I continue to hear from people all over the country who have battled mold. The following two stories demonstrate the range of experiences. From quick remediation, to undetected and massive exposure like ours. I share them both, with permission, knowing that each story will help others who find themselves confronted with water leaks and/or resulting mold.
Last week we discovered mold in our crawl space because of a sump pump failure that left standing water for several days. Thankfully – I went right to your blog and read your recommendations. We were able to follow your instructions, and a quality mold remediation company has spent the last week drying, testing and remediating the crawl space. If I had not heard your story or read your blog, I would have probably ignored the mold or if I had pursued it, I would not have pursued a qualified company. The air and tape test showed coelomycetes and penicillium – in high concentrations in the crawl space with very little in the living space.
By blood tests and history, I was diagnosed with environmental illness by an expert named Dr. Eckhardt Johanning in 1999. I was only 17 at the time my symptoms became debilitating (in 1998) and was profoundly affected by the mold spores circulating in our house - the levels being highest in my bedroom.
We do not know how long the mold had been growing in the walls of our house but had lived there 14 years. My mother, like you, found a small dark patch on the carpet in my room, near the leg of my wooden desk (which had been wicking water up the leg from under the carpet). We went through professional air testing, and my family was late in vacating because we had no idea how serious the situation was at the time.
I stayed with a friend, but eventually we ended up in temporary housing - first a hotel suite that had a kitchenette sprayed with pesticides, second an apartment with rental furniture that had been treated with pesticides, and third another apartment with a water leak and more mold.
Over the course of all of these moves, it was recognized that we all had multiple chemical sensitivity. We had a plastic patio table and airbeds for furniture. We carried our clothes around in garbage bags. At the time, we couldn't go to movies, the grocery store, or virtually any public place without having symptoms and feeling disoriented. My symptoms included profound fatigue, swollen glands, sore throats, flushing in my face, diarrhea, frequent urination, headaches, muscle twitching, constant dizziness, an inability to multitask, inability to concentrate, irritability, memory problems, nosebleeds, and severe muscle aches.
I had always had sinus problems as well. I had no energy and slept constantly. I ended up having many school absences in high school, losing a summer job I valued, and having to leave my first college due to their regular (and excessive) pesticide spraying.
My parents suffered from lung problems, fatigue, ringing in the ears, concentration problems, memory issues, and rash. We were extraordinarily damaged physically and traumatized emotionally. We were constantly trying to prevent cross-contamination. We lost our home, our belongings, and our sense of well-being and had to battle the insurance company on top of it, taking a big financial hit.
I had to write to share my story because reading about what you've gone through was like finally finding someone who understands what we endured. Telling your story through your blog is so powerful and important. At times, I feel as if what we went through wasn't real - simply a horrific nightmare - with no validation for our experience, no one who could possibly understand the devastation. It's always been such a battle just to have chemical sensitivity understood, believed, and accommodated.
As I read your story, I felt such overwhelming sorrow and compassion for what your family has suffered. The familiar details you posted triggered all the old emotions to come flooding back. We had people disregard and minimize our problems - doctors who told us we were overreacting to "odors" and insurance people who didn't wear any kind of protective masks when going through our house.
It was such a terrible time for us, and as someone who has survived 10 years after the trauma (in addition to my grandparents' home having the same problem in 2004), I'm writing to say that I have felt that extreme pain and that my faith in Christ is what has sustained me.
- ► 2011 (436)
- ► 2010 (275)
- A Hospital Bill and a Reminder
- Thanksgiving Menu
- Thanksgiving Reflections
- Rea Treatment Protocol
- Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce
- Our Last Puppy
- Mold Testimonies
- Shelter from the Storm
- A Small Step, A Giant Leap
- Food Inc.
- Haunting Question
- Call to Action
- Pesticide Tragedy
- Book Review: Mold: the War Within
- ▼ November (14)