When I first got sick, I thought I had contracted metal fume fever, a respiratory illness caused by inadecuate soldering safety practices. Fortunately this was not the case, but it could have been, due to the harmful chemicals and improper ventilation system I had been using for the past six years.
After many tests, a wonderful doctor (Dr. Juan Tamayo), gave me the correct diagnosis: I had not been eating well and my undernourished body could not fight the virus. This came as a surprise, because I considered myself healthy: I never eat sugar or refined foods, I don’t smoke, I hardly ever drink alcohol, and I practice yoga every day, but I was clearly not eating enough nourishing foods to sustain me.
From now on, my task is to improve the safety measures in my studio*, and make sure I eat wholesome and varied meals every day. To do this, I’ve been studying my favorite cookbooks: The Plantpower Way, by Rich Roll and Julie Piatt; The Medicinal Chef, by Dale Pinnock; and Crazy Sexy Kitchen, by Kris Carr and Chef Chad Sarno. If my dear sister had already published her Noble Baking cookbook, I'd also include it (her wholesome baked goods are the best I’ve EVER tasted!).
I am learning to prepare delicious and healthy meals with the same love and creativity with which I make jewelry, motivated by the fact that with every bite, I recover the strength I need to return to my studio (which I miss dearly!).
-Sparex –the pickling agent most of us use– is toxic! Use a warm vinegar and salt solution instead.
-Use a ventilation system that directly reaches the fumes that come from your soldering station. If the ventilator is suspended above your head (as mine was), you will inhale the fumes first.
-Always wear a face mask and a respirator whenever you sand and solder.
-Wear finger tape to safeguard your fingers from cuts. I never did, and it took weeks for my wounds to heal.