Is My House Making Me Sick?
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. All is well, right?
Fast forward to a couple years later. I went back to school to become a Nutritional Therapy Consultant, 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, 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 I wasn’t getting anywhere. My intuition was telling me I needed to dig deeper but I wanted to trust that my doctor knew what she was talking about.
Always trust your intuition. I decided to get tested 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 snage one of those as well. Thank goodness I did.
Home Depot mold test kit we used for an initial air sample test
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, it could uproot our family and drain our finances.
It’s hard to believe our little home has been the root cause of my health issues for so long.
My health is my foundation, though, and money means nothing if I’m not healthy enough to enjoy the things in my life it affords me. We’ve decided to move forward with functional doctors who specialize in mold, mold testing, and mold remediation. Head HERE to find out what steps I’m taking to start this process.