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Old 12-14-2008, 06:22 AM   #1
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Washing Machine from HELL!!!

Our ten year old washing machine was giving us problems, so we purchased a new one. Soon after it was installed, I started suffering from a tight chest, labored breathing, fatigue, uncomfortable heartbeat, higher blood pressure, malaise and aching neck and shoulders, most of which worsened around 8pm. That was a week ago.

I went through seven days of hell! I tried to cover the washing machine with Vinyl Sheetings, blankets, self sticking shelf covering, large paper trash bags (go ahead and laugh! ) and still had the same nasty health problems, which got worse at night.

I tried to provide a "safe room" using vinyl sheeting, but that failed due to a reaction to the vinyl sheeting and not being able to seal it 100%. I tried to create a safe room using door/window self stick insulating strips, but that failed also due to not being able to get 100% seal, I guess. (could be the AC ductwork???).

I would guess that the problem is due to the type of stronger rubber that is used within the washing machine to withstand the higher spin speeds of the new higher efficiency washing machines. I don't really know what is causing the problem. I only know that something in the paint, or metal, or material or insides of that washer that is making me deathly ill.

Well, guess what......... I've solved the problem. Sort of.

I have an old, 12' by 16' blue tarp that had been used over a portion of our roof, after damage from a hurricane in 2005. I smelled it and it seemed to have little odor (not that that means a lot). We took the tarp, and carefully worked the tarp over, under and around the almost 200 pound washing machine, sealed most of it with low-odor duct tape, and sealed the front with binder clips.

IT WORKED!!!!!! :

Now.... before you think that I am a total idiot wondering how we are going to do the wash with the washer totally enclosed in a tarp! , I sealed the front of the tarp with many binder clips. Once a week, when my wife does the laundry, I will open the front of the tarp, attach the hoses and electric, and then get out of the house until she is done. Or...... I am going to build a structure for a doorway that I can use, with another tarp, to create a safe room, to stay in during laundry time.

I didn't try a tarp earlier because I thought that the tarp would smell worse than the vinyl sheeting, or be more offensive than clear vinyl sheeting. Happily, and fortunately, I was wrong.

We could have returned the washer and bought a different brand, but figured, either rightly or wrongly, that another new washer would yield the same nasty results. Many washers of different brands are made by the same company.

Anyways....... I still have to endure contact with the washing machine on laundry day, once a week. We'll have to see how that goes.

For those who don't have environmental illnesses, consider yourselves very fortunate, not to have to contend with nasty health problems caused by normal, innocuous, seemingly safe household items; while at the same time having to contend with ignorant, closed-minded people, and doctors, whose greatest skill is not thinking, but writing standard prescriptions for colds and flu.

I wish I could post a picture of my tarped washer, for the enjoyment of all with a sense of humor, but cannot do it here.

.
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Doing well after 20+ years of Heart Failure, Persistent Atrial Fibrillation, Asthma, MCS, Insulin Resistance, Hypertension, Immune Dysfunction.
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CHF, A-fib, HBP, Insulin Resist & Asthma much better

⇒ I avoid common ordinary but unhealthy household items
⇒ Balanced, healthy diet
⇒ Exercise
⇒ I alter my Circadian Rhythm
⇒ I LOVE COREG!

Last edited by Machaon; 12-17-2008 at 06:12 AM.

 
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Old 12-15-2008, 08:00 AM   #2
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Re: Washing Machine from HELL!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Machaon View Post
I am going to build a structure for a doorway that I can use, with another tarp, to create a safe room, to stay in during laundry time.
I placed another identical tarp in my computer room. In a short time, there were tell-tale signs of a "reaction", such as a fullness in my chest, breathing becoming a bit more labored, feeling tired, and my heart "thudding" slower and more labored in my chest.

I removed the tarp and symptoms improved. It begs the question, why can I have a tarp in the other room, and not react to it, but I can't have the washing machine ANYWHERE in my home, without a severe reaction, unless covered up 100% by the same tarp that offends me when it is in the same room!?

This is what is maddening about having MCS, Allergies and Heart Failure. Could I be reacting allergically to the tarp, but chemically to the Washing Machine?

Or is it that there are different levels of chemically sensitive reactions?

With Heart Failure, the immune system over-reacts to sometimes innocuous triggers. That just adds to the complexity of my health problems.

What I do know is, the longer I would keep the tarp in my room, or the washing machine exposed, the sicker I would get.

Oh well, after over 20 years of heart failure, high blood pressure, asthma, MCS, Immune System Dysfunction, Persistent Atrial Fibrillation and Insulin Resistance, I am very fortunate to, not only be alive, but also have a decent quality of life. Must always look at the glass being half full in order to maintain one's sanity.
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CHF, A-fib, HBP, Insulin Resist & Asthma much better

⇒ I avoid common ordinary but unhealthy household items
⇒ Balanced, healthy diet
⇒ Exercise
⇒ I alter my Circadian Rhythm
⇒ I LOVE COREG!

 
Old 12-16-2008, 07:28 AM   #3
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Re: Washing Machine from HELL!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Machaon View Post
...It begs the question, why can I have a tarp in the other room, and not react to it, but I can't have the washing machine ANYWHERE in my home, without a severe reaction, unless covered up 100% by the same tarp that offends me when it is in the same room!?...
Machaon,

What you are going through must be frustrating indeed. I am impressed that you are able to maintain a (relatively) positive attitude about it all.

One thought about your reaction to the second tarp is that you might not be so much reacting to the tarp itself, but to the computer and other objects whose outgassing is trapped in the room. Even though you may feel that these other objects don't normally give you problems, there might normally be better ventilation in the computer room, which is then cut off when you seal it up with the tarp.

Just a thought.

I don't have as wide-spread a reaction to as many things as you, but I do sympathise, as I react to perfume -- which is pretty hard to avoid!

Best of luck,

--Rheanna

 
Old 12-16-2008, 08:51 AM   #4
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Re: Washing Machine from HELL!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rheanna View Post
Machaon,

What you are going through must be frustrating indeed. I am impressed that you are able to maintain a (relatively) positive attitude about it all.
Thanks for your kind, complementary remark.

For the past 20 years, almost all of my efforts have been towards surviving Heart Failure combined with Persistent Atrial Fibrillation, Insulin Resistance and chronically High Blood Pressure. Now that those diseases are at bay, I've turned my full attention towards my Environmental Illness, which, as you say, is extremely frustrating and angering!

Quote:
One thought about your reaction to the second tarp is that you might not be so much reacting to the tarp itself, but to the computer and other objects whose outgassing is trapped in the room.
Well..... there is no doubt that you are familiar with MCS. Yes..... I do have problems with electronics. With some electronics, if I air them out for a week or two prior to bringing them inside, I will be OK. With others, I just cannot have them inside.

My previous PC was getting old and inadequate. I first tried to replace the monitor. I purchased an inexpensive LCD monitor, and had no reaction to it. I then bought a new computer and better LCD monitor, and got lucky again, because I was able to have both inside, and use both without reaction.

I've got several old, really old, laptops. Kind of a hobby of mine, keeping those old laptops alive. I've removed the major batteries. I used to be able to spend long periods of times tinkering with them, but now, the longer I am exposed to one of the old laptops, the worse I get. When I have to work on one, which is almost never these days, I do it as quickly as I can.

Of the remote controls we have, I can't get close to two of them. The rest of them offer no problem.

Quote:
Even though you may feel that these other objects don't normally give you problems, there might normally be better ventilation in the computer room, which is then cut off when you seal it up with the tarp.
Regarding ventilation...... I have found that, opening up the windows, and airing out the place, at least once a day helps. On high pollen/pollution days, it bothers my allergies, but it helps with the MCS.

Quote:
I don't have as wide-spread a reaction to as many things as you, but I do sympathise, as I react to perfume -- which is pretty hard to avoid!

Best of luck,

--Rheanna
Cigarette smoke, even if on someone's clothes, or hair, hours after they have smoked, is one of my worst irritants. It causes nasty Allergic and MCS reactions.

What happens to you when you come into contact with perfume?

And....... thanks for your suggestions and comments!
__________________
CHF, A-fib, HBP, Insulin Resist & Asthma much better

⇒ I avoid common ordinary but unhealthy household items
⇒ Balanced, healthy diet
⇒ Exercise
⇒ I alter my Circadian Rhythm
⇒ I LOVE COREG!

Last edited by Machaon; 12-16-2008 at 09:06 AM.

 
Old 12-16-2008, 12:11 PM   #5
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Re: Washing Machine from HELL!!!

Machaon,

I go through periods of being more or less sensitive. And some perfumes really set off an asthmatic reaction, although all of them are unpleasant. The expensive ones give me a worse reaction than the el-cheapo ones.

I use products with no perfumes at home, but all I have to do is take public transportation (we have no car) or sit in a restaurant chair or sit in someone's car or visit someone's home, and my clothes come home reeking of ghastly perfume. The most effective way that I have found to deal with it is to hang the clothes outside. Expensive perfumes take longer than cheap ones. Cold days (especially below freezing) breaks down the perfume faster, and really hot days (especially if there is a lot of ozone in the air) also work. Of course, ozone makes it difficult for me to breath, but I solace myself with knowing that it's at least working for me in breaking down the perfume.

If I really had MCS, like you, this would be insufficient. It is apparent that perfumes are a combination of many chemicals, only some of which are the smelly ones. I can bring the clothes inside when the smelly perfumes have broken down, but I can still smell other chemicals, which I imagine would be a problem for folks with MCS. Once I bring the clothes inside, I find that washing them in perfume-free detergent (I use Spinnrad which is available here in Germany) makes them wearable again.

I find that cigarette smoke is unpleasant and irritating (and I am SOOOO glad that new European rules have banned smoking in restaurants and public places!!!), but it doesn't affect me the way perfume does. It's just a local reaction (burning throat and eyes, unpleasant smell) rather than a whole-body reaction (asthma = difficulty breathing, throat closing up).

I rather suspect that sensitivities, including the more intense MCS, are a result of the body being unable to cope when the immune system becomes overloaded in some way. You have lived through some major health problems. The human body has some powerful mechanisms for trying to come back to health, but it can only do so much. I think that each of us has some weak link, and that's where our bodies show that they are having difficulty coping.

As you become stronger and healthier by bringing your other health problems under control, I hope that you can find more and more periods when your MCS is not so strongly reactive.

--Rheanna

 
Old 12-19-2008, 09:47 AM   #6
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Re: Washing Machine from HELL!!!

Yesterday, Thursday, was our first washing machine day. We opened all of the windows.

I removed the binder clips from the front of the tarp, exposing the washing machine, and attached the hoses and electric, all the while wearing a mask (for all the good that does?! ).

I moved as quickly as I could, and made sure that the washer was in balance. My breathing was getting slightly labored, with pressure in my chest, and I was getting somewhat woozy, but not as bad as I thought it would be.

My wife started the wash, while I retreated to my den, where I had all of the windows open. I started feeling worse, so I left and went shopping for a couple of hours. I returned to eat a small meal (I eat a special diet every two hours), and then left again until the wash was done. I knew very well that the more that I was exposed, the worse I would get, and the longer it would take for me to recover.

I returned home, unplugged the washer, the hoses from the water supply, the exhaust, and then re-attached and sealed the tarp with the binder clips.

The mild tightness in my chest remained the rest of the day, but did not worsen. I felt a little lethargic, but not too bad.

Today I am feeling very good, with no tightness in my chest. So, for today, the MCS, Asthma and Heart Failure, et al, are at bay. I consider this a huge victory over MCS and am overjoyed!

What others consider a simple part of life, those of us with MCS consider a major health problem. There are many other things I do every day to contend with my MCS problems, but I thought that being "attacked" by a washing machine would be of interest to others.
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CHF, A-fib, HBP, Insulin Resist & Asthma much better

⇒ I avoid common ordinary but unhealthy household items
⇒ Balanced, healthy diet
⇒ Exercise
⇒ I alter my Circadian Rhythm
⇒ I LOVE COREG!

 
Old 12-22-2008, 12:09 AM   #7
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Re: Washing Machine from HELL!!!

Do you think the washing machine smell is similar to "that new car smell"? I was in a rental car that still had the new car smell and it gave me a bad headache. I read an article that said it takes 6 months for a new car to off gas the toxins in the materials of its interior. So maybe your problem with the washer will at least lessen over time.

 
Old 12-22-2008, 10:32 AM   #8
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Re: Washing Machine from HELL!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Da One View Post
Do you think the washing machine smell is similar to "that new car smell"? I was in a rental car that still had the new car smell and it gave me a bad headache.
Yes and no.

With chemical sensitivities, one can react to either the smell, or trace amounts of chemical off-gassing or chemical emissions, or something eaten or drank, or something that touches the skin. Some of the more unfortunate will react to noises or sunlight or temperature changes or barometrical changes.

Quote:
I read an article that said it takes 6 months for a new car to off gas the toxins in the materials of its interior. So maybe your problem with the washer will at least lessen over time.
I hope so. In some cases, I have been able to tolerate something, after some time. For instance, certain electronic devices. My DVD player, at first, gave me problems, but now doesn't. I couldn't place the router near me, but now it's only a couple of feet away. Two of my remotes, I can only use wearing gloves, but the other remotes don't give me any problem.

I've got a large Lazy-Boy soft leather, swivel, rocker-recliner that cost me over $1000. I've been "aging" it for 2 1/2 years. I still can't use it. It's outside on the porch, under a tarp.

Somethings do get better with time, and off-gassing. I just don't know all the rules about this stupid, insidious disease. It's not only difficult for others to understand, it's difficult for those who suffer from it, to understand.

Plus...... we are also faced with many doctors, who will deny any health problem for which they can't write a prescription, or use a band aid, or charge big bucks for doing nothing. To me, most doctors are just auto mechanics, or cooks, that chose the wrong field.

Thanks for your comments and information!

I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas!
__________________
CHF, A-fib, HBP, Insulin Resist & Asthma much better

⇒ I avoid common ordinary but unhealthy household items
⇒ Balanced, healthy diet
⇒ Exercise
⇒ I alter my Circadian Rhythm
⇒ I LOVE COREG!

Last edited by Machaon; 12-22-2008 at 10:35 AM.

 
Old 01-21-2009, 06:01 AM   #9
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Re: Washing Machine from HELL!!!

Using the tarp, to totally encase the washer, has been working better than I expected. I cut out holes for the hoses and electric cord, and it takes much less time to un-tarp and then re-tarp the washer. So, I am able to co-exist with the washing machine, and my wife is happy to be able to use it. I just leave our place for a few hours while she is doing the wash.

But...... I've suffered with a nagging ache in the left side of my neck, and my left shoulder, ever since I got that damn washing machine!

For the first time in my life, I've had these nagging aches that stay with me most of the time. Sitting back helps. Cold makes it worse. I am running the heaters more than normal because warmth gives me some relief. It is not painful, but just an annoying, constant ache, almost all day long, unless I keep totally warm, or sit back.

Well...... things have changed. Yesterday, for the first time in weeks, I had absolutely no discomfort in my back or neck. And..... starting today, absolutely no pain, even when outside where it is very cold!

I own my own Acupuncture Machine, the KWD-808-I. I have been using it for years, with some, but limited success, which I started documenting on HealthBoards years ago.

Prior to the day before yesterday, I gave myself two one-hour treatments, by putting self-sticking pads at the top of my back and also my shoulder area. It gave me some relief, but the ache just came back later. After the second, one-hour treatment, the ache wanted to come back, all day long, and finally did later during the day.

The day before yesterday, I added pad to my left neck area, and gave myself another soothing one-hour treatment. I basically treated the Small Intestine Channel, from points SI11 through SI16, which coincidentally were over the area of my discomfort. Yesterday, for the very first time in weeks, absolutely no ache. During last night it felt like the aches wanted to start up again, but didn't.

Today, I could not be happier. No aches! I even went outside for a while. No aches. Any time during the last few weeks, if I went out into the cold, the aches would start immediately. I yelled so loud, this morning, in exuberance, that I scared my wife half to death!

Something I tried actually worked, for a change!

So........ all this goes to prove that, Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus!

Today, about 10am I will give myself a one hour booster along that same SI11-SI16 Acupuncture Meridian. It might bring back the aches for a while, but hopefully, will provide a more permanent solution. Who knows? Here goes nothing!
__________________
CHF, A-fib, HBP, Insulin Resist & Asthma much better

⇒ I avoid common ordinary but unhealthy household items
⇒ Balanced, healthy diet
⇒ Exercise
⇒ I alter my Circadian Rhythm
⇒ I LOVE COREG!

Last edited by Machaon; 01-21-2009 at 06:08 AM.

 
Old 01-22-2009, 08:22 AM   #10
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Re: Washing Machine from HELL!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Machaon View Post

Today, about 10am I will give myself a one hour booster along that same SI11-SI16 Acupuncture Meridian. It might bring back the aches for a while, but hopefully, will provide a more permanent solution. Who knows? Here goes nothing!
Wow! It's now almost 24 hours after I gave myself an electronic stimulation treatment, with my KWD-808-I Acupuncture Machine. Yesterday, I was a little concerned because I had no discomfort prior to the session, but for the rest of the day, after the session, the ache under my left shoulder blade and left side of my neck, kept feeling like it was going to return. But..... it never did.

Today, I've spent a lot of time outside in the cold. During the past month, or so, any time I was exposed to a chill, the shoulder and neck ache would be quite annoying. Today, absolutely no discomfort, at all.

It might not be a total cure. The aching could come back at some time. But, at least I have found something that works!

How about that!? I've owned that Acupuncture machine for several years, with limited success. I figured that I basically wasted my money and effort in learning how to use it. Who'd of thunk!
__________________
CHF, A-fib, HBP, Insulin Resist & Asthma much better

⇒ I avoid common ordinary but unhealthy household items
⇒ Balanced, healthy diet
⇒ Exercise
⇒ I alter my Circadian Rhythm
⇒ I LOVE COREG!

 
Old 01-26-2009, 01:35 AM   #11
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Re: Washing Machine from HELL!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Machaon View Post
... Today, I've spent a lot of time outside in the cold. During the past month, or so, any time I was exposed to a chill, the shoulder and neck ache would be quite annoying. Today, absolutely no discomfort, at all.

It might not be a total cure. The aching could come back at some time. But, at least I have found something that works!
It has now been six days since that last electro-Acupuncture stimulation, and still no pain, or ache, under the left shoulder blade, the left shoulder or the left side of my neck.

I am also able to tarp and un-tarp the washing machine without any breathing problems, heart problems, and without feeling sickly, and I am able to stay in the back room of my home, while the washer is running, without a bad reaction.

Has the washer fully outgassed? I don't think so. Was the problem with the electric cord, or hose that I duct-taped? Is the tarp still able to cover up the offending portion of the washer, even while being used? Was the problem in the washer tub, and by using the washer, the offending chemicals were washed down the drain? I don't know, and I am not confident enough to expose the entire washer, just yet.

But...... things are looking up. My emotions have run the gantlet, from feeling like I had an impossible situation, and permanent discomfort in my back, neck and shoulder, to one of relief, and being very grateful.

With our broken health care system, which will continue to get worse, it is good to have tools that we can use to help ourselves with our own health problems.
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CHF, A-fib, HBP, Insulin Resist & Asthma much better

⇒ I avoid common ordinary but unhealthy household items
⇒ Balanced, healthy diet
⇒ Exercise
⇒ I alter my Circadian Rhythm
⇒ I LOVE COREG!

 
Old 01-31-2009, 08:02 AM   #12
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Re: Washing Machine from HELL!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Machaon View Post
It has now been six days since that last electro-Acupuncture stimulation, and still no pain, or ache, under the left shoulder blade, the left shoulder or the left side of my neck.
It has now been 11 days since that last electro-Acupuncture stimulation, and still no pain, or ache, under the left shoulder blade, the left shoulder or the left side of my neck.

I can't believe it! After two months +/- of constant aches, pain and discomfort, it's gone! Electronic stimulation really works. I just placed an order for more electrode pads. I can't believe that something I tried actually worked!

It just took putting the pads in the correct places, which, not being a health professional, is more guess-work than knowledge.
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CHF, A-fib, HBP, Insulin Resist & Asthma much better

⇒ I avoid common ordinary but unhealthy household items
⇒ Balanced, healthy diet
⇒ Exercise
⇒ I alter my Circadian Rhythm
⇒ I LOVE COREG!

 
Old 02-05-2009, 06:48 AM   #13
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Re: Washing Machine from HELL!!!

Machaon,

I am so happy for you that you have found something that helps -- now you don't have to feel like your own home is trying to do away with you! I am really impressed with how you keep trying things until you find a solution, and when you find your self slipping back into old habits, you gird your loins and get back on track. You are an inspiration to us all! Thanks for sharing the good news as well as the problems!

--Rheanna

 
Old 02-05-2009, 06:49 AM   #14
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Re: Washing Machine from HELL!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Machaon View Post
... I am also able to tarp and un-tarp the washing machine without any breathing problems, heart problems, and without feeling sickly, and I am able to stay in the back room of my home, while the washer is running, without a bad reaction.

Has the washer fully outgassed? I don't think so. Was the problem with the electric cord, or hose that I duct-taped? Is the tarp still able to cover up the offending portion of the washer, even while being used? Was the problem in the washer tub, and by using the washer, the offending chemicals were washed down the drain? I don't know, and I am not confident enough to expose the entire washer, just yet.
Today is Wash Day!

I am staying in the back room (my computer room). The Washing Machine from Hell is running, and will run, off and on until about 11-11:30am. If I do OK, I will leave the dreaded machine exposed for the rest of the day. I am still without pain in my neck, shoulder or back. I am not experiencing any of the breathing problems, or malaise that I experienced when the stupid hunk of junk was first delivered. My heart is fairly stable (as stable as it can be with heart failure and permanent AFib). So far so good.

There are absolutely NO RULES or guidelines that we with MCS can follow. Some things, like my wife's brand new microfiber chair, I still can't have in the house, after a year. Other things seem to be able to outgas more quickly???

Anyway....... my symptoms always get worse at night, if they are going to get worse, so today will be a very interesting, and anxious test for me and my pal Washing Machine.
__________________
CHF, A-fib, HBP, Insulin Resist & Asthma much better

⇒ I avoid common ordinary but unhealthy household items
⇒ Balanced, healthy diet
⇒ Exercise
⇒ I alter my Circadian Rhythm
⇒ I LOVE COREG!

Last edited by Machaon; 02-05-2009 at 06:49 AM.

 
Old 02-05-2009, 12:29 PM   #15
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Location: Fort Laud
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Re: Washing Machine from HELL!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rheanna View Post
Machaon,

I am so happy for you that you have found something that helps -- now you don't have to feel like your own home is trying to do away with you!
Thanks for the nice comment.

At first, my home WAS trying to do away with me!

I've removed a lot of wooden cabinets, and wooden supports, that were causing me problems, and assorted other items that I slowly and painfully learned were effecting my health.

Quote:
I am really impressed with how you keep trying things until you find a solution, and when you find your self slipping back into old habits, you gird your loins and get back on track.
Thanks for the very encouraging words!

The most difficult thing for me to do is stay on my very controlled diet. I eat seven, or more times per day, about 230 calories per meal, or about 1600 calories for the day. When I'm feeling good, the first place I'll slip is the diet. Having to live in a virtual bubble, with major diseases, and with a very demanding diet, stretches my ability to cope.

Quote:
You are an inspiration to us all! Thanks for sharing the good news as well as the problems!

--Rheanna
It was very nice, and thoughtful of you to take the time to post your message of encouragement, compassion and understanding. Your note has had a positive impact on my day, today, and I appreciate it.

Thanks........
__________________
CHF, A-fib, HBP, Insulin Resist & Asthma much better

⇒ I avoid common ordinary but unhealthy household items
⇒ Balanced, healthy diet
⇒ Exercise
⇒ I alter my Circadian Rhythm
⇒ I LOVE COREG!

 
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