Well, tonight I am writing to cheer myself up. Sometime you just need to get it out, right? This multiple chemical sensitivity thing is getting worse, and I find that I am feeling a bit sorry for myself tonight. This photo is helping to cheer me up - this was the view from the house that we are staying in. The promise of a new tomorrow...
The sorrows of this world are fleeting - a rather easy quote to say, but a bit hard at times to live through. I've been having growing difficulties with smells - particularly perfumes, the scents of detergents, air fresheners, cleaners.... we don't use these things, but others do. We've had to change our seats in church - we sit at the back, by ourselves, about 12 feet away from the last row in the church. Twice I've been hit with perfumes or scents from clothes detergents - the last time resulted in 3 days of painful joints and a burning chest. I get very frustrated with myself and my sensitive body. I hate telling people that I cannot be around them because of the chemical scents - I hate being that person who has special needs. I hate having something that lets me see in the eyes of so many others that look. The look that says "let's humor her." I hate having someone change something for me.... and then having to tell them that they have not done enough. I hate that my mom has to change her clothes to come visit - and that I still get an achy chest and swollen legs because of the residual chemical scents of her detergents.
Today in church my daughter pushed me while I was talking with someone - I told her to stop and she uncharacteristically pushed me harder. When we walked away, I scolded her. She said, "Mom, that woman smelled of detergent and I could see your eyes getting red." And she was right. My chest was burning and my knees aching, just from being two feet away from that smell. My daughter said she would do that any time she smelled something that would affect us, since I am not good at backing away from people - I don't like to hurt their feelings. She said that it was ok if I used her pushing me as an excuse - that it was better for others to think that she was not an obedient child than for her to watch me when I am hurting from the exposure to the chemicals. My daughter is in a position where she is willing to have others think badly of her if it helps her keep me healthy. I am so proud of her - and I hate that she has to do that.
This evening we tried going to a church small group for the first time. It was outside, so I thought we'd be safe. I spent the evening trying to stay upwind from someone who was simply trying to keep her clothing clean - but the chemicals from her detergent... well, let's just say that my chest and joints are not so happy right now. It hurts to see how much fun my kids were having - and to know that we will not be going back because of me.
Friday I was cutting strawberries from our produce co-op - several were moldy, so I had to pick through them. Within about 15 minutes, I was dizzy, hot flashing like crazy (mold poisoning messes up your hypothalamus, the thermostat of the body). My body spent the next 36 hours trying to completely flush out anything that might be inside. Rather like food poisoning, really.
So, you see, I had reason to have a down moment tonight. But, I don't want to leave it at that. I look at my photo and know - Anyone who can create such a beautiful sunset can be trusted. So, I will go forward. We will build our house. We'll be careful. I'll take a deep breath and explain again to people, try to explain how badly these things mess me up. While I am healing over the next year, I'll have to be honest and isolate myself from those who can't or won't listen, even if I love them. I'll understand - if I was on the other side, perhaps I would not change either. I'll appreciate those in my life who have changed. I have a friend who has changed her detergent and gotten rid of all of her scented items in her house. I have another friend who showed up on my doorstep with seedlings, pots and soil so that I could have a garden. We have neighbors whom we've never met who took all the broken down cars lining our new property away - and it is so beautiful now! We have a wonderful horse farm to work at, a place that helps children, including my own. I have so many gifts - one of the greatest is that, except for little down moments like tonight, God has given me a spirit of hope and optimism. Everything is gone, and I feel nothing now but free. The evolving isolation due to the chemical issue is hard, but it gives me freedom also - freedom to have a slow, quiet life.
I also know that I only get down when my body has been beaten. I have a pretty high tolerance for pain and discomfort. But eventually too many things pile up - and you know, the devil prowls like a lion, right? When the pain has gone on for too long, I get weak. I forget my blessings and only see despair. But only for a moment. God has been very merciful to me. So I shall leave you with some of my favorite verses from Psalm 18.
I love you, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer,
My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
My shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
He brought me out into a broad place;
He rescued me, because he delighted in me.
Psalm 18: 1-2, 19