Hi, my name is Claire Sommers and twenty years ago I followed my dream to become a fabric designer. I opened my design studio from a spare room in our home and raised our two boys while working from home.
I used fabric dyes every day which involved working with chemicals as well as handling fabrics which are generally saturated in chemicals. At this stage I had no idea of the consequences to my health.
This fitted into our lifestyle perfectly, as my husband also worked from his home based workshop as a builder and allowing us the convenience to be hands on while raising our family.
My business flourished as I set up shop in my small hometown. My children grew as my business grew. Life was good! Then suddenly 16 years into my business I became very ill after working with some new fabric dyes I had purchased to experiment with a series of special screen printed fabric lengths I had designed.
I awoke the following morning to find my entire body had reacted, my hands were swollen and had a weird rash, I felt so ill and and my eyes were burning. I soon learned that after immersing my hands in these chemicals and inhaling the smell, they had entered through my skin and into my bloodstream.
After years of working with fabric dyes and inhaling the smells, my body was reacting and saying “THATS ENOUGH, I CANNOT ABSORB ANYMORE POISON”!!and let me know very dramatically. Of course there were warning signs but in the general busyness of running my own creative small business, a young family and trying to be a super woman, I ignored my own warning signals. To be honest, I don’t think I was all that aware of my own body back then.
My Body Is Giving Me Warnings!
For months after I was swollen,feeling so fatigued and unwell, as if I had been hit with a terrible case of the flu, aching joints, inability to think clearly, covered in hives and suffered what I called “chest pains” After many visits to my local doctor, and the emergency room, they could only then put me on drugs to “mask” my symptoms, they did the best they could , but it wasn’t enough.
I finally went to a larger hospital in a city near our home to discover after extensive testing that I was allergic to the chemicals in the fabric dyes and the particular dyes which I was so excited about, were the “icing” on the cake that seemed to tip the scales on multiple sensitivities appearing to so many things as my whole immune system felt under siege and collapsed.
Help Is On It’s Way!
While my body was fighting off this chemical allergy, I was also stricken with Acid Reflux, SEVERELY!
I had no idea what was happening to my body. I would suddenly have really bad pains in my shoulder blades, middle of my chest and jaw line. It felt like a heart attack each time and it was seriously scary for me .
With a little investigation I soon learned it was Hiatus Hernia. It seemed everything I ate was affecting me now. Even water. My biggest triggers were the acid foods such as tomatoes, oranges and hot stuff. Also sadly,chocolate and red wine. After these painful events I would wake up every morning ( as they got really really bad in the middle of the night when I slept or laid down) covered in hives. I mean COVERED.
No one would believe me when I kept telling them there was a connection between the acid reflux and the hives. They would just tell me I must be stressed, that was the only answer there seemed to be out there in the medical profession regarding chronic hives. ( you can read more about this at) Chronic Hives
I was eventually put on Zegerid which is an acid reflux med. Sometimes I was taking this twice a day, and still suffering, but in hindsight part of this could have been a reaction to the drug side effects as I am very sensitive .
I can happily report with our diet of fresh vegetable juices, raw foods, and clean eating I am 100% pain free and no longer need any medications.
A few years passed and with the avoidance of chemicals in my fabric design studio and some allergy medication I was able to function once again. I had manged to find fabric dyes which were relatively natural as well as changing the way I worked with them. However my problem was not gone. About a year later, my illness came back. And this time I was determined to find some answers……
So, one Sunday afternoon I made a phone call to someone with a background in the health field. I broke down on the phone. She advised me to get a handle on my illness and not let it own me. Wow, what powerful words from someone with such knowledge for health. And this inspired me to be proactive in changing my whole lifestyle and diet and make positive changes towards a chemical free life.
So that is what I did. For the first week she challenged me to go vegan. The whole idea just blew me away. I was a meat eater. I LOVED meat. How could I give that up. I was raised on a farm where we raised cattle for heaven’s sake!
What I began to do…..
We were put in touch with a wonderful, patient, knowledgeable combined homeopath and naturopath specialist, and immediately she started a full detox program. She sent off a hair analysis to be tested for toxins in my system. She encouraged me to eat organic vegetables and fruits and to follow the same regime as I had been for that first week. She was honest right from the beginning and told me this was still a chemical allergy my body was fighting off and my whole body system could take up to two years to fully recover from if, not longer.Which was a bit daunting for me to say thee last!!
She also advised me to go gluten free, as many of my symptoms were pointing to me being either intolerant or allergic to wheat.I am blessed me with a wonderful husband and a friend who jumped right on the band wagon with me and encouraged me every step of the way.
And there were many days I am sure I would have given up and thrown it all in without their positive support and feedback and new ideas to try out for all of us. When keeping this journey moving forward, it is so important to have the support of a few close people because it is a hard and emotional journey! I am so grateful every day to you Don and Rosie!
We also made different choices when it came to our household cleaning supplies, laundry soaps, detergents and even the toothpaste we used. Everything we replaced became organic and chemical free. We read the backs of packets and bottles avidly and read widely about natural solutions for our health. We began using common kitchen ingredients to clean our home such as mixing white vinegar and water to use in our cleaning supplies and various other kitchen ingredients to do some other jobs in our home.
Our energy and spirits began to lift in such a short time, it was incredible, our lifestyle change was worth all our hard work, the tears, sweat and effort paid off and the rewards were huge:)
There Is Hope
We now choose to buy organic fruits and vegetables and grow a lot of our own produce in our large gardens. A chemical free lifestyle truly can make an astonishing change in your life. Our lives are fuller, more balanced and energized. We seem to be a living a far more positive and happier life today then we ever have before.
I hope you too can learn all the ways in which leading a chemical free lifestyle can change your world for you and make everyday be as sensational as it can possibly be! May your journey ahead find you with much peace and happiness around you. I am living proof that the extra effort is well worth the end results.
From my heart to yours,