, bubble bath, etc.  Unfortunately, removal didn’t eliminate the issue.  Wood absorbs odor.  As a matter of fact, it does a supremely good job of retaining odor.  So, my under the sink cabinets are now verboten.  Moving on, OH this next one REALLY huts:  My beautiful bedroom furniture.  It’s Broyhill, dark wood, made to last, matches my much lovely king sleigh bed.  Ya, you know where I’m going.  Ten years of various laundry detergents, lotions, powders, etc. have set up permanent residence.  I can’t store anything in my own dresser.  I can’t even put my husband’s clothes away in his chest of drawers without being knocked out from the stench.  It hurts.  We will try some products and probably an expensive ozone machine, but I don’t know that it’s going to end well for my bedroom furniture.  We already had to give away my husband’s old childhood set used by our youngest.  (sigh)  It’s just stuff, I know, but it’s SO HARD to live under such extreme conditions.  I don’t even feel comfortable or healthy in my own home.  There is so much work to do.  Extreme actions must be taken to detox our home.  The largest will involve completely removing all of the carpet and replacing with a safe alternative.  A safe alternative has yet to be found, as chemicals are used on the surfaces of any type of hard flooring imaginable.  Plus, we would need to find a safe place to send me while the work is being done.  I don’t know that such a place exists. My return would be difficult, as I would be exposed to the off gassing of the new product.  Baby steps seem like our best and only option with regards to replacement of any flooring, furniture, etc.

You’re thinking: “That really, really sucks.  Wow. Can you go outside for some fresh air once in a while?  Does that help?”

That’s a loaded question.  The short answer is: “yes”  The realistic answer is: “no”  Let me explain.

Fresh air is a WONDERFUL thing.  As many of you may already know, inside air is actually far more polluted than outside air.  However, there are a LOT of things in my cookie cutter, suburban, squished together with my neighbor, let’s get cozy, neighborhood that reek absolute havoc on me.  It’s spring time!  Yippee!  Everything is green and lush and lovely.  Great.  “Let’s celebrate spring and bring out . . . the grill!”  I love our grill.  It currently serves as our oven as our oven (and a zillion other products/appliances) no longer work.  I don’t, however, love my neighbors’ grills.  They cook corny meat with corny bbq sauce which very much permeates the air sending particles right into my airways.  (Remember a smell isn’t just a “scent,” the scent is actually microscopic particles suspended in the air which are detected by the nose.)  Spring also invites one to start the process of lawn care and maintenance.  This typically involves weed killers and fertilizers for most.  Lawn mowing, well that’s a given and the mower’s gotta be powered by something.  And laundry. (Okay I cheated, laundry is year round, but for this purpose, it really is a part of my outdoor environment).  Grilled meats, heavy chemicals, gasoline, and dryer exhaust render me SO. VERY. ILL.  I simply cannot go outside when any of the above is taking place.  I literally almost passed out not long ago when I accidently went outside without my mask and sucked up a bunch of fabric softener from next door.  I was completely incapacitated for over two hours.  Weed killer from the yard next door, which is essentially mine as we are separated by only a few feet, disabled me from going outside for FOUR days.  Had it not rained, I’m sure the wait would have been longer. 

Inside is tough.  Outside is tough.  But remember: it’s honest.

This is honestly how allergic I really am.  To corn. To corn based chemicals. To chemicals.  I don’t even know what to call this anymore.  It’s all encompassing. 

Despite all this, I remain hopeful and determined.  I continue to remain devoted to my faith, as I believe God will use me for a greater good or purpose . . . in sickness and in health.