I have been so inspired by the stories of others that I felt the desire to share my "salicylate intolerance discovery" story. I had been sick for many years and when I think about it probably since birth. Back in those days not many topical products had herbals in them so my salicylate intake was confined to food and aspirin products. And my symptoms were mainly digestive, brain fog, and numerous bouts with asthma. When I grew up and flew the coop things became increasingly worse. For years I have been in and out of the doctor’s office (I am in the military health care system) and all tests ran negative, of course.  And so the multiple diagnoses began - arthritis, mental illness, fibromyalgia and so on.  A few years ago one of my co-workers disclosed to me that she had fibro and referred me to the guai-support website.  I knew that it would be hard to convince the military doctors to put me on the Guaifenesin treatment so I decided that I would pay for it out of my pocket if it would give me back my quality of life.

On any given day I was experiencing 10-15 symptoms daily and was hardly functioning - it was very, very difficult. There were days I could not walk and my husband had to carry me to the bathroom. Just lying in bed was painful - the good days were marked with a raging fever, flu-like feelings, and a ringing headache. I did get to a point where I got used to the pain and learned to live with it - I really had no other choice - live with it or kill myself.

For some reason I knew deep inside that I didn't have fibro, it didn't seem right. But I reasoned what do I have to lose and on a long holiday weekend I set upon the closet to remove all topical sal-full products from my life. Within a week I felt incredible. When I talked to my co-worker she said maybe I didn't have fibro at all but a sensitivity to salicylates I was quite stunned. A few weeks had passed and I felt better and better but I still had some digestive tract symptoms so I went back to the guai-support site and re-read the information and one line jumped out at me - that you did not have to worry about salicylate in food as the body would break it down and it would not interfere with the guaifenesin. That led to another Google search and to other sites. I never had to beg the doctors to put me on the guaifenesin protocol as removing sal-full products and food from my life relieved all of my symptoms (listed below).

But there was still a period of "struggle" for me.  I am a gardener by hobby and trade so I had to learn to cover up my body and wear gloves to eliminate contacting plant salicylates. I also have been growing and eating my own food for years. That was the hardest part and I went through the denial stage for while - abusing my body with foods I knew I could not tolerate. How do you grow vine ripened tomatoes and perfumy exotic melons and not eat them?!  The mind would say - oh come on a few bites won't matter - but it really did matter!  So I finally decided to quit seeing my "problem" through the eyes of a victim (poor me, why me? why am I being punished?) and changed my point of view to a position of personal power. What a huge difference. So I can't eat some food and wash my hair in botanical goodness - so what. When I totally eliminated the foods/products that caused me trouble I felt so great that I could not believe that I could deal with
that much pain. And I never want to feel that pain ever again!

The nice thing about giving up the victim role is I could reclaim that negative energy and put it towards something else - last year I bought myself a motorcycle and began riding - something I had been wanting to do for years (I rode trail bikes as a kid and loved it) but couldn't do when I was ill. Regaining my quality of life and being able to work, exercise and play again (and I am quite sure my husband is happy that sex no longer hurts) is worth giving up "bad" foods.

For all you new to this I know it can seem just miserable - take it one day at a time, be gentle and forgiving with yourself, and know that life can be rewarding and fun without some pleasures of food, drink, and beauty products. Wishing you good health -  by email (with permission from another group)

Mind, emotion and behaviour symptoms: accident prone • anxiety • anger for no apparent reason • blankness • brain fogging • clumsiness • confusion • depression • detached/unreal feeling • difficulty waking up/getting out of bed (due to lack of sleep and aching muscles) • disorientation • dyslexia • hearing without comprehension • inability to think clearly • indifference • irritability • memory loss • mental exhaustion • mood swings • panic attacks • poor concentration &memory reading • restlessness • slow to process information • slurred speech • suicidal feelings

Physical symptoms: abdominal pains (thought I might have IBS) • acne • asthma & wheezing, tightness of chest • athlete's foot • bad breath • bloating (lost three dress sizes when I gave up the sals) • blurred vision • breast pain • constipation • crawling/burning sensation on skin • diarrhea • insomnia • itching • joint pain, stiffness & swelling • fatigue & lethargy (thought I might have CFS) • menstrual problems, pre-menstrual pain • metallic taste • migraines • mouth ulcers • muscles - aching, weakness, tremors & cramps nausea palpitations & racing pulse • poor balance • rashes • difficulty in swallowing • dizziness • eczema • excessive thirst • feeling drained • flushes - both hot & cold • frequent need to urinate • headaches • restless legs • sensitivity to light & noise • sleep disturbances • sore, itching, puffy, burning eyes, stiff neck • temperature fluctuations • ringing ears • weight problems.