I am now at a place where I can feel when the CIRS response flares. As if the inflammatory cytokines are coursing through my bloodstream and into my brain. And they probably are.
I had my heart set on Santa Fe as a place to relocate. I visually loved the city and the surrounding landscape. But after 'camping' at the Hilton our first night in town, I got so sick that I really couldn't enjoy doing much in Santa Fe. It rained every night we were there, as August is their 'monsoon season.' I don't know if not feeling good there was due to the normal 2-3 days to recover from an exposure, or from increased levels of mold in the Black Canyon forest where we camped and in the city, where many faux stucco houses with flat roofs have inadequate drainage and become mold factories during the wet season.
I know only that the next day, when we stopped at a campsite in the Manzano Mountain range after driving through pouring rain and mud, I felt fabulous and wanted to take a hike for the 1st time in 12 years! That feeling went away when we got back into the city, I took one whiff of my friend's apartment, and knew I could not tolerate the indoor air.
The trip taught me how healthy I can be in the right environment. I also learned that just going into stores can trigger a CIRS reaction that continues hours later. If I don't get back into clean air soon, as I learned from doggedly sleeping in the plush bed in the Hilton, I will get worse, and the reaction can take days to get out of my system.
But where is this healthy environment? A campsite in a national forest with composting toilets and no running water is tolerable for a few nights, but not a few months. I've contacted people on internet lists such as Sickbuildings who have walked this path before me. Almost all say they wasted years and lots of money looking for a safe house. Most advise me to leave my house and all my belongings, buy a piece of land, and build a safe house. OMG
My temporary plan -- to the extent that I have a plan -- is to do a bit more camping someplace warming than Ohio. I'm not thrilled at the prospect of investing in an RV, nor am I thrilled at the prospect of heating my shower water in a kettle and carrying my food around in coolers. But I trust that the solution, for the time being, will come to me at the right time.
Now is not the right time, although I'm fading here in Ohio. I have to harness my energy to get things done so that I can leave without abandoning obligations. This weekend I had a yard sale. This week I will get some medical tests done. I'll spend time doing research on campsites with running water and showers and not too far from organic food supplies. I also have to look for a new car, since the carpeting in mine has a musty odor and I now drive it with all the windows open.
The good thing is that my body has spoken loudly and clearly. It's telling me what it wants -- clean air, far from pollution of cars and buildings with all their chemicals, moderate to low humidity. My job now is to find the courage to give it that gift for several months in order to break the vicious cycle of inflammatory reactions and let my system settle into a new set point. I'm excited to see where that point might be.
People on the internet have been great support. We've had an active discussion about camping as an intermediate step in the healing process from CIRS on the sickbuildings yahoo list. The locationseffect site has provided interesting information, and various friends have chimed in with helpful suggestions.
If you know of a temperate climate, not desert, not humid, where I can live outdoors much of the winter, and have organic food accessible, please let me known. I'm even open to 'renting' someone's back yard!