The Silent Destroyer: My Battle with Toxic Mold

 

Fatigue? Itchy, watery eyes? Rashes? Headaches? Brain fog? Digestive issues? Anxiety? Sinus issues? Frequent urination?  These are just a few of MANY symptoms I experienced over the past few years. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I just felt off and knew something had to have triggered it. I started digging, researching, and began reading about toxic mold. Suddenly, I had this “OH MY GOSH, THAT’S TOTALLY IT ” moment.  I later made the connection that I had been living and working in severely water damaged buildings. My work building was by far the worst. I could physically see black mold growing on the ceiling tile in my classroom portable that was probably made in the 1950s. When I walked into the room, there was a stench of must and mildew. My students were constantly sick-coughing, sneezing, wheezing, etc. I later moved classrooms, but into another room that was not much better. I continued to have symptoms despite the switch.

After leaving my teaching career, I ended up in higher education working for a local community college. Immediately after starting, my vision started getting blurry, my rashes started flaring again, and I woke up gasping and wheezing for air in the middle of the night. I was exposed, YET AGAIN. I then received an opportunity to temporarily transfer to another building that was newly built. I immediately jumped on it as I wanted to experiment and see if I felt better. After just 3 weeks of being out of the building, my rashes started to subside, my vision was no longer blurry, and I started to feel like myself again.

I wondered why my co-workers felt fine and I didn’t.  I learned that I have a genetic predisposition that makes me susceptible to mold illness (also known as the HLA-DR gene). About 25% of the population has this genetic predisposition.  Having this can cause an entire cascade of symptoms because our bodies are unable to properly detox on their own (also known as Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome). Mold exposure has been directly linked as a root cause to autoimmunity. I believe it is a root cause for many that doctors today are not taking the time to investigate.

Just because you cannot physically see mold, does not mean it doesn’t exist. It hides behind drywall and under flooring. Mold is more prevalent geographically in areas that are more susceptible to moisture (coastal or locations that get a lot of rain.) Lastly, bathrooms (due to showering and leaks) as well as buildings that have poor ventilation are at a higher risk for developing mold.

So what do you do if you think you’ve been exposed to mold? GET. OUT. IMMEDIATELY.  Your body will not heal if you are constantly being exposed. If you are not sure, get the air quality tested. The ERMI TEST is a reliable and accurate air quality test (I personally haven’t done this yet as it is pricey.) Starting with a HEPA air purifier like the Germ Guardian is also a good starting point.  Secondly, you can test your body for mold using the Great Plains Labratory Mycotox Profile. This is a urine test that is extremely helpful at detecting mold (You will need a functional medicine doctor to order it for you.) I have this specific test on my list of investments and plan to get it in the near future. Lastly, detox, detox, detox. For me, infrared saunas, Epsom Salt Baths, dry brushing , and coffee enemas have been extremely helpful in detoxing my body, especially my liver. Also, taking binders such as: activated charcoal , GI Detox , and Diatomaceous Earth have helped a lot.

As of right now, my doctor has me on a methylation protocol to clear up my detox pathways (I will do a separate post on this- stay tuned!)  Since starting it, I have been feeling much better. If you have been exposed to mold, just know you can recover and get better. It will take time and patience as it is not a quick fix. For more resources for healing from mold illness, click here.

Have you been exposed to mold? If so, what have your symptoms been? Leave a comment below!

 

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