If you’ve been diagnosed with a chronic illness chances are you’ve heard the terms “Spoonie” or “Zebra”. Both are excellent representations of the chronic illness community but to me there is another less known equally important term “Canary”.

You probably know the saying “canary in the coal mine” right? For those spoonies and zebras with multiple conditions we often feel we fit the bill. We are the sensitive creature amongst the bustle, an alert to various environmental changes.  Things the “normal” may not notice such as cleaning chemicals, perfume, when pesticide/Insecticide has been applied, temperature changes, or even when a bowl of nuts has been placed nearby.

Canaries don’t have it easy. We are often dismissed and ridiculed for our awareness, categorized as hypochondriacs or too sensitive.  The truth is our well being and safety is solely upon us to be aware and interpret our bodies reaction to the best of the knowledge we have accumulated in our life.

The name of this site describes the common scenario when attempting to seek help in understanding our bodies. When you or a loved one is ill what is amongst the first thoughts you speak? How are you? What can I do? Have you been to the doctor?  It’s the last one that’s tricky. How can one expect to receive adequate advice and care from someone who has likely never experiences symptoms to the extent we do?

In my nearly 20 years experience of mostly unexplained syndromes and issues only recently have I begun to find the diagnoses associated with them. This is due to the major fault of the medical system (yes I am opposed to the term healthcare) that in primary care and even specialist offices if it isn’t textbook it isn’t addressed. Ive been called a liar more times than i care to count, told not to “go looking for esoteric explanations” yet esoteric is what I am and I wont be silenced by anyone’s ignorance.

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