Since she was 15, Amelia Hill has struggled with major health problems, which went undiagnosed and only seemed to confuse doctors. Though she didn’t know what was wrong, or why she was constantly weak, tired and sick, her condition was manageable – Hill worked in the magazine and fashion industry and led a fairly normal life – until she turned 33, and her body completely shut down.
It’s hard to believe, but even after years of countless visits to medical specialists and naturopaths, as well as blood tests and X-rays, it took 20 years for a diagnosis. Hill was suffering from Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Electro Hyper Sensitivity, illnesses often caused by significant chemical exposure.
Tracing back to when her symptoms first started, Hill recalls on her blog (started to share her story and educate others about the illness) that her family realised the cause was the termite treatment their house underwent prior to them moving in, when she was a teen. The most chemically treated area was right underneath Hill’s bedroom, with recent genetic testing showing those pesticides are still attached to her DNA, 25 years later.
With her newfound knowledge, Hill realised the rare disease had barely any stories of recovery, and hardly any treatments. The most important factor for management was total chemical avoidance, something she hadn’t been implementing in the years since she got sick, hence her body’s failure at 33.
Normal everyday things make Hill incredibly unwell – carpet in her house, her clothes, food, WiFi, books, TV, her family and friends, and even the hospital. She was moved to a toxin-free bedroom in her mother and stepfather’s house, where she stayed for over 6 years. “I spoke to people through a glass wall. Days were sent immobilised in a bed or chair. My mum became my full-time carer. It’s been a stark, austere existence,” she writes (via pen and pencil, with someone else uploading to the computer) on her blog.
Though her health briefly improved enough for her to walk and spend time outdoors, and to begin the process of building a toxin-free home, Amelia has now taken a turn for the worse. "She can no longer hold her body upright, and her respiratory muscles are so weak, making it is very difficult for her to breathe 24/7. No one is sure why she has deteriorated so dramatically," her friend Jenny Buttaccio wrote on a GoFundMe page she recently set up to help with Amelia's growing medical bills.
At time of writing they have raised $12,806 of their $15,000 target.