I am a follower of Jesus searching for purpose in the midst of a lifetime of physical illness and pain. From age 16, I experienced surgeries and illnesses that would change my life forever. I have been diagnosed with narcolepsy/cataplexy, PCOD, Hashimoto's thyroid disease, adrenal failure, endometriosis, infertility, malignant hyperthermia, and obstructive sleep apnea. I have experienced the frustrating American system of health care, gone 15 years with a serious, misdiagnosed sleep disorder, and struggled to carve out a life and maintain relationships with those I love, all the while being misunderstood and dismissed by most of them. The good news is, I believe there are lessons learned in these times of solitude that bring me closer to the One I long to know, and bring glory to His Name as I share my struggles in order to encourage and comfort others.
Just in case anyone still remembers that I have a blog or that I am still alive, I actually did post yesterday. Just not on THIS blog. But I did post. In case you're interested. I have taken an extended break because I thought I had nothing to say, but after some reflection it turns out I do. Have something to say, I mean.
My husband and I have struggled with infertility our entire marriage. We love to be around children and teenagers and always thought we would have a house full. But after years of trying, multiple miscarriages, and worsening chronic health issues, we realized it may never happen for us. I would have never guessed that not having children could be socially isolating. But it is. Here's what I want people with children to know:
1. We don't dislike children. Once you've been married a certain number of years and still don't have children, people often assume it's because you've chosen not to have them....most likely because you dislike them. (What does that mean? How do you dislike children as a general category? They are individual people. You would never say, "I really like adults." But I digress...) Not having children does not equal disliking themor disapproving of their being in close proximity to you.
2. Please don't apologize for your children. When my husband and I are participating in an activity with another couple whose children are present, they constantly apologize if their child acts like - well, a child. If little Timmy asks an abrupt question or is wiggly at a restaurant, it's not going to bother us. Refer to number 1. And let them be kids, for goodness' sake!
3. We would still like to be friends and hang out with couples that do have children. I'm not sure if it's because of numbers 1 and 2, or if it's because they want to have playmates for their children, but couples with children rarely invite those without children to participate in family-oriented activities. At a certain point, EVERY activity is family-oriented because everyone else does have children. It's not fun to be left out or forgotten, and we enjoy being around families too. We especially enjoy having the chance to spend time with your children!
4. Please don't tell us how much time we still have to get pregnant. After my first couple of miscarriages, people would say this type of thing to comfort me. Incidentally, it didn't make me feel good at 22. And now that I'm 35, it's sounding a bit hollow. Unless you know someone well and are familiar with their circumstances, you could be opening an old wound by making assumptions about their situation.
5. We are probably not the best people to complain to about how awful parenthood is. I'm sure being a parent can be overwhelming at times, and I truly understand the need to vent. But telling someone who has longed for but never been able to have children how much you hate your life as a parent and wish you had waited, used contraceptives, or could walk away from it all, is really painful to hear. Maybe offer to drop your kids off at our house for the evening so you can have a break or a date night. We volunteer!
There are all kinds of family types in today's culture. Couples without children are one type. Single parents are another. What about empty-nesters whose grown children live far away? Single adults. Widows. There are even whole families of children without parents! The point is, we all need each other. Many of us don't have a support system of extended family around us to celebrate holidays, share in the joys of life, or help out in a tough situation.
*Question: What are some practical ways we can all look outside our circles and include others in our lives?
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interest of others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus. "
The past 8 weeks have been tough. REALLY tough. I've been fighting my way back from mold toxicity from having lived in a home that had severe water damage before I ever moved in. There was almost no visible mold because all of the rotting roof, drywall, and flooring had been replaced. But I learned the hard way that just because you don't see mold doesn't mean it's not there; and even if there is no mold, your home could be a chamber of poisonous gases that were given off by mold that USED to be there.
I have since come across so many other people that have had water damage in their homes, visible mold, or illnesses cropping up in several family members living in the same home. These are all signs of environmental illness from mycotoxin poisoning. If any of these apply to you, please read this. It could save your life or the life of someone you love. Here's what you need to know:
1. NEVER EVER EVER use bleach to kill mold. Even though the EPA and CDC advise to do this, they are DEAD wrong. I have learned that bleach interacts with the toxic gases given off by mold - known as mycotoxins - and create an entirely new toxin which is proven to cause brain tumors,especially in children!
2. Killing mold is not enough to make the contaminated area safe. Mold gives off toxic gases called mycotoxins, which can cause various illnesses that become more severe and more serious the longer you are exposed to them. Mycotoxins are not a living organism that can be killed; since they are a chemical they must be neutralized by another chemical: ammonia. If you treat mold without neutralizing the mycotoxins, you are still exposing yourself to deadly toxins.
3. Testing your home for mold spores is not useful. Mold can be trapped underneath carpet padding and carpet from moisture seeping through cracks in concrete floors. The spores will not be detected by air testing because they are not airborne. The mycotoxins are coming up from the carpeting and contaminating the air. Also, if the mold has already been removed, as in the case of my home, testing will not reveal any spores although the mycotoxins remain. The only place that I am aware that is doing mycotoxin testing is Dr. William Croft of Environmental Diagnostic Group in Madison, WI.
4. Leaving the contaminated home or building will not make you well. Your furniture and other belongings have been exposed to the contaminated gases, and moving them to a clean environment will simply contaminate your new environment. Everything must be treated with a solution of 50/50 ammonia and water.Carpeting and upholstered furniture must be thrown away as they cannot be effectively treated. Clothing and fabrics must be washed in 2 cups of ammonia. Also, there is a special detoxing protocol that must be followed for several weeks which includes a special diet and bathing several times a day in diluted ammonia. These things are all necessary to restore your health.
5. Mold remediation companies and medical doctors cannot help you. The science is so far ahead of the industry when it comes to mold that you are essentially on your own if you truly want to get better. The only people who will know how to intelligently help you are people like me who have already experienced it or Dr. William Croft, who is THE expert in mycotoxin testing and treatment.If you have water damage or mold or if you are ill and suspect environmental illness from a building like your home or place of work, please call Dr. Croft immediately.
Mycotoxicosis can be treated, but if left untreated it will eventually kill you whether via cancer, heart disease, respiratory failure, or some other disease. And it's especially harmful to children, pets, and people with compromised immune systems. If you have any questions for me, I will be happy to answer and help you in any way that I can.