Our Story

Photo of Me at Juilliard for Website

 

A Greeting Card with a Green Living Idea Inside

What does a greeting card have to do with breast cancer?

The origami that life unfolds for us can be very complicated. It’s an on-going novel whose pages contain pleasure, pain, moments of despair, euphoria, and in the end, somehow, these things weave together into a beautiful creation. Picture a knotted ball of yarn and a pointed hook, and then, after so many twists and turns a lovely and unique work of art emerges.

Earth Love Greeting Cards started at the age of 36 with a breast cancer scare at my very first mammogram. To add to the drama, my own husband, a radiologist and my doctor for the exam, was the person who walked into the waiting room with eyes wide and a pallid face and said, ” We need more films. Go back inside”.

“What?  I am 36 years old.  Are you out of your mind?” My films revealed something called, ” clustered microcalcifications”. It wasn’t a definitive diagnosis of cancer, but most definitely an abnormal process had begun in my tissues that needed further examination.  Immediately the thoughts and emotions hit like a tidal wave.  ”  What about my three sons?  My family?  My goals? My future?  My beliefs? My life!!!”.  After many extra opinions from his colleagues,  my husband carted me off to New York City for a final non-biased opinion (from someone he did not know).  I sat in a breast clinic for hours, feeling like a cow with a branded number on the way to slaughter.  In the midst of it all someone in the waiting room looked at their cell phone and loudly exclaimed, ” Anna Nicole Smith was just found dead!”.  I hardly watch television and I don’t follow celebrities but at that moment  those words traveled into my ears and I was keenly aware of another human being whose story had abruptly ended, and the reality of my own mortality was stinging me hard, burning my emotions into a virtual toxic steam bath.

In the end, I was sent home with a diagnosis of non-cancerous, benign breast disease.

” You don’t have cancer.  You can go now”, is the layman’s message I was hearing from a well known breast clinic in New York City that damp February night.

” But, what about the fact that I have something labeled “benign breast disease” What about the fact that I suffer from fatigue?  Is someone going to just label me with ” Epstein Barr”,  medicate me, tell me I’m stressed or, “it’s all in my head” and send me home? Why did I have abnormal calcium deposits in my breasts that just caused me the biggest nightmare of my life?

But from that moment, I was irreversibly altered. I spend the next couple of mornings looking into benign breast disease, learning about calcium absorption,  magnesium and phosphorus uptake in the body, vitamin D, and so on. I also happened to be studying anatomy and physiology at the time ( as a very ambitious part-time adult student) so this information was very fresh and current for me.  I came to frustration after frustration when most articles, like this one, claimed no real cause of “benign breast disease.

I took a break, did some laundry and had my usual sneezing fit as I took out the fabric softener sheet and suddenly it came to me: Perhaps I should research the impact of household chemicals on health. For years I had been using Fabuloso and thinking the headache I had when I was done was just a temporary side-effect of a clean home. And who would ever question that laundry detergent is blue, yet we pour it onto our clothing to make them cleaner and whiter? Wasn’t that temporary headache a sign that the cleaning solution did its job well?

As I pressed the button to my washer and listened to the swishing sound of the water pouring into the bin I began to think about the life cycle of water.  For instance, it evaporates into the sky and collects into clouds until it rains, then it fills our reservoirs. We use it, flush it drink it, cook with it, wash our cars with it, and so on,  and add more and more chemicals to it each time.  Where do all these chemicals go? Well, they come back to us in the system and it starts all over again.  It was pretty simple actually. I then learned about the phosphates in our dishwashers causing algae to grow in our lakes ( depleting oxygen and killing fish) and air pollution is HUGE – perhaps the polluted ozone was partly the culprit of a vitamin D deficiency, causiing my calcium/magnesium and phosphorus levels to be not quite right.

Now, I am not claiming to be a doctor and I have the utmost respect for them both because I am married to one and because of the pre-medical courses I have taken, ( which were both tedious and fascinating) but I could not get past the lack of connection between our environmental behavior all the disease and dysfunction that was around me ( more cancer than when I was a kid, ADD, all sorts of newly named autoimmune diseases). Because I was studying physiology at the time, I was in awe at how many receptors and fine tuned processes we had inside our bodies. One little chemical can set things in just the right motion, and the lack thereof, or pollution of our beautiful system could also really throw things askew. We are such amazingly divine creations that the more I learned, the more awed I became about life; the body, the mind, and the consciousness.

A Sense of Responsibility

What if every time I poured my dirty Mr. Clean soapy water down the drain, I was contributing to the pollution of my world and my local water system? Did I want the skin of my precious children being constantly rubbed with the chemicals from fabric softener? I had just come down from a cancer scare and opened a virtual Pandora’s Box of frights: The Chemicals in my Own House!

I immediately began to search for answers and alternatives.  I began boiling lemons and washing my floor and counter tops, making my own laundry soap from natural soap, baking soda and boric acid, and for fabric softener, an already squeezed lemon or a towel dipped in vinegar does the job.  Why?  Well, I also learned through my research that soap is alkaline so it only made logical sense to soften with something acidic.

I began to feel better about myself and my contributions to the world, but being only one person, I also felt,

well,……………………….I was feeling “benign” ( just like my breast disease, and yes, I am being sarcastic ).

Just me alone, in a house in suburban New Jersey wasn’t going to do much to combat the multi-nationals polluting our food, our oceans and our world.  But there are so many people in the world, and those people didn’t know what I just discovered and that is how easy it is to do the right thing ( and ends up being cheaper too).  It’s so easy squeeze a lemon and save the rest in your freezer for cleaning; it’s so easy to brush your teeth with baking soda and eliminate fluoride.  And a little bit of soap and water really does go a long way.   What if just one person in each town made some simple changes. How many people would that be?  And how many towns did we have just in New Jersey alone? In the end, the more people “going green” the better it would be for my health, their health, the planet, my conscience, and exponential possibilities in my very optimistic mind.

After scouring the book store for self help books, I decided that they were overwhelming and over stimulating.  People needed one idea at a time to digest and get used to.  So, I began placing my ideas on greeting cards.

Some of my work are photographs, others are hand drawings and most recently, I have discovered water-color painting ( and these tend to be the most popular).  All of the recipes, inspirations and ideas inside are either my own, or ideas that I have tried and given my seal of approval. My vision is to have friends share these cards with friends, relatives, loved ones and pet lovers share them with like minded people. I hope and pray that more and more people see the beauty and ease in living a natural life, growing their own garden, and their own impact on the world via their own behavior, whether that is chemical, or via their own personality.

So please, share a card with someone and know that your impact DOES make a difference.

Marilyn El-Abidin

Earth Love, LLC

 

 

 

 

For Further Research:

Videos:

How Air Pollution Affects Your Health

FIve Human Impacts on the Environment

Colorful fruits and Vegetables inked to Lower Risk of Breast Condition

Disorders involving calcium, phosphorus and magnesium

Endocrine Control and Calcium-Phosphate Homeostasis

Phosphates, Food Additives and Human Health

Phosphates: What they are and how they are used in cleaning

Phosphates in Fast Food A Health Risk

Why You Should Ditch Your Fabric Softener for Good

Airing the Dirty Laundry – The Dangers of Fabric Softener

Is Spring Cleaning Toxic to Your Health?

Elevated Alkaline Phosphatase and Cancer

Consuming Too Much Phosphorus Can Interfere with the Calcium Absorption of Your Body