I was born donkey’s years ago in a military hospital. Top on their priority list was making families independent and able to rely on themselves, so they were insistent that my mother breastfeed.  This led to two weeks in the hospital with her in agony and me starving, getting only sugar water. (I do have all my base medical records, so have verified the family stories).

Years later, after I had my daughter, I was determined to breast feed and I finally located research that proved the problems in my family are indeed genetic and there are signs during pregnancy linked to the amount of difficulty you may have.  With the help of La Leche League, I succeeded, but my mother didn’t have that kind of help to fall back on.

The base doctors started me on solids very early and I threw everything up.  Their philosophy was if it made me sick, try something else and then go back to it in two weeks.  It didn’t matter. My body rejected everything and my dad later told me I screamed constantly for the first two years of my life. Hint, hint. I was hungry and in pain.

Later, civilian doctors discovered that we had a genetic issue that delayed intestinal development and my brother survived on goat milk and by the time my sister came along, she was given soy formula.

I also developed stress induced spastic colitis by the time I was two, following in the footsteps of my beloved maternal grandmother.

When I was twelve, my father, who now worked for AT&T was transferred to a town in Southern California near the Mexican border.  Rather than live in town, my parents chose to buy a house in a nearby farming community, which gave us the chance to live that idyllic rural life, riding our bikes everywhere and staying out until dark most evenings.  It was glorious, but….

We lived across the street from the middle school I attended, the Los Angeles Angels spring training camp and several alfalfa and maize fields.  What child wouldn’t be excited to see barn storming pilots in biplanes dusting the crops day after day.  Little did we know.

By the end of our sixteen months there, I could no longer tolerate perfumes or scents of any kind.  I became ill every time my mother cleaned house and as we were inundated with insects, Raid was used liberally during the entire year.

I was the canary in the coal mine.

No one else became ill and no one believed me.  It would be years before anyone would mention environmental illness or Multiple Chemical Sensitivities.

When I finally left home, I moved to Berkeley which literally saved my life.  I shopped at the local co-op and farmers’ markets. I found unscented products and as soon as organic foods became available, I jumped on the band wagon and my health improved immeasurably.

Needless to say, my daughter was raised very differently.  More on that later.

I hope you enjoy this blog and find it useful. I guarantee it’s based on years of experience.