The World of Chronic Illness
A month ago, my husband and I decided it was time to move.
We’ve lived in a beautiful area where the forest meets the ocean, but it seems that along with redwoods, dolphins and the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, mold also abounds.
Looking back over the thirteen years I resided in that spectacular area, I never considered my health issues as mold related. When I moved there, I was a struggling single mother of three teenagers, teaching school full time, homeschooling and working a second job.
Exhaustion was a way of life.
But eight years later, after the first couple of months of being married and living in a different house, I couldn’t drag out of bed and became sicker each week, I wondered if it was more than simply my hectic life causing the problems. Eventually we found that unseen mold filled the house.
After moving, I began to get better.
For a nearly two years I became stronger. I felt well again and had energy to walk, work out and maintain a normal lifestyle. Still, my physical “radar” could tell when entering a moldy environment because I would become nauseated, dizzy and develop a headache within minutes of exposure. But most of the time, I could avoid those situations.
Until we had been in our next home for about sixteen months.
Once again, I began to feel ill. For the first t, I passed it off as lifestyle. But given our previous experience, it wasn’t long before I made the connection. Our bathroom shower had broken tiles that had grown worse during the time we had been living there. In addition, there were water marks on the ceiling under our bathroom. These were signs of potential mold growth within the framework of the house. We alerted the landlord to the problem, but received no help. After a number of months, a plumber applied caulking to the cracks. For the next year and a half, I was terribly ill.
Far worse than the first time.
Doctors had no answers. The sores on my tongue and blisters all over my hands and inside my body were systemic, but that was all they could tell me. One diagnosed an autoimmune disease.* But which one? No clue. Only one or two of my symptoms matched any given one.
Another doctor diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis. Except my blood tests proved negative. The adrenal stress tests showed a compromised immune system not producing (or assimilating) cortisol. I wasn’t intolerant to gluten. My thyroid was fine.
The lump that developed in my jaw overnight? (I was pretty sure it was a swollen lymph node). The emergency room physician and staff didn’t know. Did no tests. Sent me home with an antibiotic prescription “just in case it is an infection.” With no fever, no sign of infection and only localized swelling and pain, the doctor couldn’t be certain. I suspected mold in my system was causing my body to fight overtime without beating it.
Could you check for mold in my system?
I asked every doctor I saw. The homeopath, the medical doctors, the naturopath and the ER physician and nurses all shook their heads like I was crazy. There’s no test for such a thing they told me. Mold can’t cause problems like yours. Everyone has a little mildew in their shower. Even the doctor that believed mold causes problems had no knowledge of what to do for it.
Try a dehumidifier,” he said.
Except the mold was in the walls, and the air we breathed in our house as a result of the leaks and water damage, not the humidity. Tests proved it. Our son suddenly developed asthma and broke out in hives. Steroids barely contained it. I ran essential oil diffusers in our home to kill the mold. It helped, but didn’t solve the deeper problem. And I was starting to experience balance and memory loss.
After my doctor desensitized me to mold for the third time in a year, I decided it must be in my system as well as our environment. (He was great and strengthened my immune system which helped, but we couldn’t understand why I wasn’t getting well completely.) Hours of internet searching led me to a lab that did mold testing. But the cost was into thousands and not money we had.
Still, what else could we do?
to be continued…
*some of the conditions misdiagnosed as a result of or suffered in tandem with Mold Sickness are rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Lyme disease, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS) to list a few