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Real People.........Real Stories

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:

Friday, March 07 2014

Real Stories - Courtney, 2015

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="" 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.

Posted by: Surviving Toxic Mold AT 04:45 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email