Case Study 1 - Faisal Khawaja
Faisal Khawaja is a 26 year old artist who has been electrosensitive for four years. Here is his story.
I trained and worked as a photographer and in the course of my work spent a lot of time on my mobile phone. In 2002 I began to notice an unpleasant burning sensation in my ear each time I used my mobile phone.
Over time the pain became more intense until I would get a sharp shooting pain that felt as if it was penetrating my brain.
I tried to reduce the amount of time I spent on my mobile phone and started to make calls from my DECT cordless phone at home, but the same symptoms persisted.
I then bought a cable phone and the symptoms eased a little for a while. Then other household electrical appliances started to make me feel ill, such as my computer and the tv set.
Trying to make sense of what else could be making me feel ill, I looked around my environment and noticed a cluster of about 10 telephone transmitter masts situated around 100 metres from my flat.
My short term memory became poor and I developed a red rash which looked like sunburn across my face. I also developed frequent headaches.
My symptoms improved when I went to stay in the country with my mother but I was still affected by phones and her security system.
My GP did tests but gave me the all-clear. Finally an Allergy Clinic in Hertfordshire diagnosed me with Acute Electrosensitivity. It felt good to finally be diagnosed and to know that electrosmog or microwave radiation from electromagnetic fields had initially caused my health problems and I had become sensitised over time, but not so good to find that there is no cure.
Now I have to change my living environment to minimise my exposure and have had to make huge changes to live a manageable life.
I moved from London to a new house in Gloucestershire where I could feel well. When house-hunting I would spend about 15 minutes in each to see if the throbbing in my ears or my headache symptoms appeared. About nine out of every 10 were a problem. Eventually I found a new place to live which is two miles from the nearest phone mast.
I no longer own a mobile phone and can only make short calls on a land line. TV is ok for short periods and I can use my computer for a maximum of one hour per day. At night I turn off every socket in house
I have become an artist rather than a photographer.
I have changed to driving a very basic car with few electronic switches.
Holidays can be a problem as airport lounges are full of radar and scanning equipment. Shopping can be equally problematic, and socially I am a little more restricted as other people’s houses can be bad for me – even burglar alarms trigger my symptoms.
I did spend a lot of time wondering ‘why me?’ and sadly I have been ridiculed by some as they don’t understand electrosensitivity, but I am now much more positive and as long as I control my environment, my health is good.
Case Study 2 - Mrs Lovell
'Margaret Lovell is a Lecturer who has been Electrosensitive for almost two years. Here is her story.
Margaret was using her DECT cordless phone when she first noticed a pain in her listening ear. She had recently moved to a free evening and weekend payment tariff so was spending longer on the phone than she had done previously. Over several weeks, as Margaret continued to use her cordless phone, the pain in her listening ear become a pain in both ears and then sharp pain in the centre of her head as if it were going straight through.
Margaret decided to swap her DECT cordless phone for a speaker phone but she still found she had the same symptoms and pains. The effects of the microwave radiation from the DECT cordless phone were accumulative. Margaret became more sensitised very quickly until all electrical devices affected her. She then began to experience what she calls ‘breast rage’ – a very uncomfortable tingling sensation in her breasts - which Margaret now knows to be her own personal indicator of the presence of microwave radiation.
The sensory beams of her home security system in particular were setting this off.
Margaret consulted her GP, fearing that her ‘breast rage’ might be cancer but tests ruled that out. She also consulted homeopaths for over a year who empathised but did not have the knowledge to help her.
Margaret then consulted a doctor who was an expert in environmental medicine and diagnosed her as Electrosensitive. Although there is no cure for Margaret’s condition, she did then receive the help, advice and support she desperately wanted.
She has had to make many changes to her lifestyle in order to minimise her symptoms. Unfortunately Margaret now has to stay away from electricity and microwave radiation as much as possible.
The springs in her mattress were a great conductor of electricity and meant she was experiencing her ‘breast rage’ all night and was unable to sleep, so the mattress had to go. Night times are now spent in a timber cabin in the garden of her Bristol home, so she is as far away as possible from electricity. This has taken a little getting used to and can be cold and lonely. Bedclothes have to be pure cotton, as do all of the clothes that Margaret now wears, so as not to attract any static.
Earthing herself is also important, so Margaret goes outside in bare feet, especially before bedtime.
She is still unable to use a telephone except for extremely short periods and then she knows that she will suffer as a result with muzzy-headedness, headache and, in her words ‘feeling like a zombie who is not quite in control of my brain’.
Sadly, working as a sculptor has become impossible as Margaret is now unable to work with any form of metal. If she does, she knows she will be unable to switch her brain off when it is time to go to bed and will lie awake all night. She has also had to give up her job as a lecturer because of the radiation levels in the sculpting studios.
Despite all of this, Margaret is grateful for the good health that she does have and, as she says ‘I’m learning to maintain some semblance of a normal life’.