There is little to no exaggeration in that post title. CIRS takes everything. People ask how we are doing, and explaining what all this is and means repeatedly gets emotionally overwhelming. We thought we’d write about it and share a pressing practical need in this first post. There will be a few posts in this series. I hope that they both share what our experience has been, and share in the experience with other people who are dealing with CIRS.
What Is CIRS?
Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome. If you want a more detailed answer than the simplistic/ridiculous one I’m about to give, Google away.
Imagine if you will, the air filter in your car. Imagine that it had the ability to collect the particles of dirt that it traps, break them down, and eject them back into the air so that the filter is always clear and clean. Let’s assume that that is the normal operation of a car. That would be pretty cool.
Now imagine that the air filter is defective and it just traps more and more and more particles, eventually clogging up and messing up the whole operation of your car. (I realize that’s the normal situation, but we’re using our imaginations.) That is what CIRS does; it makes it so your body can’t process certain things in the environment and messes up many of the other systems in your body.
Where Is This CIRS Stuff?
A typical, healthy body can process all kinds of crap that is in a typical environment; where you live, work, go to school. etc. This typical crap can come from anywhere and live on everything and anything. In fact, you are probably swimming in it right now and you are just fine.
- Air ducts
- Vacuum cleaner
- Family photos and photo books
- You know, anything and everything with a surface.
For a person with CIRS, these normal environments are more or less toxic because everything is contaminated. Everything. “Normal” is only harmful to them. What’s more, Person A with CIRS will react to different stuff than Person B with CIRS because there is a wide spectrum of things to which a person with CIRS can react.
What Can Be Done About It?
Jess has CIRS and has probably had it most of her life. After 25 years of living together and collecting a lifetime of stuff from all over the US that a typically healthy person can live with and around with no problem, it turns out that it’s all toxic to her. It’s all contaminated. All of our stuff is bad for her.
At this point most people ask if there is anything that can be done. Yes. There is treatment, but it isn’t curable. She will always have it. Treatment is only effective as long as she as isolated as possible from the things that set the CIRS off. That means starting over with our material possession.
THIS MEANS, IN PART, GETTING RID OF ALL OF OUR STUFF.
Wait, even… yes.
But what about… yes.
Surely not… yes, and don’t call me Shirley.
Getting rid of everything means replacing everything.
The Pressing Practical Need
Over the last several months we’ve been selling furniture, decor, our Christmas tree, kitchen items, and donating things that aren’t worth selling, etc. We’ve spread the wealth where we could and tried to recoup it as well.
Imagine having a house fire and losing everything, but insurance doesn’t cover it, and you are burning things one at a time on Facebook Marketplace. That is more or less our situation. I don’t say that to guilt, I say it because it’s the reality. I also say to for those who have CIRS, are searching, and to let them know that they aren’t alone in the suckyness.
To that end, we are humbly, and if we’re being honest, humiliatingly (so it feels) asking for help in rebuilding. We have created the following online registries/lists of household items we would like to replace;
People have been asking what they can do, how they can help. Well, this is one of the main ways.
As we have been sharing with some about all of this a similar set of questions arrises. We will be sharing about those in posts to come. Categories include;
- Being social
- Having guests in our home
- Being guests in other homes
- Eating out
- How this effects other areas of health
Please feel free to post questions in the comments section. Our goal isn’t to gain pity but to share experience and help others through their own stuff. We want to make something good out of this while being honest, transparent, and real.
PS. The alternate title for this series was, “To CIRS, With Loath.”