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Annie Hutson
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This article originally appeared in the December 1996 issue of Talking Point.

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Annie Hutson

Annie’s story

Annie Hutson is a warm, gentle, quietly spoken women who now lives on a picturesque Southern Vales property with her husband John. But her life wasn’t always so serene. In the late 70s the symptoms which had been growing for more than a decade led to a major crisis in her life. She was eventually diagnosed with CFS and multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), and recommended to isolate herself from cities and people in a ‘clean’ environment. She resisted this, and has succeeded in coming through the worst of it. Annie takes up the story...

Annie: I think I inherited a tendency to allergies. Some things affected me since I was a child. By the late 60s I had obvious symptoms – and the list kept growing. Chest pains, throat constriction – I would react to soft drinks, cheese and tomato sandwiches. Dizziness, headaches, numbness in my arms and legs, claustrophobia. I became frightened to eat or drink – even to go outside. I was allergic to plastics, newsprint, synthetic fabrics – the list goes on. And I was very emotional, often bursting into tears for no obvious reason. And then there was the fatigue, and muscle and joint pains.

I now know that it’s typical for CFS sufferers to get very sensitive to various common foods and other substances – but I don’t think it’s possible to say where CFS ends and MCS begins, in a case like mine.

Talking Point: When did it all come to a head?

Annie: I was married with three kids, the wife of a pastoralist, working in the bush in Northwest Australia. On top of all the usual hard work of a typical bush wife, I was cooking for 12 men day after day through the worst drought anyone could remember. And my middle child was dyslexic and hyperactive. It was 16 hours a day, every day. One day I realised that I was getting more and more ill – and it was time to start taking care of myself. So I moved to Adelaide and started undergoing tests.

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