No Artificial Scents Please

The world lost an awesome man. I’m incredibly sad at the passing of my friend Derek K. Miller on Tuesday, May 3, 2011 due to complications from colorectal cancer at the far too young age of 41. I wonder if anyone else has thought that this means he will never make it to his Life, the Universe and Everything birthday. Sigh. In true Derek form, his last post announced his death to the world on Wednesday morning. It’s amazing how his post spread across the Internet like it did. It received coverage not only by those who knew him, but by those all over the world who heard about him. I’m glad that others got to know him even though it was through his death.

Derek was such a kind and intelligent human being, a gifted writer and he will be greatly missed. I felt I had to write something; if only to get the thoughts out of my head. And of course, I will only use one space after a period since reading Derek’s post on the topic earlier this year. I’m not really a blogger as it’s been over 2 years since I wrote anything on this site; I prefer tweeting to blogging.

I met Derek in 2008 and got to know him and later his wife, Airdrie, over the past few years. Since he was diagnosed with cancer in 2007, I didn’t know him before cancer so I knew he may leave us too soon but always hoped he would defy the odds. I feel fortunate that we got to share some good times together over the past few years. Derek and Air were an amazing couple and their love for each other could be seen; they taught me what true love looks like. My heart is breaking for his parents, Air and their daughters as they go through this horribly difficult time.

I love the last paragraph of his post (even though it makes me cry):

Airdrie, you were my best friend and my closest connection. I don’t know what we’d have been like without each other, but I think the world would be a poorer place. I loved you deeply, I loved you, I loved you, I loved you.

My Twitter stream, Flickr and Facebook aren’t quite the same since Derek left us. He was meticulous at tagging photos on Flickr and not just his own; I liked that about him. He will never make another comment on anyone’s tweets, photos or status updates. This is my first experience with the death of a Facebook friend.

Here’s a photo of Airdrie + Derek that I took last year:

Tanya + Barry boat wedding #netchickweds

I love this photo of Derek with their dog, Lucy:

Fuzzy friends

I remember when they were looking into getting a dog and Derek feared the dog would outlive him; so sad that’s the way it turned out. Derek was admired by so many people when he was alive and his death has introduced him to so many more. I’m happy that I knew him and I will miss him. Air, I’m here for you.

Oh ya, fuck cancer.

♡ #weLOVEderek ♡ #weLOVEairdrie ♡

I was wondering what to do for Earth Hour today (8:30 – 9:30 pm local time) and I’ve decided to read.  I used to read a lot of books but for some reason, I just don’t seem to have the time any longer. I guess I am reading a lot on the internet but actually reading a book, whether fiction or non-fiction, I just haven’t done it for a long time so I decided that’s what I’m doing tonight for Earth Hour. Haven’t decided on the book yet; I own a lot.

What are you going to do?

Here are links for Earth Hour Canada on Twitter, on Facebook and a plug-in for your WordPress website although I couldn’t use it because my site is a free one (annoying), and here’s WWF Canada Vote Earth.

Earth Hour at Bentall Centre

Wow, it’s been a long time since I wrote anything here.  I cannot sleep so I thought I may as well get something done.

First of all, my sensitivities are nowhere near what they used to be and the only reason I can think of is that I went off my birth control.  No, I’m not trying to get pregnant.  I was suffering from chronic bladder infections for well over a year.  After a painful procedure in December 2007 didn’t help, I followed the advice of someone who had the same procedure that wasn’t effective and went off my birth control to see if it could help me like it did with her.  And ta-da!  No more bladder infections!  I was on Depo-Provera for 9 years.

From day one, I had horribly painful and emotional periods. Over the years, I missed many days of school and work because of my period. Then I started to get them more frequently like every 3 weeks. Back in 1999 when I asked my doctor for a hysterectomy, she told me that even though I said that I don’t want kids, I was too young and no doctor would perform the surgery on me. She then told me of a great birth control where you don’t have to take a pill and in most people, you eventually don’t get your period.  Well, that was it; I was convinced that was the birth control for me.  My last period before I went on Depo was in  May 1999 and I never had another one until June 2008.

Depo saved my life back then; I was suffering terribly with my period and was just miserable.  Once I got rid of my period, things were so much better. Not to mention all the money I saved not having to buy feminine hygiene products!

Skip ahead to October 2006.  I got my first bladder infection that caused me so much pain, I had to stay home. Then I got another one 6 months later and when I mentioned it to my GP, she said we should keep an eye on them.  Had I known what was to come, I would have asked for a referral to a Urologist right away but I didn’t know that it takes so long to see a specialist (it took 4 months). I was in the hospital several times over the next year with infections that seemed to be resistant to antibiotics and I’m sensitive to sulfa, a common antibiotic for urinary tract infections so that limited the options for treatment. I was given a tentative diagnosis of interstitial cystitis from my Urologist in December 2007 and I was peeing all day and all night, in so much pain and crying all the time. I was given a drug to help me stop peeing as frequently as I didn’t always have an infection when I was constantly peeing.

My last shot of Depo was in December 2007 and I didn’t get the next one that was due in March 2008. My last bladder infection was in March; that was 10 months ago! I still take cranberry pills as a preventative measure. I recently saw one of the girls who works at a clinic I went to at least every other week for almost a year and she was so pleased to see that I was no longer suffering.  Who knew that my birth control was the culprit?!

But that’s not all it was causing. I no longer have acid reflux and my MCS is minor now. My MCS started to get better last summer and has gradually improved since then.  I’m wondering if anyone else who suffers from MCS has it because of their birth control? Yet another chemical in your body that doesn’t belong.

I’m still using natural beauty, cleaning and laundry products because I learned how dangerous the chemical-laden ones are.  Plus, now with the green revolution, everyone is making them; it’s so much easier to find natural products these days compared to 10 years ago.

And since I use natural products, I use Natracare feminine hygiene products. I keep my eye on when there are sales as they are more expensive than regular feminine products.

Today Earth Hour is happening all over the world. At 8:00 pm tonight, people around the world are turning their lights off to show that they care about the future of our planet.

Because I suffer from Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS), I am very pleased with the popularity of going Green. Green products are earth friendly and they also tend to be MCS-friendly so it’s a win-win situation.

There is an expo in a few weeks that looks interesting to people like me who suffer from MCS and like to help the Earth at the same time. It’s EP!C: The Vancouver Sun Sustainable Living Expo held from April 18 to 20, 2008 at the Vancouver Convention & Exhibition Centre.

Man, I love my Burt’s Bees lip balm. I have about 10 of them scattered in various drawers, rooms and bags in my house. I’ve tried other natural lip balms since I developed Multiple Chemical Sensitivity but they have either made me sick or I just don’t like them. I just found out that there’s a Canadian retail site for Burt’s Bees. I even joined the Facebook group for people addicted to Burt’s Bees lip balm.

John told me that he had some bad news. Let me just say that I hate it when people tell you that they have something bad to tell you instead of just coming out and telling you because in the moments between them saying they have something bad to tell you and actually telling you the news, I imagine all sorts of horrible possibilities. This was the bad news that he told me: Clorox bought Burt’s Bees. I just cannot wrap my head around that one (sounds like a match made in Hell to me). I am terribly sensitive to bleach; it gives me a migraine and makes me feel sick so the thought of a bleach company owning my favourite natural brand just doesn’t sit well. To me, bleach is poison and that is not a good thing.

I initially went to the Burt’s Bees site to see if I could find anything about this but I couldn’t. Then I googled it and came upon this letter to our loyal customers. Then I came across this article which says that Clorox is trying to go green. You can’t be green with bleach and artificial scents. Then I went to the Clorox site and looked at their products. At first glance, none of them are green; I wouldn’t be able to come within 20 feet of any of their products without becoming sick. To me, Clorox means the opposite of green which is harmful at the least and toxic at worst.

Then, I scroll through all of their products until I come to product 29 of 29 and am shocked to see the word “green” in one of their products. I clicked on it to discover that Clorox is trying to go green and they’ve got an entire line called Green Works to prove it. They’re probably sold next to their non-green counterparts so there’s no way a person like me would ever come across them. Yep, I was right, as I found out in their FAQ section. This is where you know whether a company is actually green versus trying to jump on the green bandwagon. If your so-called green products are sold beside the non-green ones, people with allergies and sensitivities won’t ever see them so you’re missing a big portion of your target market. Plus, their packaging will take on the chemical smells of the products they are sitting beside; that’s just stupid.

Okay, I’m a bit of a stockpiler. I think I got that from my mom; when she drove me across the country to start university, she took me with a year’s supply of soap, toothpaste, etc. She didn’t want me to have to spend my limited money on necessities. She would send me care packages containing a kilogram of peanut butter and a cast iron frying pan (that must have cost a lot to mail!) Anyway, I like to stock up on things when they are on sale or being cleared out. Really, shopping wisely is another skill I learned from my mom; I don’t like to pay full price for anything. Since I suffer from Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, my stockpiling has gotten worse as I am not good with new products. I find what I like and am not allergic to and I stick with it.

de~luxe Rosemary Mint is my favourite brand of shampoo and conditioner. It used to be available at Costco in Canada; that’s where I first bought them and when they were clearing out and only the shampoo was left, I bought about 8 bottles of it. They lasted for quite some time but I did run out. Then I came across them at Haggen in Bellingham, Washington and was so happy I found a supply again. I stocked up but not with 8 bottles. I’m down to my last bottle of shampoo and no more conditioner and the last 2 times I went to Haggen, there was no sign of them and no spot for them on the shelf (not a good sign).

I added 2 bottles of the shampoo and 4 bottles of the conditioner to my shopping cart at drugstore.com; of course that would involve my having to go to the U.S. since they probably only ship within the U.S. so I abandoned my shopping cart (I do have a U.S. post office box but I’d rather buy in person or have stuff delivered to my home if possible). Then I left a message on the de~luxe website asking them where in Vancouver, BC or Bellingham, WA I could buy their shampoo and conditioner. I’m anxiously awaiting a reply.

UPDATE 11:15 am May 25, 2007:

No!!!!!! My worst nightmare has come true; the line has been discontinued. Here’s what I received from them:

Hi Stacie,

Thank you for your interest in our products. As of the 1st of the year we have discontinued the De~luxe spa line. We no longer have it in retail stores, it is now available online only. If you order it through our website www.truescents.com you will eventually be re-directed to drugstore.com. Once Drugstore.com sells out of our remaining products, we will not be manufacturing any more. The hair care program with did with Costco was a little over 2 years ago and we haven’t done it since.

Unless your place an order online, there isn’t a way to get the product internationally. Also, I’ve been told that drugstore is a real pain to place an international order with. You can always call them as well at 800-378-4786 and place an order over the phone.

Thank you

 

Man, did I have trouble finding sunscreen that I won’t react to. After no luck at all the different health food stores I tried near me for the right combination of 30+ SPF, no fragrance and no chemical sunscreens, I placed an order online from this site. It looks like it’s the sunscreen for me as it is fragrance-free and non-toxic. I cannot use chemical sunscreens and I cannot have synthetic fragrances either but just to be safe I do prefer fragrance-free since I have reacted to some natural fragrances (essential oils).

It looks like UV Natural is the safest choice for anyone really as the rest of the sunscreens out there are full of cancer-causing chemicals. It’s pricier than I’d like but this site had it cheaper than another Canadian site I found. Apparently the Washington state Whole Foods Market stores are going to start carrying the sunscreen starting June 7, 2007 so I’ll have to see if it’s cheaper there the next time I go to Seattle. I was using a titanium dioxide based sunscreen but came across some pretty disconcerting information on the potential of titanium dioxide changing your DNA…scary stuff!