What it Feels Like to Have Severe Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

Last summer we “dry camped” with no electricity for three months.  (And then with electricity for almost two months.)  Yeah, it was hard.  (But it sure helped my health!)

Anyway, one day during that time I wrote this:

Outcast.  Banished.  Leper.

That’s what I have felt like for about 3 ½ years.

My own body has banished me to the fringes of society

For warm food at our “campsite” tonight, my husband Steve must use propane in the Winnebago.  I must stay away.  

It’s too windy for kids to eat outside.  Steve is so tired.  He needs a break.  

I sit in my aluminum camper and decide NOT to ask him to move my bed, set up my camper table, and cart all the food here (again) so we can eat together.

So they bring out just my food and I eat by myself.  

Banished.  By MY choice at this moment.  It is worth it to give Steve a break.  

But the feelings are still there.  

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity is so devastating.  

(At least I have a husband and kids! 

But so much of the time, I don’t even feel like a part of their lives.)

Outcast.  Banished.  


Back to today (April 22, 2013).  I am much sicker now (having had to quit camping when it got too cold).  But, I do feel more a part of my husband and kids’ lives!  They are home more now (for a variety of reasons), and Steve is making more of a conscious effort than ever to tell me details about church and other activities, help me “get to know” people, etc.

Plus, a wonderful person has worked it out so I can soon attend a presentation (outside in clean air!) with my family!!  I think this is a first since I got sick, and I am so excited!!

And, our church is working very hard to make the building safer for me.  I hope VERY much to be able to attend our son’s confirmation!!!

I still feel like I am in prison in a lot of ways, but I am so grateful for the blessings.

I know that many people feel like outcasts, whether physical or emotional (or both).  It’s a terrible feeling.

One thing that all can take comfort in is this:  the great Lord of the Universe was also an outcast.  He knows what it feels like, too.

Isaiah 53:2b-3—“He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him. 3 He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.”   http://www.biblestudytools.com/nkjv/isaiah/53.html

(Despised—Jesus was despised?!)

And even more good news:  there is room for all in God’s family–no one who will believe in Jesus is an outcast. 


Christa Upton        Black Hills Picture Books        PO Box 293        Custer, SD 57730

About Christa Upton

I am a wife and mother of three children ages 11, 14, and 18. I used to be a stay-at-home mom (teaching piano & dance, volunteering, etc). From 2007 to 2010, I suffered accidental Toxic Injury (also called Multiple Chemical Sensitivity or MCS). MCS has had major impact on our family, but the forced time in bed has given me time to write. So far, I have published 4 children's books (2 in e-book format on Kindle, one in Print-on-Demand at CreateSpace, and one printed by a local printer). Sometimes I miss my old life, but I love writing for children!
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4 Responses to What it Feels Like to Have Severe Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

  1. Katie says:

    Oh, Christa, your posts just make me want to cry for you. I am so glad to be able to do a presentation for your family. I just pray that it will be an encouragement.

    • Christa Upton says:

      Thank you so much, Katie!! And just your bringing up the idea was already an encouragement!!! 🙂 I know it will be SO great for me, and I can’t wait to meet you in person!!!

  2. Anaphylaxing says:

    So sorry about all this. Struggling with a place to live too. Do you know of any scent free places to stay short term in south dakota?I mostly camp in my car

    • Christa Upton says:

      I do know of some campgrounds that do not use herbicide last I checked. Everywhere has “something,” as I’m sure you know (highway exhaust, laundromat, etc.). Please email me if you want more campground info! The national forest also allows dispersed camping, 2 weeks at a time in a 60 day period, I believe. If you are interested in this, I can direct you to some resources. There are also some heated camping cabins at Custer State Park. The mattresses are plastic and still carry quite a bit of scent, but I’ve been able to “survive” there in the off-season. They are probably starting to spray herbicides about now, though they try not to use much and there’s usually a nice wind through there (State Game Lodge Campground, specifically). The other campgrounds are in dense forest and on the outdoor moldy side.

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