How it works
Mold is a fungus and grows in the body causing numerous symptoms beyond typical respiratory infections. Toxic mold can cause extreme neurological issues--headaches, memory loss, mood swings, insomnia, numbness of extremities... It can feel like being permanently stoned without the fun. The fungus in the body can then be exacerbated if misdiagnosed or when prescribed antibiotics to treat symptoms. (When doctors are at a loss as to how to treat-- antibiotics tend to be their go to!) A candida free diet-- meaning not eating anything that converts to sugar is essential. Eliminate all sugar, bread, corn, vinegar, ( Apple Cider Vinegar is ok) and alcohol. The diet is hard, but life changing. Also in my case, I met an amazing spiritual healer who helped to release all the fear and a lifetime of negative emotions which propelled me to wellness. I discovered healing emotions is the key to truly feeling, getting and being better.
What you'll need
Fourteen years ago we moved into a new, completely renovated apartment. Within months, I noticed that some windows leaked in my bedroom. They are floor to ceiling and the carpet next to the windows was turning black and crusty in the corners. Instead of changing the carpet, I covered the patchy area with the curtains and ignored the problem. Life moved on and then a pipe burst, flooding the kitchen. We opened the ceiling briefly, repaired it and went on with our lives until I started getting headaches. I never had headaches in my life and these were severe. Then, HORRIBLE mood swings–serious, irrational rage. My poor husband and children… the smallest things set me off. Then, insomnia hit which of course, exacerbated the rage. I literally could not get into that deep REM sleep and woke up every morning feeling like I had been hit by a Mack truck. I experienced neurological symptoms– brain fog, like being stoned 24 hours a day; just without the fun. I spent my days utterly confused. I could not tell you what I did the day before. I could not remember people’s names. What I was experiencing was very similar to what people describe as “chemo brain.” Scary stuff, like when I stood in an intersection of oncoming traffic because my compromised brain registered the red light as green! My vision was blurry. My depth and sensory perceptions were off. Once, I sideswiped a car unable to gauge distance and I always felt as if my husband was going to crash into the car in front of us. My fine motor was limited–my handwriting reduced to a scribble. I could not get my hand to do what my brain intended. I had chronic yeast infections, chronic exhaustion, numbness in my face, swollen calves, and oh yes, FEAR. I felt like crap and forced to function for the sake of my young family with no end in sight, fear just consumed me. The ongoing government post 9/11 terror alerts did not help. I was chicken little and the sky was definitely falling! As for my family, my oldest had strep throat 11 times in one year. He also suffered unusual anxiety attacks. How many 7 year olds freak out at Disney World and beg their parents to take them back to the hotel room? To him, the crowds of people were suffocating. My middle son was low tone and developed a significant speech impediment. And my youngest, only 1 at the time of initial exposure, no doubt suffered cognitive delays. He happens to be the happiest, most easy going kid, but with ADD. As for my husband, let’s just say he lost 20 lbs; 20 lbs he did not need to lose.
I was never part of an official, scientific study, but who needs studies to validate one’s reality. You just need to be very aware of the dangers of mold as so many of the symptoms can be confused with other illnesses and if there is any question, test your environment and eliminate mold as a cause. And as for doctors, I literally incubated in a petri dish of mold for two years and not one doctor thought to ask about mold or any other environmental contaminant.
MY STEPS TO WELLNESS
1. Remediation: Hire an environmental health expert to assess the air quality of your home. I would also recommend hiring a different expert to test post remediation to be sure the validity of a successful remediation of the mold or other toxins. Check with your insurance to see if they cover mold. Ours did! Thank goodness!
2. “Green” Living: For those exposed to mold, another symptom is a heightened sensitivity to chemicals and smells. At this time in my life, I switched to non-toxic cleaners, detergents, natural soaps, organic shampoos, lotions, nail polish, organic foods, eliminated sodas, etc.
3. Alternative Medicine: When desperate or at rock bottom, one will try anything. I know I did. Having exhausted western options, I entered the world of alternative medicine and was wowed… in fact, healed. Eastern medicine emphasizes a mind/body/spirit connection. Sickness or ailments are viewed as physical manifestations of underlying emotions. As you release the emotions, the body heals. Western medicine’s singular focus on the body and not the mind and spirit may temporarily alleviate the symptoms, but if the emotions are still there, the illness will return. From my experience, this is so true! Some modalities that all helped me were-- Energy Healing, Bodytalk, Acupuncture, QiGong, Meditation and Diet.
4. A Mold Free Diet: Most have never heard of Candida, but an overgrowth of Candida or yeast is serious. Yeast, like mold, is a fungus. Thanks to my deluxe “mold accommodations” for two years, mold growth became an internal and external problem. The only choice I had was a strict yeast-free diet. I went to an environmental immunologist/allergist and with his guidance I eliminated: gluten, corn, sugar, vinegar, mushrooms, alcohol, and all synthetic drugs or additives. Those who take many pills, particularly antibiotics, are highly susceptible to fungal overgrowth. The diet was DIFFICULT. I asked the doctor how long it would take. He said a year, but most likely for life as I would never want to go back to my old way of eating. Amazingly, he was right. Once I cleaned out my body, I felt fabulous, a feeling that I was not going to risk losing. When I do cheat (I am far from perfect and love chocolate chip cookies), I instantly get headaches from sugar and moody from gluten. As for alcohol, I go from a quick buzz to sleep. It was hard to give up alcohol as a crutch at a party, but after a few months, I got used to it.
5. Environmental Toxicologists: I did not know about this field when I was sick. Nor did any of my 38 doctors think to refer me to a toxicologist. However, today, our society better understands the effect of our environment on health and this is a quickly growing field.