The day we got our air tests back was the day I knew mold caused our illnesses. What I didn't know was how many others were suffering. Until I started this blog. Here are just a few of the emails I have received over the past several weeks. Used with permission.
1. "My daughter, who is now almost 3, was constantly getting sick with respiratory infections and was eventually diagnosed with asthma. And when I say sick, I mean sick. We were having to do breathing treatments every two to three hours, she was taking an inhaler and steroids just so she could breathe. She would be sick for 2 weeks, get better for 2-3 days and then would get sick all over again. I was at such a loss as to what was making her so sick. I am a stay at home mom, so she isn't in daycare; the only thing I could figure was that she was picking up viruses when we would go on our occasional outings to the store or park or at the church nursery. Then one morning I walked into her room to get her up and was blown away by a very strong "musty" smell. I had never noticed it before and really think it was a gift from God. The first thought that came into my head was mold. That night we closed off her room and moved her to the guest room. It was amazing how much improvement she made in just one night. It has now been nearly 5 months and her asthma is practically gone and she hasn't been sick since. That was also the beginning of our mold journey, although definitely not as extreme as yours. We have had several series (long story) of air tests done, along with interior wall samples that have come back with, among other types, aspergillus and stachybotrys mold."
2. "All 4 of us have been affected by our mold exposure, although my daughter and I were the most severely affected. I battled chronic fatigue, brain fog, chemical sensitivities, panic attacks, nightmares, muscle cramps, heart palpitations, racing heart, thyroid issues, etc. Our daughter developed autism.
We have dealt with this since August of 2004... I just want to encourage you that things can improve with time. Just this year I have begun to feel "normal" again. I have been able to deviate from anti-fungal diets without symptoms! I don't know if you have had any of your family's amino acid levels tested, but this was HUGE for me! Getting those back in balance has really helped me to feel so much better!"
3. "I was poisoned by mold while living in Britain for 13 years as a missionary teacher (4 years in Edinburgh Scotland and 9 years in Liverpool England). Everywhere in Britain is plagued with mold and when you take a desert rat that is not used to mold and plant her there - well guess what. Unbeknownst to me, I was collecting mold spores and didn't even realize it. I always tell people that I brought back 2 souvenirs from Britain - - (1) my English husband and (2) a collection of mold spores (believe me, that starts some pretty good conversations!) Looking back - I had all the symptoms of toxic mold poisoning and MCS but didn't realize it. In 1995 we immigrated back to the states and made Tucson our home and within three years I really started having trouble. Back and forth to doctors - nine in total - all admitted that yes, I had a problem, but tests were not helping them come up with any solutions. Sinus trouble, nosebleeds (some pretty scary ones!), brain fog, confusion, lack of concentration, forgetting the stupidest things, rashes (I was a beautiful sight at times), severe intestinal trouble and a metallic taste that would not go away. It was frustrating for both of us and at times really tested our marriage. But he has been a real trooper and adds a whole new meaning to the phrase "helpmate" - I sure could NOT have done this journey without him.
After being carted out of church one Sunday morning with yet another reaction to all the perfumes in the room (I didn't realize at the time that that is what I was reacting to - but every Sunday I was having to leave church and would be sicker than a dog for a couple of days). Finally a friend said, "I've been wanting to share something with you, but didn't know how you would react to it - but have you ever heard of MCS - I think that might be what you are suffering from." No never heard of it - but tell me more. I began my own search on the internet and one day yelled for my husband to "come and look at this" - "This is describing me to a tee." He agreed. The article was talking about MCS, its symptoms, what chemicals do to affect your body and health. I copied the article and made an appointment with my PCP and asked him to read the article and then we could talk. He then gave me a referral to the doctor who had written the article - Dr. Michael Gray in Benson, AZ. So in October 2001 I became his patient and right away he said that I was "a classic mold patient". He did a LOT of testing and on December 19, 2001 I was given the diagnosis of Severe Mycotoxicosis and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. Turned out I had 13 different types of mold spores actively growing in my lungs and intestines. He said that I was slowly suffocating to death - using only a 1/4 of my lung capacity at that time. No wonder I was out of breath all the time!!!
Detoxification began right away (I don't even remember Christmas at all that year) and just as the doctor had predicted - I got worse before I got better and I had many days that I begged God to simply let me die. The battle was HARD - - and ever so lonely. Boy, I found out who my true friends were at that time. Many chose to walk away thinking I was crazier than anything, a classic hypochondriac, and the best ever drama queen. I was in quarantine at home for what turned out to be just over a year, only being able to go to the hospital, lab, or the doctor's office. I missed teaching opportunities, women's retreats, friends' weddings, funerals, church services, going shopping at the mall, going on a picnic, taking a hike or a long walk, etc. Very few people understood at all - even my own family were quite distant at that time. It was the hardest year physically, mentally and emotionally that I ever care to live through. BUT it was the most fantastic year for me spiritually!!! You see, I had to learn what dependence upon GOD was REALLY all about. I spent many long hours - just God and me. Often I was angry at Him, frustrated with Him, comforted by Him, challenged to grow because of His lessons. All in all I would never trade that time spent with Him. It changed our relationship forever thus I am truly thankful for toxic mold poisoning and MCS - yes, truly thankful!!!
Today - eight years later - I am doing SSOO MUCH better. I still have health issues as a result of MOLD. But I am still alive and kicking. I am able to be out and about a little more, but have to really monitor where I go and what I do. Still have times when my husband has to carry me out of some place due to reaction to some chemical. I insist without hesitation that people are totally fragrance free when they come to my home or they don't come at all. I have learned more about mold and chemicals than I ever wanted to know."
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