THE TOXIC LABYRINTH: A Family's Successful Battle Against Environmental Illness by Myrna & Heather Millar Millar

THE TOXIC LABYRINTH: A Family's Successful Battle Against Environmental Illness

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A tedious day-by-day, blow-by-blow account of a young pediatric nurse's year-long bout with a debilitating illness whose array of symptoms baffles medical specialists. Although written in the first-person as though it were the nurse's diary, this is actually a collaborative project by her and her deeply involved mother. Their trying tale begins in September 1993 and ends a year later. During that time the nurse -- who is experiencing rashes, numbness, shortness of breath, nausea, cramps, insatiable thirst, joint pain, and a host of other alarming symptoms -- is examined, tested, and diagnosed by numerous physicians. By numbering them rather than giving them pseudonyms -- the second allergist consulted is called simply A2, and the eighth emergency room doctor ER8, etc. -- the Millars depersonalize the physicians; unfortunately, no one else in their account is given much personality either. Countless examinations and tests, which include multiple spinal taps, batteries of gastrointestinal probes, and other invasive and painful procedures, provide no answers. To add insult to injury, her doctors recommend antianxiety drugs and psychiatric help. Eventually, via the Internet, she learns of a place, identified here as simply The Clinic, that may be able to help her. When she checks herself into it, she discovers that not only is she allergic to many foods, but that she is being poisoned by chemicals found commonly in the environment, from chlorine to plastic. By the year's end she is learning how to protect herself from them, is regaining her health, and has taken on the mission of sharing her newfound knowledge with others. That conventional medicine failed to recognize and treat her problem is clear; that alternative therapies utilizing spinning crystals, energy fields, and a Healing Touch are preferable is more debatable. (Another tale of environmental illness is Mary Swander's Out of This World, p. 621.) Warning! Reading this book may produce the following symptoms: heavy eyelids and uncontrollable yawns.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1995
Page count: 303pp
Publisher: "Nico (1515 W. 2 Ave., Vancouver, BC V6J 5C5)"