Dear Mr. Trump

Dear Mr. Trump:

I’m a 41-year-old mom with six children. I’m like all moms who want their children to be safe from crime and live healthy lives; but unlike other moms, I was lead poisoned at the age of four. I didn’t know this when I had my six children, but now they all have health and behavioral problems because of the high levels of lead that were found in my blood. My lead poisoning is from paint chips on the old run-down house my family lived in for years. As President of the United States, it is your duty to keep children in this country safe from being poisoned from toxic paint and water.

I see that you’re reducing EPA standards to allow factories to continue to pollute our air and water just so they can make more money. Let me tell you something: I am disabled because of the lead poisoning which includes anxiety, depression, joint pain, hearing loss, and anti-social mood swings. I hate the fact that my life has been out-of-control and only recently did I find out the cause of lead poisoning. I’ve been hospitalized four times and my doctors could see my symptoms but didn’t know the cause. When I read a blog about the long-term effects of lead poisoning I got tested. All these years I thought I was crazy but now I find out that I was poisoned. I was poisoned here in the United States of America. This shouldn’t be happening.

My heart breaks knowing that my children are effected by my lead poisoning. They didn’t ask for anemia, ADHD, and learning difficulties. They didn’t ask for their lives to become more complicated because of lead. They didn’t ask to have a sick mommy. I’m angry that it took so long to find out the cause of my medical and health issues and that my children are suffering too. So, I’m telling you to keep EPA laws in place that effect our bodies and our environment. If you’re going to make America great again, maybe you should stop and ask the poor and disabled how to make life great for us because it isn’t happening.

(I had help writing this letter because I was too sick to finish high school and I don’t write so well. But I want you to know that I’m a fighter and I won’t give up until I can control my dysfunctional life. I could sure use your help and protection for me and my children.)


Rosemary Henley (This isn’t my real name because I’m a private person.)

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The No. 1 Abuse Myth

Forget Me Not Flowers

I’m creating a healing program for trauma survivors. It’s intense work but I know it will bring lots of healing to those of us who want to live healthier lives. In my research, I can’t believe how often I’m reminded of the No. 1 Abuse Myth: Forgive and Forget. I’m amazed at the number of articles, written by professionals, who state that “survivors should just forget their traumas and go on with their lives.”

If it were only that simple!

Surviving from trauma of all kinds is not easy. Whether the trauma is from abuse, attacks, war, illness, or divorce, traumatic events take up residence in our bones, cells, skin, muscles, and memory. You CAN’T just forget something because it’s awful. In fact, forgetting the trauma is impossible. We remember things that happen to us because it’s our body’s way of reminding us NOT to walk down dark alleys, give a stranger a ride, or trust someone we don’t know. Our bodies do warn us but if we don’t listen we’re apt to find ourselves in trouble – repeatedly.

When it comes to healing from trauma, the first thing to do is to forgive yourself and REMEMBER! Yes, I said forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for trauma you didn’t cause. You didn’t ask a tornado to hit your house, you didn’t ask for a relative to physically harm you, nor did you ask for cancer to take root in your breasts. Trauma like this is not your fault or responsibility. Your only responsibility is to heal from the trauma – trauma you didn’t cause!

When we remember the bad events in our lives, we are less likely to make the same mistake twice. We all make mistakes, it’s human nature, but when we ask survivors to forget we are asking them to be superhuman. Our bodies remember. Our minds remember. Our spirits remember. Healing comes from remembering the trauma and doing what we can to avoid repeat occurrences. We take self-defense courses, we go to therapy, we relocate, and/or we just get out of harm’s way. The words forgetting and repeating have a relationship since forgetting leads to the act of repeating.

So, if anyone asks you why you can’t just forgive and forget, ask them why they ask insensitive, dumb questions.

Remember to NEVER GIVE UP!!!

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Life-Long Effects of Poisoning on Adults – Part 2

pills-575765_1280In Part 1 of my blog, Life-long Effects of Lead Poisoning on Adults, I explained the side effects I have due to lead poisoning as a child. I have many auto-immune diseases and I wondered if the lead affected my immune system. I’m a walking medical petri dish and I want to know if there’s a correlation between lead poisoning as a child and my ill health as an adult. I’m not looking for something or someone to blame – I just want answers to the cause of my many health conditions.

First, let me give you a list of all the health issues I have (no sympathy required): Type 1 diabetes, kidney infection, hypertension, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, Graves’ disease (overactive thyroid), clinical depression, cataracts, sleep apnea, and Stage 4 colon cancer – twice! When I asked my primary physician why I have so many health problems, he basically told me I had a bad gene pool. I accepted his answer with no further questions — until now!

Does lead poisoning in children cause damage to the immune system?

“The simple answer is yes,” says Elizabeth O’Brien from the Lead Education and Abatement Design Group in Australia. She adds, “but the problem is that many other things can cause problems with the immune system, so the only way to determine if lead is the cause is to ask the doctor to do a blood lead test.” She further states that, “Heavy metal exposure may develop autoimmunity as well as immunotoxicity. Autoimmune diseases are those in which an individual’s own immune system attacks one or more tissues or organs resulting in functional impairment, inflammation and sometimes-permanent tissue damage….” This is exactly how diabetes Type 1 is explained in medical journals.

In his work, K.P. Mishra, M.D. wrote an abstract on Lead exposure and its impact on the immune system: a review. He states:

Metal toxicants which affect the immune system may contribute to an increased incidence of autoimmune diseases, infectious diseases and cancer. In the recent past, there has been a growing concern among health and environmental scientists on the impact of environmental exposure to heavy metal lead on human health. In some instances, the immune system appears to be exquisitely sensitive to the toxic heavy metal lead as compared to other toxicological parameters.

In their abstract, Lead and Immune Function, authors R.R. Dietert and M.S. Piepenbrink stated,

The heavy metal lead is a widely deposited environmental toxicant known to impact numerous physiological systems, including the reproductive, neurological, hepatic, renal, and immune systems. Studies illustrating the capacity of lead to impair immune function and/or host resistance to disease date back to at least the 1960s.

Dietert and Piepenbrink also found “…lead exposure can produce a stark shift in immune functional capacity with a skewing predicted to elevate the risk of atopic and certain autoimmune diseases. Age-based exposure studies also suggest that levels of blood lead previously thought as safe, that is, below 10 microg/dl, may be associated with later life immune alterations.”

Hundreds of studies have found links between lead poisoning and: auditory and visual system alterations, behavioral impairment, renal function damage, Parkinson’s Disease, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, neurological disturbances, autism, osteoporosis, asthma, and peripheral artery disease.

What can we do?

The medical conditions above lead me to ask what can we do to prevent all of these health and behavioral effects. Here’s a list:

  1. Don’t panic! Never give up!
  2. Prevent lead poisoning from happening in the first place.
  3. Check the windows and paint in your home for lead if your house was built before 1978.
  4. Remediate all sources of lead in the environment and in your homes.
  5. Give immediate medical attention to children suspected of being lead poisoned.
  6. Require a lead blood test for all adults exhibiting the health problems listed in this blog.
  7. Recommend more research studies in repairing the immune system from lead poisoning.
  8. Provide federal grants to extend all researchers who have a vested interest in the correlation between lead poisoning and the immune system.
  9. Tell us your stories of how lead poisoning has impacted your health as an adult.

This is a HUGE task but a very crucial one. If we want to enhance the quality of life for children and adults with lead poisoning, lower medical costs, and expand current research, we must raise the awareness of life-long effects of lead and find solutions – today!

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Life-Long Effects of Lead Poisoning on Adults – Part 1

If you asked my family to describe me in one word they would immediately respond by saying, “dramatic” or “odd.” I’ve been accused of this most of my life and I won’t say I necessarily disagree. You see, when I was growing up in a family of nine children, if you needed attention you had to be dramatic about it. There was too much noise to meekly say, “Hey, I need some help here.” The help would never come unless you got peoples’ attention. So, yes, I grew up in a dramatic family, however, being dramatic isn’t a good tool to resolve trauma, or as I refer to it as, “Trauma Drama.”

I remembered this term last week when I was told by my client, Sue Gunderson, executive director of CLEARCorps (CCUSA), that there was a high probability that I was lead poisoned as a child.

“WHAT???????” my inner child screams. “I was lead poisoned!” Okay, before I get dramatic I must do diligent research and review the long-term effects of lead poisoning. And, I must face the facts:

· Delayed neurodevelopment [e.g. in sitting up, walking, talking] · I didn’t start walking until I was 15 months old – my relatives thought this was odd
· Decreased reading, math, non-verbal reasoning ability & short term memory, (even at blood lead levels less than 10µg/dL) · I suck at math and computer technology
· Impaired pituitary-thyroid endocrine system · I was diagnosed with an overactive thyroid in my 30’s and had radiation to destroy my thyroid. I also have had two pituitary tumors
· Osteoporosis in later years · I have osteoporosis and have had it for 20 years
·  Attention problems; distractibility, restlessness · I have difficulty concentrating — all of my life
· Irritability · Me and all of my siblings are extremely irritable
· Lead-based paint was legally use until 1978 · My childhood home was built in the 1940’s in a community with a large industrial factory
·  Tremors · My siblings and I all have tremors in our hands and extremities
·  Learning difficulties · In kindergarten I registered as retarded on the Iowa Basics test
· Chronic lead nephropathy [kidney disease] · I was diagnosed with a severe kidney infection at the age of 5
· Hypertension, elevated blood pressure · Many of my siblings and I take high blood pressure medication
· Depression · I’m on an anti-depression medication since I was 22
· Anxiety · I’m on a prescribed anti-anxiety medication and have been for 10 years
· Headaches · I suffer from headaches / migraines — most of my life
*Vance Vella et al., Health Impacts of Lead Poisoning. The Lead Education and Abatement Design Group. (Updated March 2011) For more information go to

industry-1149888_1280I could go on but my point is — out of the possible 121 effects of lead poisoning for a woman my age, I count more than 30 effects  that’s approx. 25 percent! If you had anything at 25 percent, you’d be diagnosed with diabetes and cancer (which I have). The authors of the cited article state, “… remember that most people who are lead poisoned present no symptoms at all.”

I didn’t write this blog for sympathy – no way! In my search to understand my ill health I wanted to find out the possible sources for so much illness. I wasn’t born a sick child but at the age of five I started what would be a life-long quest for answers. And, thanks to Sue Gunderson’s comment to me, I found another piece to my health puzzle. Does this understanding make me angry? Sure, but I don’t want to spend my energy on something I can’t change, because I can’t go back and “fix” where I lived as a child. Literally, it’s lead under the bridge! (I’m sure a bad sense of humor is an additional effect.)

Rather than asking “Why me,” or “Why us,” I like to put myself back in the driver’s seat and ask instead, “Now that I have this information, what am I going to do about it?” My answer is simple: I’m going to educate my friends and family!

Lead poisoning makes you “dramatic and odd!”


[IMPORTANT NOTE: Do you have unexplained medical conditions? Do you currently live in a house built before 1978 or near industrial sites? Do you remember tasting paint chips from peeling windows as a child? (I do.) If so, I recommend that you look deeper into lead poisoning.]

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