My intentions for this summer were simple: to rest, rejuvenate and prepare Five Seed for the holiday season. However, things didn’t turn out quite as I had planned. I ended up having to spend three weeks on a seminar (including one week 100+ miles away from home) and was also notified of Etsy’s policy changes, preventing me from mentioning any medical conditions whatsoever in my shop.
Things changed a lot. Fast. I spent weeks editing my shop to prevent it from being closed by Etsy. I was on an emotional roller coaster ride throughout the process, trying so hard to hold on to the positives – but in the end, I have been left feeling brokenhearted and a little lost. Above anything else, my intention was to offer healing products that I created for myself as alternatives to commercial products that are filled with who-knows-what. To have that aspect of my business taken away has been a huge blow. (Seriously, go check out my Etsy shop – you will find many listings that have almost NOTHING in the description sections.)
So yeah, it was a busy and stressful summer – the exact opposite of what I was hoping for. I’ve been looking for alternative solutions – farmer’s markets, consignment, etc. – but haven’t really found a niche, yet. I started opening a shop on Poppy Swap, an awesome marketplace, similar to Etsy, but for herbal products, only. The problem is, it is taking FOREVER to open the shop and I haven’t gotten much traffic – I’m almost thinking it would make more financial sense to put the Poppy Swap fees toward a website of my own – something I’m considering.
Throughout all of this, I have been struggling with severe health issues. In late August, after I had finished my seminar and shortly after I started deleting my description fields on Etsy, I developed what I thought was a severe case of thrush. My mouth became swollen, especially my tongue and upper palette, it felt like it was burning all the time, my throat hurt, my glands were swollen and eating food caused me extreme pain. It went away after about a week, though my sense of taste, which had been woefully inhibited, did not fully return, and I still had minor mouth pain along my lower jaw.
I could not figure out why such an odd, painful ailment would hit me so hard. I started looking at it symbolically and did realize that I felt “silenced” by Etsy and the FDA and that I was not allowed to communicate anymore. However, once it went away (mostly), I didn’t give it much more thought and was just grateful to be able to eat normally again.
And then…it came back. With a vengeance. During the first week of school, my mouth started burning again, and in 12 hours, I was in full-blown tortuous misery. My tongue was intensely swollen, my glands were the size of walnuts and my throat hurt so badly that I literally had to hold on to something (a wall, a fistful of my bedsheets, etc.) to brace myself from the pain. Eating and even drinking were impossible. I had to force myself to take a few sips of water every hour, because I was afraid of becoming dehydrated. Needless to say, I have never experienced that much pain from a mere sore throat. My sister was so worried that she drove me to Urgent Care, despite my objections (I don’t have insurance).
The doctor insisted I did not have thrush, which shocked me. But I was dismayed to find that he had no idea what was causing me so much pain and swelling. He gave me antibiotics for strep and said the condition might clear up with the medication. Well, the sore throat got better, but not the mouth issues!
So here I am, still dealing with the pain, though not as bad as it was. Some days it is bad enough to wear me down and prevent me from wanting to do anything and other days, it is mild enough that I don’t notice it unless I’m eating. The worst thing, however, is that my sense of taste has further diminished. If I lick something off a spoon, I can’t taste anything. I can taste certain foods, but not for several seconds after I start chewing and not to the normal extent. I can barely taste anything sweet, at all, and I definitely cannot taste salty tastes in any form.
I’m still trying to solve this on an emotional level, since there seems to be no apparent cause for what I’m experiencing. But if it’s related to this Etsy medical claim business, then I don’t know what to do. I just got ANOTHER email from them saying that the stories I have left in a few of my listings about my personal healing journey constitute as a medical claim. I cannot even talk about myself there if I use words related to the body or health in any way. And the truth is, I’m getting pretty fed up with it. This seems even more all-encompassing and far-reaching than the FDA’s own rules – I literally feel that they are putting tape on my mouth. My sales have dropped dramatically and I’m not sure I belong on Etsy anymore. I want to stay – you can’t beat the traffic they get. But wow. It’s become a police state for herbalists.
Anyway, I guess the reason I’m writing this now is to ask for support. If any of you are of a like mind, I would sure appreciate prayers, good thoughts, reiki from a distance…anything. I feel selfish even asking – there are far bigger problems in the world than my health and business – but at the same time, I’m feeling a little desperate for help.
Thanks, also, to all of you who have already been so very supportive. I’m so grateful and so lucky to have you all!