Friday, February 19, 2016

Did Your Pharmacist Tell You This?

I am still reeling from some information I received from my Pharmacist consultation this week.  After entering the time continuum stage where hormones are in an uproar your dialogue changes.  You know that stage of life where a woman is losing her nurturing hormones and where the dialogue used to go something like this, “oh, sure you need that done, okay, anything to help sweetie.”  Now the dialogue is like this, “you need that done, well, over there are the washer and dryer, do it yourself…I’m over here having tea.” (And this is the nice version.)
Actually, the doctor said I had no progesterone and very little estrogen.  No problem...compounding “bioidentical” replacement therapy (BHRT) to the rescue.

“Are you going to hold your pet later,” she asked.

When you begin a new regimen, the pharmacist usually consults with you on how to take your medication. How hard can this be? Let’s see, a few pumps of the estrogen cream, rub it in and away you go. Then she asked me, “are you going to hug anyone or hold your pet today?” With a puzzled look on my face, she repeats the question, “are you going to hug anyone or hold your pet later?” So was thinking…husband and daughter are out of town, actually I’m the one out of town. Still thinking...I don’t usually hug with the fragrance allergy I have... I don’t like to risk transference (see my blog post here).  A friend has adopted our cat, so “no”, I said.  Then I asked why. She then informed me that especially when you hug your husband or anyone for that matter, you need to be careful in not transferring the estrogen cream on to them. Remember, the estrogen is being absorbed through your skin, it can also be absorbed through his skin and he can develop female mammary glands (men breasts.) I’m like, uh… good information to know.  

Baffled, I had never heard that before, though, it makes good practical sense as I pass this scent-free savvy tidbit along.

I thought my biggest hurdle was to be assured that the bio-identical hormone cream was soy, egg, and fragrance free. The possibility of unwanted mammary glands for my husband or pet…well, I didn’t see that one coming. Therefore, I will wear my estrogen cream proudly and take precaution… as I continue to be savvy and scent free.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Eco Friendly Fragrance Free Salon in New Hampshire

After seeing a post on Facebook at the website Women's Voices for the Earth about Moira's Story: Fragrance & Formaldehyde, we reached out to Moira to ask if we could include her fragrance free salon on our blog page "Scent-Free Professional & Retail Establishments.

After Moira began having symptoms to chemicals at work, she found it necessary to open her own fragrance free salon. 

Seeking a healthy and safe environment, in 2011 she opened Earthly Roots Hair Studio. Please read her full story HERE. We applaud you Moira.

People with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS) or that have fragrance allergies and sensitivities need safe service providers and vendors.  We are in great need of people that provide personal care and services such as hair stylists, dentists, doctors, attorneys, insurance agents, realtors.  In addition, we need retail establishments that are fragrance free. In places such as these, it can be difficult to shop or get services when we are inundated with fragrant odors.

As well, we are looking for employers that have a fragrance free policy established or looking to establish a policy. If you know of any employer, professional or retail establishment contact us at and continue to be savvy and scent free.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Way to Go Califia Farms®

When I first saw this Pure Cold Brew coffee with almond milk by Califia Farms®, I couldn't contain my excitement. I'm so happy... I'm so happy.  For me I am ecstatic to have allergen friendly non-GMO alternatives.

When my friend's son came in with this coffee drink, I noticed that the product was soy free, dairy free, GMO free, bpa free and vegan.

Whaaat! Now you are talking my language.  I can get a coffee product without aggravating my allergies.  I was hooked at almond milk and soy free. All the allergen friendly/non-toxic ingredients is a bonus, so I am shouting from the mountain tops.

I finally found two cold brew varieties at Wal-Mart. Recently, I found Califia Farms® almond milk and the combined coconut and almond milk combination at the local grocery store.

Earlier today, I checked their website (I don't know why I didn't think of that sooner) and I found a variety of coffees, almond milks, and juices.

For those allergic to almonds these products may not be for you.  But check out the website for juice alternatives.

The website states that all of their products are now 100% carrageenan free, this includes the juices people (the coffee products I photos that are shown are prior to this change.)

The coffee drinks, I found at Wal-Mart and Target. My friends found them at Costco in smaller bottles. I found the almond milk at the local grocery stores in California such as Ralphs and Vons

Monday, February 1, 2016

"You Can Hug Me"

Are you a hugger? I'm a hugger. I like hugs. I think hugging is more than a mere show of affection. To me it can be therapeutic and comforting. With a fragrance allergy you can be are cut-off from the physical affections of others, like a simple hug. 

My friend Ashley gives these giant bear hugs so strong you might lose a bit of oxygen if only for a moment. I miss those hugs as she lives thousands of miles away. You see, Ashley doesn't wear fragrance or perfume of any sort. 

Drawing by Lana Willison.  Copyright, All Rights Reserved

I found as my fragrance allergy worsened, I was not able to give or receive hugs from others wearing perfume or cologne because the toxic chemicals would transfer to my clothing, face or hair and I would be sick the rest of the day. I found myself not being able to find the oxygen in the air, my chest would compress and my breathing would be compromised. 

Sometimes Benadryl® would help, however that is not a viable alternative if I am the designated driver. I'm a Realtor® and mom of an 11 year old. I'm on the road quite a bit. 

At times, I would have to go home, shower, change and go to bedAs I say to my family I'm "done for the day." 

This "transference" can pose a huge problem if I am some distance from home or in a situation where going home is not possible.  Now, before I hug, I've learned it is best to stop and ask if a person is wearing perfume or cologne. 

Recently, overcome by not seeing a long time friend, I went in for the "Ashley bear hug".  Unfortunately, that mistake...that hug led to "transference". I had to immediately change plans, go to the nearest retail store which in this case was "Ross" and purchase a new blouse just so I would not be ill on the drive home.  My symptoms can range from vomiting, a headache, chest pains and excessive spitting.  I know, I know "gross" as my daughter would tell me. 

So even though I haven't seen a person in decades, I've found it best to let them know I love them, not hug and be as the old cliche says "better safe than sorry".

Some years back, there was an incident that changed me forever.  At weekly meetings that I attend, I was having a particular wearisome time coping with this fragrance allergy. One day, a friend, whom we affectionately call Grandma Kate pulled me aside and said, "you can hug me today."  I know I had a perplexed look ~ to hear someone say that to me, I didn't understand.  She said again, "you can hug me today, I stopped wearing perfume for you". 

I don't think she truly understood what that selfless act meant to me. She put aside her own wants and preferences for my safety. I gave her a huge hug. I wanted to do and say more, however, I don't think I could truly respond in the way I would have liked without actually sobbing and going into the ugly cry. I understood that statement to signify, "you matter to me", "I love you". Grandma Kate I will forever love you and what you did for me that day. Thank you for allowing me to hug you free of fragrance and harm. 

Without hugging, we can assure our friends that we love them so as not to compromise our health and enjoyment of day by stopping, asking and then resuming the hugging position. 

So if you are a hugger, like me, hug in a way that you can be savvy and scent free.