Ordered Eating, Sublingual Testing, and Traffic Fumes

Last Thursday week (of JANUARY this year!), I went to see my treating Immunologist and Allergist, Dr Colin Little. It’s a 3 and a half hour arduously long drive from this new-ish property up near the Surf Coast of Victoria, Australia; I was lucky enough to have a friend drive the hour and half it takes just to get to my house so that he could then drive me to the appointment. I can no longer do this for myself. For, even though my car has a Foust, 160AN Auto/RV, Air Purifier running in it and we always pump up the air-conditioning (no matter the temperature outside), and I wear a mask, it’s a truly sickening journey:

Foust 160 AN

Foust 160 AN Car Air Purifier

First, we have the freeway going into and past the city of Melbourne, now, if I plan my appointments, leave early or travel only at certain times, I can navigate this without my health getting too adversely impacted on (if not, and I get stuck in peak hour traffic, bottle-neck like traffic jams, or behind too many trucks I can be sick for days); did I mention the trucks? Diesel is not my friend and likes to eat my health for breakfast, causing intense sickness (this was the reason for a trip to see Dr Little, to have sublingual testing and try and find a safe dose to help me with symptoms caused by inhalation of diesel fumes, that and another diet check-up.); then we have the Westgate Bridge and by then, a massive throbbing headache, swollen glands, which causes pain when turning my head, followed by breathing that becomes painful (this can last for days, also): this makes for one dangerous driver, but usualIy, in an anxious kind of way, I’m overly careful and still drive okay; but after this we have the part that just makes driving here impossible: the Burnley Tunnel:

Burnley Tunnel and Pollution

Burnley Tunnel (source: Wikipedia)

this is an underground tunnel that goes under a part of Melbourne, and a few of her suburbs, then under a river: this tunnel is a diesel gas chamber for people like me and it’s not safe to navigate my way through because the symptoms are just too intense. I can only liken it to what I imagine it would be like to be slammed over the head with a hammer while drunk, then trying to drive with a mask over one’s face and a screaming need for oxygen); after that, we have the Eastern freeway, by now the car is full of diesel fumes and I’m just a shadow of my former self: besides being chronically ill, my ability to make decisions is gone, I can’t make sense of my thoughts, nor can I remember them, but worse, I can’t remember how to get to the doctors, I start to mumble, obviously a danger to myself and others, so I have to pull over. Hence, my request for a friend to drive me this time.

This:

Another Melfie: This time wearing a heavy-duty silicone mask

Another Melfie: This time wearing a heavy-duty silicone mask

is how I handled the drive this time. (The mask, a Sundstrom, is made from silicone, it’s 9 years old, and has (finally) outgassed enough for me to use it. It’s something I keep around for emergencies like bushfires—or building a house, perhaps—or any other type of possibly catastrophic event. However, I’ve always been too fearful to wear this type of mask in public because of the reaction I might get from people. Although, wearing it in the car is hardly wearing it in public: I can’t hear any rude comments, teasing or other people’s non-filtred loud speculations as to why I’m wearing it. Plus, after my last post (which really was so long ago. February to be precise), I felt such an incredible wave of support from fellow mask wearers around the world that my perspective on wearing a mask has evolved to a whole new level of bravery and pro-activeness that leans in even further to helping me protect my health, by wearing this, err.. contraption just to travel through the Burnley Tunnel. Thank you, lovelies xx (Ergo, I don’t plan on wearing this type of mask into a shopping centre anytime soon! Rather send my friends to the shops for me, yeh?)) I sat in the passenger seat, almost symptom free: traffic fumes, unbelievably, still made their way in (the filter on this thing is as old as the mask itself). And I made it to the doctors, still able to cope with testing that needed to be done.

This doctor’s rooms are fragrance free, air-conditioned and contain private rooms for those who need to be away from others when being tested. (I mean, let’s face it, how does someone get tested for fragrance (or anything), or try to find a dose that can help with symptoms when you have a face full of washing powder fumes? Most of the people who go there do their best to be FF but, for some of us, it’s still a cornucopia of shampoos, hair gels and laundry products: all tests would render positive and all clearing drops would render negative results!) By the time I get there, I’m in need of fresh air and with all the air purifiers, air conditioners and non volatile building materials in the building this particular allegist’s rooms are a haven!

Dr Little: 324 Stephensons Rd Mount Waverley, VIC 3149

Dr Little’s Rooms: 324 Stephensons Rd
Mount Waverley, VIC 3149, Australia!

In the past, by the time I leave, I’ve usually recovered from getting there. On this day we were there for 5 hours. Not so long, considering we’ve had days where we’ve stayed all day. One lot of testing and finding clearing drops can last an hour, or so. If you get really sick, like I did for perfume the first time, you’re gonna be there for a while. My daughter underwent testing for chemicals and moulds; thankfully, thankfully, she was negative on all those. However, she’s also got the food intolerances to deal with so underwent her own diet review. For this lucky duck, everything is fine…

I underwent testing for chlorine and petrochemicals. The chlorine suprised me because it bought up symptoms i suffered in the old house. Symptoms I thought were mould related! They were part airway related and part something else–to do with how I feel…

What I love about this doctor is he’s proactive on every level. He’s a wealth of information. He’s covered by Medicare (if you’re in the US, think Obamacare), which makes him a real doctor. (I say that in jest, please, any doctor who helps someone is a real doctor, it’s just doctors who are on the Medicare system have more power to change the world because the government listens to them; this one also publishes peer reviewed studies and is in the process of developing a blood test that could really help people like us.) He has access to the latest information; does thorough testing; approaches issues logically rather than basing his advice on the latest ‘new’ treatment or ‘latest’ superfood or ‘trendy’ new pharmaceutical. He has had lots of practice with people who are allergic to many allergens and/or sensitive to chemicals, which makes him an expert. (I’m sure his wife actually says: “I knew I married Mr Right but I didn’t know I married Mr Always Right!”) Oh, and, you know? He’s mostly right about things. With me anyway:

Our battle with food has been going on near on 3 years. For the first 7.9 of this illness, I didn’t have any food allergies or intolerances. My gut was made of iron, I’m telling you. But when these food issues rolled in, they snowballed; and even after I moved to cleaner air, made more changes to my living environment, they persisted, burping their indigestion into my life after every meal. It sucked. Without this doctor’s help, I couldn’t tell the difference between physical symptoms caused by chemical exposures or food intolerances. They were all starting to blur into one big problem.

Last May, we started an elimination diet. It was torture. Then it bought freedom; but it was still total utter torturous, because I’m an emotional eater. I’m a spiritual eater. I’m a totally mental eater. I eat when I worry, when I over-think, when I write, when I’m sad, happy, everything. Milk chocolate and coffee have always, since I became a non-smoker (quite sometime now), bought me intense pleasure. Then there was the comfort I found in having the same foods everyday. Then. They. Were. Gone. (Who was not my favourite doctor then, hey?)

I’m not very good at taking instructions about what to eat and what not to eat; it makes me want to rebel and just eat whatever it is I bloody like. When that backfired, I towed the line and, once I had a good idea of what the right foods were, I ran with ‘this special diet’ thing. So this has taken a while (7 months and 40 milk chocolate bars longer than what it should have). But what I did find was that once I had a list of decent tasty foods, I was happy with that because my stomach was feeling so much better, my skin and scalp stopped itching (thanks to kissing sugar, pears, pineapple and mango goodbye). I can happily eat the same foods everyday with just a little variation, I’m like that. Deprivation is self-torture, emotional comfort is self-love!

This is what my comfortably safe food list looked like when I went in:

  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Chicken (only a little, or I have indigestion)
  • Porterhouse (only a little, or same thing)
  • Salmon
  • Prawns
  • Zucchini
  • Carrot
  • Pumkin
  • Spagetti Squash
  • Sweet Potato
  • Lady Finger Bananas
  • Apples (practically a staple)
  • *Spelt Toast (one piece only, two give me chronic indigestion)
  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • Spinach
  • Avocado
  • Nut Butters (Almond, Hazelnut, Cashew)
  • Walnuts (from the Shell only)
  • Almonds (however, I keep getting mould effected)
  • *Miso Soup (Organic, fermented)
  • Organic Tofu
  • Bonsoy Milk
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • *Garlic
  • Tumeric
  • Ginger
  • Coconut Cream
  • Coconut Water
  • Coconut Oil
  • Olive Oil
  • Green Tea
  • Raw Cacao
  • Raw Honey
  • Dark Chocolate (85% cocoa, no milk and only a little sugar)
  • Pureu Water

Not a bad list of foods. I had adapted to this. Had. The Miso is fermented so I have to give that miss for a while. The Spelt bread is off the list because, for someone whose immune system is bucking up, and their digestive system is failing to function properly, it behaves the same as wheat. (If you want to frustrate an allergist, try telling them you are fine with only a little bit but if you eat a lot you feel unwell… But, you think you are fine with that food if you stick to eating just a little?!) The garlic has to be retested. And on it goes… I really thought that I’d be well by now; and it’s frustrating (and that’s just the least of it) that I haven’t recovered like I thought I would when I first moved out here, nearly two years ago.

I have some clearing drops that I can try using for diesel exposure. There is a build happening this year, and guess who’s project manager? I’m busy going through the motions leading up to having a contract drawn up so that people who work on the house understand what they can and can’t do. It’s a scary ride because I’ve not been well, and I can’t fathom how I am going to cope physically with this. Just day to day life has all these issues that need constant forward planning, attention to detail and energy. Energy is something I’ve been running out of. I’m hoping that those couple of *foods I’ve now eliminated are the answer to that problem.

PS: coffee is back on the menu! It’s real coffee… beans we crush ourselves and put into a percolator. Just like the good doc recommended. Whew! Life is still worth living; I kid you not.

 

Read More…

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.

What it’s Like to Wear a Mask, Part II (9.2 years later)

There are some people who need to wear a mask over their face to help them try to avoid symptoms bought on by breathing in allergens they are allergic to. There are other people who do the same because they have become sensitised to some/or all of the chemical ingredients in fragrances. And, more controversially so, there are people who wear one because they have become chemically injured in someway, and need to do this when they are around nearly every chemical and allergen known to humankind: these people lead lives so isolated from the rest of us, most of us could barely imagine what that could be like. I fall somewhere in the middle of those categories, and need to wear a mask most places I go.

This type of photo is called a 'Melfy': picture one takes of self wearing a mask :)

This type of photo is called a ‘Melfie’: picture one takes of self wearing a mask :)

At this point in time, I can handle low-level exposures for short periods of time. This could mean sitting, sans mask, in a room with people who are fragrance free but are still emitting fragrance chemicals from their washing powder, soap and shampoo type products. For me, low level means that there are no aerosol type products emitting chemicals, leeching out into the common airspace, knocking my health for six.

As opposed to a low-level exposure, a high-level exposure would mean going into an area where there are vast amounts of chemical based products for sale, where people are milling about wearing fragrance chemicals that they spritzed on before going out. (An area where people are ‘testing’ saleable fragrance products would be an absolute no go area. Ever. I don’t care what they are selling, I don’t want it!) It’s the solvents used to ‘carry and disperse’ the chemicals that make me so ill. I’ve been medically tested, know this for a fact, and have documentation to prove it. In these high-level situations (which I try to avoid, using said documentation), I wear a mask; and I get in and out, quickly. However, this has lead to finding myself is some questionable situations. Let me explain:

First though, in an article I wrote for AESSRA’s Sensitivity Matters, nearly a decade ago, I wrote about how wearing a mask empowered me to partake in life, to get things done. I urged other people who were finding their access blocked to try it, also. We all need to be able access buildings and services. Just to get out sometimes. Do the shopping. Visit a child’s school. And, I encouraged people not to be so damn shy about it. It’s just a mask, for goodness sake! An item that can be worn so that ‘disability’ can turn into ‘ability’.

10 years on, this is what it’s like now…

But before we get to that, I’m going to share with you some of the experiences I’ve had while wearing this mask out in public:

Once I had a man/child of around 18, or so, yell out: “Hey lady? Do you have SARS?” In the middle of a shopping mall, of all places?! I’m sure the question was rhetorical because he didn’t wait for an answer, just walked off, raucously laughing along with the rest of his pack, dressed in the grey attire of the local Rosebud Secondary College’s uniform; leaving me embarrassed, and my nine year old asking, “Mum, what’s SARS?” Her eyes widening in that bizarre-frog-like way, alerting me to the fact that she was freaking out and about to lose her shit. “MUM! Have you got SARS?” This was way back when, in the early days of running errands while wearing a mask, I was mortifyingly shy about the whole thing. Seriously, it felt as though everyone was looking at me.

Darth Vadar Dog

Don’t you dare laugh at me!

Click here to get Images &
Darth Vadar Dog PicturesPictures

Three years after that incident, once I became blasé about the whole I-wear-this-3M-mask-over-my-face-to-protect-my-upper-respiratory-system-from-aromatic-solvents-and-petrochemicals-that-you-other-shoppers-have-spritzed-on-before-leaving-the-house-and-it’s-just-an-everyday-occurrence-for-me cautiousness, that is my life, I received this (while in the same shopping centre, from a different man/child, wearing the exact same school’s grey uniform): “May the force be with you,” he said while, proudly, crossing his fisted forearm across his chest. (For those who don’t know this fact, it’s a reference to the Star Wars movie characters, one of which, was the evil Darth Vader, whose whole face just happened to be a mask. (I didn’t know this, it had to be explained to me.)) Still, I had to laugh! Which made him just crack up laughing; and in turn, I cracked up some more. My daughter, by then thirteen—at that age of being on Permanent Parental Mortification Alert—laughed too. It was a shared joke. Sure, I was the arse end; yet, for some reason, it became the highlight of that week’s Thursday evening shopping trip! It’s been a favourite family story, often shared with friends who also wear masks—albeit more shyly than me—and here, in the telling of it we laugh even more. It’s a relief to be able to take something that weighs uncomfortable and heavy like only an impediment that embarrasses you can, and make it as light and joyous as laughter between friends.

Other comments I’ve received during the early years: “Pollen’s bad today, isn’t it?” Not such a bad thing to hear a stranger say. I’ll often hear that inside the Greengrocers from an elderly person, whereby I reply that it’s actually fragrances and deodorants that are dispersed out of spray-cans and bottles that are bad today. (And if they back away real quick, I know they are wearing it; and I’ll be grateful because less of the fragrance’s aromatic-solvent-hydrocarbon dispersed molecules will adhere to my hair, skin and clothes.)  So, yes, “Pollen’s bad today!” is not such an awful thing to hear at all. That is, until I go to answer and realise the person (usually in a group with others) who said this is actually being sarcastic. It’s obvious because the comment is often followed up with a pretend sneeze, and cursory juvenile giggles. And then, stupidly, I realise, that once again, behind my mask, I’m just a point of ridicule.

Then there is the group of people who bond by all starting to cough loudly; they then bond further by laughing even louder. I understand what they are doing, and possibly why (they think I have the flu?), but I still don’t get it…

Now, as I’ve discussed with friends, I know that shopping is a social activity for some, and obviously their mothers didn’t teach them not to yell out inane (I’m-just-joking) rhetorical questions to complete strangers; but still, it can be difficult to accept this kind of behaviour. This non-acceptance has led me to do some shameful things. Like this one time when I had PMT, and I was riding up an escalator, along with my own, by then, 14 year-old daughter. In front of us, two teenage girls, turned around, looking back at us, and while one clasped her arm around her stomach collapsing into it in a fit of giggles, the other pronounced in an obnoxiously loud tone, “Oh, my god. You’re right, look at her—she is wearing a mask!” Followed by, “Oh my God, I can’t believe someone would actually go out like that.”

By expressing their teenage mortification, it became contagious in the way that only teenage mortification can: My daughter looked down at her runners as crimson shades crept up her cheeks. (We’d planned to get in, get out. Inconspicuous. Change our fragrance-contaminated clothes in the car. The usual routine.) But it’s what happened next that really freaked us both out:

Now, hear me out. Please—I’m not to be held responsible for what happened next. Really! It just wasn’t my day.  Or, perhaps, my usual calm-I-couldn’t-give-a-cat’s-toss-on-a-Sunday-afternoon/just-let-me-get-on-with-my-shopping demeanour had been hijacked by the PMT dire wolves. Without evaluating my decision, I took off up the escalator after them, stopping on the last step right behind them. Suspended in the tension of the moment. We all froze. I took another step, and balanced right on the edge of the same tiny step they were on; holding onto the bannister for support, I teetered. They took one more step. Perhaps, they thought I wanted to get past them, but when I too, took that same step, leaning in closer to them, just breathing hard through the mask, they looked frightened. Perhaps, my face had gone red, or purple even; perhaps my veins were bulging out on the sides of my forehead (It certainly gets hot behind that damn mask; and then there’s the lack of oxygen to contend with, too.), but however I looked, standing there, my mask-clad face two inches from theirs, I just stood there, staring my enragement at them. Well, they took off, running at a fast speed through the mall, and I was left feeling quite silly—a little crazy too—yet also, oddly, vilified…

But then my daughter’s voice entered into this weird vortex: “Mum, what are you doing?” And listening to myself explaining that I’ve just had enough of people making fun of me, do you know how I felt? I felt like a bully. And I felt embarrassed. (More embarrassed than wearing a mask out in public has ever made me feel.) There I was, a woman of 38, the mother of a child, for whom I wanted to set the best example for. A woman who usually had her wits about her, was literally standing over two girls, who yes, should’ve known better than to make fun of a, unbeknownst to them, legally disabled person, but didn’t, and now had to bear the brunt of a silent, angry, masked stranger deliberately trying to scare them.

Now, I know this does not help bring about positive awareness of our condition for people like us (Don’t worry, this wasn’t during Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Awareness Week.), but it sure made me feel better in a way that only bullying back, after being bullied can. And that is something to be ashamed of. Worse though, going into big shopping complexes changed for me after that: always feeling on the defence, waiting, expecting people to say stupid things. Always ready to be made fun of, teased, ridiculed or used for entertainment purposes. (*No payment necessary, thanks for the offer though*.)

However, I refuse to be ashamed of wearing a mask. Because it’s either that, or stay home. (And don’t even get me started on the fact that I’d like to put some make-up on my face. There’s no point, it would just get smeared on the inside of the mask, which is funny when you think about it. Well, there’s always the obsession with penciling my eyebrows; but, hey, that’s a whole other post…) And just because I’m wearing a mask doesn’t mean I won’t get sick; there’s always risks involved: Like the time Target parked a display trolly of Linx deodorant right next to the women’s change rooms. After someone tested an awful lot of it, I was ill for days afterwards (Luckily, my daughter alerted me and we were able to get out, but not quick enough: it was all over me.). So, no, it’s not a sure way to protect my immune system; but without it, that sickness that lasts for days, incapacitating me, would happen every single time I go out. The mask is a good thing; and I’m thankful for it.

Besides, being ashamed of wearing a mask to protect my health is just plain silly. And I’d just like to get on with my life, please. Because, actually, sometimes I’d rather scream from the feeling of forced imprisonment. Right there in the middle of the shopping centre! For, not only has breathing become uncomfortable, in that my chest feels tight, but with each new onslaught of airborne fragrance chemicals, my sinuses ache, and inhaling air through my nose feels like two chopsticks poking a headache up through my nostrils and pounding it into the spot behind my eyes. And not only do I feel unable to express my facial expressions (The reverse of not being able to read them: some people with Autism have this!), I also feel this weird kind of separateness, cut off from other humans, in a way. However, it’s not the physical pain nor the lack of being able to make facial expressions that makes me want to wail in public. No, it’s the person pointing and laughing at me, over near the newsagents, or the women standing in line at the butchers. Or the one pushing her trolley who comments loudly to the man with her, “Oh [insert man’s name], look at that poor/bloody/sick/freakish woman”, while pointing right at me, unaware that her choice to wear chemical-based perfume is the reason I’m wearing the mask in the first place. (You may think that I’m being classist to say this: I’ve found some suburbs are worse for being teased in than others; and the bigger the shopping complex, the more likely I am to be made fun of. Suburbs populated with Asians, much less so. Groups of middle class caucasion-kids? Loud couples? Groups of man-children? Oh, don’t get me started. (Must I go in? Please, can’t I put it off until tomorrow instead?))

Kudos to the child in the checkout line who says loudly: “Lady, why are you wearing that?” To which I say: “Perfumes make me very sick, so I  wear it so I get to come in and do my shopping.” To this, the child always nods. (They get it.) Or the littler ones who just stare. And stare. Always, I put my hands over my face/mask and do the peek-a-boo thing. They love it! And then there are the ones a tad older, still innocent enough not to tease an adult, who say: “Mummy? Why is that woman wearing that?” The mother tries to quiet them; they are embarrassed; it’s easy to empathise with them. I speak up and say: “It’s okay, I just wear it because I have severe allergies to fragrances.” Everyone is happy with this.

But for the rest? Near on a decade,  I’ve had to put up with this blind ignorance. It’s to the point that when I see a group of teenagers coming towards us, I brace myself ready for the onslaught of ridicule.

The Darth Vador incident that was so funny years ago, seems like it happened to someone else, far away from me—in another galaxy, perhaps?

Sometimes, it feels as if the anxiety level inside me is buzzing out of control; yet most times as I go on with the reasons for coming to the shops, I don’t even notice. It’s like I can set my vision on the direction I’m going, and exactly what it is I want, and that, thankfully, is all I see. (Losing your temper on a public escalator can do that to you. It’s like cement in your coffee: it causes you to harden the fuck up!)

Then there was the time I was shopping with my teenage daughter at one of those Westfield complexes that sell just about everything. We’d just come out of the Australian Geographic store, after purchasing binoculars for her up-and-coming school camp (hot and flustered under my mask) there were still two more shops to visit before we could get out of the building. A group of around nine people or so, early twenties maybe younger, stood talking loudly. One well-dressed male adult took hold of a younger punk-ish looking boy by the shoulders, and as he pushed him into my path, he said, “Go and kiss this freak instead! Stay away from my girl.” The young boy looked at me, then down at the ground. Colour stained his cheeks. As, I’m sure it did mine, too. This time I didn’t need to explain it to my daughter: she was in secondary college and understood all about bullying.

But do you know what the final thing was that has made wearing a mask out in public a nightmare? The day we went into the same shopping centre and came across a group of people we knew quite well, for years, way before I even developed this immune disorder. Out of common decency and respect, I won’t go into many details, except to say, one person actually held their hand up so they could hide their face behind it. That’s what did it for me. The anxiety of going into a massive shopping complex, where all the ‘cool’ people dressed in ‘high fashion’ wearing ‘Armani’ hang out and judge other people who they feel are less than them is something I avoid, totally.

Embarrassment can be catchy like that.

So, in answer to ‘What it’s like to wear a mask (9.2 years later)’: it’s different. Some people in Australia need to wizen up. It’s just not cool to do this to us. And yelling out of the car window when you see me behind the wheel? That’s got to stop, too. I know for a fact this also happens to overweight people, especially women (I was surprised when I read this); people who have physical impediments; and, we all know it still happens in a racial context, also. Not everyone can be Lara Bingle, have a thigh gap, a bikini bridge, nor can they fit impossible one-size-fits-all physical standards. Yet, it doesn’t need to be like this. So yeh, most times, wearing a mask kinda sucks. But here’s the thing: Today it was like this: I walked into a greengrocers in Ocean Grove, and the man working there said, “Nice dress.” And I said, “Thanks.” And then I realised that I was also wearing a mask over my face. (Thank you, kind stranger.) I felt on top of the world, mask and all.

:)

It's a normal day, isn't it?

Nice dress, hey?

If you wear a mask when going out (or there’s something else that makes some people feel like they have the complete and utter right to say and do dumb shit, shit they should be embarrassed about), May the Force Be With You!

(A FYI: I may have been chemically injured (I had an accident with swimming pool chlorine); however, it’s not clear what, and why this happened. I’ve been tested by doctors—immunologists and allergists—and have had allergic-like reactions to many chemicals; and I’ve definitely become sensitised—to multiple ingredients in fragrances. My specialist says they act as irritants to my airways. Until the age of 33, I used perfumes, obsessively: I loved them: their heavenly scents; their beautiful aromas and the way they made me feel, pretty; I loved their classy designer names; their lovely glass bottles; but most of all, I loved the beauty associated with wearing them. It’s been nine years since I’ve had to wear a mask around some chemicals, and all fragrances. I’m lucky though, there are many natural scents, I’m okay with, and, gratefully, I don’t have to live my life in complete utter isolation.)

(Another FYI, I’m not a hippie, when doctors recommend that I vaccinate myself and my children, I let them (oh, our animals get vaccinated too), I’d like to use chemicals, and sometimes I’m able to: I want to colour my hair, and sometimes do. I want to paint my toenails but the symptoms bought on by solvents have persuaded me not to.  There are some serious chemicals, I’d seriously like to use; but alas, serious avoidance of chemicals that I’m seriously sensitive to is the key to avoiding serious sickness.)

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.

Screaming from the Silence

This is an article written and published by someone I admire greatly; someone whom I consider to be a hero, a feminist, an activist. More admirable than those attributes: she is gifted, a poetic writer who actively campaigns for the human rights of others who cannot help themselves; she shares valuable information with those who do have the power to help themselves and others by empowering them to use less chemicals and choosing more fragrance free products. Meet Eva Caballé, author of the Spanish blog: No Fun

When you do not like something, when something bothers you, if there is something that remembers your mistakes, and it’s easier to not to deal with it, to leave it for another day, just put it in a corner, wrapped by a thick silence. This [is what] happens to Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) sufferers. They want us this way, in silence, in order [to] not annoy, in order not to alert, so nobody realises that the precipice is every day, a little bit closer and we will all fall: we, our children, our grandchildren…

We feed International Economy with our health, our future and the future of those who have not even [been] born [yet]. It is the same society who lets us get sick, gratuitously exposing us to toxic products, while it abandons us to our fate and silences us [so that] to no one knows the truth.

Whenever can we break this spiral? It’s necessary for someone to give us a chance to leave this silence where they force us to live.

Delirium opened a door through which I scream, with all my force, that we are here, that we have MCS, because the present way of living is making us sick. It opened a door through which I scream how they are not going to silence us and above all, how this is only the beginning and it’s necessary to act right now.

Delirium helped us to break the silence publishing “The Naked Truth about MCS” in the edition dedicated to nudity. Delirium undressed me, both inside and out, in order to denounce our hard reality.

Unexpectedly this article has gotten so far that it has been translated and published in nine different languages, and been published in several countries all around the world. And some of these countries have included forewords explaining their own situation, like Germany or Norway.

The One That WAS INITIALLY my shout from the silence, has turned into the patients’ unanimous shout of the whole world denouncing that MCS exists, that we are left here, but also that nobody will manage to silence us.

Thanks for being our loudspeaker!

Caballé is not considered a feminist because she posed naked in the photos that elegantly accompany her articles on MCS and chemical sensitivity, but because she has taken a controversial subject cloaked in mythology, lies and innuendo, and stripped it down to its bare naked elements; until all that’s left is the truth.

“I stripped inside and outside to denounce the situation we MCS patients in Spain [suffer] and spread [the information about] our disease through art. The experience has been fantastic. The article is on pages 30 and 31 of Delirium and photos by David , who has taken up photography, his second great hobby after music.”

The photos of Eva and her nakedness are a metaphor for what lies beneath Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS), Environmental Illness (EI), and chemical sensitivities, and what needs to be shown: again, the truth. We won’t go away. And no, we won’t be silenced. (And yes, she makes wearing a mask look beautiful, almost desirable, yet nothing to be ashamed of… )

I wish Eva the fruition of all the promises in the world to help her make her own way out of the labyrinth that is chemical sensitivities.

Reprinted with full permission from, and attributions to Eva Caballé and her blog No Fun: (A Spanish Blog)
This article has been published in Spanish, English, German, Italian and Japanese

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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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