|Stephanie Dickerson - teacher
My story starts years ago, 2002, when, beginning my career as a new teacher in public school, I began having insomnia and headaches. My school had a wireless system, and we all had new school laptops to use. At home, I began using wireless technology.
As the years progressed, about 5-6 years, my symptoms increased with severity. I began having heart pounding at night, anxiety for no apparent reason, out of character emotional outbursts, terrible headaches, depression, and loss of digestive ability. I spent much time and money investigating my health issues, trying to alleviate my symptoms and searching for a cause. In July 2012, through a fluke, our wireless internet was unplugged and I felt a noticeable calming effect on my physiology. I decided to keep our wifi unplugged to observe the effects: I was noticeably more relaxed and began to sleep better, anxiety disappeared, generally felt better.
School started back up in August of 2012 and I returned to work feeling healthier and ready for a great year of teaching. The school was a typical cement block structure and the wifi didn't pick up well in my classroom, and I was feeling great and excited about my increase in health and great energy. Then, in September, a new “high density wifi” system was installed throughout my school. A wifi router was installed in my classroom right overhead. The very first day the new wifi system was activated, I felt drained of energy, shaky, and headachy. At home, even though I had no wifi, my heart raced through the night and insomnia returned. By the third day my symptoms were extreme: extreme chest pains, extreme heart pounding during the night, extreme anxiety, vibrating inside my body, excruciating headache, confused thinking, extreme fatigue and a terrible overwhelming desire to commit suicide. The suicidal thoughts were shocking to me, because: 1. I’d never had such thoughts previously in my life, and 2. I have a loving home and a good life, so there was no reason to have such thoughts other than the extreme stress my body was suffering.
So within less than a week of teaching in the new wifi, I was forced to walk away from my job. Then began the nightmare. I had to prove to my job that I was sick; otherwise I would be considered AWOL . My doctor of 15 years said she believed me but could not help me because the AMA refuses to recognize this condition. How can one prove an illness that no one will recognize? I called the CDC, Emory University, UGA, anywhere I could think of, looking for anyone that could help me get an acknowledgement of my suffering. There was no one here in my state that I could find. Through the internet, I found the Environmental Health Center, Dallas, TX. In Dallas I was diagnosed with EHS (electro-hypersensitivity) October of 2012. Though my symptoms were recognized by EHC-D, there is no known cure other than to eliminate exposure to wireless.
My school’s Human Resources treated me poorly, refusing to meet with me to discuss any possible options for me to continue teaching in a non-wifi environment. My school also refused to acknowledge my diagnosis from the Dallas Health Center, as EHC-Dallas is an alternative health center. My teaching contract was terminated and I was jobless.
During those few days, 4 in all, of exposure to the high density wifi, I developed a high degree of sensitivity to all electronics, as well as all wireless. It took me several months of no exposure to calm down my system to where now I can tolerate a wired desk top computer. Otherwise, my life has drastically changed. How? I no longer can go into buildings with wifi, which includes hospitals, doctors’ offices, dental offices, court houses, (I was called for jury duty and it’s illegal to ignore a summons- what can a person with EHS do?) grocery stores, airports, planes, parks with cell towers, restaurants, etc, and now anywhere with SmartMeters. I can no longer be around other peoples’ cell phones. Even neighbors’ wifi’s reach my yard where I cannot go without getting symptoms. I now sleep and spend most of my time in my basement.
There are low readings of radiation in my home that I tolerate, but I am never feeling really healthy. I just manage. And, my life is very small now; many friends have fallen away because they don't want to believe I have this problem.
Now, two years later, I see people with the same symptoms as myself, but they always find a reason for their symptoms other than their wireless lifestyle. Their symptoms don’t get better and I fear for their future.
What would I like to see? Recognition for this condition and safe public places for us to go, places to live with a guarantee of no future cell towers, and non-wireless jobs for us so that we can continue to be engaged with and be part of society.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story. I wish ALL well and “wired”.
“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.” Martin Luther King, Jr.