MCS & Biotoxin Illness: Evaluating Progress in Health

An engineer, whose wife had MCS, told us you can never know you have removed enough chemicals from the environment for the body to recover until you see the body recovering.

(So, they built a house absolutely as low-chemical as they could without compromising certain goals they had for their house. Which is what we did, too.)

Sometimes recovery is very obvious. You feel better immediately in a new environment.

But sometimes, when you have been sick as long as I have with a lot to detox, or when you have other health problems contributing, or when certain body systems are severely affected, or when certain substances are being detoxed, recovery is harder to gauge.

Is the environment good enough? Have I removed enough chemicals? Have I found everything that was bothering me? Did I get rid of all the mold and moldy items? Did something new come in that is affecting me?

Sometimes evaluating the environment feels like a full-time job!

Anywhere along the journey can become confusing, partly because things change so quickly. Among things that can change which can affect healing are: outdoor environments and air, new things brought into the home, new mold growth, other health factors, emotions, stress, even your perception of your health.

But, I feel one of the most important things I have learned along the way is:

When detoxing in a decent environment, generally try to evaluate progress only once every 1 – 3 months.

This does not include huge, sudden declines in health or new smells or new circumstances.

I also do not mean for anyone to take this 1 -3 month suggestion legalistically. There may be other factors, and this time period is NOT based on science, just my own experiences and observations. Please DO deviate if you need to.  🙂

So new smells: Toxins can NOT always be identified by a smell, but smells can be a good indicator.

A good example is a couple weeks ago, when I smelled a cologne/fabric softener smell coming in my east window.

I calmly began to investigate  Okay, I freaked out and tore through the house and yard in search of the problem. LOL

It turned out to be the plastic food cooler sitting at the end of the house, on the east side of the house, outside. Apparently it had picked up enough cologne, from tiny amounts in the car from what Steve and the kids’ clothing had picked up, and other scent from grocery bags, that it became toxic. I bent over and took a sniff and about threw up on my shoes. Then I gagged and coughed for the next 30 minutes.  Yup, the cooler is the problem. For some reason, cologne in plastic like that in particular affects me like this. I feel miserable for 30 minutes. So, out by the shed it went.

So yeah, you don’t want to ignore signs that something might be affecting you.

But otherwise, progress with an illness like this is tricky. This is for at least three reasons:

  • Apparently, the body stores toxins in fat. As you heal more and exercise more, these toxins can apparently come out more and more. Sometimes it causes effects, like headaches from whatever substance the body has turned these things into in an effort to “metabolize” them and/or get rid of them.
  • If the toxic substance is fungal, HERX reactions (feeling ill as bad microbes in the body die off and release toxins) can happen as the fungus dies.
  • The body is working to heal and rebuild many parts of the body as it detoxes. Sometimes in the process, it seems the body just needs to rest. This doesn’t necessarily mean a “decline” in energy, it’s just part of the process.

So, you may have your energy continuously rise for months, like I did at first in this house. Or, you may find yourself in the situation I am now—great rises of energy followed by much need for rest. Sometimes it’s 5 good days followed by 2 bad days. Sometimes it’s 10 great days followed by 10 horrible days.

Of course, the goal is not just stability but progress. But, evaluating more often can lead to discouragement. Day-to-day, it can seem like very little progress, if any at all.

It can be good to write down some personal statistics to evaluate over months rather than days or weeks. Is there an increase in energy over 3 months? Energy is one of the easier ones to evaluate, because again, “symptoms” can be tricky.

Even for “normal” healing, like from surgery or something, a wise nurse once told me it is 2 steps forward, 1 step back, which seems to surprise most people. I believe this phenomenon is exaggerated even more in a detoxing-illness, because the body has to detox (take care of bad substances) AND heal.



Christa Upton   Black Hills Picture Books   Edgemont, SD  57735 

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!
This entry was posted in Caregivers, Low-Tox House, MCS/Chronic Illness, Mold/Mould and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to MCS & Biotoxin Illness: Evaluating Progress in Health

  1. Eliana says:

    VERY good advice Christa! I would have never come up with this good point. I am hypervigilant and that is awful for the soul. So this will help a lot for the next months.

  2. Kris says:

    what a good reminder on how our bodies need to recover after having spurts of energy. I don’t need to be so hard on myself when I need to recuperate!

    • Christa Upton says:

      Yes, definitely!!! 🙂 It’s so easy to be hard on ourselves, isn’t it? 🙁 I hope we can all overcome this (I guess I’d call it needless energy spent on false guilt?) Sending love & hugs!!!

  3. Aylin says:

    So very true! And good advice to help in not getting discouraged along the way….

Leave a Comment