Saturday, December 26, 2009

No Holidays

Yesterday was Christmas day 2009 - and I had a really bad day. I felt even worse than usual. I got sick every time my mom came in the room with me. (We think I was reacting to a herb she's been taking. Go figure.) I had a "Christmas dinner" of turkey and peas (mixed with a few tears). It didn't settle in my stomach very well.
I was reminded once again that for people with Environmental Illness, there are no holidays.
Most people look forward to the holidays as a break from their normal routine, time to be with family & friends, maybe doing special things like caroling, playing games, etc. Well, with E.I. there is no break from the 'normal routine' of being sick. This disease (like most diseases) never takes a day off. Being with family and friends is usually not an option unless they "de-fragrance" themselves radically (which isn't easy to do, let me tell you). And special activities take more energy than we, as E.I's usually have.
I'd like to say that after 5 years of this, I'm used to it and it doesn't bother me. But that wouldn't be true. I miss all the 'normal' Christmas activities, traditions, and fellowship. For some reason, the holidays are a like a slap in the face for someone with E.I. It's just another reminder that life as it used to be is gone, at least for now. If we're not careful, it's easy to start dreading holidays, simply becuase they remind of us all we've lost, all we miss.
Well, I imagine you're good and depressed for me now. =) I just wanted to share the reality of what it's like.
On the bright side, even during the difficult holidays, God's kindness is unfailing. (Ps. 18:50) In the middle of my very bad day yesterday, God sent me a Christmas text message from a friend, a cheering-up phone call from a friend with E.I., and a mom whose smile never ceases to brighten my day.
I think I'm learning that the secret to managing the holidays for those of us with E.I. (in addition to changing my expectations), is to focus on celebrating them in my heart, with or without all the wonderful things that usually accompany them.
If you know someone with E.I. remember that something as small as a text message, email or phone call, could make a big difference in helping them see God's kindness instead of focusing on all they're missing.
And may we all learn to be thankful every day that Jesus caame to earth as Immanuel - God WITH us!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Environmental Illness - The Invisible Epidemic

"Environmental Illness" (E.I.) is a term my mom and I started to hear almost 2 years ago. Before that, we had a lot of different diagnoses of what was wrong with me, but not one umbrella term. Then we found out about E.I.

E.I. includes things like Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, severe allergies, Multiple Chemical Sensivitiy (MCS), Electromagnetic Sensivity, Asthma, etc.

Environmental Illness basically means what it sounds like. If you have E.I. you're sick because of problems/causes in your environment. Some of those causes are normal allergens such as molds, pollens, dust, etc. Other causes are "common" toxins like pesticides, formaldahyde (which is in practically everything these days), petroleum products (including plastics, gasoline, natural gas, etc.), fragrance products (shampoo, fabric softener, perfume, etc.), preservatives in foods, electricity, and much more.

Because toxins are flooding our environment everywhere now, more people are being affected by them and ending up with E.I. (even if they don't know there's a name for what's wrong with them). That's why I call E.I. the "invisible epidemic." According to some studies hundreds of thousands (perhaps as many as 700,000) people are living with E.I. right now in our country. It is incredible to me that so many could be suffering from this disease and yet the majority of people have never heard of it, have no idea what it is or what to do about it.

I can tell you that living with E.I. is the hardest thing I've ever experienced. Praise God that He has recently led me to some answers that seem to be helping. But there are so many people out there suffering, with no help, no hope of getting better, and little or no support from family and friends. I hope through this blog to raise awareness and possibly make a difference for those people.

Thank you to everyone who has been my support! I hope you'll continue to learn about E.I. and be a blessing to those who are suffering.

I'm also open to questions or suggestions about what I should post. Let me know your thoughts. =)

Until next time, take care.