Monday, July 30, 2012


It's been a long time since I've posted, and since several people have written to me asking where I am and how I am doing, I decided it was time for a post.

In many ways, the past two months have been most difficult.  I headed from Desert Hot Springs to Santa Fe, where I stayed in the yard of another woman with similar sensitivity to mold and CFS-like symptoms from exposure.  I enjoyed using her kitchen and bathroom, but I was cold in the evenings.  I came down with a cold after a few days, which got me to rest as I acclimated to the high elevation (7200 ft).  By the second week, I was out taking short hikes in the woods, gradually increasing the time until at the end of my stay, I was able to walk for more than 45 minutes, much of it uphill.

Santa Fe turned out to have many buildings that knocked me out more severely than anything I'd experienced recently.  It was strange, as I 'd go into a store and not notice much of anything but by the time I was ready to leave, I'd have some ymptoms.  I'd come home, shower, change my clothes, but it didn't seem to make much difference.  Whatever the toxins, they were in my system love the architecture and the size and the landscape.  It got to the point where I didn't want to go anywhere.  The exception was Ten Thousand Waves where I found the water clean and the air good, and I always felt better after leaving that place. The downside of hiking was that I sprained the supinators on my right foot the very last night, and hobbled around for a month waiting for it to heal.

We sold our house, which apparently is something very close to a miracle in today's market.  I felt quite fortunate, even though we lost money on it, but at least we no longer have the responsibility for its upkeep.  David worked hard to get everything ready to show the house, and then worked even harder getting everything packed up to go into storage.  He drove a UHaul out to Albuquerque towards the middle of June.  We met up in Albuquerque.

It's been wonderful to have David back in my life, but it's been hard on my health.  The house in Ohio contained mold and mycotoxins to which I had developed extreme sensitivity.  Although I've been able to keep my car and my clothing (which I washed several times in Borax and hung out in the sun), I found myself reacting to things David had brought with him.  It was terribly confusing because I was in a new place (the Bernalillo KOA for the first 3 days, then Cochiti Lake for the next 8) where the air was not particularly good, we went to hear a Buddhist monk speak the first night in a building I had never been inside, and he had a hard time remembering to get everything he needed out of his truck before he showered and changed.

So we made lots and lots of mistakes, and I got very ill. It got so bad one day that I was lying around in the tent all day feeling sorry for myself and wondering why in the Hell I was out camping when I could have been home in Ohio feeling just as sick with a more comforts.  That very day David had removed two foam cushions from his truck, washed the upholstered covers, and hung them out to dry.  When I got up for a drink I bumped into the covers, smelled mold, swooned, and went back into my tent/cave.   Thankfully, he ended up taking them to the dumpster and then cleaning up, but the whole campsite at that point was so toxic to me that I had to leave the tent in the night and sleep out in the driveway, as far as possible from the area where the cushions had been.

After that, we made lots of other mistakes, but we finally figured out how to live together.  We did most of our integrating at California Hot Springs, a neat old resort on the edge of Sequoia National Park.  We were usually the only people in their small RV park, which gave us the privacy we needed, and the hot springs provided great hot water and frequent opportunities to bathe and detox.  We griped about the lack of wifi (only on 9-5, inadequate bandwidth for anything but e-mail) and the total lack of telephone service, but the weather was pleasant.  I've been able to tolerate David's clothing and shoes, but still have questions about his vehicle. Testing things had to stop when we reached the 14 day limit at the park.

During our stay, we did some traveling in Sequoia National Park and, of course, took pictures of the huge, amazing trees.  I climbed Moro rock, some 370 steps, but that was about all the hiking I felt like doing.  I was still zonked from the reactions I had the first two weeks.

My reactivity seems worse than ever.  Thankfully, David does all the errands, but one day I forgot and ran into CVS to pick up something.  Boom!  I was floored for the rest of the day, even though I was in there less than 2 minutes and I followed the advice of Lisa Petrison to pour water of my head, wash my face, and change my shirt.  It seems that for me, once a reaction starts, it has to follow its course.  I can help it be milder by removing vestiges of the toxin from my person, but the inflammatory reaction has already started and, to some extent, has to play itself out.  Nebulizing glutathione seems to help quite a bit.

We drove over the pass and headed North on CA 395 with plans of camping at Lone Pine at the entrance to Mt. Whitney. But it was windy and the RV park that took tents was right on the highway, so we headed north to Bishop, bought food, and found a park off the road.  I had a terrible reaction in Bishop, however, even though it is desert and, to my eye, seemed a similar landscape to Desert Hot Springs.  Whatever was there made me emotionally distraught (it took about 10 minutes waiting in the parking lot outside Vons while David bought our food), I woke early feeling exhausted, and all the next day, while driving through the most magnificent scenery, I kept thinking about driving off a cliff and ending the entire nightmare.

Fortunately, once we headed inland and found our way to the Carson River, everything shifted.  I didn't much like the park (it was seedy and the bathrooms were tiny and cramped) but I found my mind returning to normal thinking patterns and I slept well.  We stayed in the area for a week (we were near Markleeville) as we could go into the public library and use wifi whenever we wanted, our phones worked, and Grover Hot Springs was only a short drive away.  I loved being among the Ponderosa pines and alders.  Our neighbor had a very popular hummingbird feeder and we watching those little darlings flit around.  Instead of getting a sudden and dramatic reaction, I experienced a slow decline.  By the end of the week I was always tired and dragging, and my bowels had stopped working.  The last night was the only one that I didn't sleep.

From there, we debated going North to Bend, Oregon via Susanville and spend a lot of time researching both areas. However, the cool nighttime temperatures discouraged us, and in the end, we only went as far as Carson City (less than 2 hours) where finding a Starbucks and Trader Joes made our day.  I felt better in Carson City at a city RV park than I had at anytime in the last month.   It seems ironic that, sleeping with an eyemask and ear plugs because of the city lights and traffic, I'd sleep better than I did in the peaceful parks where we'd been.  We visited Carson Hot Springs twice, and someone stole my Nook from my tote bag while I was napping peacefully on a sunny chaise lounge.  The thief charged A Course in Miracles and another inspirational book to my credit card, which led me to discover the theft.

It was only 3 days ago that we left Carson City and headed East on Highway 50, the "loneliest highway in the US".  What splendid landscape!  Huge empty valleys surrounded my mountains on all sides, endless roads.  We've been though brown barren areas and more verdant valleys and mountain slopes.  Our first night was a long detour (51 miles) from the highway to see the fossils of the ichthyosaur, a huge marine creature.  It was our first night primitive camping and the place was beautiiful, quiet and clear.  We had a splendid view of sunset over the mountains.  I had a little more fatigue than normal adjusting to the high elevation (about 7500).

The next day we drove further east, saw Indian petroglyphs and pictographs in a cave, and camped in a forest at 7900 feet.  Again, it was beautiful, but the nights and mornings were cold.  Tonight we are warmer at the Ely KOA where the showers are marvelous, but I miss the shade and the very fresh, clean air.