Wednesday, 8 January 2014

New Year, new beginning

Today, January 8, 2014 -already starting the second week of the New Year! - I left my door unsealed after my guitar instructor entered for an hour's lesson. By the time he left my mood was swinging into sad depressiveness and concentration was difficult. Soon afterwards a blissful high followed, then back to depression again, three blisters rising on my bottom lip.

This tells me that I am still reacting strongly to the paint applied in my apartment corridor over the summer. The pressurized air in the hallway forces fumes into my apartment so I have to seal the door frame cracks with painter's tape and put a towel at the base, otherwise the paint molecules get in. I had the landlord install weather stripping on the outside of the door this year, that reduces the air coming in but doesn't block it entirely.

Other new developments - after starting a new diabetic drug a month or two ago, muscle pain and weakness was increasing in my arms, especially the left, making me concerned about cardiac health -  more so after an encounter in July with deck stain that gave me hours of severe palpitations. This week I stopped the new drug and the pain has diminished considerably, but not entirely. After consulting with my physician I am stopping my other diabetic drug to see if that is the cause of pain and weakness. Generally I do not tolerate foreign substances like medications well.

Unfortunately after being diabetic for thirteen years the condition is progressing and blood sugars rising spell great danger of organ damage and nasty things like blindness and limb amputations down the road.

So I'm feeling a lot of pressure to manage my blood sugars solely with diet and exercise, lifestyle changes that I have always found difficult to manage consistently. I have been doing continuous personal work though, so will take it one day at a time and do my best, without the perfectionism that used to sabotauge previous efforts.

On the plus side, I had the quickest recovery ever from a Christmas concert, able to attend a choir rehearsal (as a visitor) two days later - vs. previous years being bedridden for days after exposure to a large fragranced crowd like that. I'm thrilled.

Also, after telling family members I would not be able to attend their Christmas gathering if dog and fragrances were present, they rallied around and emailed each other encouragement to wash clothing the day before in fragrance-free soap, for one thing, with excellent results. The usual sinus inflammation came for a couple of days, able to manage it with saline nasal rinses and homeopathy, and recovered quickly. No infection promenading through the rest of my respiratory tract (throat, chest) like last year. Hallelujah!

Dental appointment in December = one year since all amalgams gone, and no new cavities, teeth and gums in good condition. Hip hip hooray! Huge relief. Am continuing with homeopahty, herbal tinctures, diet and supplements plus epsom baths (now only needed weekly) for mercury detox.

Overall, feeling very pleased with detoxification progress and optimistic that with Clinical Herbalist's help and finding some social supports I will be able to manage the lifestyle changes required to halt the progression of diabetes. Not to mention Grace! most important.

May we all be well, happy and prosperous in 2014.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Summer fun

August 19, 2013

Painting plans postponed, three paints tested all made me too ill. Next spring will try some others.

Volunteer gardening "seva" (yogic service) at a rural yoga centre is giving me refreshing breaks from city dwelling. I planted a vegetable garden and help weed some ornamental flower gardens. Staying in a cozy cabin in the woods for multi-day visits has quickly generated a more normal sleep/wake routine, and the centre's vegetarian status means I eat more fruits and vegetables than usual - hoping it will help to establish better routines back in the city.

Mercury in muscles means after working more than one and a half to two hours at a time causes painful, incapacitating spasms and cramps to occur. One day strong tremors occurred in one hand after too much digging, a cardinal sign of mercury poisoning. Sometimes spasms come during the night following an overly strenuous day.

Generally:  happy to have far more energy mentally and physically than a year ago before amalgams were gone. One nap a day suffices now (if no acute sensitivity reactions occurring.) Being able to think well enough to quickly plan a last minute trip to the centre this week was my latest success; grateful for all the detox help from Herbalist, Homeopathist, Quantum Touch healer, Body Talk helper, Reiki friends.

On the other hand, inappropriate behaviour  of a medical practitioner now forces me to engage in a professional college investigation. Being chronically ill makes one dependent on so many people, not all of whom are free of dysfunctional behaviour - "wounded healers", or worse, predators. Many years ago I suffered the abuse of one such predator and now this recent incursion is giving me flashbacks to those days and a recurrence of depressive illness.

Relying on Grace to get me through, one day at a time. After many years of searching to understand spiritual experiences that happened through this long "dark night", finally the Pathwork lectures shed light on my journey:  there is a higher purpose to everything in our lives.

Beautiful weather is making a fine end to a lovely summer; may the sun shine inside and out.

Friday, 28 June 2013

Paint prep

June has almost passed. My bicycle repair included replacing tires; they were offgassing so badly I had to get it out of my apartment; fortunately able to swap it with one from a family member; unfortunately it has a flat . . . react to glues needed to patch tube . . . not yet solved that one, so take the bus to the garden or walk, not too far.

May paint preps resulted in needing to have my bathroom door removed from my apartment when paint test caused a week of diarrhea, mental confusion, depression, anxiety, exhaustion, weakness, painful muscle spasms/cramps . . .

Our new maintenance person refused to help until presented with the Canadian Human Rights Commission policy on Environmental Sensitivities and landlord's lawyer confirmed the law requires them to respond appropriately, in this case storing my door in the basement and replacing it with a non-toxic one (I have yet to see it; bedroom door is now in the bathroom and a curtain covers bedroom doorway so it is functional for the moment).

I would link to the policy but it has been removed from online access. Here it is:

Policy on Environmental Sensitivities

Individuals with environmental sensitivities experience a variety of adverse reactions to environmental agents at concentrations well below those that might affect the “average person”. This medical condition is a disability and those living with environmental sensitivities  are entitled to the protection of the Canadian Human Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. The Canadian Human Rights Commission will receive any inquiry and process any complaint from any person who believes that he or she has been discriminated against because of an environmental sensitivity. Like others with a disability, those with environmental sensitivities are required by law to be accommodated.

The CHRC encourages employers and service providers to proactively address issues of accommodation by ensuring that their workplaces and facilities are accessible for persons with a wide range of disabilities. 

Successful accommodation for persons with environmental sensitivities requires innovative strategies to minimize or eliminate exposure to triggers in the environment. These may include: developing and enforcing fragrance free and chemical avoidance policies, undertaking educational programs to increase voluntary compliance with such policies, minimizing chemical use and purchasing less toxic products, and notifying employees and clients in advance of construction, re-modeling and cleaning activities. Such measures can prevent injuries and illnesses, and reduce costs and health and safety risks.

One more paint to test, that makes three, if it does not work out I will abandon paint plans until next year. Meanwhile at least a lot of repair work has been done and the walls are very clean!

Although steady slow improvements continue in energy levels, mental clarity and muscle strength, severe chemical sensitivities persist with all their nasty effects. The difference now is that the gap between a good day and a reacting-to-something bad day is huge, which is frustrating, to go from feeling and functioning fairly well, to crashed and out-of-it again.

So life is still very restricted as to where I can go that is safe, and whom I can be with. I am blessed with kind friends who help keep me sane with their reliable use of fragrance-free products and musical talents, so uplifting. Every week I sing with one friend for hours, we play guitar at local parks and have a wonderful time. When you are chronically sick it is so essential to take breaks from a daily grind of treatments and focus on illness.

Sinusitis is now under control with "jali neti" nasal saline washes and homeopathic remedies plus new herbal tinctures. Pain/symptoms tend to shift, so now that sinus hell is passed, muscles are acting up with excruciatingly painful spasms and cramps; lately books trigger it (fresh printing inks) - fortunately for my bookworm self, second-hand ones are abundant and I have a large library on hand. Also, too much exercise brings on painful cramping. Epsom baths are essential, the magnesium counteracts mercury-induced muscle contraction.

I am steady on the same supplements course (vitamins, sulfur, omega 3's, biosalts, trace minerals, coQ10). Diabetes is progressing due to pancreas damage, a newly added medication recently predisposes me more to hypoglycemia, requiring more than ever careful scheduling of meals. This week I completed a psychological assessment before beginning treatment with a Clinical Psychologist for help with a long-time yo-yo weight problem. It felt good to have her recognition of the hard work I have been doing for so many years!

Next week I have an appointment to see a physician who acknowledges chronic mercury toxicity and has a treatment program including many alternative health strategies. Paperwork and organizing info is very hard with concentration and memory deficits; there is a lot of work to do to prepare for this. All year have been unable to continue research on mercury, burnt out; perhaps now can resume.

Despite all the troubles, I am happier than ever, more conscious of Grace manifesting Helpers, deeply grateful for a rich and fulfilling life finding my way on the path of spiritual liberation, aided by my constant companion, chronic mercury toxicity and Environmental Illness. Life is good!

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Preparing to paint

It is the merry month of May. Exactly eight years since EI/MCS came into my life. I am hoping to paint my apartment with a non-toxic paint recommended by a local Environmental Doctor, Farrow and Ball (very expensive!). Testing for a few days is looking hopeful, it does not appear to be triggering illness. Tomorrow I will paint a small area and see how that goes, the back of the bathroom door so that if a reaction arises I can close the door!

If the door paint is safe, next step is the whole bathroom. If that is not toxic, the other main rooms will be done, except the bedroom - sanctuary in case of reactions.

It was in 2005 when I last painted my apartment, eight years ago, when chemical sensitivities became apparent (within months of starting use of Bi Yan Pian). I was so ill from the paint I had to stay at my parents' house for about six months before it was safe to return home. The Universe provides, and during that time my father died; it was a gift to spend some of his last days with him that otherwise would have been missed.

This is my biggest spring cleaning in years. An online Feng Shui course has convinced me of the benefit of reducing clutter, so the local thrift shop has received many drop-offs in the past few weeks. Feels great! Apart from aesthetics, Feng shui says that clearing a space  correlating to an aspect of our life will improve our prospects in that area, be it health, or family or other issues. We shall see, I am willing to explore new possibilities for health and happiness!

I have been able to hire a helper in this paint preparation process (thanks to generous family assistance with finances), a man who understands about chemical sensitivities and is able to be fragrance-free. It is an enormous relief just to be able to trust the presence of a person not to do harm. Being accustomed to a lot of isolation, it is refreshing to have pleasant company for a while.

On the other hand, Mother's Day was another disappointment due to a bad reaction to fragrances from family members who are inconsistent when it comes to being scent free. I had to leave shortly after arriving and am sadly thinking I cannot attend family events any more, because the situation is not improving despite many years of efforts at education about the seriousness of Environmental Illness and my dependence on their cooperation. My friends cannot comprehend this lack of support and neither can I, but apparently it is not uncommon for people with sensitivities, unfortunately.

I could get depressed about feeling isolated, but choose instead to say "When God closes a door, She opens a window", so if siblings are not to be my social support system, others will step in. Meanwhile I plan to learn how to connect online more with people via chatrooms or Skype, and use the phone more, to make sure my mental health does not suffer. At the same time, for spiritual growth solitude is beneficial; praying for the right balance.

Fresh air and sunshine is a great mood stabilizer and stress reliever; happily my garden is now underway a short bicycle ride away. The bike was in the shop this week, now ready for fun finding the right amount of exercise that keeps me well, helps with weight loss and diabetes control, yet not so much as to trigger mercury symptoms like swollen muscles and sleeplessness.

Every month the mercury symptoms are a little bit less. I don't need epsom baths as often to control twitcing/spasms/cramps, once a week is enough (vs. every 2-3 days last summer). My muscles are much stronger, I turned over my garden soil in two visits on my own, that's the best strength I've had in many years. It is easy now to walk, no gait instability or concrete-heavy legs, rare loss of balance. I've had no more episodes of speech problems, expressing or comprehending, like last year (that was scarey!). No longer having regular muscle and joint pains . . . what a relief!

Last week cleaning apartment walls with "TSP" caused two teeth to became so painful it required an emergency visit to the dentist, who explained it was a sensitivity reaction. I rinsed the TSP off the walls and the pain went away after a few days. There seems to be no end to the variety of symptoms that can arise with exposures to chemicals!

For today, I am gratefully symptom-free and very excited at the prospect of a fresh coat on my home, all decluttered and reorganized; a fresh start.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Spring, 2013. Today is Tuesday. This past Saturday, I attended a concert in a large church full of fragranced people. Today I feel not too bad, the inevitable sinusitis is almost gone, my energy is adequate, mood good - this is great recovery! The time it takes to get over the illness from exposures to fragrances continues to decline; I'm thrilled!

It gives me great hope that eventually Environmental Illness,  which developed in 2005 after I started using mercury-laced Bi Yan Pian to treat sinusitis arising from multiple mercury dental fillings,  will be overcome or at least subside to a more manageable level. Then at last I will not have to suffer such isolation, being unable to be with people or in buildings without becoming too ill to function for days.

Since Saturday I have been tired, sleeping 10-12 hours at night plus two or three hour-or-two long naps, had sinus pain and congestion with a mild degree of infection, plus mental confusion and emotional strain - all typical reactions to chemical exposure, but my energy was not as severely depleted as in the past. I have been able to go out each day for errands and do simple things at home like practice guitar lessons, do email, prepare meals and wash dishes.

Previously (last year) after similar exposures I was too exhausted to go out or do anything other than basic survival functions. Four to seven years ago I would sleep pretty much around the clock for three days after being at a concert, be unable to use a computer and too ill to go out for a week. That's been very gradually improving since starting on CPAP in the fall of 2009 (pressurized breathing machine at night so lungs still get air when I stop breathing due to sleep apnea, another poison effect).

Since amalgam removal was completed last December my muscle strength is much better and mind clearer. There is still lengthy detoxification ahead,  to remove accumulated mercury over the eight years of tainted pills, plus that released during dental drilling; then it remains to be seen how much of the organ damage is permanent and what harms can be reversed.

For the moment I am so happy not to have to be in the dentist's chair until next December! Although grateful for the care, I hate having dental work done. So I am looking at how to prevent cavities through hygiene and diet. My dentist gave me an essential oil substitute for toothpaste (manufacturers put nasty things like formaldehyde in toothpaste; it's not on the label!).

I still have a mountain of research to do on mercury effects and detox options. Three severe chest infections since October plus ongoing sinusitis plus other stressors have made it impossible for me to do much studying. Now with winter over I will try to get through the materials gathered and make sense of it all.

Meanwhile, I continue with daily supplements as described earlier - MSM, trace minerals, omega 3 oils, vitamins B & D, coQ10. There is new information questioning anti-oxidant supplementation so I stopped the grapeseed extract until I know more. Also now taking a week off some supplements every month to avoid habituation. Ongoing:  psyllium twice a day with chlorophyll (instead of chlorella, to which I have an allergic reaction), a diet high in fibre, greens and water,  ayuvedic teas and spices, reflexology, Body Talk, Reiki. All good helps.

Happy spring!

Monday, 31 December 2012

Dec. 31, 2012 on the cusp of a new year. 2 weeks ago I had my last two mercury amalgams removed. ***Celebration***!  Immediately I felt an improvement in my overall energy levels and muscle strength. The following day walked about 40 minutes easily, with no muscle weakness or dis-coordination, no asthma, no exhaustion (for years have had exercise intolerance, all those symptoms plus swelling of muscles, with pain, also in the joints, with intense activity such as a brisk 20-minute walk).

Three weeks prior to that I had a single filling removed, being unwilling to risk a longer procedure to take out the two my dental toxicologist would normally take out at once, due to the bad experience of anesthetic overdose in the session before that; I was extremely anxious being in the dental chair again. I am never comfortable in that situation, always tense, this was probably the worst ever. I use my deep relaxation training such as diaphragmatic breathing, and 'energy medicine' tools to help myself relax (Reiki, Therapeutic Touch, Body Talk).

When I was a child my family had a dentist who did not believe in using freezing for children. We had our teeth drilled with no anesthetic. I would be sitting in the waiting room anticipating my turn as I listened to my brother in there ahead of me, screaming. Not good memories, and a lifelong aversion to dentistry!

So now I have completed this year-long course of removal of mercury and other toxic metals from 11 teeth (4 others having already been de-mercuried during the previous ten years). Big sigh of relief. Now the serious detox can begin.

I have read and heard contradicting opinions as to whether to do intensive detoxification of body tissues while mercury is still present in the teeth. After reviewing it all I chose to wait until after mercury is out of teeth to do deep detox.

I've been doing gentle homeopathic and herbal treatments to support organ function (so liver and kidney, e.g., can do their natural detoxifying jobs) and some detox after amalgam-removals which exposed me to mercury during drilling. Apart from that I've used Dr. McGuire's list of supplements to develop a personal supplements routine. Previous posts have gone into this in detail.

It is *very important* not to just jump into supplementation without researching every item and getting expert advice (not the 'expert' at the health food store, or 'nutritional consultant', but a Naturopathic doctor or physician or pharmacist - I've used all three, plus draw on my own health sciences degree, B. Sc. N., to evaluate the huge amount of information available). Despite that, I learned the hard way:  when an Environmental Physician prescribed a multi-element supplement I trusted it without looking at every item in detail. I was so sick and exhausted I just never took the time to go through the list of ingredients until I began to research mercury poisoning in 2011. Four years had passed before I discovered some of the contents were allergens contributing to chronic ear problems, depression, and other symptoms.

My dentist, certified by Dr. McGuire, and studying Naturopathy, recommends using supplements on a schedule of 3 weeks on, 1 week off, to avoid habituation which would lessen effectiveness. I have not been doing that, so will begin to take breaks as recommended.

I am now on my fourth round of a 3-week detox using an herb which is controversial because of its liver and kidney damaging potential if inappropriately used. I am supervised by a Clinical Herbalist and follow her directions exactly. It clears my mind wonderfully, and my mercury symptoms are significantly less. I no longer am losing my balance several times a week, have not fallen since the summer; muscles are stronger, no longer have days when it is hard to just lift my arms or get up from the sofa; no more cramping or spasms (unless exposed to chemicals I'm sensitive to). In several months have had no further episodes of being unable to comprehend someone's speech or being unable to speak myself (terrifying!), just trouble with vocabulary and slight stuttering sometimes. My memory is better, can converse comfortably and remember what people have just said to me, recall things like who-was-that-actress-in-that-film, or what did I eat for breakfast. Less spaced-out and forgetful. All-in-all the brain is obviously doing better. Thank God.

Many, many reasons to be thankful, I start this new year with great gratitude and high hopes. May you all have a blessed and happy year.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Boy, time sure flies. It is November already. For months I have been feeling too overwhelmed  to continue my research into mercury to any great extent, or add to my blog. 'Denial' I suppose. I started working with a helper this week to try to get over this paralysis.

When amalgams are removed, mercury vapour is released by the drilling, so even with measures to minimize absorption (oral dam, vacuum, separate air supply, room air filters) some mercury is added to the body load. After amalgam removals  symptoms arise right away, such as lots of hair falling out of my scalp, muscle cramps/twitches/spasms, edema in legs and feet, mental fog, irritability.

Since last November (2011) I have been on an accelerated program of removal of the eleven remaining amalgams in my mouth, having had four removed in the previous ten years. My prior dentist's old school thinking was to take amalgams out "when ready" - old and worn. At that point the mercury has been leaking out for many years. The correct attitude is to get all amalgams out as soon as possible because it is poisoning the body as long as it remains, and because even once out it takes many years to clear from tissues (half life of fifteenyears - see item #6 on this website), so get them out and let the body start to recover.

After some amalgam removals I felt immediate improvements in energy levels and mental clarity. Here is an interesting meridian chart connecting specific teeth with different parts of the body.

At least two of my teeth were cracked from amalgam expanding and contracting, allowing mercury to exit - no doubt explaining why saliva on my facial skin caused a rash. Some amalgams were so corroded they looked like orange peel,  indicating large amounts of mercury had been released.

I am now down to three, in the lower right quadrant; three quadrants are mercury-free! Yay! I feel the difference in my face - less tension, less sinus irritation, no longer living in "sinusitis hell" although sinuses do get inflamed when exposed to fragrances and chemicals, this is the Environmental Illness/Multiple Chemical Sensitivities.

I use homeopathic remedies ( "Nat Mir" and Dr. Reckeweig #49 -I'm not endorsing this site, just giving a link that shows what is in this sinus treatment - mercury formulations most notably) and nasal saline rinses (yogic "jala neti" (again, not a site endorsement, just a link that shows what it is) - essential, minimum twice a day) to prevent sinusitis. Too many exposures to fragrances or chemicals knocks out my immune system, like the past two weeks - chills and fever followed excessive exposures, acute sinusitis became a throat and chest infection; I kept those minimal using goldenseal and lungwort herbs along with homeopathy, Reiki self treatment, rest, extra vitamin C. I continue to take the supplements established earlier in the year: vitamin B, C, D, omega 3 oil, sulfur, trace minerals, calcium-magnesium, coQ10, recently adding grapeseed extract for antioxidation.

This week to my arsenal of detox tools I added lymph massage with immediate results in urinary and stool elimination; people say I look brighter, I feel it.

In August I had two amalgams removed at one time. One took the dentist longer than expected to clean out. The 'freezing' wore off. At two previous visits this happened, freezing wearing off mid-procedure, after about 45 minutes. At the last visit it happened twice and in total the dentist gave me six needles instead of the usual two. I overdosed on it, had severe double vision that took an hour to resolve and extremely high blood pressure (around 200/130) that took a couple of hours to come down. It was not fun.

Now I will only allow one filling at a time to be removed so a short period of anesthesia ("freezing") will suffice. I will use a Body Talk technique to help myself relax in the dental chair, never easy.

Yesterday I visited a friend about to undergo mastectomy for breast cancer; I am reminded to be grateful for what I do have and not indulge in self pity. A breast lump recently turned up and was found to be benign - mercury may predispose to cancers. My herbalist cancelled the astragulus she had me on as it can contribute to tumour growth.

I am grateful for friends and family, for beautiful fall weather and a warm, dry bed with electrical service, unlike the poor people in the New York area after hurricane Sandy swamped them, then a wintry snowstorm. Many good things to focus on - like guitar lessons I just started and really enjoy. Happy! Life goes on.