Mold, Chemicals, and Sensitivities
I worked in a chemical plant in 1994 and some kind of chemical came through the building and my nose bled and burned for 3 days. Neither the company nor the contractor I was working for would pay for a doctor visit. I went on my own, and got better (on steroids) until I acquired MCS on January 13, 2000 after working for 9 months in a building that had black mold in and around the A/C vents/system with asbestos in the walls and ceilings and then going home on January 12 and encountering an industrial chemical air pollution. I woke up on January 13 with a pneumonia/flu type of illness and have been hypersensitive to all kinds of chemicals ever since.
My symptoms include burning of the eyes and nose (especially on the right side) and then swelling and sagging around the right eye then loss of the ability to think, talk, walk, and respond in a normal fashion when exposed to perfume, hairspray, diesel exhaust, cologne, insecticide, pesticide, paint, deodorant, new clothes, dry cleaned clothes, some medicines - (like Ultram, Levaquin, Biaxin, Riperdol, lidocaine, novocaine), cleaning solutions, air freshener, etc. I get severe nauseating headaches, sinus infections, and extremely weak - I sometimes can't lift my right arm or lift my head off of the table if I am having a reaction. I become fatigued easily now, whereas before I was very energetic. Now I am sensitive to the sun, before I was a person who loved the outdoors.
I tried to go back to work twice, but was sick within a few days each time. I am now on disability from work, but the insurance company said I had to file for Social Security benefits in order to get the LTD payments. I have not developed cancer, which a lot of people did where I worked.
A couple of months ago, I moved from the town I got sick in - out of the industrial chemical area of Bayport to Texas City, and now I am in Houston (I swore I would never live in this neighborhood again) - I can't go outside during rush hour traffic, and I cannot go shopping or go to church, or visit friends and family. It is VERY seldom that anyone comes to see me - it is hard for them to not wear their shampoo, perfume, cologne, deodorant, dryer sheet treated clothes, etc. Yesterday, people two houses down were BBQing and the lighter fluid fumes filled this house and I had a reaction and had to be taken away from there.
I have tried several types of therapy. Glutathione injections (I felt better, but still experienced the reactions), colonics, homeopathic remedies, chiropractics, juicing, liver cleanse and support, holistic therapy, psychotherapy, etc. I have just started d-Lenolate(TM) and I again feel better, but still have the reactions. I have joined a few of the MCS groups, and am glad that there are others out there to communicate with about MCS and related disorders.
I get bored and lonesome for my family. My job as an information system specialist on the space station was challenging and fun and exciting and I dealt with people all day. I miss working and I miss the interaction with everyone. I miss church and the fellowship I had with others there. I miss going out to eat and going shopping. I miss my grandson and my three children.
I have to leave here by tomorrow (April 11, 2001). The owners are spraying for termites and other bugs and I can't do anything about that. I am in the process of packing my car and I guess I will live from there for a few days and then.....???
Update (8/6/01) - I lived in my truck for a while. Now I am living in a rent house in Arkansas. There is no industrial chemical or traffic pollution where I am living. I still have reactions when I happen to be exposed to perfume, diesel, etc., but for the most part I feel better and have more energy than when I was living in Houston and San Leon. I can at least get out of bed every day. I am still pursuing Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (under duress), although I would prefer to get well and go back to work.
I want to thank all the persons with Chemical Sensitivity that have given me support, suggestions, and smiles.
Update (11/9/01) - I was exposed to antifreeze when it was put in the truck, and experienced nausea, vomiting, severe headache, and could not walk for 2 days and the third day I could walk but with great pain. I was having severe muscle spasms. This situation has improved greatly over the past two weeks. I got a used wheelchair, walker, hospital bed, and crutches just in case this happens again. I hope I don't ever have to use them. I was not able to ever use the wheelchair because the naphthalene (moth ball) fumes never offgassed from it. It was the metal and vinyl kind of wheelchair.
My friend Diane died Thanksgiving. The coroner called me and said she looked like she weighed 60 pounds. I went to see her in October and brought her food, but she told me on the phone later that she was not able to hold down food anymore and everything tasted like paraffin to her ever since that military plane "dumped" its fuel over where she lives. She said that happened in September, 2001. Her neighbors were taking care of her - cleaning the house and making food for her to eat. She hired an in-home worker to help her also, but the ladies fragranced personal items and clothing were making Diane sicker.
Update (5/16/02) - I was pretty sick all winter and some of the spring. I made an appointment to have teeth worked on. The dentist put me on 500mg. Penicillin for 10 days. I was sick for first three days and then got better. Then on the 7th day I started running 102 fever and became very sick. After finishing the penicillin, I started on d-Lenolate and then had one tooth surgically removed. I stopped breathing when he used Marcaine with epinephrine, but it went ok with carbocaine plain. My son, Ben came up to be with me, because no one knew what would happen to me with the anesthesia and being in a toxic environment for so long a time. I made it through the procedure and am healing now.
I had the SSA ALJ hearing today and the attorney, the doctor and Mike seem to agree that I will be approved, but on somatization disorder from what I understand. The Long Term Disability was cancelled this month - the determination was that I was no longer disabled. I don't know why that happened. I have no money coming in now.
Update (10/15/02) - I got my first SSDI check and the diagnosis on the approval letter was chemical sensitivities and somatization disorder.
Update (6/16/03) - I had two more teeth surgically removed and that went ok. Although, I got a bad sinus infection afterward. I am feeling better than I have in a long time. I have an appointment to have the bad root canal removed on August 27. The gums above that root canal are now all gray/blue/black. I found a sinus x-ray taken in 1999 that shows 2 rods at the root canal sight. I don't know why there are 2 rods, there should only be one. It is possible that it is broken or that the original root canal rod was left in there.
Update (8/9/04) - I have now had all top teeth removed and had two cavitation surgeries where infection and amalgam leakage were "cleaned up". The amalgam leakage from the failed root canal had leaked from the eye socket bone all the way to the upper palate. When the dentist was working on me, I could feel that it was the same place where my face feels like it is swelling on the right side during an adverse reaction. My last oral surgery was in April of 2004. Since the last oral surgery, I was exposed to terrible asphalt fumes from my closest neighbor's new driveway as the fumes were blowing right into my house. I tried to find a safer place to stay, but found nothing, so I just stayed in my car overnight and went home the next day. I was in bed for a week and then had to use a walker to walk, so I found an old wooden wheelchair to use if that type of long-lasting adverse reaction to chemical fumes were to happen again. I slowly recovered after the wind changed for a few weeks and the asphalt had some time to offgas. The asphalt exposure was on June 4, 2004.
I am feeling like I have more energy sometimes. But that is only if I avoid any petrochemical fumes. I found that there was mold in the kitchen cabinets under the sink, so I have been cleaning that up - removing the fiberboard flooring. I got a severe headache the first day of working on the fiberboard, but took some d-Lenolate and felt better. So I started taking the d-Lenolate daily to help fight off any mold infection that might occur. During the cleanup I am wearing a carbon-filtered mask and a nose clip. I have started using the reel type manual mower to try to build my muscular strength in hopes that I will be able to better recover from any chemical fume exposures that cause a severe adverse reaction. I thought I would stop having the reactions after the dental work, but they are still happening. So that is disappointing.
I have an appointment with a dermatologist on 8/24/04 so that I can hopefully have this sore on the back right side of my neck diagnosed and removed. It has been there since just after taking a trip to Kerrville TX with the Environmental Geology college class for fossil hunting. When the sore "sheds" every three weeks or so, it is flat on the top with a triangular bottom part that I guess grows under the skin. I hope he can treat it successfully. That trip was in October of 1998. So the sore has now been there almost 6 years. Time to get rid of it!
I have had MCS now for 4.5 years. Sometimes I feel like I have gotten better than I was when I first got sick, but when chemical fume exposures adversely affect me, I wonder if I am going to live through the day. Yes, it gets that bad. It is not a figure of speech...it is my reality.
Update (8/25/04) – I went to the dermatologist for the sore on the back of my neck and he said that it is a viral wart growing in a hair follicle. So he did not recommend doing anything about it. He said I may just have to live with it.
Update (11/26/04) – I fell the week before Thanksgiving and hurt my arm.
Update (12/06/04) – Three black helicopters flew over the house today. They were not marked and they flew so low that all the animals were running scared. I got sick after that and so did about five other people I know of. We all got sick with like upper respiratory ailments. It took about 10 days to 2 weeks to clear of this illness. One man ended up going to the hospital for help, and he is doing better now.
Update (12/25/04) – My arm still hurts, so I think I will call the chiropractor to see if he might be able to help. It hurts to pick up a gallon of milk or to move my arm in certain positions. It feels like it is being pulled off. One interesting thing that happened is that the sore on the back of my neck cleared up when I fell! It has not shed or bled or anything since then.
Update (1/12/05) – We had a tornado come through at about 8 pm tonight. A lot of property damage occurred in this area. My windshield was broken and it sounded like the roof was going to blow off of the house, but only one board was blown out at the top on the outside of the house. The shed was moved over a couple of feet off of its cement blocks. Shingles came off the roof. Trees at the neighbor's house were blown down and one went through his roof. A barn was blown into the highway just up the road from my house. This is exactly 5 years from the date I got so sick and ended up with MCS.
Update (3/10/05) - I have been going to the chiropractor and my arm is not being helped really, so he is sending me to an M.D. for an x-ray and/or MRI.
Update (4/1/05) - I went to the M.D. and he said is may be a partial muscle tear, arthritis, tendonitis, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis. So he just said to take pain medicine if I need too.
Update (6/15/05) - I went to a new doctor in my area and had a lot of tests run: ELISA/ACT LRA showed some severe reactions – mostly to pesticides, but some foods and food additives. The doctor started me on Niacinamide – form of Vitamin B3 and that seems to be doing okay for me.
Update (7/01/05) - I heard about a treatment called Bio Cranial on the environmental_illness Yahoo group, so I decided to find a practitioner in my area and try it out. I went and the first session, my arm was not in pain like that pulling anymore! I was amazed!
Update (7/13/05) – The highway dept. called and said they will be blacktopping the road in front of my house today. I have two hours to be out of here, so I am packing the El Camino and leaving. Don't know where yet, but might have to drive to my daughter's house in Louisiana.
Update (7/14/05) – I made it to La. and also found a bio cranial practitioner close by, so I won't have to go without treatment while I am here for a few weeks. The grandchildren (three boys now) are looking great and so are my daughters. I would have never thought of driving down here before now, due to the health problems and severe reactions. I wore my mask and changed the filters often and wore my nose clip. It was a hard trip, but I made it! I got severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, and had one bad reaction while I was gone, but I know that was not as bad as it would have been staying home and breathing in asphalt fumes for 24/7 for two weeks or more.
Update (8/15/05) – I am feeling pretty good today. Driving in the heat really set me back. I thought of going to the hospital for heat stroke/heat exhaustion symptoms, but I didn't go to the hospital, and it just took a few days to get to feel better. I drank a lot of fluids, Emergen-C, and stayed in the A/C for two days until I cooled down. I took cool (not cold) showers.
Thanks for being there,
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