‘BUBBLE girl’ Amelia Hill is rarely able to leave her chemical-free home but last weekend the Adelaide woman was briefly able to feel the warmth of the sun on her skin for the first time in months.
The 41-year-old is virtually housebound after being exposed to termite spray when she was 15 years old, which has left her allergic to almost everything.
Ms Hill’s reactions gradually got worse as she got older and her health has deteriorated even more in recent months, leaving her unable to sit up.
But Ms Hill enjoyed a brief ray of sunshine last weekend after two of her friends wheeled her on a trolley on to an outside deck for the first time in months.
“After over two months indoors, let me tell you, the warm rays felt so healing and relaxing,” she wrote on her Facebook page.
Ms Hill currently has to remain in a reclined position every day as she fights the impacts of multiple chemical sensitivity, chronic fatigue syndrome and electrohypersensitivity.
She believes her conditions began after the home her family lived in when she was 15 was chemically treated for termites.
The most chemically concentrated area was in the area underneath her bedroom, and Ms Hill said genetic testing had confirmed pesticides were still attached to her DNA 25 years later.
But it took a long time for Ms Hill to get a diagnosis and her conditions were not as bad when she was younger.
She even managed to carve out a career as a freelance stylist and magazine writer, as well designing her own clothing label.
“I had big plans for my life … career endeavours, creative adventures, glorious sunsets, Central park in spring, a soulmate romance, a family of my own,” she says on her blog.
Unfortunately her symptoms continued to get worse and she began to struggle with basic tasks; walking, talking, eating and even breathing were becoming difficult.
On the eve of her 33rd birthday, her body gave out virtually overnight.
“Bedridden and too weak to sit up, to speak, to wash or dress myself … everything seemed to make me sicker, including three weeks in hospital,” she said.
“Food, dust, clothes, smells, sounds, mould, my bed, the shower, the TV, my books, nutritious supplements, even people … my body appeared to be rejecting the world.
“I didn’t know what was happening to me. When I tried to explain it, people thought I was losing my mind.”
She said her neighbour’s chemical-based cleaners drifted through her vents and windows and left her shaking in the corner of the room, drifting in and out of consciousness.
When her landlord switched her shower water from rainwater to mains water, her body rejected that too, and her mother bathed her from a bucket using bottles of twice filtered water.
“Sleeping in a newly vacuumed house sent me to the Emergency Room,” Ms Hill wrote.
Ms Hill was eventually unable to walk down the street, visit a doctor or any other public place. She was also unable to read a new book, magazine or to be around almost any newly manufactured item.
Computers, television or heaters make her sick and she survives on just a few foods.
She spent almost a year without lights, TV, phone or heating. All she could do was lie in bed all day, with a torch by her side for emergencies.
Although she recently moved into a new ‘safe-house’ specially designed to be completely environmentally friendly and chemical-free, Ms Hill said she had recently been struggling.
“The last few months have been unbelievably difficult … so much so, I have questioned many times whether I was going to make it.
Her friends are raising money for her medical treatment and have set up a GoFundMe page.
Originally published as The woman ‘allergic to everything’