Our Stolen Future

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This past week 2 young children in Alberta, Canada died from pesticides used in their home. Because I too have experienced the devastation caused by pesticide poisoning, I feel compelled to share this story I wrote many years ago. Today I am remembering Cindy Duehring.

When I first became chemically injured, I was guided to Cindy Duehring who lived in a small rural community in North Dakota. Like me, Cindy had also been poisoned by pesticides and the continual assault on her system by toxins in her community forced her to live in isolation as well. She was a great source of hope and encouragement. Whenever I spoke with her I came away with new courage to face the day. Those were difficult times of adjusting to chronic illness and disability, and she helped me to go on.

Cindy had been a brilliant pre-med student when her apartment got sprayed. Before that, she had been extremely healthy, active in sports, and pursuing a degree in medicine. The poisoning caused a steady deterioration in her health including a seizure disorder, reactive airways dysfunction, peripheral neuropathy, fibromyalgia, and a disorder of porphyrin metabolism, as well as auto-immune, kidney, and neurologic damage. Even low level exposures to chemicals caused seizures and severe bronchial reactions so that she had to live in a specially created environment with windows covered over with foil to protect her from sunlight which triggered a reaction. Cindy had not left her space or even seen the sun shine for eight years. Continue reading