Multiple chemical sensitivity can include a wide range of symptoms, which some people link to their environment. It's also known as “environmental illness,” "sick building syndrome,” or “MCS.” Your doctor may call it “idiopathic environmental intolerance.”
The symptoms people report are wide-ranging. They include headache, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, congestion, itching, sneezing, sore throat, chest pain, changes in heart rhythm, breathing problems, muscle pain or stiffness, skin rash, diarrhea, bloating, gas, confusion, trouble concentrating, memory problems, and mood changes.
Possible triggers that set off people's symptoms vary a lot, too. They include tobacco smoke, auto exhaust, perfume, insecticide, new carpet, chlorine, and such.
The American Medical Association doesn’t consider multiple chemical sensitivity to be an illness. Nor do they consider food sensitivities a real illness either, but it can wreck havoc on your daily life.
One issue with having this illness is that you can't go out to eat and enjoy a normal dinner like most people. You never know you will be affected by what you ingest. You could be sitting there eating a meal with family and friends, and then wham! All of sudden you are overcome with dizziness, shortness in breath, and a huge amount of disorientation until your body redirects. That could last a minimum of 20 minutes or days.
Now I have my menu choices in my head for EACH restaurant BEFORE I sit down to avoid such catastrophes.
But I think the worst of it is the hair salon. I used to LOVE getting pampered while getting my hair done. It is a small kuddo in life that most woman appreciate. You spend your days taking care of others, and then all of a sudden, every six weeks or so, you get someone to take care of you.
If you are over 40 it is often a necessity if you work. Being 50 with tons of gray hanging about is not appealing to some individuals like myself. I pride myself on keeping a few years off by indulging in such a luxury.
But shortly after being diagnosed, I got my usual highlights. I get the foil packets and then a bit of low lights to cover the gray around my scalp. This has NEVER been an issue previously. All of a sudden ten minutes into the procedure, I feel a tingling in my scalp and my heart begins to race. Within minutes my heart is knocking so rapidly it feels as if it is rattling my chest. I can see and feel its vibrations as I run to my hairdresser shouting, "I got to get this out! Something is not right!"
Visibly shaken, she says we can just try the "foils" solo next time. "Great," i think. "One more thing this illness has taken from me."
I know what you're thinking, "My goodness! Live with the gray!"
But when fibromyalgia has taken so much out of your life already, there are just times you say, "Screw it. I gotta live some how." But, then again, i also noted if it happened again severely I would HAVE to STOP.
Since then the reactions are less, more mild. Sometimes they don't happen at all. But, you can imagine, sitting in that chair doesn't have that warm fuzzy feeling anymore, it is a necessity (to me, of course). It is one thing I draw the line at for myself.
I had thought it was gone all this year. Then recently on my birthday, trying to get myself dolled up for a dinner, I experienced it again. Not as severe, but a bit of tingle, and then a pulse rise. I grabbed my hair tech and she washed it immediately. Symptoms disappeared shortly afterwards, but I was left with two days of chest tightness, spine swelling, and pain. I should state for all you pre-med Google searchers, it was not the chest pain of the heart but of the rib cage.
To people who do not experience fibromyalgia, this may seem obscure. But, when you suffer from this debilitating disease, there are just some things you are robbed of that send you over the edge. Get you thinking and get you a bit disgruntled. I felt the need to share today. It ruined my birthday weekend a bit.
What is the one thing fibromyalgia has taken from you that drives you nuts?