This is What Mercury Toxicity Looks Like
This picture was taken the summer I began to suspect that I had mercury poisoning. In this picture I am 32 years old and it’s been six months since I’ve had my amalgam fillings removed. I can see the sickness in this picture. It’s not just the impressive shelf of natural remedies I’m using to try to curb my symptoms. It’s the way I’m sitting too. I don’t want to sit up straight, it’s too much work. And I don’t want to look at the camera, because I don’t feel good and I don’t want this to show in my face and be captured in the shot.
This picture is taken about a year later, on a trip to England to visit my family. By this time, I’ve been treating my mercury poisoning with frequent dose chelation for six months. Since I’m expecting the whole course of treatment to last two years, I’m trying to get out of bed and live some kind of a semblance of a life. My days revolve around buying and cooking food that won’t make me sick, trying out supplements that will make me feel better, sticking to my chelation schedule, and doing my best to manage all the symptoms and side effects. During these years travel is tinged with a feeling of dread. Will I be able to find food I can eat? What if I get sick abroad? What if I need a supplement I’ve left at home?
What I don’t know in this picture is that because I have arrived in England without enough of the chelator DMSA to do my next round, I am actually in big trouble. I’ve chelated like clockwork up to now, never skipping a round. From what I’ve heard on the internet, skipping a round generally makes things easier as your body takes a welcome break. How am I supposed to know that skipping this round will make me retreat into a state I can only describe as semi-autistic. I won’t want to talk to or be in the same room as the people I love, people I have crossed the Atlantic to see. I will be aware that the lack of DMSA is causing this, but I won’t be able to do anything about it. I’ll cry a lot, and spend a lot of time in bed playing Scrabble on my iPod. The feeling will begin to fade just before I get on the plane to go home. There, I will do my next round of chelation, and hope that things like this will stop happening to me soon.
This last picture is one taken on top of Mt Beacon this spring. At this point, I have finished my two years of mercury chelation treatment, and I’m still slowly stretching, seeing where the limit of my energy is now. The results of my little experiments delight me. Can I ride my bike now? Yes. Can I work long hours? Yes. Can I climb Mt Beacon? Yes. The best thing about my life now is that I no longer have to budget my energy. While I was sick, I could have theoretically worked a couple of 12-hour days or taken a long bike ride, or even climbed Mt Beacon. But that would have been all I could do that week. The days before would have been devoted to building up my strength, and the days after to recovery. This day on Mt Beacon is one of a long chain of days of hard work, hikes, spring cleaning, a marathon cooking session for a big holiday, followed by even more work. I keep waiting for the break, for the day I have to take in bed to pay for all this. But standing on this mountaintop, it’s dawning on me that I’m not pushing. Being an active and busy person is normal – and I am a normal person now.
It’s in the set of my shoulders, the way I’m standing. I’m shrugging off the mantle of sickness and realizing I don’t have to fight anymore to keep my head above water. I’ve finally made it to dry land.