MCS and holidays – bah humbug

DO NOT mention Thanksgiving or Christmas to me. Do not tell me to have a happy holiday. In fact, avoid me, period, until after all this Hallo-Thanks-Christmas crap is over.

Like many people with severe chronic illnesses, I actually CANNOT

  • Go out to a restaurant or go visiting. I have too many special food and environmental needs.
  • Go visit friends or have friends over. I am allergic to perfumes, lotions, hairspray, makeup, smoke, hand sanitizers, deodorants, breath mints, toothpaste, dog hair, cat hair, and a good deal more.
  • I cannot travel as buses and planes are communal environments and contain things dangerous to me, and I cannot afford gas for long trips.
  • I can’t share a meal or eat most of the traditional foods, and I cannot eat food from a communal, restaurant, or small kitchen.
  • I cannot buy gifts for people – not even those I love, much less those who I am only tied to by tenous levels of obligation. My healthcare and basic food costs eat LITERALLY ALL of my money.
  • I cannot receive gifts. I am allergic to wool, mothballs, detergents, books and magazines (paper/ink) and most other chemicals. And sadly almost no one ever EVER gives me something I might actually want anyway. Also sadly those people giving me things I don’t want can’t really afford to be giving me stuff either. So keep your money. Write me an email, text me, or if you really want to help materially make a donation to my HEALTH CARE ONLY fund at People who send me gifts will have them returned. 

So in summary, you would all be wise to just leave me alone until January of 2014.

I am also aware that I am currently very bad company indeed. Frequently angry, often irritable, prone to cynicism and verbal attacks. Chronic illness and isolation can do that to one. Even the best of us, and I am far from being the best of anything…

This does not mean that I do not love you or care about you or value your friendship. You, who are and have been there for me are all valued and cherished and I wish you all happy holidays and pleasant lives. I wish I could share these times with you. I wish I could give you things that would make you well, make you whole, or make you happy.

I cannot. So here are my best wishes to you, in the hopes that these things find you without my aid…

D. Elaine Calderin

P.S. for those who want to know I will be spending Thanksgiving eating fish and carrots – no salt, pepper, seasonings, or condiments – and watching a movie on my DVD player.

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9 thoughts on “MCS and holidays – bah humbug

  1. You said it well and I know where you’re coming from. Holidays are very difficult when the chemical sensitivities prevent you from socializing with friends and family.
    This time of year is a highly scented time of year – people wear perfume more often and it seems everyone has some sort of fragrance/chemical producing item out (candle, scented pinecones, etc.).
    I have learned to love the quiet evenings at home watching Christmas movies. I also will admit that I don’t feel bad about not fighting the crowds in the stores. My husband and I have created new traditions and my holidays are a lot less stressful than in my pre-chemical sensitivity days.


    1. I am glad you have found ways to adapt to the season. This is my first year in this state so I am still working out how I will cope. And you are on the money, I had never realized how scented and artificial our world is – especially around the holidays – until after being released from the hospital.


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