Archives for December 2014

Tribute to Kathryn Treat

We lost one of our own on the 21st of December, 2014. A sister. One, gracious, warm, sweet woman. Someone who always had a kind word to say. Someone who showed us what strength looked like; what it felt like. That person is Kathryn Treat.

I first heard the term ‘MCS sister’ over at Sonda’sMCSChatter but it wasn’t until this year, when I tripped and fell, I felt the pull of sisterhood within the MCS community.

Of all the people I’ve ever reached out to, it’s the ones who have MCS (and other chronic illnesses) who reached back, checking in to see if I was okay. These are the people who know, who understand. Even though those people knew what I was going though, I ignored emails, tweets, contact form submissions. People asked if I was okay. What was I supposed to say? My life felt so off kilter, my mind so off path, my heart so off compass, that I really thought I was going to end it all. Surely, this was not the way out of the labyrinth?

A part of me knew that it wasn’t, and given time I could heal from the emotional loss, but I was also aware that I was stuck in moving forward. Hence, writing about rabbits instead of my usual obscure yet factual blogging on real events that effect us all. It felt as if my writing had died. Eventually, I reached out to those who reached out to me. And I told them the truth. I’m not okay. I was so tired, sick, exhausted from the fall, the only way I could even begin to climb back up was to be honest about what happened.

Kathryn Treat was is someone who reached their hand out to me many, many times. And even when I didn’t answer, she sent a simple message: I’m thinking of you. That’s what she’s like, kind. Compassionate. Caring. Strong. Courageous. Clever. Tenacious.

I had lost a family member to MCS; and I feel that if I didn’t have this illness, it wouldn’t have happened because I would’ve had the strength to make things right. But you know what they say about people who are bound by the necessities of avoiding chemical exposures? You soon find out who really loves you. And those people may not even be related to you. They could be across the ocean or across the state. They could be across the bay or down the street. Even on the internet… I felt loved by Kathryn Treat. And I think she loved all of us sisters (and brothers) within the MCS and blogging community.

My last conversation with her was via Skype, less than a month ago; I’ll never forget the kind words of encouragement she offered that day, She said, given time, the events that I was so distressed about would come full circle, and everything would be okay again. “We all grow up,” she said.

Later in the day, as promised, she emailed a list of mould and fermentation free foods. (I’ll try to remember to share this in another post, another time.)

I wish she wasn’t gone, and I dearly wish that her family, along with us, could venture into 2015 with her by our sides. I’m so grateful for knowing Kathryn, the friend, the author, the blogger, the poet, the mentor, the mother, the grandmother, the sister. Our sister.

May her star shine bright

as she looks down upon us

and may the mark she made

indelibly, never, ever fade

as she walks in the light

bathed in grace, in love

We’ll miss you, sister

More Tributes for Kathryn Treat

Laura Treat: From Kathryn Treat’s Family

“As I’m sure you all know, my mom was a generous, kind, sweet, intelligent, and all-around amazing person and she will be greatly missed by anyone who knew her. I want you all to know that being a member of this community and acting as an advocate for people was so very important to her. She cherished all of the relationships and friendships she developed within this community and she was always talking with me about people she had met through her blog. I know that it is difficult to celebrate and mourn people that you may have never met in the physical world, but please take comfort in the fact that my mom gained much strength and joy from her interactions with all of you.”

Jennie Sherwyn: Kathryn C. Treat: Daughter, Sister, Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Author, and Loving Friend. RIP

“Nothing prepares you for sudden loss. Not training, not faith, not personal fortitude. When loss occurs suddenly, the first reaction is disbelief, followed by a nearly all-encompassing paralysis of thought. At least, that’s how it was for me when Kathy Treat’s daughter Laura told me of her mother’s sudden death this weekend due to a cerebral hemorrhage. How could it be otherwise? A person I had known as a vibrant fully engaged human being, someone who had been a dear friend to me for over twelve years, was suddenly gone. And the only thing I could think of in that moment, the thought that was repeating in my mind, was that I had to write about her.”

Sonda: DEC. 21 KATHRYN TREAT OUR MCS SISTER IS SPENDING THIS CHRISTMAS IN HEAVEN WITH JESUS!!

“AND KATHRYN—- I WAS NOT READY TO SAY GOOD BYE TO YOU HERE ON EARTH——– TO SAY YOU HAVE BEEN A LIFE LINE & SUPPORT UNIT FOR ME– SINCE YOU CAME INTO MY LIFE WOULD BE AN UNDERSTATEMENT!!  YOU HAVE ALWAYS SHOWN ME LOVE & CARING & COMPASSION & ALWAYS BEEN THERE FOR ME— I ALWAYS KNEW YOU WERE AN E-MAIL OR PHONE CALL AWAY!!!

WELL– MY DEAR SISTER—- NO MORE HAZMAT SUITS–NO MORE MASKS– NO MORE MCS SAFE HOMES– NO MORE STINKING PERFUME– OR TOXIC CHEMICALS   & NO MORE MOLD—  AND THE LIST COULD GOES ON FOREVER—

I IN MY  TOTAL BELIEF— YOU ARE IN HEAVEN WITH JESUS– & YOUR DAD WAS THERE TO MEET YOU WITH HIS ARMS OUT STRETCHED TO MEET YOU!!!

KATHRYN  YOU– KNOW MY DAD– FROM THE PICTURES ON MY BLOG– YOU KNOW THE COWBOY– GIVE DAD A HUG FOR ME ALSO– PLEASE!!!”

MCS Gal: KATHRYN TREAT – A FELLOW BLOGGER AND FRIEND

“I was sad to learn that Kathryn Treat passed away. But to be honest, I can’t be sad when I think of Kathryn. She is free. She is no longer limited by her MCS. She can mingle freely with all her family and friends who have previously passed away. She no longer needs a mask. She no longer needs to worry about her environment. She doesn’t have to wonder if someone really understands and is willing to accommodate. I think she is probably following the advice of her good friend Sonda and dancing.

I am sad when I think of her husband, children, and grandchildren who miss her. But, one day they will be with her again.

Kathryn accomplished a lot. She wrote and published her book. She educated a lot of people about MCS. Because of her efforts, life is easier for others who suffer from MCS.

Kathryn lives on”

More kind words from Rave Reviews

“Let us remember Kathryn and honor her memory by always being kind to one another and by always offering your support to another.  It’s what she did.  It’s how she lived.  It’s who she was.  In honor, on the day of Kathryn’s funeral, I would like to ask each of you to please post a page for Kathryn, her bio and book on your site.  If you’re interested in participating in this grand show of honor, please email RaveReviewsSecretary@gmail.com, and her photos and bio will be sent to you in advance. (You do not have to be a member of the club to participate).  If Kathryn touched your life in anyway, please share your memories and comments below.”

Lindsay: Musings of a Dysautonomiac

Green Leaf in the Drought

Facebook

And so many more. Expect not only the heavens but also the internet to light up for Kathryn Treat! If you have a link or anything to share, please drop it in the comments below.

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.

The Day I Fell in Love… with a font

One day in June, 2014:

It was a rainy, damp day. Mould spores were antagonising my sinuses; and as I ruminated on the pain throbbing it’s three month long beat: boom, da boom, boom, along the bridge of my nose, piercing its un-relentless way into the bones of my face, forehead and cheekbones, I pulled a snotty piece of cotton wool from my left nostril, and, tugging a clean piece of cotton wool from an organic tampon, rolled it into a ball, and proceeded to shove it up my nose, in effect, replacing the old ‘nostril plug’ with a clean one.

The pain had been going on since April; and my left nostril had been plugged up with cotton wool (the cotton from a tampon was the only cotton wool I could find that didn’t release the fumes of bleach into my already inflamed nostril). There was no defining event that caused the pain. Nothing I could blame, apart from myself for being in constant agony. I had an appointment with an Ear Nose and Throat specialist coming up, but it was another month away, I’d become to accept the solemn, cacophony of pain.

It was a school day and, as I applied my mascara, ready to be on my way to Victoria University, I wondered why the hell I was doing this to myself. The 2 hour drive through traffic; the anxiety of wondering if I could stay in class (due to there, hopefully, being no air-borne fragrances forcing me to leave); the sinus pain made worse by the pressure of the mask I needed to wear to protect my upper respiratory system; the possibility of exposures that may take days to recover from; the guaranteed 24 hours needed to recover from the drive alone. Just thinking about all this was exhausting! Realising it was about to happen was producing anxiety. And the pain (did I mention the pain?) was pissing me off…

First up, I had ‘Editing II’ class where we were learning the ins and outs of the publishing industry. That went well, the tick sheet was all ticked in my favour: the whole class stated they weren’t wearing any spray deodorants or fragrances. And I could stay. I removed my mask, was greeted with air only permeated by carpet fumes, and washing powder residues; I turned the air filters up, and completed my work, took notes, then left class feeling like a *normal human being partaking of student life on campus.

Second up, I was in the library’s Perfume Free room with author, K A Cook; aka my mate, Kim. We were going over fonts, trying to work out which one would be best for the PDF version of my book. Smashwords only allowed a few stilted styles, but that day, Kim gave me a quick lesson on Typography. Font Ninja that they are, my mind soaked up a squelch of useful learnings. And then… It happened: I met Nymphette; and this was ‘The Day I Fell in Love… with a font’!

Adobe Garamond Pro; Adobe Sans Source Pro… these were all beautiful. But after I met Nymphette, and just about lost my mind over the most minute details, I was smitten.

The Nymphette scrolls: the perfect minutiae

The Nymphette scrolls: the perfect minutiae

As you can see, it’s not even an alphabetised font; it’s more a stylised set of calligraphic swirls, symbolic of feelings, perhaps: dainty, gay, pretty, artsy: all adjectives I’d use to describe Nymphette. It’s the kind of typography that makes me think of a painter taking a brush, and with several flicks of the wrist, creating a hidden alphabet that means different meanings to different people who mean to read it differently and get different meanings because how can it mean anything else? It’s just so different.

Nymphette can be found for free over at Font Squirrel. Thanks, Font Squirrel; you’ve changed my life. Forevermore, your lovely Nymphette will support my book title in the header of my pages; and in the footer, Nymphette will cradle my author name, Mischa van Loder, along with my page numbers.

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 9.53.44 pm

Love = Nymphette

My eBooking lessons with Kim have paid me dividends in skills I will use for life. Books have been my best friends since I was a child; and to be able to create a real live book (as opposed to the miniature ones I’d staple together as a child), is a dream come true. To sit alongside someone who has mastered so much and is able to articulate their mastery in a manner that’s easy to model, is a wonderful gift. Thanks Kim. Thanks VU.

Ergo, along with the positive comes a negative. Such is the zen-like duality of everything. Every single word I read is now done with an air of judgement. What font is that? How dare they use Papyrus? Don’t they realise it’s screaming: unprofessional? Then, while driving to the library at VU the other day: “Yes, yes, this graphic designer must of adjusted the kerning to fit that phrase onto that van.” (Yes, these are the type of thoughts I’m thinking about at traffic lights.) I am consumed by fonts. Design. Photography: all morphing in with the words agitating around my head, waiting to spill out onto a computer screen.

The semester has finished. I have my Diploma, Yet, I’m still creating my way to some type of success, Usually, this time of year, I’m in relax-sit-on-my-bed-binging-on-movies type of mode; but no, I’m still working on another eBook. And each Thursday I still make my way to the perfume free room at the library so I can continue being a normal person with a purpose.

To be consumed by typography is a beautiful thing. To be consumed by anything is a beautiful thing when life just feels like it’s too much to bare. And for that, I’m really grateful.

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 10.05.55 pm

 

*Normal describes a state of mind one has when comparing themselves to others who they perceive to be normal (aka neuro-typical)

(One day in September, my partner found our kitchen sink was blocked with black mould. Within a few days of cleaning it and airing it out, my nostril began to heal. Fiddle dee dee! I hate mould!)

More

K A Cook: Three Simple Words: I’m an Author

Free Fonts!: Font Squirrel

 

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.

My Reviews Are Back (as am I!)

Due to being under the weather for most of this year, I’ve not been reviewing products that I find useful for people living a life sensitive to chemicals. However, I aim to get right back into the sunshine; now that I’ve wiped away my tears. It’s not like I’ve been grateful for much at all, let alone thinking about how I can help others. But that really has changed. Not sure if it was looking at life through the lens of a camera (it’s still a thing, y’all), or the new found confidence I’m experiencing after completing and publishing my first book project, but I do feel mahoosivly grateful for so much lately. So without further verbosity, here, just in case you missed it, is something I’m most enamoured with lately: My Lilla Rose collection of Hair Jewellery.

My Lilla Rose Dragonfly Flexi Clip

My Lilla Rose Dragonfly Flexi Clip

I already did a post on Lilla Rose, and how I think these products are mighty useful for those of us who have problems with hair elastics; besides, they are so gorgeous and pretty that I want this post to link from my blog page too! And, because I’ve not been blogging since January, this year, 2014, it’s not like peeps are going to expect my product reviews to be back up. But just so you know, I’ve got a review coming up on a Dehumidifier that I’ve been using, as well. And an Australian brand of Mutalfor (as apposed to the type that comes from overseas) that I’ve had great success in using!

Other posts coming up:

The Day I Fell in Love with a Font

Losing Someone to MCS (and how to cope)

The new treatment I’ve been doing for the last year

A post on the Amazing Amelia Hill

Probably some more rabbit tails tales

Housing (mine)

My Latest Trip to the Dentist

And some other topics not usually spoken about…

And, here is something I am mahoosivly excited about: my interview that I spoke about, here, has just been accepted by  AESSRA‘s (AESSRA stands for the Allergy and Environmental Sensitivity Support and Research Association Inc), editor of Sensitivity Matters. Woot woot! In that last post, I asked people to guess who I had interviewed, no one did, but I guess it was kind of obvious anyway because that’s who I was talking about when I alluded to my interviewee; well, it’s our own Kathryn Treat, author of Allergic To Life: My Battle for Survival, Courage and Hope. She’s so amazing, and a beacon of hope to us all! I can’t wait to see this interview come out in print, and I’ll be sure to put a copy of it up here.

And, in case you are wondering if I’ve lost my mind and started to invent my own English language, no (well, maybe I have lost my mind), but I’m not making up new words: Mahoosvie is just one of the latest additions to the Oxford Dictionary.

More from the Sydney Morning Herald:

“The addition this week of ‘mahoosive’ to the Oxford Dictionaries – among a record crop of 1000 other words or terms – flags that it’s considered a perfectly fine descriptor by the boffins who shape the English language.

Once, huge was entirely adequate. But in this age of exaggeration and who-can-shout-loudest, even superlatives such as gigantic, enormous and massive clearly no longer cut it. So we now have a portmanteau (two words thrust together) that combines ‘massive’ with ‘huge’.”

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.

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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