1785 words 1439 ?
By mid July I had fully recovered from the April/May "attack". In spite of my misgivings about launching into a business, we signed a lease for a shop at the foot of Russian Hill. The I Ching's advice had been mixed. Hexagram 36 "Darkening of the Light. Righteous persistence in the face of difficulty brings reward." * I packed boxes in preparation for the move to our newly purchased home set for August first. Early September I supervised the renovation and decoration of the boutique while ordering merchandise. By late September I opened the perfume boutique. It amazes me now at the high energy these projects imply. And shortly after opening the store I returned to the company for my first dance class in 5 months. I remember wearing a flower in my hair, the warm greetings of other dancers, and my joy at moving again in spite of being stiff and badly out of shape.
The joy was shortlived.
For one thing, I'm not a businesswoman by temperament. A friend of my husband told him that while I seemed interested in the history of perfume, I didn't seem the least interested in selling anything. I had arranged my hours to give me time to dance – so I thought - but there were myriad détails to attend to which wore me down.
November I fell ill with a sore throat/flu like virus which, apparently triggered “a mild relapse”. I was living what would be a long standing pattern, the sore throat, sneezes, running nose runs its course only to leave me dragging along for weeks thereafter.
I now see this as the MS syndrome reactivated. Body muscle tension leads to a blood reflux into the brain and spinal cord. The poor blood circulation leads in turn to low oxygen in the central nervous system which reactivates the latent Epstein Barr Virus (the Mononucleosis inheritance). Perhaps once reactivated, the latent EBV virus in itself damages the nervous system tissues. I’m thinking through my own body experience. Once the latent EBV phase kicks in, I gradually weaken and lose ground. At the beginning in 1980 all I could do was wait it out, having no knowledge of homeopathy or any other therapy which could have nipped the virus in the bud.
I’m getting ahead of myself. Living with MS opened the healing world to me as I sought the path to recovery..I would use my own body to experience the various healing modalities . And, yes, I came to understand how MS Progresses which becomes an original hypothesis for future MS research, albeit in the alternative non drug healing world.
In some ways this setback was the beginning of the end. Of all the retail products I could have sold, perfume was the worst for my health because of the TOXICITY. Early on I became aware that I was being poisoned by the perfume vapours. My husband suggested I leave the door open, but then the diesel bus fumes invaded the shop to poison me as well and during the winter it was cold. There was no easy solution other than to quit. My head seemed perpetually "foggy", the only time I felt well was after a week's absence from the shop. So I would say that had I been able to work in a non toxic environment, I might have been able to put off the MS alot longer. It took only 6 weeks of working 5 days a week in a mildly “toxic” environment for my health to falter, and it never improved as long as I worked in the boutique.
TOXICITY might seem an excessively dramatic word for the magical world of perfume. (I favoured perfumes bottled in France. I purchased the luxury brands from wholesale importers, but we specialized in fragrant floral “waters” such as lavendars or citrus based which we imported directly from small southern French producers – the Provence. Needless to see, our own imports were the most profitable for us. After we closed the boutique I would continue for awhile as wholesaler of our own fragrances.)
TOXICITY had been building up over my lifetime. For starters I was born and lived my first 3 years downwind from the Hanford Nuclear Facility. It was only in the 1980’s that the US government admitted eastern Washington had been contaminated by radioactive pollution. (Recently a rash of serious birth defects have been reported in the area surrounding Hanford. Radioactivity just doesn’t disappear.) A lifetime victim of Allopathic treatments through prescription drugs (antibiotics) for strep throats and cystitus, more toxicity through surgeries - tonsillectomy, appendectomy, hysterectomy. Mercury in Amalgam fillings. I took birth control pills in the early days (1967-1969) only to stop when I thought my head was going to explode. However by far the most serious poisoning, DES Diethylstilbestrol, was prescribed periodically in 1973-77 to treat endometriosis. This drug really sickened me. A true poison, it is infamous now for causing genital deformities in children and even grandchildren of women who took it during pregnancy. I had an old fashioned gynecologist, it’s amazing to me that he prescribed it. Fortunately my HMO gynecologist took me off of it, saying I could develop breast cancer as a result. (Ironically, it may be the eventual detoxification and optimized nutrition of my MS treatment which has saved me from breast cancer.) More toxicity came through antiobiotics prescribed periodically beginning 1967 to treat cystitis (another female disease).And even though my diet was nutritious according to most criteria, given my intolerance to glutens and lactose and various other items, toxicity had been building up since birth. So by November 1980 the perfume appears to have pushed me over the edge.
Just as I had begun to get into dancing shape Sept-Oct 1980, the viral illness set me back. And this dynamic would continue for months. I just couldn't get my head above water. The Christmas rush totally exhausted me so that I didn't really recover my strength until the following October. Then in February 1981 disaster struck. I had enjoyed a successful en pointe class the previous evening, I hoped to perform even better when a piroutte sent me crashing brutally to the floor, badly injuring my back. Even though I had wanted to think I had entirely recovered from the mysterious nerve "attack" of the previous year, I was forced to admit that my balance was "off". I literally crawled off the floor. I waited a few days before visiting a Chiropractor. He took the X rays, said I had scoliosis, my spine was twisted and he ordered 3 visits a week for an indefinite period. He didn't use a collapsible table, he "cracked" my neck, and then, one leg over the other, "cracked" my back, it was a bam bam thank you Ma'am type affair. I assume he was freeing blood and cerebrospinal fluid flow through the central nervous system (spinal cord/brain.). It would take a good 30 years for me to become aware of the importance of treating the upper cervicals and Orthogonal Atlas. I don't know what he did really. But I gradually recovered.
A few weeks after my fall, I was shocked to see my name missing from the Company’s rehearsal schedule for the next season. Not shocked that I would be unable to perform, simply shocked that the director lacked the courage and decency to discuss the matter with me. It was quite clear to me that my glory days were over.
I immediately decided to leave the Company classes. And over the next few months I knew real joy on the dance floor. Freed from the pressure to compete, to perform, I exulted in the power I still enjoyed in my young, lithe body. February 1981 I hired Christine, a French student at UC Berkeley , to work part-time in the boutique, thus freeing me several days a week, above all to dance. Dancers touch one another in appreciation, in comraderie. I particularly enjoyed the classes of Alonzo King who had just arrived in San Francisco, the morning sun streaming onto oak floors of the Mission Street studio, the piano, the dancers. A bright memory of a brief moment of real happiness. But clouds were forming on the horizon in Spring 1981. It was then I began to know insomnia for the first time. This foreshadowed a troubled metabolism even though on March 25 the Neurologist notes that the right arm anomalies had disappeared and, though probable Multiple Sclerosis, it was residual. He didn’t mention Multiple Sclerosis to me. I didn’t know what that meant, I did’nt care.He put me on a 6 month check-up schedule