I still have a lot of story to fill in, but I wanted to jump forward to how we are TODAY (May 5, 2016).
We’ve been in our RV for just over a year now. And it is very clear, that even after a year of being out of mold, we still have a very long road (perhaps lifelong) ahead of us. Mold changed absolutely everything. I’m not whining about it, it’s just a fact.
Yes, we lost absolutely everything we owned. Sometimes when we think of “where is all our money going?,” I have to remind my husband that we are still replacing everything. It took 11 years of marriage to accumulate everything we had. And even more than that if you count the few items we held onto from pre marriage time. My black leather coat being one of the things I had to throw out (mold was growing on it) which I had owned since I was 22 or so. I’m sure I’ll dig up a picture of me in it! So to have to replace nearly everything takes a major hit on the finances.
As do doctors and supplements. We no longer see traditional doctors. Traditional doctors aren’t well versed in mold and most just roll their eyes at me and tell me that mold illness is “controversial.” Well, it’s not controversial once you’ve been through it. Our doctors are now naturopaths who are not covered by insurance. Most of the medicines our son takes are over the counter medicines also not covered by insurance. Many of the tests we’ve needed are not covered by insurance either and can cost over $1,000 just for one test!
In short, one way mold still affects us today is through the great financial hit. Another way the mold affects us everyday is where we go. After you’ve had mold illness, and you remove yourself from the toxin environment, you start a process called “unmasking.” In short, you become extra sensitive to even small amounts of mold. This varies from person to person and depends greatly on their coinfections. Not only does the severity vary from person to person, but so do the symptoms. This even varies from one environment to the next.
For me, when I enter a very toxic place, these are my symptoms in no particular order:
Teeth pain (especially my bottom front)
Ear pain and ringing (sometimes it feels like a throbbing, other times it feels like someone is trying to stab my ear drum with a knife)
Blood shot eyes
Mental confusion/trouble speaking
Absence seizures (now this is not diagnosed. But I blank out. I can still see and hear everything, but I’m unable to move or respond for a short period)
Feeling of intense heat (I used to hate malls and shopping. They were always so HOT and stuffy, but then I went to a mold free mall and it felt cool, I felt like there was actual air movement and I immensely enjoyed that shopping trip!)
Lower abdomen pain
Rectal pain (the lower abdomen pain turns into the rectal pain and it is so severe at times. I can only curl in a little ball and just hope to die. It’s terrible)
Everyone in my family can feel mold. It limits our life in ways a normal person can’t fathom. We can never go to movie theaters, bowling alleys, roller skating rinks, we need to be careful of grocery stores, stores such as Walmart and Target, any indoor area must be entered with extreme caution for the first time. The hardest part is other people’s houses. Some (not many) houses are fine. And by fine, I mean I won’t leave wanting to die. But indoor air over all isn’t my favorite. And to have to tell someone I can’t come visit is extremely hard for me.
One of the hardest things we had to give up was church. I will discuss our past church family in another post, but for now I’ll just say that church was making us sick due to moldy buildings and we had to stop going. We found another church, but quickly discovered the kids’ area was moldy.
You might be thinking, “well, mold is everywhere.” And guess what, you are right. It is absolutely everywhere. Telling a modlie that “mold is everywhere” doesn’t make it any less moldy! That’s why we have such a hard time….because it IS everywhere. That’s the point. It’s not an excuse, and telling us that it is everywhere is akin to telling us that we might as well suck it up. That’s like telling someone with a peanut allergy that “just a little won’t hurt.” Just a little can KILL and just a little mold can end with someone in the ER.
Due to this heightened sensitivity, another aspect of our lives that has greatly changed is our relationships. Some family and friends either don’t believe us or don’t know how to respond to us. And on our end, conversations are hard. They really are. We can’t eat what you can eat, we can’t go where you can go, and honestly, your little sniffle or you child’s broken leg is really hard to empathize with. Because we’ve gone through a health hell. At one point in time, everyone in my family either felt like they were dying or wished they would.
To sum it up, we are HERE. We are slightly socially awkward. We have no money left. We can’t go anywhere. As long as we are outside in good air or in our RV, we are great. But the second we get a “mold hit,” all that changes. I’m not going to apologize for it. Life is life and this is ours right now. We are happy when out of mold. So that’s where we want to stay, ok?