I promised I’d put together some information about my mold story and what I’m doing to heal from it, so here it goes:
I have been struggling with chronic health issues for the past four years. It started when my husband and I moved into an old home in Denver. I started losing my hair in patches, struggling with symptoms of PCOS and Endometriosis I had never had before, and chronic fatigue. I was diagnosed with Alopecia and Hashimotos and saw great results on the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol in reversing my antibodies. At the time, I was also diagnosed with SIBO, which was treated with two rounds of antibiotics, and the follow-up breath test came back negative.
In April of 2016 my husband and I moved into our very first home. It was a 1940’s fixer-upper that we were excited to renovate. There was a bit of obvious water damage in the bathroom, but we were assured by our home inspector that it wouldn’t be a big deal since we were planning to remodel anyway. He said nothing about mold and assured us, “this house has almost been here 100 years. It’s in great shape and will probably last another 100!” We went forward with the purchase without hesitation.
We lived in the house a couple months before we noticed the drywall in the bathroom was soggy.
I pushed on it and it caused a hole that little gnats flew out of. We thought it was disgusting and started the remodel on our bathroom right away. What we found was the wall and the floor was completely rotted out due to a slow leak and needed to be replaced. Our contractor told us we just needed to spray down the studs with bleach in order to kill the mold. We did that, then put up drywall and tiled the walls floor to ceiling and assumed everything was fine (FYI never put bleach on mold.)
Fast forward to a couple years later. I went back to school to become a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, continued eating a paleo diet, lowered my thyroid antibodies to 35, stopped getting bald patches, and felt good enough emotionally to come off my antidepressants for the first time in 15 years. In a lot of ways, I was doing better than I ever had been. The only problem was I was my debilitating period cramps, fatigue, weight gain, and brain fog were back along with chronic yeast infections, male pattern balding, muscle cramping, and histamine issues. Many of these symptoms are associated with candida, so I ordered a stool test for it which came back negative. My functional doctor wanted to treat based on symptoms and I decided it couldn’t hurt to try.
I started my first round of prescription antifungals and a candida diet and noticed improvements. My weight began to drop, my brain fog started to subside, and my yeast infection symptoms mostly went away. Unfortunately, my hair loss, fatigue, migraines, and period pain continued, and as soon as I ran out of the antifungals my yeast symptoms returned. I talked to my doctor about these issues and she kept wanting me to go back on antifungals and stick to an extremely low carbohydrate diet. After six months on the diet, two rounds of prescription antifungals, and herbal antifungals inbetween it, I realized this doctor and I had run our course and I was done outsourcing my healing power. My intuition was telling me I needed to dig deeper, but like many with chronic illness, I wanted to trust that my doctor knew what she was talking about.
Always trust your intuition. I decided to test myself for heavy metals and found I had high levels of lead and moderately high levels of aluminum and cadmium. We went to Home Depot to get a simple water test in order to determine if our water was the source. I asked the employee where the lead tests were and they accidentally took me over to the mold tests. I thought, you know what, maybe I should snag one of those just to see what happens. Thank goodness I did.
We took both of the tests home and found that not only was our water positive for lead, but our air sample had multiple colors of mold growing in it after 96 hours. After years of going to functional doctors, studying nutrition through the NTA and doing my own research in order to heal, I was heartbroken to have overlooked these possibilities as a root cause. Part of me thinks I just wasn’t ready to climb the mountain that is mold and heavy metal toxicity. I knew that if our home was the root cause of my illness, I no longer had a safe space in this world.
After we saw the cup overgrowing with mold, we decided to hire a mold inspection team who understood the ins and outs of mold illness. They ran an ERMI, HERTSMI, and multiple air samples in our home. They found several strains of toxic mold as well as a severe issue in our bedroom.
It was hard to believe our little home had been the root cause of my health issues for so long.
I moved out of the house while. my husband stayed and oversaw demo, remediation, and rebuilding. While I was out of the house, I hired a mold literate practitioner who charged me, get this, $400/HOUR and more for additional emails between calls. All in, we spent nearly $10,000 on our home remediation and my care.
The good news is that detoxing significantly improved my symptoms and I moved back into our home with no issues. I became healthy enough that I was able to get pregnant and we welcomed our baby boy into the world November of 2020.
After going through mold illness, and my experience with the very expensive mold practitioner, I decided that mold support needs to be more accessible. I began attending trainings on environmental toxins and became a Cellcore practitioner so that I could support my own clients in moving through the chaos and tragedy that is mold illness.