I had no idea just how sick I was when we left our home 17 months ago. My tongue was black, I had joint pain, rashes, brain fog, and memory loss. My front teeth had diminished considerably due to grinding (bruxism). But I was still functioning.
I had lab work done soon after we left, and everything came back normal. "Everything looks great," my family practice doctor reported.
We found a mold specialist and I had specific blood tests relating to mold exposure. Only then did the true picture of my health emerge.
I was positive for myelin antibodies. My leptin was low and my c4a was high. Neurological testing clearly showed a chemical brain injury.
My bilirubin total was high. An indicator that something was amiss with my liver and/or gallbladder. An ultrasound was prescribed to check for biliary cirrhosis.
I never had the ultrasound. I didn't have the time, energy, or money. Insurance wasn't covering our treatment in Arizona. We were running for our lives and I was desperately trying to get my children into a stable place.
As things began to settle I began to aggressively focus on my health. I can attest to the reality that it often gets worse before it gets better. I struggled with fatigue while living in our toxic home, but nothing like the "fatigue crashes" I've experienced this year.
For the first time in my life I had trouble functioning and performing everyday tasks.
I've done acupuncture, ONDAMED, orthospinology, far infrared sauna, radical diet changes, juicing, and more. All of them have helped.
I experienced a dramatic shift during a juice fast in November. We had been "green juicing" for a couple of months. I decided to try a fast for one day and found such increased mental clarity and energy that I kept it up for two more days.
I continue to eat whole foods only. I love learning the healing properties of plants, herbs, beans, and other foods.
I feel much better than a year ago. Challenges remain. And will remain for quite awhile. But I'm grateful for the progress.
The biggest issue for me is my short-term and long-term memory. Multi-tasking remains difficult. This makes the kitchen a difficult place for me. Saucepans continue to boil over, herbs remain soaking instead of boiling, recipes are forgotten. New information is extremely difficult to process.
There are some advantages to this. When one of the older kids is late I forget to worry. This is because I’ve forgotten they’re out.
If I have a disagreement with someone in the house, I forget about it in five minutes. (Of course, my husband has always been good at this. Something that has mystified me for 27 years.)
My friend Dawn told me recently that she noticed a major change in me the year before we left. "It's hard to put into words," she said. "It was like you were distracted all the time." It helped to hear she had noticed. It's easy for me to feel "crazy" instead of injured.
I've been reading the book "The Brain that Changes Itself" by Dr. Noman Doidge and have found great hope for restoring some of my lost function. The book looks at the science of neuroplasticity, which is "the changing of neurons, the organization of their networks, and their function via new experiences."
The key to restoring function, according to Doidge, is to learn new skills or new vocabulary, even a new language. The goal is to stimulate the control system for plasticity to keep up production of acetylcholine and dopamine.
"Anything that requires highly focused attention will help that system - learning new physical activities that require concentration, solving challenging puzzles, or making a career change that requires you master new skills and material."
Within three months after leaving our home of eight years we headed for Arizona, where I was forced to learn a new city, a new diet, new terminology, and a new way of life. Something I thought was the last thing I needed.
I was wrong.
More than ever I find myself leaning on these words found in the book of Isaiah:
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts."
- ► 2011 (436)
- ▼ February (9)