My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Not only is Allergic to Life: My Battle for Survival, Courage, and Hope a wonderful resource and reference guide for people who are sensitive to chemicals but it also serves to show ordinary people what it’s like to live a life while sensitive to most everyday substances. It reads like a medical thriller, for it seems like poor Treat is doomed from the start, yet it’s also warm and engaging enough for the reader to feel as if they are actually there, experiencing it along with the Treat.
Treat’s struggles read true to life and are indicative of the challenges that many people, in 2013 and beyond, will have to face. In some circles it is said that only people who believe in climate change (and our planet’s protection and care) believe in environmental illness/chemical sensitivities, yet, it’s impossible not to when the impact of this medical condition touches on your own life–or that of someone you care for. This book shows exactly what it is like for those people and their families. It’s truly an environmental issue and the book touches on that briefly.
What I liked most were the explanations of the various treatments, most especially Dr William Rae’s of the Environmental Health Centre, in Dallas (EHC-D). EHC-D, a medical facility whose treatments focus emphasis is the relationship of health and disease to environmental factors; here is where Treat underwent many treatments that enable her to live a more functional life, today. The way she has managed her condition over the years (and still does) has bought her great success. They haven’t cured her but they have paved the way for her to be able to have some exposures without becoming completely disabled, which has lead her into a new appreciation for life, family and joyful hobbies. For someone who was ‘allergic’ [read, chemically sensitive] to everything, she has come a long way, being able to tolerate so many new things.
For anyone suffering with this condition, this book is a must read, if only because the treatments used by Treat are ones that are actually science-backed, peer-reviewed methods, rather than many of the ‘pseudo science’ type methods that come in and out of fashion in the Wellness industry; and while many of those methods take advantage of a subset of society who will do/try almost anything to get well so as to attempt to live life with some semblance of normalcy, these treatments seem the real deal (if you have the money).
With the use and misuse of toxic chemicals rising, this condition is sure to touch the lives of more and more people in the future. For those unlucky souls, Treat’s book shines like a beacon of hope on a dark night in stormy seas for anyone who feels lost amongst the mass of information–and misinformation–that’s out there.
It really is mind boggling how much of an impact being environmentally ill can have on a person’s life. But the way the author has dealt with it and come out of it is a great example of how to survive through such turmoil. It’s a fantastic read, one that I’m sure to refer to again in the future. The perfect gift for anyone going through this type of illness; whether that be toxic mould illness, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS), mild chemical sensitivity, allergies or any other immune disorder where foods, chemicals or other environmental factors impact on the health of an individual.
Also something else I’ve found that’s been of help, the author’s blog, allergictolifemybattle, where there is a wealth of information and support from the author and like-minded followers.
UPDATE: my local allergy and chemical sensitivity support group, AESSRA, has a copy available on loan from their library!