Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Starting at Zero

My friend Tracy was sharing how when her sister-in-law moved to Texas some years back the hardest part was always starting at zero with people in her new community. They had zero history with her, zero knowledge of her life prior to moving, zero knowledge of her grown children and grandchildren, zero knowledge of who she really was, her gifts, talents, challenges or heartaches. When she shared this with me, I so resonated with this on multiple levels.

Moving from Arizona to Colorado a few months ago, we are constantly starting at zero both with folks not knowing us and us not knowing them. After a few months there are a few who know much of our story and we have learned much of theirs. Still rarely a day goes by where I don't have the starting from zero experience where we try to fill each other in on our life up to this point in a nutshell. This happens at our church, in the neighborhood, with new doctors and practitioners. Rebuilding in a new community takes starting from nothing and laying new foundations that will hopefully lead to many great relationships.

I find there is an aspect of starting at zero with family and friends who have known me for ages when it comes to all the impact MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity) has had in my life. For instance my extended family and I used to eat large batches of popcorn nightly and in the last four years that has morphed into now having to explain that I have an anaphylactic allergy to corn in any form. In fact being in same room as popcorn or corn chips causes me to have asthma and other symptoms. Fragrances and cleaning products that I thought nothing of using for many years now are very problematic and can cause me symptoms days after the exposure. The starting at zero to explain myself and how so many things negatively impact me to those who have known me years earlier is hard and wearing. It is difficult feeling like my health issues are impacting others around me, yet I either have to start at zero and explain or suffer reactions. Depending on what I am exposed to the reactions are immediate or delayed with varied symptoms that may last a few hours to several days.

Many friends and family members have been empathetic and inquire how they can serve me. They are curious and ask questions about what impacts me and how to prevent reactions. Those are the ones that make it easy to rebuild from zero. I have people in my life who have gone to natural cleaners, installed used carpeting, painted with no VOC paints and installed no VOC flooring to accommodate me in their homes. My grown kids and their spouses have made their homes safe for me and gladly cater to my dietary needs. My church care group meets in a home that uses natural products and I am able to attend because they remind everybody before each meeting to not wear fragrances. This Friday we are going to a dinner where the hostess has catered the entire meal around my dietary restrictions which is no easy feat. Instead of giving up or taking me up on the offer to bring my own meal she rose to the challenge. People who respond like that greatly bless me and encourage me to make more effort to start from zero when it comes to my MCS.

Haboob in Phoenix, AZ

My MCS and the dust suppressant chemical used in Arizona are the reason we moved to Colorado
last spring. While beginning at zero in so many relationships, we have been so blessed by a church body who is warm, embracing and understanding as well as a community that is much more in tune with natural non-chemical way of life. While starting over is difficult the benefits to my health have been wonderful!

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

There is anther way I start from zero and that is with my own self. I "forget" I am not fully as healthy and energetic as I was in the past. I still think I am the gal that my husband called the "Energizer Bunny" who kept going and going. I have always been driven and thrived on activity and socializing. I still want to thrive that way. I can get busy in the living of life, remodeling or yard projects, guests staying, hiking and photographing my lovely new area and suddenly I hit a wall. I am too fatigued to function. Or I forget that I can no longer go certain places without it impacting me. Monday afternoon I went to pick up my meat order and was exposed to the strong tar odors of freshly laid asphalt in their parking lot. Since I was already out made another stop on the way home. By dinner time, I was operating in a major brain fog with extreme fatigue, allergy symptoms, migraine and facial swelling. Also realized that some of my improvement that came from my IV therapy a month ago was wearing off so I was reacting more easily and not rebounding as quickly. Still I am having some symptoms as I write this Wednesday afternoon. This morning I went and had another IV session with Meyers Cocktail and glutathione. By tomorrow morning my energy should really kick in and if like last couple times will better tolerate and more quickly rebound from exposures. Right now I am so relaxed from all the magnesium in the Meyer's Cocktail a nap is calling my name. So I need to remember to remind myself of who I am now so I don't land at zero from my own living like I did in the past.

One place I never have to start from zero is with my personal Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He knows me intimately.(Psalm 139)  He knew all my days before even a one of them was (Psalm 139:16) and has the very hairs on my head numbered! (Matthew 10:30) He cares about all the details of my life; of your lives. Such peace, assurance and grace for living flow from Christ.

So how have you had to begin from zero with others or yourself? I would love to hear your stories in the comments.



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