Toxic Mold can affect anyone anywhere around the world. The misconception is that mold is only a problem in low income or dirty housing. This couldn't be farther from the truth. Toxic Mold can grow in buildings, schools, churches and even new construction homes. The following people have chosen to share their stories so that they can help others realize the importance of preventing mold formation, growth and mold illness.
Below are some real life stories of victims of toxic mold exposure:
My story began when I started feeling bad in about 2006/2007. My first symptom was pouring nosebleeds and I had never had a nosebleed in my life. Later in my story, my daughter hugged my legs. That night, she cried out that she needed a tissue, so we told her to grab a tissue. When we went to get her up the next morning, she had blood caked all over her nose/mouth, all in her hair and all over her comforter. 2 of us had nosebleeds. I was terrified!!!
My dilemma with the "Western Medicine Rabbit Holes"
and a lack of accurate Diagnosis (Symptom Chasers)
I started seeing a family doctor. We went down the path of checking thyroid because I had family history of that on both sides. My thyroid labs would turn out fine, but I was pretty convinced it was a "sub-clinical presentation" that was being missed. My doctor told me "I was asking him to find a zebra and he only hunted horses". I asked for a referral to an Endocrinologist. He referred me and they refused to see me because my bloodwork said there was no problem. They said "If it was totally out of whack, a PCP could've diagnosed it." Isn't that what the specialists are for?
I then started to develop a lot of pain.
.......And here go the "common referral games that conventional medicine puts you through....READY?
PCP's (clueless): The Primary Care Physician couldn't figure out why this was happening......... Insomnia (what is going on?): Then, I could no longer make it through the day without a nap. Insomnia was a problem. So, I asked for a sleep study. My PCP referred me for that. My sleep study came back fine as well. Physical Therapists (negative):..... so he sent me to physical therapy suggesting maybe I had fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia (negative):......My first visit with PT, they said "not a chance you have fibromyalgia. I would not be able to touch you like I'm touching you if you had fibromyalgia". So, I continued PT for a while...... Chiropractic (still not the root cause): .......Then I went to a chiropractor and got massages, but nothing was really alleviating my pain, but for a very short time. I was spending $90 a week on the chiropractor for the adjustment to only last 30 minutes, so I just stopped going. Endocrinologist (not helping): .....I sought out an out of pocket Endocrinologist at some point. I had found that this doctor used to be in my area, but had moved to Charleston, and was still coming to Greenville to treat patients. This led me to believe that maybe the Endocrinologists here just weren't very good, so maybe they were disregarding me. I thought, well, let's see what he has to say. He told me to make my diet very bland because maybe my stomach was just churning all night keeping me from resting well. He also decided to just try me on thyroid medication to see if it helped. I can't remember whether I felt like it helped for a while or not. Internal Medicine Dr. (back to the loop again): After a while of paying $150 per visit (plus insurance I wasn't utilizing), I switched to an internal medicine doctor. Without question, she continued me on thyroid medication and I would later discover that my bloodwork was now showing I absolutely should not be on thyroid medication. I also started having trouble focusing during this time, so she put me on Focalin and we tried Ambien to help me sleep. I didn't want to get addicted though, so I would only take it on Sundays and Wednesday to try to "start the week" with a good night of sleep and then get a good night's sleep mid-week to finish out the week. I believe that was from about 2009-2011. Neurologist (rabbit holes): .......In 2012, I believe, I started experiencing a numb tongue and hands, so I went to a neurologist. I thought "maybe I have MS". He evaluated me and said I did not have MS, but a "sensory disturbance". Still no real answers or improvements and no recommendations to help this "sensory disturbance". By this point, I had just kind of given up to suffer. My Heart!! (Cardiology, another rabbithole): I started having chest pains and windedness. I went to urgent care. They did a chest X-ray and EKG and said my heart was fine, but I might have a pulmonary embolism. I was 39. I went to the ER and they said I had no risk factors for a PE and didn't think doing a CAT scan was necessary but told me to follow up with a cardiologist. I did. He said I had negative risk factors for heart problems, but out of an abundance of caution, we did an Echocardiogram. It was normal. I was so defeated.
Gastroenterologists, Gut Issues and (Dissmissive behavior and no guidance) - At some point, I developed constant diarrhea and terrible stomach pain. I went to see my gastroenterologist. They recommended a low fodmap diet, but there just weren't really clear guidelines on what was/was not a fodmap, so I started with just removing dairy. That did not help. Gynecologist (comorbitity is becoming clearer): At the same time, I was going to my gynecologist for some pain I was having. I thought maybe I had endometriosis. They ran some tests and determined that my progesterone was really low and I would have a really hard time getting pregnant, when I was ready to have kids. They did an HSG to make sure my tubes were open and they were ($1000+) and sent me to fertility specialist. Everything that was supposed to be high was low and everything that should be low was high (ie, testosterone). They said "this is what we would expect to see in a 41 year old". I was 33. It was difficult to hear. They even told me 0% chance of becoming pregnant without IVF. IVF was just not something that I could get comfortable with, so I spent a lot of time praying for a baby! Thankfully, God answered my prayers! At some point, I just became miserable with the pain in my hip/back. In 2013, I had a miscarriage and had to have a D&C because my body wasn't flushing it. After all my prayer, I finally conceived and had a baby girl in 2014. I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes during pregnancy. More "fake diagnosing" of symptoms and "drugs to match": The NP at work diagnosed it as sciatica and prescribed Meloxicam. That didn't help at all. Loopty-Loo.....(Back to the good-ole PCP): She sent me "BACK" to my new PCP and they did an X-ray and said it was not sciatica. Orthopedic (Rabbithole): They referred me to an orthopedic. They did more X-rays and tried cortisone shots 2 different times. They did not help. I don't believe they ever told me it was diagnosed as "SI Joint Dysfunction". Loopty-Loo...back to PT (physical therapy): I went back to PT, but because it wasn't targeted, it also didn't help. Gallstones? Liver? (I need answers!): I thought "maybe I've got gallstones in my bile ducts" since gallstones produced a major pain in my back when I had them, so I went back to the NP at work to request a blood draw for liver enzymes. That was fine too. Massages & Accupuncture? (At this point, I'm starting to self-diagnose): I think I then had a massage where the massage therapist said "what you're describing sounds like SI joint dysfunction". I was so excited to have a possible "diagnosis" that could be treated. Back to PT I went. Sad that I had to tell THEM what the issue was, but at least we had something to work with. The head guy was fantastic, but he had to get a book out to see how to treat SI Joint Dysfunction. The therapy helped, but again, it wasn't long term.
Since the pain wasn't being fully controlled, I tried acupuncture. It was the thing that gave me the longest lasting relief, but I couldn't afford $80 sessions all the time.
I was so done....The Symptoms were becoming unbearable with no real diagnosis
I was still MISERABLE everyday at work. I couldn't focus, I was in so much pain. I wasn't sure if it was a focus problem or just that the pain was keeping me that distracted. I would keep reheating a rice bag throughout the day to help alleviate a little pain to make it through the day. Meanwhile, I had been taking naps in my car for years just to make it through the day (as had several other coworkers).
WAS ALL THIS RELATED TO MY ENVIRONMENT?
In 2008, I noticed that there were a lot of water spots at work and I definitely noticed that my coworkers coughed and seemed to be sick all the time. I mentioned it to management, but they ignored it. I really didn't have any clue about mold at that point though, so I didn't pursue it further. My coworkers were just all blown away at all my health issues. They would say "you eat healthier than anyone we know". It was true. I was so committed to health.
In 2016, there was VERY VISIBLE black mold creeping up the tiles above my head at work. I went to get the NP and said "is that safe". She said "it's definitely not good". I asked if she would encourage management to do something about it. They would swap out the tiles and 2 days later, it would be back. Tiles became so soaked, they fell in on my coworker's desk and my boss ran a garden hose from the ceiling to a bucket to catch the water. They were constantly tarring the roof and working on something above our heads. They finally moved us out of the office to wrap the air handler and clean the vents/replace the wet tiles. We moved back in a few weeks later and it looked clean. I still had no idea about mycotoxins and "true remediation".
By this point, I was having trouble reading to my daughter at night, tripping over words, having trouble following along when people talked, even with things I had been doing and LOVED for years. I was even in a meeting one time and totally zoned out with my boss talking. I had always been so dedicated and laser focused, always praised for my attention to detail. This was SCARY! I was also dealing with my eyes "rolling" and frequent dizziness. I could feel my eyes roll out of focus when people were talking to me. It was embarrassing.
I decided to think out of the box and go see an alternative doctor
I got desperate and a friend told me to try this guy she had heard cracked tough cases, so I went. He did all kinds of bloodwork and initially thought maybe it was thyroid but again my thyroid came back normal, with the exception of starting to develop antibodies.
At my second visit, he asked the million dollar question....are you by chance being exposed to mold? I said "well, I was for sure in 2016" and there were water spots back on the ceiling tiles in my office at that time.
ERMI testing of my environments
But, I was still being exposed. He had me do an ERMI cloth dust test at my house. It was higher than it should be, but the Hertsmi was below 10 and we had not had any water damage so I felt it may not be my house. So, I did an ERMI at work. The ERMI was a 12 and the Hertsmi was 14. This was 2 years after the last "clean up". I gave them the results, but of course, they didn't think my office was the problem because "you're the only one affected".
Toxic Mold was at the office
People complained all the time of "feeling fine until they got here". They also would complain of how musty it smelled in the office. As you can see in the photo here of my temperature and moisture meter monitor, the humidity in our office would be as high as 74% at times and of course, there were water spots constantly, repeatedly getting wet.You'd hear the drip of water on the tiles often. They finally told me I could wear a respirator at my desk since I was the only one affected. They did clean the vents again and afterwards had a meeting to tell us "if we had a problem, it was in our house, or our car or our tree stand, but it was NOT here", after admitting they knew they had a problem 15 or so years prior. I had been there 14. I knew they weren't going to correctly fix the problem, so I knew I had to leave. A guy stopped me one day to ask why I was wearing the mask and said "there were guys in full Hazmat suits in the ceiling last night, looking like they were going into biological warfare".
I had a neuroquant MRI in December 2018. Not only was my nasal cavity almost completely closed from my turbinates being so swollen (thank you body for trying to protect me!! I had complained for YEARS of my nose feeling like it was collapsing...turns out it kind of was), but I had 6 areas of my brain that had been affected by mold.
Cross-Contamination of my home (From my office building)
I don't remember when it was, but we had a remediator that had been through CIRS inspect our home and they said "if you weren't sick, I wouldn't recommend doing anything". We re-wrapped our crawlspace out of an abundance of caution and he identified 2 small spots of mold that he tore out. One was a window sill in our bonus room and another was in our garage....both of which were as far away from my bedroom as they could be. When we compared the ERMI reports, we realized that all the molds listed at my home, were also in much higher quantities at work. They felt absolutely confident that it was cross-contamination of my home, from being exposed for 14 years and bringing it home on my clothes/hair.I had to leave this job I had loved so much.
I had to quite my job / Practicing avoidance...my path to healing
I went to an interview elsewhere, but because I couldn't smell, I didn't notice fumes. In a few weeks, when my turbinates had shrunk I started to notice the fumes. I was completely clueless about mold causing you to develop a chemical sensitivity. I definitely had improvement, but I was improving as much as I should. I was still coming home in the evening, struggling so much to complete the tasks I needed to complete (dinner, etc). My head hurt so bad. Then, come bedtime, I was wide awake again (my bloodwork showed my MSH was 15). I would tell people that it felt like my brain was swollen. I tried to find another job. Within minutes of being in the interview, I could feel numbness starting, so when they offered me the job, I knew I could not accept. By November 2019, I had convinced my husband that I needed to quit my job to heal, to be in the only environment I could control. I quit 11/12/19. Within weeks, my brain no longer felt swollen and in a few months, almost every symptom resolved. So much so, in fact, at 41 years old, I was pregnant. WOW! I had to stop taking binders because of that fact and I just continued to improve. I am still struggling with multi-step directions and memory, but I hope that will be restored. My pain has COMPLETELY gone away. I haven't had to use the rice bag at all. AMAZING after being in chronic pain for 10 years! My stomach issues have pretty much completely resolved, unless I eat gluten several times or days in a row. I am sleeping better! My energy has not really returned, but that just may be the pregnancy.
I figured it out...and now I can help others!!
Now, anyone that I see with all these health problems that they aren't getting answers for, I ask if they are being exposed to mold and without fail, all of them answer yes. It's just wild!!
Bronx Woman Sick of Living with Mold in Her Apartment
A Bronx woman says she was forced to live in the city's shelter system because her government-subsidized apartment was making her sick, and the city refused to do anything about it. Bronx reporter Erin Clarke filed the following report.
After living in a homeless shelter for three years, Rhonda Thurston got a subsidized apartment on Brook Avenue through a city program. But she says she had to wear a mask to live there.
"I'm just constantly coughing all the time; my eyes are turning red, my face, my body really, is itchy," said Thurston. "There's just like an itch all over my upper body."
The problems began after a leak last year was not repaired for two months.
"After they ripped up the floors in the bedroom, you can see it was just obvious that there was some mold substance on the floor," said Thurston.
Thurston filed complaints with city agencies claiming her landlord was not doing anything about the mold.
After her eight-year-old son got pneumonia, she had the air tested and found mold. Doctors say constant exposure can be harmful.
"It's difficult to have a causal relationship, establish a causal relation between exposure and developing pneumonia, but Aspergillus can cause lung infection," said Chief of Pulmonary at Harlem Hospital, Dr. Raji Ayinla. "It can also locally destroy the tissue of the lung."
After replacing the floorboards and painting... the landlord said the problem was resolved Thurston said the air was still making her and her son sick, so she filed suit.
A visual inspection by the Department of Housing and Preservation Development found no sign of the mold. But a Health Department test detected it the air. And when NY1 visited, there appeared to be a problem.
After being in the apartment for just a couple of minutes, especially in the bedroom, it became difficult for me to breathe.
Doctor Ayinla says mold issues can go unresolved because there are no federal guidelines.
Still feeling sick Thurston and her son returned to a shelter
"I don't think it's fair," Thurston said.
After NY1 raised questions the Department of Homeless Services said it will allow Thurston to transfer her subsidy to another apartment if she can find one.
Housing lawyers tell us this is a problem they often see. Low-income New Yorkers living in apartments with mold that cannot be seen, but is making them sick.
"Story written by By Erin Clarke
Tuesday, November 29, 2016 at 11:30 PM ESTPosted with permission and submitted by Rhonda Thurston"
Routine visit to a Naturopath leads to a toxic mold discovery
My story begins with a routine visit to my ND. I had a laceration on my leg over the summer,was seen in er. I was allergic to the antibiotics that were prescribed.Then she asked me if I went to my cardiologist annual check up.I had gone for a emergency one in July. I have a condition called aortic Bicusbid (since birth). My mother hit the floor when they told me no change in my heart! I thought for sure there had been change because I was having extreme difficultly breathing. So told my story's to natural path. She asked me if I was exposed to black mold. I told her the basement at my work had 2 free standing air conditioners that were vented to basememt..And a window unit that I worked 4 ft from for 10 years was stored in the nasty basement. It had black oozing from it for last few years. So I tested positive for black mold toxicity. 2.17 was the amount of aspergillus in my system. My nd said it was likely the antibiotics were reacting to the toxic mold.
Addressing the landlord where my business is located
My land lord would not consider cleaning up because no one else had the same symtoms I was having.
I am a hairdresser dresser. I had to find a new space immediately. I called out the local health department and they said to call vosha (vermont) osha. In short, they were not interested and would not go look at environment. They said that what was toxic to me may not be toxic to anyone else. So I have been on a roller coaster of medical..So much to write! So I guess what some people can die from is not important unless everyone dies from it and if not everyone dies from it then nothing gets done. NOT FAIR!!
Below are the terrible photos of the building where I was renting my business out of
In January, 2016 I started suffering from severe sinus infections.
In May of 2016 my health took a turn for the worse after my camping trip for my kids birthday. I felt so sick i started getting dizzy i started feeling weak. I went to the doctor. They gave me anitbiotics and it seemed to make things worse. A few days later my stomach started hurting really bad. I couldn't eat and passed out and went to the hospital they said it was an ear infection and sent me home.
The next day I started having fluids coming out of my nose ears eyes and my right abodominal started hurting. I had no idea what was going on so I kept going back to the hospital and they kept sending me home.
After a few days it became difficult to breath and I had pain which seemed like a gallbadder attack on June 27. They ordered a CT-scan for gallbladder but they found nothing except two suspicious spots on my lungs. I didn' and don't smoke and had never had that on my lungs before. I was referred to a lung specialist. I had a test that showed black mold in my lungs and was told that I have moxytoxins in my body. This apparently was the cause of all of my problems.
I then started to take prescription antifungunals which gave me bad side effects. I've been on a diet for two months and taking oregano oil. Iam starting to feel better. I dont know where exactly I was exposed, possibly my old job. My house was checked and but i still purchesd air purifier.I lost my job bbecaus of this im a single motherbi had just finished dental school into a new career and couldnt even start my new job cause i couldnt even barely stand up at the time.Everyday iam improving just by diet and a few other natural antifungunals.It has been a hard 6months but im improving each day.
I thought I had won the battle with inflammation upon receiving the news from my doctor back in 2010 that I was gluten intolerant and needed to be on a gluten-free diet. Not only did I need to be gluten-free, but dairy-free as well. Over the course of three years leading up to the events of December 2013, I had lost 60 pounds of inflammation and was feeling healthier than I had felt in a long, long time.
I was in a better place, both mentally and physically. I will never forget what happened on December 13, 2013. I was renting a townhome after my divorce and my thirteen-year-old son, who was twelve at the time, was living with me, along with my significant other. One day, the unit next to ours, which had been in foreclosure, had its pipes burst and all of a sudden, water rushed out from the home. My townhome had three stories so my main living areas were on the second and third floors, we hadn’t yet decided what to do with the room on the first floor so fortunately, there wasn’t too much in the room. As water was rushing from the unit next door, water was also coming into my first floor. The local fire and police departments were called out to shut off the water so fortunately only about half of the carpeting in my first floor room was wet. I still was very concerned. A carpet cleaning company was sent out to extract water from the carpet the next day but no other steps were taken to ensure there would not be a mold issue. I expressed my concern to my landlord at the time and was told since I was on a month-to-month lease, I had the option to leave at any time and that if mold was found, it would be taken care of. My son has had respiratory issues (Croup and Asthma) off and on since birth, he was born three weeks premature, his lungs were not fully developed and he spent a week in the ICU. My concern was mostly for him but still wondered how it would affect all of us.
Months passed since the water had entered my unit. I had progressive sinus issues and bouts of laryngitis. It all came to a head in May, just before Memorial Day weekend. I was out with my significant other and fell ill very suddenly. He rushed me to an acute care center and the doctor came back with a diagnosis of tonsilitis, which I still question to this day. I was given a prescription for antibiotics and sent on my way. During the next few days, something didn’t feel quite right with my breathing and I had totally lost my sense of taste. I am not one who likes to take medication, usually can do home remedies for sinus infections and be okay. This time I gave in and took the medication. It took a few days but I did start to improve. Still wondering what the heck was going on with me, we all seem to know when our bodies are not quite right. At this point, I had also gained about 25 pounds of inflammation since the flood next door had occurred.
A few days later, the townhome association president alerted me that the unit next door had a very serious mold problem and there was concern for my son’s and my health if we continued to live in our unit. I was in the process of looking for another home when I was alerted.
The neighbors furnace room & Garage
I was shown what happened to the other unit
and couldn’t believe my eyes.
Floor to ceiling black mold in the garage
and halfway up the wall in the furnace room.
......If this was going on next door,
what was going on in my home?
I was told I had better see a doctor as soon as possible. I consulted with other friends in the health industry and was referred to a local area doctor who specialized in toxic mold exposure. He ran blood work on me and checked to see if I had a gene, that 1 in 4 people have where your body does not recognize mold as a toxin and does not produce the antibodies to naturally get rid of the toxins caused by mold. I did test positive for this gene and also for toxic mold poisoning.
Not that I needed any additional confirmation that mold was present in our home, I had a mold inspector come out and test the unit for mold because it was not visible. I just knew it was hidden somewhere on the first floor, mainly underneath the carpeting. It did indeed come back that we had a high level of chateomium mold, one of the most dangerous types of mold you could have. This mold is only present in a building that has had water damage.
We did move into a new home but I do have to say this move was one of the worst I had experienced yet. I had movers come and move the big stuff before I knew the best thing would have probably had been to leave everything behind.
I was told by one of my doctors to wear a mask upon entering the home to retrieve boxes, etc.
I remember being so stiff from the inflammation I could barely move. My new neighbors immediately noticed my condition, as I was moving into my new place. One neighbor noted that it looked like I had MS. I was in so much pain and so stiff, but knew we had to get the rest of our belongings out by the end of the month. I was so grateful to have had help from my significant other and friends, I don’t really know what I would have done without them!
As far as the suggested remedy by the doctor I was seeing for the mold poisoning, I was told I had a chronic inflammatory condition caused by the mold and the best remedy was a pharmaceutical called Welchol, which is normally used for lowering cholesterol but was discovered to be a toxin binder as well. Unfortunately, at $350 per month (after insurance) based on the dosage prescribed, this was not an affordable option for me and besides; I was uncomfortable taking the drug. My son also tested positive for the gene and his blood work came back showing he also was affected by the mold. Again, I was told he should be put on the Welchol at yet another $350 per month. If I was able to recoup all the expenses for replacing personal items and medical expenses (that is a whole other story), I might have considered it. I know where I stand though.
I knew there had to be a better way….
After moving in to our new place, I did start to feel better but knew I had to come up with a remedy that would act as a toxin binder that wasn’t so harsh on my body and didn’t cost a bundle to take. It has been a few months now since the move and I have had a decline in my health including two ER visits in a three week span to rule out a stroke and DVT (deep vein thrombosis/blood clot). I decided to consult with my holistic doctor, Dr. Marc Pinto, who has helped me immensely before. I am also seeing a new primary doctor who performed a wellness check and ordered some testing. The additional diagnoses so far are all not official yet (possible Sciatica, Carpal Tunnel, De Quervain’s tendonitis) and I still have yet to see a Neurologist. Besides changing my diet, Dr. Marc has put me on a homeopathic protocol to detox as well as helping me not focus so much on my symptoms/diagnoses but my body as a whole.
Out of the 44 pounds total I had gained from inflammation over the past 14 months, I did lose 11 the first ten days on the new eating regimen. I am following a very strict (and not fun) eating plan, eating no gluten (of course), dairy, sugar, and grains and not drinking any caffeine, alcohol or fruity teas. It is very similar to a Candida diet, adding in not eating any food or drink that can get moldy or feed mold.
I know I can heal. I know I can help my son so he will not be put back on an inhaler for Asthma. Healing is all in your mindset. If you will it to be possible, you will be shown how your health can improve.
I will update you all with my progress over the next few months as well as give more detailed information on what has been briefly been touched on here. Thank you for taking the time to read my story and I hope and pray that I can help others who may also be affected by hidden toxic mold or toxic mold in general and not realize it.
Andrea is a health and food coach that specializes in gluten-free living. Her experience with the dangers of toxic foods and environmental toxins makes her a unique and experienced coach that not only is educated and trained in the field of nutrition, but also backed up by her personal experience with that too close of an encounter we all know to be "Toxic Mold".
Hi my name is Courtney Im a 29 year old disabled nurse and Im trying to heal from Environmental/Biotoxin Illness (these are blanket terms for Mold toxicity aka Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome), Lyme Disease, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, Electrical hypersensitivity and Chronic fatigue syndrome). Ever since I was a little girl I always believed that I was meant to help others. Despite the extreme struggles I’ve endured and am still desperately working on overcoming, I still believe that to be true. I know that one day I will be well, however, I cannot get there without great persistence and determination. You can stay up to date with my progress here on my blog
Before I became ill I was a happy, bubbly, outgoing person that got along well with others and was easy to be around. I had lots of friends and greatly enjoyed the company of others. I had a clear mind, did well in school and was always eager to learn and better myself. This was during my high school years. Then suddenly, all of that changed. I unknowingly contracted Lyme Disease during an outing in New Hampshire and my world got turned upside down. I became introverted, socially awkward, unable to connect with others, anxious, fatigued, I developed memory loss , I lost friends because I didn’t know how to connect with others or myself anymore (derealization/disassociation), and it only continued to worsen all throughout my adult years. It took me 15 years to discover that Neurological Lyme Disease was the cause for the drastic change in my personality and mentality. The amount of loss that I have experienced due to this has been insurmountable.
It wasn’t until December 2008, when I moved into a building that was formerly an old textile mill and had been newly renovated into apartment lofts that I’d discover that Lyme Disease was at the root of what had been plaguing me the last 15 years. This was due to the fact that there was unknowingly high levels of toxic mold in this apartment that would suppress my immune system and cause the Lyme and other infections in my body to spiral out of control so badly that it would make me chronically ill for most of my 20’s. It took me four years to discover that it was my home making me sick and I was bedbound after just the second month living there. It is by the grace of God that I didn’t die while living there. I was put on antibiotics for Lyme for 13 months while there which also made the Mold issues much much worse and developed chemical and electrical sensitivities once I moved out due to what is known as “unmasking” which is when the immune system “wakes up” once no longer being constantly exposed to the mold toxins and many different sensitivities then begin to surface which are often quite severe and debilitating.
After leaving The Lofts I have moved at least 8 times. I ended up staying at my dads house for two years because it was the only way I was going to be able to afford treatment. I went to many different doctors but never got better due to the high mold levels in my dads house. During this time the stress and mold exposure also began to affect my mothers health, who reluctantly decided to live at my fathers house with me in order to help pay for my care and take care of me. I finally tested the house and it was more than double the limit it should be for someone with a history of Mold toxicity. I continued to decline while living there and could not believe that my childhood home would make me so sick because it hadn’t effected me that way in the past. However, one of the doctors I saw at the time explained that formerly tolerable houses can become intolerable once getting Mold toxicity. In fact, it is very common for the Mold toxicity/CIRS patient to no longer be able to tolerate ANY molds as well as develop Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. I became unable to go into 99% of the buildings in my area without becoming very ill almost instantly. I was so brain fogged and out of it the two years while living there that I never thought to test the home before that. I thought that if I got good enough treatment that I would heal. Unfortunately that isn’t the case for those with Mold toxicity/CIRS and you must live in a place with very low to no mold, or no treatments will work. That is why the #1 step in Dr. Shoemaker’s protocol is to first leave the exposure. I went to many different doctors and spent over $30,000 out of pocket during those two years. Everything went on mine and my mothers credit. I continued to decline severely and the constant humidity and rain made things much worse and my symptoms intolerable. I searched for awhile and went to many different apartments to try moving somewhere else but every single place I was unable to live in and made me ill almost immediately. I spoke with brokers and real estate agents and they all said that I was not going to find what I was looking for living in New England.
I prayed constantly searching for answers and even gutted a camper and spent $4,000 remediating it and waited a year for it to be finished, hoping that it would allow me to stay in Massachusetts with my family. Unfortunately, I reacted severely to that as well and wasn’t able to live in the camper. It had a lot of mold in it prior to remediation and I thought that if it was completely gutted it would be tolerable but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. This is the case for many people that try to remediate due to the tenacity of mold spores and how difficult they are to get rid of.
My mother and I finally decided to leave for the dry southwest because everything we were doing was not working and we had heard from many people that they were able to heal better once moving to a drier climate. So two months ago, after much prayer and consideration, we packed our belongings into her car and made the extremely difficult trip from Massachusetts to Arizona. It has been a very long two months and unfortunately we are still searching for housing and because of my severe sensitivities we’ve had to stay mostly in the car which has been extremely difficult on my mother and I. We are in northern Arizona because that is the part of the state I feel best in, but it is cold and snows a lot so that has made it more difficult to camp in the car. Thankfully I am still noticing some improvements even under all these stressful conditions but this is not any easy lifestyle and not something I would recommend doing alone if severely ill.
<iframe allowfullscreen="" style="margin: 6px 12px; frameborder=" 0"="" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/wLlyjCGZWr0" align="left" height="300" width="400">I know in the deepest parts of my being that once I am well that the lessons I’ve learned since becoming ill will last me a lifetime. I was always a caring person but there are no words to describe the connection I now have to those that are suffering due to illness whether it be from Mold Toxicity, Lyme Disease, MCS, CFS or EHS. The simple fact is that nobody deserves to suffer with these illnesses. Everyone deserves good health, a home that doesn’t make them sick, clean air, and the ability to work and support themselves. These struggles have given me an appreciation for good health more than I could ever begin to possibly explain and it is my hope and prayer that once I am well I will become an advocate for those that so desperately need safe housing as well as medical treatment, as these complicated and many times misunderstood illnesses are often not covered by medical treatment.
Mold in Indoor Environments
As the world becomes more toxic, these illnesses have continued to emerge and become more prevalent. For many people struggling with these illnesses it has become extremely difficult to find Mold/MCS/EMF safe housing due to the severity of these sensitivities as well as the lack of safe housing and toxic building materials that are often used. Most houses in the U.S are built in a way that actually encourage mold growth and it is thought that up to 90% of homes in the country have some level of mold in them. So for those with extreme sensitivities such as myself it often leaves them homeless, living in their cars, or forced to camp outdoors. For some that are fortunate enough, they build a non-toxic tiny home or safe camper to live in. This has been a long time dream of mine. I have one friend that has had to camp outdoors for the past year due to Mold toxicity and many others that I know that continue to live out of their cars or campers. My sensitivities to mold have become so extreme due to both my genetics and the amount/length of my exposure that I cannot tolerate hardly any indoor environments without becoming very ill. So far the only house that I have been able to tolerate was a friends that was specially made with MCS safe materials and to be mold resistant. She herself had suffered from Mold toxicity/CIRS severely and had to move 27 times before finding the mold safe house that she was able to heal in. This housing community has a very long wait list unfortunately. Mold is everywhere and it is extremely difficult to avoid on a daily basis. Most people, cars, homes, buildings, etc. I have to avoid due to the mold spores in or on them. Someone once told me that you can fit 100,000 mold spores on just the tip of a needle, and it only takes one of those to make someone like myself ill. On a daily basis I suffer from extreme chronic fatigue (which I’ve had constantly for the past six years), neurological difficulties such as brain fog and memory loss, difficulty breathing, muscle weakness, pain throughout my body and muscles, brain inflammation and many others. These symptoms can greatly increase and become unbearable even to the most minute exposures to mold. It is difficult to even put into words how debilitating and life altering this illness is. I like to compare it to someone that has severe chemical or electrical sensitivities, except with mold. I also have MCS and EHS but to a lesser degree than mold. I have experienced devastating loss spiritually, physically, emotionally and financially. For many years I gave up hope but have finally begun to slowly regain it as well as my belief that I will be well again.
My Medical Needs:
I currently need extensive medical treatment with both a Mold and Lyme doctor as well as safe housing. Im hoping to find a mold tolerable house that I can pay rent to camp in the backyard and use the facilities to cook and shower. I have traveled so far and my mother and I have spent almost all of our savings to come out here. I am trying to raise money to see a mold doctor in California that I believe could greatly help me. My appointment with her is coming up in just a couple of weeks and I currently do not have enough money to see her. Ive wanted to see this doctor for years and now that I’m in the southwest area I do not have enough money to see her. The first appointment usually runs around $1200 and does not include additional labs and medications. This is not covered by insurance. I desperately need to begin treatment and I believe she could help me greatly. Please pass along my blog to help me continue in my fight to heal from this illness and have a chance to get the treatment that I need. Thank you for care and support.
Citizen sickened by alleged toxic mold - this is Karen's story
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
To the editor:
Black mold. Toxic black mold, in just about every trailer in the park of off South Gosnell to West Gosnell and Center Street. Back in the summer, I was hospitalized. I stayed sick most of the summer. We hadn't been here that long. I walked my dog in this direction. I was horrified. It appears to be the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
I joined the Toxic Mold website and have had many conversations with Kurt Billings, author of books explaining how black mold grows and how it destroys your blood cells and liver, kidney and all other vital organs. I was told by friends within this website to go have the test done.
You have to go to a Tropical Disease Unit. I went to LSU while home visiting my family. I am positive for the toxic black mold. In the first few days after my encounter, I called the city council, the mayor and even the EPA. I was told that the owner would demolish all of the infected trailers. They demolished one. Then I found out the owner is selling the trailers for a very low price.
I have a biopsy scheduled soon. My doctor thinks it is lymphoma. I have been in bed two to three weeks unable to eat. There are other problems with my thyroid, lungs and kidney. I was born with one kidney -- I can't have this kidney shut down. I am uninsured. I have tried beyond pure anger to get the government health care plan, but the "glitches" have beat me, and I do not have the strength to go on.
How can anyone that serves this town, sworn to uphold the safety of its citizens, forget? There are still more trailers with mold, and well, it is worse than before.
The abandoned trailers have drug users lighting candles to have a hut to get high. Just last week, an abandoned trailer had exploded -- burned to the ground with toxic mold spores flying and multiplying in their heat.
I do know there are sick people in the trailer park. I have talked to a couple that moved because they got sick. They lived on Center Street. This problem will not get better, only worse, and when summer gets here, the spores will multiply. My family cannot afford to move due to the thousands of dollar in medical bills.
If you haven't been through the mold, wear a mask and take a peek. I have over 100 photos of each trailer and the toxic mold. This is not fair. I was very healthy when we moved in, working in the yard, decorating our little house, walking my dog. Now I cannot get out of bed.
I wonder ... how many have died from this? Maybe I need to check the obituary archives and see what I find. This should go down in history as "The Gosnell Disease." What appears to be hurricane aftermath is how my body feels inside. One more thing ... there is no cure.
Karen is a wonderful artist as well. Her dog was a victim of toxic mold and did not survive.
Update on Karen - February 2018
Karen is not doing well and has found out that she is nearing her days with cancer. She is a friend, a kind person and a speaker of truth...she fights not only her illness but still fights the cause of toxic mold even in her darkest moments.
Real Stories - (Jennifer)
I was a perfectly healthy young woman with two kids in the prime of my life
May 2009 - Monster House
I found a single family home on a half acre that was for rent. 2 bedrooms and a finished basement that my son could use as a 3rd bedroom. It seemed to be the perfect place for me and my two kids as a single mom. It wasn't AT ALL a monster house. A 1950's ranch on a half acre in Naperville? Pretty much a blessing...is what I thought.
May 2009 - Mysterious Pipe
A week after I moved in I noticed a pipe that was exposed in the roof coming from upstairs was leaking. I contacted the landlord and management company that rented me the house, but they never responded to the situation. So...I did what any person would do: I put a bucket under it to catch the dripping water. I emailed the real estate management company that the landlord insist I use to call if I had any problems. I emailed them immediately...got a call back from the landlord and he said he'd fix it................sometime...........but never came back or called again.
June 2010 - Was this dirt on the wall?
Fast forward a year ahead....I NEVER heard back from the landlord about "Anything"...but apparently my rent checks were being cashed. I sent in my June Rent and also included the long list of emergency issues with the house including the Mysterious Pipe (Which NEVER got fixed). This time it included a new problem:
What looked to be like dirt or black dust clusters were found on the wall or growing on the wall behind a laundry room door behind the water heater. (This wall is the WALL where the swab was taken from) This wall is NOT underneath the leaking pipe and appears to be from years ago. Water Heater looks fairly new…which means that he HAD TO KNOW that this was there. No one can miss it. He FINALLY came to look at the entire list of issues (That later I would find out were ALL toxic mold issues). 3 of us were there together in the laundry room when he turned to "His Guy" and said ok, this can easily be done…let’s throw some bleach on it and just remove this piece where the mold is….and the guy wrote it down on a clipboard.
(IT NEVER GOT FIXED OR FOLLOWED UP ON)
June 2010 - Funny weird looking spots on the ceilings.
Spots were appearing on ceiling in bathroom: I confronted the landlord about noticing that there was something suspicious that kept seeping through underneath fresh paint that just started to show through. I told him that when I moved in it was not there and looked like someone tried to hide that there was a problem in the room by painting over it.
This was the same day that the "Other Guy" was also with us….The landlord rubbed it with his finger and quickly said “that’s not mold..that’s just old paint”…he also said that if it is mold that I shouldn’t be taking showers with the window closed. Trying to quickly shift the blame on me. I mentioned NO this bathroom should be ventilated and he changed the subject again. He quickly changed the subject when I said that someone tried to hide it with paint.
Because he refused to do anything about it in the next few weeks or months to follow, I didn’t want to be embarrassed when guests came over so every 3 weeks I would get on a ladder (no protective gear…no mask..I didn’t know it was mold) and I would clean it with rubber gloves and bleach. I didn’t know how else to get rid of it. I also told him that this is what I was doing…and he said “ok…just continue doing that then”..it’s just moisture mold and every house has that.” UNQUOTE.
So since June of 2010 I had been cleaning the ceiling on my own not knowing the dangers or toxicity of it. And he DID NOT take action to get a mold test done OR have a plan of action to have it removed.I did not know that I was in any danger…and because of his negligence as a landlord our family was now being poisoned by toxic mold I would find out 2 1/2 years later.
If I knew the dangers I would have kept calling..but again…I did not know the dangers of toxic mold that were already in the home before I even rented it. This is the bathroom ceiling that he said was NOT mold that I would continue to wash..and it would continue to reappear weeks later.
September 2010 - Told landlord that floor tiles were loose in the bathroom and not sure why.
September 2010 - Landlord finally sends in a plumber
Plumber came in and found that the there was a black slimey something under the tiles and that in his opinion looked like black mold. He also concluded that the toilet was the cause of mold in the bathroom floor tiles. He fixed the seal on the toilet and stopped the leak into the red pipe in the basement. (So the landlord knew of this leak for over a year and a half before having him come out and fix it)
He started ripping out the tiles with the black mold and did NOT wear any protective gear, DID NOT protect the home from spores, DID NOT shut off vents in the bathroom and DID NOT seal off the area. And DID not tell us to get out. Did not hire a remediation company to clean it.
He threw a plastic bag in the hallway outside the bathroom and started flinging the tiles into the plastic bag which means he threw the spores all throughout the house and HVAC system.
He also instructed me to leave the industrial fan on for 3 days. I honestly just thought it was something I’d have to deal with until the house cleared out..I didn’t know there were any dangers in doing this. Workers used a fan to blow all the black mold through the house..he told me to leave the fan on 3 nights and all day until he returned…this blew all the spores through the ventilation system and house. I tried to vacuum the carpet where he was throwing moldy tiles onto the plastic bag….but black mold stained the carpet and made it dirty.
I used bleach ( WHICH IS THE WORST THING YOU CAN DO...but I didn't know it at the time.) to mop the stairs from top level to living room and also wood floors going out to front door.
I confronted him about how we need to remove that wall in the basement behind the water heater as well and he said…”Na…I’ll just spray it with bleach and we’ll put the tile over it…you’ll never notice it”…..so IT IS STILL THERE to this day>>>if you move the sink and rip the tile off the wall you will see that he covered it up. (The guy he hired was NOT qualified to do a mold cleanup).
The guy finished on October 4th, 2010
October 5th - October 11th, 2010 - Whole family suddenly feels ill
We all had non-stop headaches, stomach aches, loss of appetite and some diarrhea for approximately 5 days…then the symptoms slowed down.
My health gradually got worse…..started once a week symptoms..then became more frequent:
Shortness of breath
Fast heart beat
October through February 2011 - My son starts having health problems
The kind of Mom that I was before I got sick...was a loving mom who sacrificed everything for my kids and I would do things like make them feel special on valentines day by buying them chocolates and setting the table to have a nice Valentines Day dinner, but after this Valentines Day...that would all end.
I love to cook and bake and make my children feel like they always had a warm and happy home to come back to.
From October until Feb, my son started to gain weight rapidly. He was gaining a lot of weight in his face and chest areas. I took him to the doctor to see what was wrong. They told me that my son had high blood pressure at the age of 11. WOW! I couldn't understand how my son could have high blood pressure being as young as he was. It wasn't like he was eating something that other normal kids weren't eating.
March 25th, 2011 - A DAY I'LL NEVER FORGET
Around 8 in the evening I was working on my computer and suddendly lost my breath....I fell to the floor and the room was closing in around me...it took everything I had to stay awake...or what I thought at the time "TO stay alive". I was yelling at my kids to call 911!!
My heart was racing and I was trying so hard not to pass out but after they got me into the ambulance, I passed out and woke up in the ER.
They did a million tests on me and everything came back "normal"...HUH? How is that normal?? I was a perfectly healthy person. The ER doctor told me that I had an anxiety attack. I had no idea what this was. He gave me some anxiety meds and sent me home.
March 25th - PRESENT
I continued to suffer from anxiety so bad that I was in a constant state of anxiety unless I had my every 3-hour anxiety benzo. I suffered from this until just recently January 2014.
If you are not sure what anxiety attacks are like....please go to my symptoms list page and you can better understand what they are like.
They basically feel like every illness wrapped in one.....they mimic some very severe issues like heart attacks.
May 16th, 2011 - Let's start with testing this house
From March 25th up to this point I had been completely ill with anxiety attacks and I had been to the doctor several more times. No diganosis....so I continued to take the xanax just to try and get up from bed and get around the house.
I decided to try and see if the house may be the reason. At this point I didn't make any connection to my illness and the house.
I was going to start with mold, then radon, then lead, then check the water supply etc..etc.
On May 16th I hired a local mold inspection company to come in and do a swab of two areas one upstairs and another downstairs. I also had them do an air sample of both outside and inside to compare.
What they revealed was ALARMING!!
The calls........I can still hear his voice - May 18th, 2011
The inspector on the other end told me that my house was "TOXIC" and that I needed to get OUT! Hearing this was so devastating, I could hardly finish the call. I immediately called my mom and balled my eyes out.
From what he said....I needed to leave everything sitting just as it was and not bring anything with me because of the severity of my symptoms. He said under any other circumstances he would just recommend that I wash things and move to another location.
I was so ill I could barely stand up. Vomiting, dizziness, halucinating, every muscle in my body was aching and anxiety was now a constant feeling...so strong that I couldn't even think. I couldn't remember anything that I had just done or said nor could I talk or get the right words out to say anything.
In the few days following the dreaded news, not to mention the extreme illnesses I was dealing with, I needed to find a safe place and refuge for me and my two children. A realtor friend of mine recommended that I speak with him about possibly renting out some foreclosure properties that they were maintaing. At first, I was reluctant as I was thinking: "If these properties were abandoned that meant there could be mold there too?". He reassured me that there was a specific duplex that he was aware of that was fairly new and only had one owner. He told me there were no moisture or water damage issues and that the home was very very clean and new. With my health deteriorating on a daily basis I made the decision to leave everything behind.
Our last day at the house was very sad
In the video below was the day we found out that we had Stachybotrys and could no longer keep organizing our belongings and try to clean them. I went through each room and began to take video of everything. I was so sick...I couldn't even talk. You can hear me breathing through my mold ventilator mask. The most devastating day of my life. After this video I went outside and collapsed in the driveway and cried. We then drove to the store bought one new outfit each, then drove to the health club showered and burned our clothes. Me and my two kids then went to our new empty house with no belongings, no food and just sat on the floor and cried and cuddled for two hours.
Leaving everything you own - The most devastating life experience
The next two days were spent sifting through our belongings trying to find "non-porous" items that could be washed in borax and ammonia and saved. Here are some devastating "after" photos of all of the belongings that had to be ransacked and thrown in piles quickly. Everything I owned was throw in "keep or giveaway piles"...nothing more devastating than seeing your entire past...tossed into piles in your own home.
TOTAL LOSS was:
over $75,000 worth of belongings: Furniture, clothing, food, belongings, cars
To-date over $120,000 worth of medical bills and still growing
New empty house - Starting over
So June 1st we ended up moving to a new safe location while we were still trying to make sense of this enormous loss both financially and medically. We moved in with just the clothes on our back. My mother and father were SUCH blessings in my life. My mom took me to the store to try and get everything I needed for basic living...WOW, this was emotionally devastating knowing that we had lost over $75,000 worth of belongings.
The home above that saved our life was now being purchased through a short sale situation and we needed to find a new place to live.
3 years and still not healthy - illnesses and struggles like no other
We began to try to acclimate to the new home but I had no idea I'd be facing the worst days of my life physically. When you leave a home that is making you sick your body tends to have what they call a herxheimer or die off reaction. I fell so violently ill that I couldn't barely stay conscious. I have spent the last 3 years fighting for my life. Over 23 Emergency room visits. My symptoms began to increase soon after we moved due to the "die off" reaction. After about 6 months of living in the new house, I began to see a slight improvement in my health. I really did think that this was finally looking like it might clear up. But it had other plans for me.
Tested my body for mycotoxicity in March of 2013
No doctors could help me....no one could offer any help. I simply laid in bed, day after day suffering. I began doing some hefty searching on the internet in early 2012 and ran across a lab in Texas that tests the human body for mycotoxins. I was devastated to find out the test was VERY expensive and I was completely bankrupt. I saved money for over a year to finally afford the test.
I had the testing done and everything I had ever suspected was "true". I came back positive for Trichothecene toxin exposure and Ochratoxin exposure. Elevated levels. (These toxins are NOT normally in the human body unless the person has inhaled them or ingested them).
Where am I now?
I did end up finding a new place and have lived here now for 3 years (SUPER CLEAN and mold free)...I really thought that my health was starting to improve but then in August of 2013 I began feeling very ill again. So how can a person leave the poisoned environment and leave everything behind, yet still feel ill a year or two later?
MOLD is ugly...it is very smart and can hybernate in major organs and tissues of the body and it can possibly mutate. One day it can lodge itself in your brain, the next day it will circulate into the kidneys, liver and adrenal glads sending you off a cliff symptomatically speaking.
Here are some VERY IMPORTANT THINGS I've learned about mold during my journey:
Women and children are at higher risk (They are exposed at greater levels and durations than men by being in the home for longer periods of time, not to mention women are more likely to be the persons to clean the areas in the home that have toxic mold.) HUSBANDS? Please check your homes regularly using my checklist HERE. Or go to my "WHERE MOLD GROWS" page to search your home for possible areas mold can be to protect the women and children you love so dearly.
If you suspect mold DO NOT USE BLEACH TO CLEAN IT. Bleach has a concentration of too much H20 or water. Water is what increases a toxic mold's strength factor and toxicity. Have it tested FIRST before you attempt to even touch it. (for minor spots you can grab a home test kit from Home Depot, Lowes, Menards, Ace etc.) If it comes back as a NON toxic mold...then use ammonia to clean and remove it.
You must use a "binder" in order to remove mold from your body: Here are a few that have worked for people so you can discuss with your doctor.
Modifilan (Natural Rare Brown Seeweed)
Limu Moi (Natural drink made from Rate Brown Seeweed)
Zeolite Clay (Natural clay)
Bentonite Clay (Natural clay)
Novasil (Made from a rare clay substance) *New product on the market
Cholestyramine ( Pharmaceutical drug: side effects can be sores in mouth, extreme constipation)
Welchol (Pharmaceutical drug)
2014 - a look ahead
I am currently facing physical effects every single day.
I experienced all of this at one time or another:
DIAGNOSIS OF CFS/ME, ANXIETY/DEPRESSION, ANEMIA, SYNCOPE, HEART ARRYTHMIA, ATRIAL FIBRULATION, GALLSTONES, HIGH CORTISOL, HIGH ESTROGEN, DEFICIENCIES of zinc, b6, vitD, potassium.
chest pain (heart)
chest pain (below heart rib)
Short of breath
deprived of oxygen
Lungs feel constricted or full of something
Blood feels thick
dizzy without stars
dizzy with stars
Just seeing stars
Fight or flight entire body
General Anxiety (GAD) took Valerian Root
Anxiety Attacks severe for months
Tingling in two fingers
Tingling in arm and stiffness
Numbness in feet
Burning Sensation in Hands
Burning sensation in arms
Prickly feeling in fingers
WHOOSHING scary passout feeling
tightness in chest
Off Balance when standing
weak headed from neck
Heat Flashes (severe)
Swirling in head like dizziness in a circle
lightheaded after exercise
Severe Head spinning
Ringing in Ears
Pressure in ears
Sharp pain in head brief
Pressure in head/sinus
Random Brain Firing Neurological
Mottled skin: tophands/forearms/back arms/top knees
Dark Circles around eyes
Burning skin on forearms
SWELLING & INFLAMMATION
Inflammation in forearms
Inflammation in feet
Inflammation in legs thighs
Swelling in fingers
Swelling in brain
gut wrenching ill through whole body
burning from the inside out
Nauseous - SO SICK feeling all over
Bladder Pain or Infection
Liver swelling and pain
Sharp pain left above Hip
overall weakness (have to lay in bed all day)
weakness in thighs
weakness in upper arms
weakness in forearms
GI & COLON
Severe pain in intestines
gut wrenching ill through whole body chills shaking
BONE, JOINT & MUSCLE PAIN
Foot bone pain
ankle bone pain
Knee bone pain
Thigh bone pain/
hip bone pain
neck pain and stiffness
Shoulder bone pain
Upper arm bone/muscle pain
Elbow bone pain
Forearm bone pain
Wrist bone pain
Finger bone pain and extreme cold
REPRODUCTIVE & ENDOCRINE
Adrenal Crashes (everyday 5 years)
Seratonin Deficiency (extreme)
Insomnia (Melatonin malfunction)
Irregular timing on monthly cycles
Heavy Blood loss in monthly cycle with severe anemia
You can see a FULL list of symptoms others experience from the "Symptoms List":
Extreme brain fog
Extreme changes in blood pressure high one hour..then low the next
Shortness of breath
Loss of muscle
Extreme vitamin deficiencies
High levels of cortisol and estrogen production
Numbness in fingers
Weakness in legs and difficulty standing/walking
Diagnosed with SIBO
High Nagalase numbers
Diagnosed with Pyroluria - triggered by mycotoxin exposure
PTSD - severe with nightmares, anxiety attacks and chemical imbalances
Dec 2013 - June 2014 I underwent a strict mold detox diet which caused me to lose 50lbs
Me in 2013
Me in August 2014
What am I doing today?
I spend a good deal of my day researching toxicology, biochemistry and mycology so that I can help others through my website here.
I do my best to love others, cherish everyone and I have a new appreciation for what others face. Everyday is filled with reminders of the lasting effects of what being poisoned by toxic mold can do to a person.
I still have neurological damage that effects my nervous system. The slightest amount of stress triggers nervous system symptoms like fight or flight, concentration issues, inability to cope at times, spikes in blood pressure, anxiety. I spend most of my time looking for the positive in situations and working on my health through diet and being good to myself.
Just know that you can do this....and you will make it!!
A lot of you viewers I'm sure are curious of my own story with mold. It was what made me create my website "Divinely Toxic". Since there wasn't much valid or beneficial help for anyone sick with mold or toxins, I found the drive while sick to start my website. It may be hard to type out again, but it's also always great therapy. I practice what I preach. One thing to remember, is the reason the mold effected me so strongly is for two reasons: One: The amount of spores I was breathing and working in was too high without fresh air. Two: Throughout the 18 months of exposure my eating habits became terrible. My pH was getting so acidic it literally welcoming in more toxins, parasites and yeast to prosper. It was the key to the entire process of becoming sick with Mycotoxicosis and Candida.
This is what I looked like starting this job in 2008 before I became sick. I was 28 years old. This was taken on site in the park behind the building. It took about three months until I started to notice signs of this sickness without even knowing what was going on.
Now mind you my toxicologist explained after studying my biopsy, this had happened to me before and it was when I was younger in single digits. The scars were in my dermis. Think of the rings of a tree. Same thing with our skin. Most people cannot survive another attack, and rarely can a third time. This is why this information is so important to get out into the world. We must be aware of our pH and our diet. Once flu like symptoms start without getting full blown on flu, that is the first true ailment of the sickness. Then spots, spider veins, coughs, headaches, dizziness, fainting can follow. Please read my story, and follow me on my own survival story. May this help you and your loved ones understand the dangers of this sickness:
Here is my Toxic Story:
In a 1970's style office complex underneath a chain of stores near a lovely park in Long Island, I worked for a company and ran the office. Open to close. No other employees as it was a small little business. My boss was always out in the field. By the fourth month I started, I noticed in the hallway which lead up to large clear doors which would pour sunlight into the main part of the hall had strange yellow marks on them. This foyer was shaped like a t with the large clear doors up and in the middle of a long narrow hall. Basically the whole front was glass. Stairs led down the offices on either side. A perfect closed in petri dish. This area in the middle of the foyer, had layers of cheap drywall just layered over each other. Possibly four of five layers. Mold was not only growing inside each layer but making its way to the outer part of the wall. Later I will explain how I ended knowing that.
Fast forward to Late May and all of a sudden the air conditioning wasn't working correctly and leaking strange fluid on the tiles above my desk in the small little office. (No windows) Later in the week the mold started to grow on the walls in the large foyer. Then in the rooms. The HVAC system had almost completed stopped so I called the maintenance man to come check it out. He opened the vent to get to the filter, and it was covered with Stachybotrys Mold And also Cladosporium. I started to get really scared as I was already having narcoleptic episodes where I would fall asleep, and had a terrible cough and red eyes. Also small red spider like spots appeared on my chest below my neck. The A/C guy when he checked the filters in the light was so scared, he took it outside threw it away. Kindly he came back in with proper face gear and put a new one in. He stated you should be careful. This place is infected. I am not returning. I started to look mold up on the internet. That was the day the music died...so to speak.
In a panic I print out everything I could find on mold, and posted warnings in the building. The landlord refused to come and clean it stating it wasn't a problem. Due to my room being rented by my boss, I would have had to sue him. Then he would sue the landlord. It was too much work, no matter what lawyer I saw. They all turned me down. This all was over the course of two months. Mind you I started to get much sicker as each day passed. Also saw over 38 doctors and toxicologist combined. Either they wanted too much money, told me I was too sick and cannot be saved, Told me I am not sick and I'm nuts, Told me that they needed a special separate degree to treat someone sick with mycotoxicosis. Everything you could possibly think of they said to me. Then one single naturopathic doctor and a toxicologist from another state came to my rescue at the last moment in searching.
This is my own neck as I started to ascend into Stage Two of Mycotoxisosis. Boils, Yellow skin, red skin with spider veins,hard pimples, itchy rashes. You name it and it was appearing on my skin.
A few weeks later, When I was in my earlier stages of being sick with mold (Early Stage Two Mycotoxicosis), before I had to quit my job, I worked in the broom closet every day down the hall and made a controlled mini lab - with petri dishes and different substances that were supposed to kill mold. I would visit the mini lab every day the same time to write down my findings during my lunch period. Also I filled some Tupperware with different building materials from around the basement office complex and I learned what molds like what material better. Also different humidity and additional pollutants. Then I would cross analyse it with a top toxicology textbook. Only Ammonia killed them all and rather quickly - after a few more hours, the petri dishes with the class A molds were completely dead, and the ammonia saturated the mold and spores and were stuck to the dish. They didn't have much time to react. or counter balance the attack. (This is my own neck as I started to ascend into Stage Two of Mycotoxisosis. Boils, Yellow skin, red skin with spider veins,
hard pimples, itchy rashes. You name it and it was appearing on my skin.)
Flash forward many months, and I'm so sick but still opening and closing this tiny office so I had the money to go to doctors and have healthcare. The parking lot was completely taken over by Stachybotrys and spreading out an attaching to cars. This now brought it to my home from my own car. The Stachybotrys and Cladosporium molds spread all over my driveway but thankfully never reached my house except for our windows via the driveway. Inside it was so terribly infested and they were loosing renters, the landlord finally sent people in with medical grade bleach to try to kill the mold. That just removed the surface of the spores, and left the roots. Not a good idea. All that happened, was let the molds grow back stronger and produces more mycotoxins there on after.Flash forward a few more days and They were finally demoing the walls and layer upon layer of wet old Sheetrock broke down to reveal more and stranger looking molds fighting for existence. Yellow viscus fluid saturated the entire room and made the air sting your face and eyes. it was terrifying. I had to escape, I couldn't breathe or even open my eyes it hurt so much. I felt like I had an elephant sitting on my chest. My eyes and all my pores were burning like someone had doused me with gasoline and set me on fire. I at least knew what was going on was going to kill me. I left the building coughing my lungs out and feverish and fell onto the lawn in the back of the building. I almost passed out. Braving going back in, I demand on the phone for my boss to come into the office. (I couldn't believe my boss said you can tolerate the demo and work. you cannot get off) Counterproductive. The guy doing the construction ran out soon after me. He left and said he wasn't coming back. Mold was too disgusting and left it rotting like this on the floor. Another guy had to come with a better breathing apparatus and cleaned it all up. I had to wait til he did. Then, sadly I had to go back in and run the office alone with the mold. (In this picture I was in building for two summers and one spring.)My skin was on fire here. Normally as you will see at the bottom of this page, I am pale white. This was the toxins entering my body and taking over quickly)
I started to realize if I didn't do something I was going to die or be really bedridden. Other people in the building were jumping ship, and some were staying getting even sicker than I. Finally after being reprimanded about posting signs about the mold from my boss, got the inner nerve to make something change. I demanded my out of office boss to come in and see what was happening. I didn't relent. I screamed at him with every last ounce of my soul. With a lot of arguing and loud words, once he was there and opened the door, I burst into tears and showed him my terribly yellow and red spider marked skin on my neck and arms. He saw how horrible I looked and I pointed at the mold outside of the office. This man let his wife and child of three in the office often, but not often enough. I showed him the vent system, I showed him the other office with the penicillium and Aspergillius fighting in the back on five tiles. I asked other renters how they felt and they told him right away they were sick. One was already in the hospital. He was shocked and embarrassed all at the same time, and very scared despite not showing it so outwardly. I saw it and that was enough for me. We moved quickly a month later, but it was too late for me and many of the other tenants. (I thankfully saved some of the renters...not all. Some peoplein there may have died from the sickness. Speaking about allof this brings back shadow burns from the Mycotoxins. It's quiteamazing how that can happen when reliving something.)
Notice the large brown and grey circles around myeyes. My skin is almost yellow in color like jaundice.Which is correct as presently in this state I cannotAbsorb Calcium and vitamin C. Sort of scurvy reaction.Candida has taken over my entire body from Brain totoes and all in between. Mycotoxins are burstingMy capillaries and my arteries at a blinding rate.
At this point I had to wait that entire month to get out. There was no way around it. Commonly during this time in the office alone, I was researching online and speaking with many mold groups along side completing my daily necessary requirements in running his office. Thankfully through Facebook's groups, I had found people to hear my story and to remind me I was not crazy. My family and friends were still on the fence, and now with my developing motor function issues, I was terrified I wouldn't survive this ordeal at all. Something inside of me told me to keep moving forward. No matter what happened I had to survive. "Never give upon yourself even if others do." I would say this to myself every night, "I am the one who lets myself fall asleep and the very reason I wake up." This saved me from much grief and inner strife. It was often all I could say that made me feel better. Finally moving day came, and I helped as best as I could. Moving all the same furniture which was still contaminated by billions of mycotoxins still was making me sick. Sadly I did my job and they did nothing for me except save themselves from going into such an ill place. This furniture would and will make anyone sick and I knew that. They refused to learn this. I knew I had only one more decision left. This all had to stop. I needed to go home and fix myself. I need to go on disability. So I politely told my boss I must quit in order to survive. I was so sick that I might have died in my sleep if I didn't remember consciously to breath. This was when I had my first tests done with the toxicologist, and went out for disability within one week.
This picture says it all. I still tried to find any humor Icould while working in this hell hole, but This shotscares me to this day. I can see the toxins in my eyes.I was scared, alone, and dying. I took this photoTo remind me never to give up. "Look how sillysuicide would be?"... In the photo I wasn't believing...Now I do, and quite grateful that I have the will toSurvive. Anyone suffering this much, pleaseKnow I am sympathetic with you.
I suffered at home for quite some time until I got the hang of what I needed to do. I studied with my educated herbalist friend and then went out and kept teaching my own Naturopathic doctor along side my own research and what my toxicologist taught me. He was so wonderful and worked with what ever I needed. So was the caring and doting ways of my toxicologist. He was one of my most favorite people to talk to. He made me feel like I was going to survive. We all taught each other in honesty. Through the toxicologist, my herbalist friend, and my Naturopathic doctor and I, we made a plan to avoid dying as my only prognosis. The toxicologist provided me with two tests, herbalist friend and I found the right combination of herbs and the right amount to save my immune system, the naturopathic doctor helped my diet and gave me unusual things for pain that were natural like scorpion venom. With my army of medical documents on Mycotoxicosis quickly growing in my "Mold Folder" for court, I started going in to that disability office with a purpose greater than myself. I was fighting for everyone who needed the same help I needed. It was me against the world as far as I was concerned and this girl wasn't going to lose. Month after month I fought for my right to detox with a constant barrage of documents and paperwork they couldn't even process. I started to make them see the dangers, and something changed after a year. Fast forward a few more months and now I have won my disability case and put the term "Mycotoxicosis" on the NY board of disabilities. I was the first person to win such a case with a disease very little understood in the New York State and the world for the matter. The board asked for tons of medical documents and I happily gave them every month a stack of papers thick as war and peace. They were commonly overwhelmed. My family and friends still thought I was crazy. My mother even tired to commit me for speaking about getting to open air to detox by secretly planning a family intervention at my own home. Knocking on my door and pushing her way in, to only call the cops on me after I went hysterical over their accusations. May her actions be out of love, it's what moldies tend to see all the time. Someone being scared and not seeing the truth as it involves themselves. After the cops came in, I sent them away asking one thing, "Please wait until these people have left. I want to feel safe again in my own home." The cops obliged and saw them out nodding at me when they left. Forgiving, is different from forgetting, but miscommunication and ignorance are the reasons for pain and distrust. Once you understand each other, then the healing can happen. This applies to everything, I have learned. Mold sickness teaches more than saving your own body from harm. It teaches you consciousness in your own very existence.
It was tough detoxing. Did it for two + years. Eating organic chicken and string beans every dinner. Eggs for breakfast with a cup of hot apple cider in replacement for coffee. Slow and steady was my route even leaving room to cheat every now and then. Yet what I saw in that slide from my toxicologist - I understood very well. I was being invaded by other life forms, and losing control of my body. It was not just the proof I needed to change my habits, but it was also the proof the courts needed, my family and friends and well, anyone else suffering reading this. Very slowly I weaned off all sugars, carbs and toxins, then full detox for quite a long time. My naturopathic doctor worked with my herbalist friend together and slowly I saw the difference in my health. Also certain supplements every day to slowly rebuild my immune system and my digestive track. I started to keep a journal. We created a detox treatment with very strong herbs. The mycotoxins and bad bacteria and yeast started to lose the fight for my body. I turned the war around in my favor. If I started rushing detox, I would get violently ill. Throwing up, falling down, insane mood swings, horrible body pain, brain fog, and narcolepsy. Metallic vision, migraines, terrible periods, nightmares, cold sweats, seizures. The list goes on forever. I fought off death every second and refused to give up. When my toxicologist told me that I had gone through this before at a young age, it almost destroyed me. I remember when my childhood home at the age of seven had a main water pipe break. It made all of us sick, but me the most. I was violently ill and the doctors only gave me anti-biotics. Fevers spiked into the 105 rage were I almost died. It was what made this time around so much more dangerous in 2008. In my life time, I cannot get sick by mold again or I may not survive a week of the same sickness. I not only have to make sure this doesn't happen, but learn to live in harmony with all mold as it too is a life form of earth. This is what I do now, and make sure my diet and pH are always up to par. I consider it similar to a theft alarm system for your home. Above picture is my biopsy blown up in size on poster. 18 Months Exposure time. The Black circles with Arrows and a "Y" are Black dyed Yeast cells. The Larger Arrows at the upper middle show the mycotoxins and how they have invaded my capillaries. This is proof that Mycotoxins invade and stay in the body. The cell spacing should be between one to three cells thick which is apparent in other areas to the right of the picture. The center spread with the two large arrows, is five to seven cells thick from the mycotoxins. Also it is evident the mycotoxins have invaded this area by how large of an area is shown in comparison to the surrounding areas. You can blatantly see that yeast have started to prosper and grow inside this area. Along the bottom of the slide you can see where this has happened with the small arrows with the "Y" and how they are much larger. Yeast cells are dyed in black to be shown. This is not only in the 3 mm biopsy here, but my entire body.
Three very nice people who at the time didn't know me from a hole in the wall, in a few mold groups on Facebook felt terrible for me. They were so kind and educated me on many things. To this day I still talk to them and we share our thoughts on the subject often. At my worst, I couldn't breathe on my own and had to manually remind myself to do so. Every action took incredible energy to accomplish even getting up and going to the bathroom. Sleeping was a nightmare as I worried I wouldn't wake up to see sunrise. Not being able to sleep with my skin burning and aching from atrophy. I was so toxic that quite frankly baffled modern science that I lived. I couldn't regulate my own heart beat and had to remember to keep calm at every turn or I would suffer an aneurysm or a heart attack. All my major organs were on a moments notice of ceasing function. Toxins and bad bacteria were taking over my motor functions and candida was eating my body alive from the inside out. My body fluids were at an acidity of 4 on the scale, and major minerals and vitamins were no longer able to be broken down by my body. Tears and urine burned my skin. My own mouth was on fire. I had literal become a prisoner trapped inside a dying body. Not some character with make up you watch on television, the real thing.
Thankfully once I won my court case for disability and had my two test results from the toxicologist my friends and family finally understood what was going on. With patience and education I taught them how to see the warning signs and how to remedy it. I started to teach them as I taught myself how to heal. Slowly over another two years I thankfully am still here today fully recovered with a few hang ups. From being 46 parts per billion toxic at my worst to the happy healthy lady I am today. I do not look sick, nor do I feel sick. I also never get colds anymore with my army of herbal tinctures and teas. Most of my health comes from all the fresh food I grow in my garden every year. I know that helped. I also grow herbs for treatments and adore using them fresh. Over the course of four years, I learned what is really going on in our medical world, the FDA and the drug companies with big business. This is where I realized I had become on of the "Divinely Toxic" because I had learned the truth only after becoming completely toxic myself.
Please, if you know someone with this sickness, or you yourself are sick, every day you refuse to wake up, you are hurting your chance at survival. Help yourself, and learn to help others in this fight. Education is the key to success and remember not to panic, just study.
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