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5 Things I Never Would Have Done Without Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

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Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) has been a pain in my rear even before I knew I had it. Like many with MCS, I’ve had to make extensive life changes. I’ve lost friends, acquaintances and work hours. I’ve lost the ability to go to church, do everyday tasks easily…and so much more. I sometimes imagine how my life would be without MCS. Of course, I don’t truly know the answer to that – no one does.

However, I do know that having MCS has helped me take opportunities that I had not taken before my illness. Here are the top five ways that MCS has helped shape my life in a positive way.

1. I’m more efficient than ever. MCS forces me to get off the computer, stay at home for days, and turn off the TV to give my body a rest. When the brain fog starts to lift, I have the opportunity to think. In silence. Alone. While it can be isolating, it’s also given me a chance to “write” articles in my mind before putting them on paper, or to think through everyday tasks that are difficult challenges for MCSers and find a way to make them easier. These moments have allowed me to become more efficient during the time I am able to work, write, grocery shop, or tackle small house repairs.

2. I discovered my passion. When I was first learning about MCS it was shocking and overwhelming to learn about the chemicals in our everyday products, which I, and other MCSers, are tasked with avoiding
in order to function. I quickly realized that others were just as clueless as I was – they had no idea about these chemicals and the medical conditions being caused. That’s when I knew it was my passion and purpose in life (beyond raising my son) to educate others in a way that wasn’t overwhelming. This led me to item number three.

3. Checked “author’ off the bucket list. As a lover of writing, it’s been my dream for years to write a book. MSC has given me that opportunity. It’s forced me to limit my hours working, limit the computer software I’m able to use, limit the environment that I can work in. So what can I do? Follow my dream of writing a book (using weak software) that helps other people…and hopefully pay a few bills along the way.

4. I’ve spent quality and quantity time with my son. When my son was younger I remember reading a parenting book (“Parenting With Love and Logic”) that said kids need parents to spend time with them consistently and they need focused undistracted time – children needed both quantity and quality time. As a sole provider and parent, I had failed to give my son either on a consistent basis. Having MCS forced me to slow down significantly. While it’s frustrating to live such a limited life, being forced to slow down gave me time to spend with my son. Nearly every day we would connect in some way – watch TV, cook dinner, and have discussions without being distracted by work, computers, tablets or phones. I’m thankful that my son and I spent quality time together, and am so grateful that MCS forced me to slow down while my son was still living at home.

5. I’ve become more spiritual. Church used to be a place of peace for me when my son was young. I’d drop him off at Sunday school class and attend the hour long church service before picking him up again. I felt peaceful during that hour. It was one of the few times of the week that I did something for myself. Eventually, I realized that the church environment (cologne/perfumes, hair products, laundry soaps, people squished against me in a pew, incense) was contributing to my illness to the point that I couldn’t attend. I was angry and frustrated at the many limitations of MCS. After a few years and bits of advice from my religion-loving and spiritual friends, I discovered that I didn’t need to attend church to be spiritual. My spirituality was solely my relationship to shape, and I could do that from home.

The many life changes that MCS has caused are frustrating, isolating, and painful to face. In those challenges, there are moments of joy and opportunity. These moments can help carry us through the tough times. Take the opportunity to do things you never would have done if it weren’t for MCS.

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Getty image by berdsigns

Originally published: February 21, 2018
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