Monday, July 29, 2013
The Bad Seed: The Health Risks of Genetically Modified Corn by Caitlin Shetterly
The Bad Seed: The Health Risks of Genetically Modified Corn
Elle Magazine, July 24, 2013
With symptoms including headaches, nausea, rashes, and fatigue, Caitlin Shetterly visited doctor after doctor searching for a cure for what ailed her. What she found, after years of misery and bafflement, was as unlikely as it was utterly common.
The office of allergist Paris Mansmann, MD, sits on a grassy slope overlooking the Royal River, a wide waterway that originates in inland Maine and winds down across farmland and under train tracks until it hits the coastal town of Yarmouth, where it sloshes into the Atlantic Ocean. When I first came to Mansmann in February 2011, the river was covered with ice, and bare trees stood silver sentry on its shores. I was 36. I’d been sick for three and a half years.
During that time, when I wasn’t working as a writer and theater director or being a wife and mother, I visited doctors and had tests. I told few friends or members of my extended family how ill I was, because I didn’t have any way to explain what was wrong. I had no diagnosis, just a collection of weird symptoms: tight, achy pain that radiated through my body and caused me to hobble around (my ankles, I’d joke to my husband, Dan, felt like they’d been “Kathy Batesed,” à la the movie Misery); burning rashes that splashed across my cheeks and around my mouth like pizza sauce; exhaustion; headaches; hands that froze into claws while I slept and hurt to uncurl in the morning; a constant head cold; nausea; and, on top of all that, severe insomnia—my body just could not, would not, turn off and rest. I visited every doctor who’d see me and tried everything they threw at me: antidepressants; painkillers; elimination diets (including a long eight months when I went without any of the major allergens, such as gluten, nuts, dairy, soy, and nightshades); herbal supplements; iodine pills; steroid shots; hormone treatments; Chinese teas; acupuncture; energy healing; a meditation class—you name it, I did it. Nothing worked. After I maxed out the available rheumatologists, endocrinologists, nutritionists, gastroenterologists, Lyme disease specialists, acupuncturists, and alternative-medicine practitioners in the Portland metropolitan area, I was sent to neurologists in Boston. All of my tests came back normal.
In late 2010, after a long and unhappy antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease, my newest GP (who’s still my doctor today), Chuck de Sieyes, MD, announced that he was referring me to Mansmann: “Because I have no idea what’s going on with you, and he’s one of the smartest guys around. And frankly, I’ve had it!”
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