Blog Award, Moi?

Today, I’m chuffed to finally accept this wonderful Reality Blog Award! (I’ve just finished my school year, and because I usually finish with the rest of the students in early November, it feels like it’s been an achingly long and drawn out final semester. (I never thought about quitting but I did wonder, how in fairies was I going to get to this point?) But at last it’s over! (Well, until the start of the school year, February 2013… ) Usually, I give myself a gift of appreciation (like another bonsai to add to my collection) but right now, it feels like a gift to myself just to have completed and handed in my assignments! The last three weeks have seen an improvement in my health, which is probably because I’ve not been going anywhere, except for down the beach every third day; but it could also be a new treatment I’m doing, which I’ll blog about later this week. (Or it could be both of these things!))

I’d like to take this moment [Think Gwenyth Paltrow in her Pink Taffeta Ralph Lauren dress, clutching her Oscar to her chest] to thank my dear friend and No.1 Blogging Inspiration: Kathryn Treat, author of the up-and-coming-soon-to-be-released, Allergic to Life: My Battle for Survival, Courage and Hope (you can read a teaser of the book, here), and the ever resourceful blog, allergictolifemybattle. (For those of you who don’t know, Treat suffered a severe mould exposure in her workplace; this affected her immune system so badly that it was unable to function correctly, making her ‘allergic’ to almost everything. At 45, and with two children, she was forced to quit her job, and give up the life she’d always known. She lost her identity, her independence, and her finances and she became severely depressed. Treat, a mould survivor, was once treated at the Environmental Health Centre in Dallas, under the care of the much respected and admired (in MCS circles) Dr William Rae. For the last nine years she has been writing a book about overcoming these obstacles: the way she has risen above them is something we can all learn from.)

Kathryn, I’d like to thank you for honouring me with this award. I too, will work hard to hold myself and my blog up to the standard that this award demands…

The rules that accompany this award:

  • show appreciation of the blogger who nominated you and link back to them in your post;
  • add the award logo to your blog;
  • share 7 things about yourself;
  • nominate 5 – 10 or more bloggers you admire;
  • contact your chosen bloggers to let them know.

Seven things I’d like to share:

  • I’m currently completing a Diploma in Professional Writing & Editing at Victoria University (VU), and it’s one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done in my whole 42 year life;


  • this year, I attended a poetry workshop class via Skype because I was too unwell to make it into class (modern technology and inclusion tactics are amazing);


  • one time in 2010, during an evening Novel 2 class at VU, someone who wasn’t from our class, came down the hall with a LOT of fragrance on, one student who was out in the hall (bless her thoughtfulness) rushed in and told my teacher, who quickly shut the door, saying, “Someone with strong perfume is coming.” I replied, “I know, I can taste it,” not really thinking about the weirdness of that truth. The next year (this year), in the same teacher’s class, studying poetry, we learnt about the different definitions and terminology used in the creation of poetry, one of which was *Synaesthesia (Synaesthesia: combines two senses together. Example: texture and sound (or, smell and taste). And the teacher turned around and said, “You can perceive things with two senses, can’t you Miche?” And I said, “I can?” She reminded me about what I’d said in her class about being able to taste fragrance (it happens with many other strong smells too)! So there, what I thought was just another strange symptom denoting to me that I’m being poisoned, is actually a blessing, meaning that I’m possibly extremely talented! Now, if I could only work out how to apply this talent to Professional Writing? (If anyone has any input on Synaesthesia, please pop your comment in!)


  • this year, I’ve been published as a poet (my first time) with Poetrix Magazine, a publication that only publishes poetry by women. Poetrix was started in 1992 by the Western Women’s Writers group, after the NSW Poets’ Union completed a survey showing that women were not getting published as often as men were; and, evidence appeared supporting the fact that woman writers were discriminated against. One editor was quoted as saying he wasn’t interested in publishing “domestic suburban vignettes”. Sadly, Poetrix will cease publication this year. I guess it means that, by now, the publishing game has changed for women? Well, I’m all new-poet-jumping-up-an-down excited about my poem appearing in it (it’s in the style of a Pantoum, and it’s called Art For The Bonsai Collector);


  • besides being in absolute love with my adorable dog, Bella, I can’t decide who I’m really in love with, Raj, or Leonard from the Big Bang series!?


  • I enjoy exercising. Sometimes, I’ll lift weights (it’s aperiodic thing and there is no routine to it), other times I’ll do one of the Tracey Anderson Mat or Perfect Design series, or Yoga with Ducan Peak. But mostly, I’ll spend a part of my day running/walking/skipping on my treadmill; but I’d much rather be out in the fresh sea/country air. (It won’t be long until I’m in fresh air permanently; I have a plan, which I’ll also blog about later this week!) The benefits of this type of indoor exercise are that I can do it anytime, even at night, and so can my dog. Just not at the same time! (There have been days, weeks and months where I couldn’t take my exercise this year, in 2012, and the last part of last year, 2011, and I found that not being able to do it, effected me on every level!)


  • even though, I have a condition where I am sensitive to chemicals, and exposure can cause sinus inflammation where all smells (including fresh air) are painful to breathe in, I collect plants with scented leaves and flowers because I find that appreciating things that smell nice actually helps me cope better with being chemically sensitive: it’s nice to be able to focus on positive olfactory stimulation; however, when my sinuses are inflamed I have to keep the bejesus away from them (and everything else)!

Now for the moment you have all been waiting for.  [drum roll please]  I am awarding the Reality Blog Award to:

Linda Adelaide @ acountrywomanpaints  (Linda is sensitive to chemicals, and paints the most amazing artworks using synesthesia. She’s very talented, her paintings (eye-candy) never fail to brighten up my day. Oh, and she has a dog called Bella too!)

“i am a deranged, color-ravenous artist whose paintings often become female landscapes incognito.
just watch…a seeker, photographer, gardener, dabbler, writer and lover of fragrant roses.
my mind a magic space long before i tread my rocky road;
always a healing place if willing to turn over stones and i am.”


MCS Gal @ cookingforthechemicallysensitive  (MCS Gal is on a journey to accept her chemical sensitivities; she writes about overcoming obstacles and learning to live within her limitations, and cooking while on a restricted diet, over at her blog, MCS Gal. An MCS foodie blog. How cool is that?)

“Cooking a meal, cleaning the house, or just living don’t need to be difficult, time-consuming or expensive. Because others have asked for my ideas, I’ve decided to share them with a larger audience – that’s why I started this blog. Most of my ideas are universal for anyone who eats, cooks, or lives in a home.”


Catherine Mciver @ multiplechemicalsensitivity. (Catherine is the editor of AESSRA’s, Sensitivity Matters magazine, as well as the author of the Australian multiplechemicalsensitivity blog where she shares her opinions and pearls of research on Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) and the important issues surrounding it, here in Australia and overseas. You can visit her informative and insightful blog, here!)

“I have MCS and am the editor of Sensitivity Matters, which I started in 1994. It is published by the Allergy and Environmental Sensitivity Support and Research Association Inc. (, which is an Australian support group for people with allergies and sensitivities, particularly Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS). The views expressed on this blog are my own and not those of AESSRA Inc.”


Krissy Hix @ (Krissy is sensitive to chemicals, and she makes great use of this as a building biologist! She writes about many topics close to my being: home ecology, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS), Electro Hypersensitivity (EHS), organic clothing, sustainability and much, much more.)

“This blog is here to provide sources of information and inspiration to help you take baby steps or giant leaps towards improving your home environment. Every small act you take can have a positive impact, and every positive impact you make will empower you to continue this journey!”


Judy @ (Judy is sensitive to chemicals, and sadly, so is her young son; she writes about her life, the things that have knocked her about, and the things that have helped her survive through it all; she shares these and more over at her amazing and insightful blog, here. Her stamina and strength are an inspiration to us all!)

“Sadly, my 13-year-old son has also developed chemical intolerances. As bad as it is to suffer from this condition myself, it is particularly bad to see how it affects my son and how it limits what he can do in life. I spend a great deal of time researching the condition, the environment, and alternatives for products with harmful chemicals and trying to find ways for us to keep from getting worse and, hopefully, one day, to get better.”


Anellie @ (Anellie hosts an insightfully funny blog about asthma, humour and life. She is delightfully Swedish and hilarious, lives in Norway, likes canoeing, photographing, friends, movies, food, humor, and going on trips. She has asthma herself, and finds that fragrances worsen her condition. She detests Axe (which is the Norwegian version of Linx, and is made by the same company, Unilever) and she’s a friend of mine.)

“If you want to give me a gift, the best gift is to stop smoking and to stop using fragranced products. Then you’ll give me health and that dear friend, is the best gift a person can get. It is a gift of love.”


Michelle Cashmore @ (Michelle is an author, playwright, poet, web designer and spiritual warrior who is also sensitive to chemicals. She writes speculative fiction, is an awesome role model for us aspiring novelists, and even shares great stuff over at her author site: tips and tricks on the writing process, organisational skills and much more. Her uplifting Vlogs, Youtube clips and insights are a highlight of my Saturday mornings on the treadmill. She is highly in tune with our planet, it’s people and her cat. She even has her own YouTube channel. But wait, there’s more: if you’d like help with your blog or website, you can check out her other site, Hummingbird Creative Design, where she offers up her design skills! PS: Back on her author site, Cashmore gives away free ebooks of her own stories; and if you’d like an cracking good read over the holidays, you really should check out The Wind Cries Mary.)

“I want this to be where we share ‘soul wisdom’, which will attract a different tribe.  A tribe that is as equally important to me as my speculative fiction tribe.  A tribe of souls who are in search of the Calm Amidst the Chaos and finding our centre through the troubling/challenging and potentially ‘uber’ awesome and exciting times.”


Linda Sepp @ (Linda Sepp is Canadian; she is disabled and housebound from severe Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, Environmental Sensitivities, Fibromyalgia, and Electro HyperSensitivity. She writes extensively about human rights and housing issues for people affected by MCS, and her blog is a gold mine of information.)

“I developed Multiple Chemical Sensitivities in 1994 after a toxic carpet installation in an apartment below me. I had been slightly “sensitive” to many perfumes and personal care products since the 1970s, only I didn’t know what that meant at the time. These and other experiences led me to research building and construction materials, indoor and outdoor air quality, household products, and the political landscape surrounding MCS/ES and environmental health.”


And lastly,

Anne Lipscomb @ (Anne Lipscomb is the author of the book, Poisoned by Pollution: An Unexpected Spiritual Journey, and the motivational blog Lipscomb is a former award-winning public relations manager who developed Multiple Chemical Sensitivity after suffering with depilating symptoms when Sick Building Syndrome effected her and others in her workplace. She went from being totally housebound in the US, Washington, to living in Paris enjoying French pastries, and visual shoe feasts! How is that for inspiration? Her book Poisoned by Pollution: An Unexpected Spiritual Journey, and along with her movie and videos have shined a light into my darkest gloom infested moments, showing me (and others, I’m sure too) that no, all is not lost: we have our imaginations, and that in itself is a way out…  And, eventually with persistence and modifications, life does improve, but in the meantime we must find what’s good about this, and use it to our advantage. (At least, that was my interpretation anyway.))

” I write to you from the perspective of one who has, for some time now, been coping with long term illness. Sickness imposes limitations. They alter us, but they need not define us. Ultimately mine is a tale of triumph over adversity.”


Gwyneth Paltrow image source: wikipedia


Okay, I know I’m not Gwyneth, and the Reality Blog Award is not the Oscars, and my blog, The Labyrinth, is not Shakespeare in Love, but I’ve won an award and that makes me just as happy as a honeybee in nectar! But it makes me even happier to be able to give this award away to all the wonderfully strong and talented women whom I’ve mentioned above. They inspire me with the insights they share; they inspire me with the way they deal with their various sensitivities; and they inspire me with the heroic actions of sharing their stories. We all know how difficult it makes living when you feel like you are all alone in this challenge; and we know how difficult it can be picking ourselves up and going on with the journey; and we know how much courage it takes to write about the way it feels to have an illness(es), or to be excluded from parts of normal life, and even, sometimes, for some, being discriminated against. By making the highroads and low roads of these challanges freely available, we are helping others who have become, or have family members who have become chemically sensitive. Our digital footprint will help them walk the future. Not everyone listens to us, but we know that some people do, and we’ve seen people change their behaviour as far as using/exposing others to chemicals, and that my dears, is the ultimate reward in itself…

However, I do LOVE the reward of my award

Thank you x

 *The Macquarie Dictionary definition of Synaesthesia:
“(say sinuhs’theezhuh) noun a sensation produced in one physical sense when a stimulus is applied to another sense, as when the hearing of a certain sound induces the visualisation of a certain colour.”



Michellina Van Loder is a Professional Writer, Journalist and Blogger. This is where she shares her tales about trail blazing her way out of the Labyrinth of Chemical Sensitivities and Mould. This is also where you will find the latest Research on related topics.

About Michellina van Loder


  1. I leave a comment each time I like a article on a
    site or I have something to contribute to the discussion.
    It’s triggered by the sincerness displayed in the post I read. And on this article Blog Award. Maw? | The-Labyrinth. I was actually moved enough to post a comment :-) I actually do have 2 questions for you if you tend not to mind. Is it just me or does it look like some of the remarks come across like left by brain dead folks? 😛 And, if you are writing on additional places, I would like to keep up with anything fresh you have to post. Would you list every one of your community sites like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

    • Michellina Van Loder says:

      I’m not sure what you mean by “brain dead folks”, I love and value all my reader comments, even the ones I disagree with: opinions are beautiful, and at times, ugly things to be cherished. I have my twitter feed, which you can connect to up in the right hand corner. Linkedin is more of a professional connection network, as I actually aim to get a job out of doing this writing ‘gig’ one day. And I’m not big on FB, unless someone invites me to go there, it’s usually just a school thing. I’m a twitter and a blogger mostly.

      I would LOVE to be writing at additional places, but for now this is me in my naked glory!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this award with me!
    I’m not sure if I’ll be able to officially accept it, as the conditions are difficult for me… I have a hard time thinking my way out of a paper bag and with assignments that don’t just spring forth from the recesses of what’s left of my mind!
    Hopefully some day…
    In the meantime, thanks for your blog! I’ve been sharing some of the posts with people I know and they’ve been very well received!
    Good job!

  3. Thank you so much, special gorgeous woman for the Blog Award (I’m stoked) I shall post something in the next few days. I have some deadlines to meet. Love M X

    • Michellina Van Loder says:

      Aww, shucks, thank you for saying that. Your blog is well worth it, truly a highlight of my internet life.

      Ps. it took me three weeks to do a post to accept mine


  4. thank you for your thoughtfulness, michelina. i humbly accept this award. i cannot promise to keep to the stipulations however as lately, have not been well enough to spend time online. i have also accepted this award 3 other times and so, if i were to add MORE about myself, readers would likely run screaming!!!!

    i WILL post that you gave it to me with your blog’s link asap. and thank you again. xox

  5. Miche

    You are very welcome. I love reading your posts and hearing what you have to say about your journey. And I, too, can taste many chemicals including those from perfumes. I am glad you found my blog and I am now also following yours.

    • Michellina Van Loder says:

      Thanks. Wow, you too? That’s amazing. Please share your theory on why you think this might happen. Have you ever had a doctor tell you anything about it?

      • I think that once we get rid of the chemicals in our daily routines and in our homes, we become more aware and our senses are heightened. My husband who is out in the “real world” but lives a more chemical and fragrance free lifestyle because of me will often tell me that someone’s perfume was so strong he could taste it.

        • Michellina Van Loder says:

          Yes, it must be strong if someone not sensitive to chemicals can taste it! Do you think that a person who is sensitive to chemicals gets a heightened sense of smell from being over-toxified? When I got better mine went back to normal. At the moment my family think I have some superpower, which I’d much rather not have, thanks!

          • hello again…was reading this with interest. i too taste smells and that’s why i’m a good cook! 😉 and also why i really detest hair salons. i wrote about finding a “green” salon recently on my blog if you missed it. what fun is that??? sighs…

            anyway my syn. has never changed regardless of state of health. i am overly sensitive to my environment on all levels if ill, including sound , touch and brightness. i don’t paint because i don’t feel like it literally. nothing tastes right… we do sound like oddballs describing it this way however.

            i was thinking about your reference to using syn. and writing and many do because the letters/numbers will turn to liked or disliked color-not really “turn” but become that or simply ARE. i am sure you probably know this but if not, you can find much online.

            be well, my dear. xox

          • I still smell things strongly but not from a block away like I used to.

            • Michellina Van Loder says:

              Can you pinpoint when having less of a sensitive sense of smell changed for you? Had you been doing anything special that helped?

              • I am not sure when that severe senitive smell left. I just remember sitting outside the office where a friend worked and suddenly telling her that I could smell very strong cologne or cigarette smoke. She looked around and said there was nobody around. A few minutes later we could see someone turn the corner and head our direction. I think being in a safe environment for such a long time and doing the LDA (low dose antigen) therapy has helped me tremendously. Don’t get me wrong. I still smell things very acutely but not from that distance.

                • Michellina Van Loder says:

                  I look forward to reaching the point of not having a overly strong sense of smell. I’m not sure ”sense is the right word because, for me, it’s more of a miss-firing of the olfactory system that things can smell so overpoweringly strong. It’s kinda wrong to be able to smell from that distance; I wish I couldn’t right now. When I recovered in 2009, I can remember being outside gardening and I pulled one of my favourite flowers towards me–it was a Buddleia, also known as a Butterfly bush (it attracts butterflies)–and I noticed that I could hardly smell the scent, it was so light and I realised that I was heading back to normal. (Also around the time I could go into a supermarket.) I’m not sure if all chemically sensitive people have this happen to them, but I find it strange that ‘that’ particular sense can be effected. (although, there are studies where people who can’t smell at all have been know to have this problem too.)


  1. […] these (one, two, three, four awards) on a page that I’m especially designing to go along with the other one that I have already gratefully received (or did Gwyneth do that for me?). You cannot imagine how […]

  2. […] You can find out all the awesome things she said about me here  […]

  3. […] also received an award from the knowledgeable blogger, Michelina of The Labyrinth. Her blog is filled with information about Multiple Chemical Sensitivities along with much else. As I […]

Information, products and views presented by guest bloggers @The Labyrinth are not necessarily the same as those held by this blog's author, Michellina van Loder. Reviews are my own personal opinions (unless stated otherwise); and satire is used throughout personal posts. Any health topics discussed are not to be taken as medical advice. Seek out medical attention if needed and do your own research; however, you're welcome to use mine as a start.
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