After you started treatment, how long did it take to see significant improvement in overall health?
When I first started my intense mold treatment I got worse and worse. I became bedridden and for a good few months just felt so weak and awful. At times, feeding myself or preparing food was a big struggle. But then a few months into it I was put on mitochondrial and adrenal support and all of a sudden I had a big turnaround. I had way more energy and I was able to be up and about in my mold-free apartment and feeling much better than I had been. That was a turning point for me. Everyone is different, but for me, it was when I started adrenal and mitochondrial support.
How do you go about working or going to school in environments that might be exposed with mold?
I test buildings first with myself (if I notice I smell something or react at all, then that’s out…) and then the second level of defense is actually testing the building for mold through Mycometrics. I do the Hertsmi test. It can be costly to do this, but if I’m working in a building and spending many hours there each day, it’s worth it to me to know it’s safe. Thankfully I had already graduated from school when all this went down (it was in college that I had my initial black mold exposure…) so I didn’t have to worry about going back to college in moldy buildings, but if I were to go back to school, it would be imperative that the building be safe, so I would probably look around for a newer school or attend online, since obviously I wouldn’t be able to test all of the possible classrooms I would potentially be in.
What is the cleaning protocol for your house/car?
I have air filters in my bedroom and living room. I also have something called a Reme Halo, which is an air purifier that is actually in my AC air handler unit that cleans the air before it gets to me. I also have a travel air filter that can plug into my car that I sometimes run to help clean the air I’m breathing in.
Did your food/chemical sensitivities go away? How long did this take?
No. My food and chemical sensitivities have been with me from the start of this mold journey and they are the last big symptom that I have. Work in progress. J
Do you recommend any books, podcasts, or websites?
I would recommend looking at Sarah Riley Mattson’s website as well as Paradigm change.
How long after starting your detox were you able to go back to school/work?
I was out of buildings and had to pause my life for 13 months until my doctor gave me the all-clear to enter buildings and begin living in the real world again. He based this decision on various blood tests that he wanted to be at a certain level before my body could handle being possibly exposed to mold while still on treatment.
How do you explain your illness to people?
Ha. That’s always a fun conversation. For me, I find it’s easiest to usually ease people in by talking about how I’m allergic to almost every food under the sun. It’s a way for me to be able to start talking about my health, but in a way that others can understand. Also, it often comes up because out in the real world people usually go to restaurants or eat normal food, and when I’m invited places and sit there only drinking my water, the topic comes up pretty fast. Then after I explain about all my food sensitivities and how few foods I can eat, I usually have people’s attention. If I choose to tell more about my health, this is when I then transition into saying that I actually have a number of other health challenges as well…and explain that I was exposed to mold in college and start from there. I find I usually go backwards…I start from my most recent issues (food allergies) and then go back to mold, and then if I want to keep going, tell about my Lyme experience, which started when I was 13.
However, I try to be very careful about who I choose to tell my story to. I don’t immediately tell new friends or coworkers about my health challenges, because although I view it as my biggest strength, not everyone views it in that light. In fact, it could often be viewed as a liability—so I usually keep my story to myself in the beginning, especially when it comes to work, and if I do need to discuss parts of it, I water it down as best I can and only give details that are necessary to the current situation.
Where are you at now? Can you live your life without worrying about mold?
I am doing really well right now! I have gotten to the point where I only take a few supplements each day to maintain my good health, and although I’m still having lots of issues with food allergies and reactions, that is basically my last symptom. Most days I feel very energetic, no pain, no brain fog, and feel excited to be where I am right now. However, I will always have to worry about mold. My body isn’t fully equipped to detox from mold on its own, so I will never be able to work or live in mold. I always have to be conscious about where I’m spending time and what quality of air I’m breathing in. But it’s just something that comes with being me now, so as long as I continue to be aware of my environment, I see myself continuing to be able to live a happy, healthy life.