It is amazing to me how we as people get so comfortable in their own little world and often do not think of the discomforts, struggles, and trials of other people. I have learned in my life that the key to life and relationships with others is found in compassion and love. Jesus commands us to love one another, but what is so sad is that it seems it is often very difficult to just be kind to one another. After the death of my brother, the word compassion took on a whole new meaning. Sometimes we do not know what another person is going through until we have actually experienced what another person has gone through. Some struggles in this life that other people experience we often say, I am so sorry, and then silently walk away thanking God that we do not have to experience what that person is going through. I have a good friend that shared her struggles with me recently, and to grasp her reality took me to a whole different level of compassion. I want to share her story and if one thing positive comes out by sharing her story, I can only hope that she can one day be blessed as much as I am blessed by having her as a friend. This is friend, I will call her “Cathy”.
“I have a rare genetic condition called Trimethylaminuria (TMAU) This is a metabolic condition where the body cannot break down choline, which is in everything. It causes bad odors to emanate from the body and breath. Unfortunately it took many years and many doctors to get a diagnosis.
One of the biggest roadblocks was that NOT ONE of my doctors (I saw 12 for this issue) EVER smelled anything. And neither do I!! My primary doctor even told me to give my boss at my last job her number, and ask her to call if there was a smell. Nothing. Basically I was repeatedly referred to psychiatrists for some mental condition, ORS (a mental condition where a person thinks they smell bad) and even OCD because of the thousands of dollars I spent on personal care products, taking 2-3 showers a day, changing clothes, washing up and reapplying products multiple times a day.
But by far the BIGGEST roadblock I encountered was people. My coworkers would cough, gag, and practically roll on the floor the minute they saw me walk in the door. (Less than an hour out of the shower) But when I asked what the problem was, they would deny anything was wrong, walk away in a huff, or most often, put their heads down and giggle.
I approached my boss who repeatedly told me there was nothing wrong. She would say “I told you when you started here this was a hard group to work with, they did the same types of the things to the last person in your position. I’m new to this position and plan on cleaning house!” I was told to put my earphones on and ignore them.
The funniest part? ALL professing Christians. The more Christians I was around the worse the behavior was, and lies to my face. Even my boss (above) would bring up the fact that she is a Christian in conversation 3-4 times a week, but would lie to my face and laugh at ‘her boys’ bad behavior.
So what did I do? Stronger soaps and deodorants (but high ph products and fragrances make the condition worse) Detox and healthier eating (all which make the situation worse) and everything I could find on the internet…which seemed to make things worse. I was literally taking 2-3 showers a day, washing up, reapplying products, and changing clothes throughout the day.
Finally in August 2009 I heard of TMAU and though I thought it was a long shot, I begged to be tested. It took a while to find a geneticist who heard of it, and even after 4 hours in their office, directly after work, where my coworkers were behaving in fits, these doctors smelled nothing and were sure I didn’t have it! They even called in another geneticist who was pregnant and extremely sensitive to smells. Nothing. But they relented and agreed to test me for TMAU.
In January 2010 I received my test results: definitely positive for TMAU. Monday morning I took my results in to the owner of the company and said that I now had a diagnosis, I now knew what to do to address the issue, and just wanted the bad behavior to stop. Thursday morning I was fired for making ‘false accusations against coworkers.’
But my good, Christian coworkers were spreading rumors and lies all over the internet. And I am continually blocking men from all over the US who like to make derogatory comments. I have left several Christian groups because these men like to spread the hate.
I am not ashamed. I did nothing wrong here. AND I WILL TELL THE WORLD. Though I lost my livelihood, my home, friends, everything, had to pick up and move more than 1000 miles away from everything I have ever known…I did nothing wrong! I did EVERYTHING a normal healthy person would do if people were insinuating they might smell. Every doctor, dentist, endocrinologist, podiatrist, gastroenterologist, gynecologist, psychiatrist and more! Every leader, manager, boss, every therapist, every doctor told me there was nothing wrong.
But what I did learn, as a new Christian (I became a Christian shortly before all this began) is that there are different kinds of Christians….
Matthew 12:34 “Brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
I have not been a Christian my whole life, and have never had a Christian witness to me in word or action. It is only by the grace of God, he has called me.
I know I am a lowly sinner, and will stand in judgment before God for EVERYTHING I have done. And since learning his word, I do all I can to love God with all my heart, all my soul, and all my might, AND TO LOVE OTHERS as myself. For there is NO commandment greater than these. And no, I am not perfect! but by the grace of God I am better today than yesterday.”
I would love to hear your thoughts on this!~