Write to Life: Living with Environmental Illness


As a writer I’ve been writing about everything and anything my entire life. From poetry and stories to advertisements and articles, I’ve been paid to write, asked to write and compelled to write. So fourteen years ago when my life began to unravel, naturally, I started writing. Painstakingly and neurotically, I journaled about the myriad health problems devastating my body, mind and spirit.

With each diagnosis, I was educated about conditions beyond my current comprehension: Chiari I malformations, fibromyalgia, phase 2 liver dysfunction, kidney dysfunction, intestinal permeability, multiple chemical sensitivities, hypothyroidism and hypoadrenalism. At the core was heavy metal and chemical toxicity requiring aggressive chelation therapy. I knew nothing about environmental illness and auto-immune disorders, or how these obscure diseases could bring you to your knees. I would soon find out.

I was also going to find out about loss. The loss of a job I loved, independence, the ability to physically care for my child, most of my hope and nearly all of my will. Adding insult to injury, I was also losing what I believed to be one of my greatest assets, my hair. Vain and trivial to some, I felt otherwise as Alopecia Universalis took the last of my identity. Plus, I was walking with a cane and starting to lose teeth. “When the body has to fight so hard to stay alive,” I was informed, “non-essentials like hair and teeth are the first to go.” These were not the best of times.

Chasing the Cure

Healing came in many different forms as I chased the cure down countless paths: allopathic and holistic doctors, Environmental Illness Specialist, chiropractors, therapists (Reiki, cranial-sacral, reflexology, aquatic shiatsu, acupuncture, PT, OT, Tai Chi), muscle testing, homeopathy, Bach flowers, vitamin IVs, hormonal therapy, pharmaceuticals, antibiotic IVs, numerous surgeries, removal of mercury amalgams, meditation, TAT, EDS, EFT, NAET, NMT, distance faith healing from Finland and holy water from the Basilica.

In ways both monumental and subtle, all of these therapies played a part in my protracted recovery. My family and I revamped my nutritional regimen and overhauled our home. Absolutely everything that went into and around my body had to be chemical free. Air filters and water filters cleansed our house while a personal air filter helped me better tolerate the world outside my delicate bubble.

Living to Tell

What was the point of all of this? That’s what I wanted to know. That part of the journey took shape over the next few years and through intensive soul work. Along the way, I was constantly inspired and compassionately mentored by the many healers who were placed in my path. Slowly, the ripple effects of Environmental Illness put me on a mission to help other people facing similar issues.

This new endeavor is one of healing and empowerment through the study and practice of Reiki. The profound nature and capacity of this healing energy is clearly a Godsend. Just as wellness could not be rushed, neither could my new calling and I committed much time to study and practice. At last, from a place of humility and in the spirit of gratitude, it’s my turn to dedicate myself to the service of others in return for all of the miracles I received. Blessed be indeed.

Kamela Torvinen


  1. Good to see some of your writing again! You helped me with my brochure oh so many years ago and I used Reiki and Cranial with you!! Amazing how we are able to use our personal journey to support others? Yes it is. Congrats and great success.


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