Improved Patients Discuss Their Mold Avoidance Experiences

 

Ana Harris (2)

Ana Harris camping during her first months of mold avoidance in 2017.

 

This page consists of quotes from individuals who have experienced health improvements subsequent to beginning mold avoidance and who have shared their experiences publicly.

More information about the experiences of patients who have improved from mold-related illness can be found on the pages Mold Stories and How I Survived Toxic Mold.

 

Dave Asprey Family (2)

Dave Asprey

“When I walk into a moldy environment, the first breath of air that I take, if there’s mold in that environment, I feel it right here in my chest. It’s a feeling that’s  hard to describe – it’s a closing in, a tightening. It’s a feeling of stress.

“I’ve learned it isn’t me being threatened. It’s my body reacting to the environment.

“At that point, I will stop breathing. On purpose. I don’t want any more of it. And I will go the other way, if at all possible. And if it’s not possible, I will within – sometimes – a minute start feeling a little bit dizzy. Oftentimes I’ll start coughing, but not always. There’s not always an allergic response, it depends on what mold it is.

“But the most disturbing thing is that if I spend a few more minutes in a moldy environment is that you will see my forehead swell up. My brain will actually start leaking fluid. I look kind of like a Klingon. It’s ridiculous. I have a few photos where I’m just puffy up here. And it’s just a really uncomfortable feeling.

“Not to mention that my ability to think starts to go away. My word-finding ability just goes away. In a normal day, I don’t ever one time sit down and say, ‘Why did I open the refrigerator? Where are my keys?’ That absent-mindedness that was a point of my life, always, is so far gone that it comes back, and it comes back reliably and repeatably, with mold exposure.

“If I don’t expose myself to mold, I can rely on my mind and my body to do things that I’ve never experienced in my entire life. Put the mold back in and suddenly it’s like I’m addled. I start forgetting things that I have no business forgetting. It’s as obvious as if you go from a light room into a dark room, when you’re exposed to mold.”

– From “Moldy” Interview (2015)

 

Moldy Movie

Dave Asprey

Bulletproof

 

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Janis Bell

“The camping lifestyle is difficult, yet I never regretted my choice. As symptom after symptom lessened or entirely disappeared, I put up with the hard ground, the cold, the heat, the wind, the endless packing and moving, the whiffs of a neighbor’s cigar or cigarettes, the lousy Wi-Fi, the inadequate cell phone service, the dirt, the noise, the diesel fumes of one-ton pickups and large motor homes. And I complained whenever the cold wind ripped through my jacket or the rain left me huddled inside dripping nylon walls.

“When my most disabling symptoms, POTS and PEM, began to clear in that low-mold environment, I often thought, ‘Maybe all I have is mold illness, not ME/CFS.’ Yet my ME/CFS diagnosis was sound, and approved by specialists. I’d met the Canadian Consensus Criteria and had been a subject for research studies.”

-From Phoenix Rising (2013)

 

Phoenix Rising

Moldy Movie

Got Mold?

Search for the Cure

 

T Campbell

T. Campbell

“I was bedbound with severe POTS and OI. Moving out of a moldy environment hadn’t changed my functioning. It had, in fact, made me worse, or so I thought. I hadn’t considered the fact that I had ended up in another moldy apartment.

“Eventually I ended up in a house that didn’t have toxic mold. I had some improvement to mostly housebound.

“I then moved away from an area with bad outdoor air to another house without toxic mold.

“I had dramatic improvement. I went from bedbound to housebound only 25-35% of the time. My post-exertional malaise was reduced by about 85%. My POTS symptoms were reduced by 80%.”

-From “How I Survived Toxic Mold” (2014)

 

How I Survived Toxic Mold

 

Truckee River Reno

Khaly Castle

“For a few years now, I have been living a lifestyle based around mold avoidance. By ‘based around,’ I mean that my daily routines, my living quarters, my life decisions, and even the location that I have chosen as home base – all incorporate the premise that mold is my kryptonite and must be avoided at all cost. This premise has kept me upright for a good long run.

“In 2007, I was bedridden and had been for a while. I was suffering migraines on an almost daily basis. I was having seizures. I had full Parkinson-like symptoms. My gallbladder was on the verge of coming out. I’d had eight consecutive kidney stones, my teeth were exploding in my mouth, and I’d had an appointment to get my thyroid irradiated. My cognitive abilities were probably at a third grade level. I definitely was not smarter than a fifth grader. My idea of a vacation was migrating to the couch.

“One day I posted what became a fateful piece on a message board. I said, ‘Maybe my house is killing me?’ That statement drew a response that saved my life, from Erik Johnson. He said, ‘Now you’re talking my language.’ That kicked off a friendship that has endured through thick and thin, and a subsequent road map out of hell.”

-From CFS Untied (2012)

 

CFS Untied

 

Kelly Connor with Cat

Kelly Connor

“After 10 years of CFS/CFIDS, I began to remember mold exposures from the time before I got suddenly and increasingly ill in middle age. I realized that I had been having a Stachybotrys toxin reaction. I began to remember mold in various former dwellings. I began to get rid of possessions from those times. Gradually I gave away treasured books, plants, rugs, clothes and papers.

“As my environment cleared, my awareness of new Stachybotrys toxin exposures increased. If I shower and change clothes, I can often recover very fast.

“I still have Lyme disease complex from mostly untreated Lyme and co-infections, but avoiding mold has made it much less debilitating.”

-From “How I Survived Toxic Mold” (2014)

 

How I Survived Toxic Mold

 

Interview-With-a-Toxic-Mold-Survivor-Karen-Dean_1 (2)

Karen Dean

“Almost everything I owned was tossed, as my belongings made me sick to be around. I regained most of my health after a year and three months. But the house developed a mold problem and I became sick again.

“Regaining health has not meant regaining a normal life. After many years of repeat exposures, I have developed a severe allergic response to mold spores. This is in addition to still being very sensitive to the mold toxins.

“I live in the desert with almost no neighbors. I must spend a lot of time sterilizing my environment. I live without insulation, as I need an environment I can keep totally clean.

“I work part-time, from home, and have clients from a close city and from Internet and mail order. I would have more work if I could expand the places I could go, and have a public work space. But I am mostly healthy, and that is the most important thing. Without my health there would be nothing I could do.”

-From “Got Mold?” (2014)

 

Got Mold?

 

Andrea Fabry

Andrea Fabry

“It took a botched mold remediation to make the connection between our illnesses and the home. We vacated in October 2008. We left everything behind.

“Within a few months it became clear that it would take more than leaving the home to restore our family’s health. We fled to the dry climate of Arizona and began the process of repairing our weary immune systems. We radically altered our lifestyle. We also continued to practice strong mold avoidance.

“I’ve learned that patience is a huge part of recovery. Once I let go of the quick fix and embraced the journey, I didn’t focus as much on reactions or symptoms. Deep breathing and other meditation techniques also played an important role.

“While lingering issues remain, our kids are now able to attend school, work, and participate in life again.”

-From “How I Survived Toxic Mold” (2014)

 

How I Survived Toxic Mold

momsAWARE

It Takes Time

 

Andrea and Chris Fabry

Chris Fabry

“I thought my wife had gone off the deep end. Cyberchondria. She had found something on the Internet that fit with some symptoms and now she was suggesting radical treatment of the house and the children.

“I had worked hard for a lot of years to provide a nice home and a somewhat comfortable life. To spend money on mold, something we couldn’t even see, made no sense.

“But she saw. She saw each of our nine children falling like little soldiers. One had an eye disorder, another an inner ear problem, another constant throat and lung irritation, another a seizure disorder. The list went on and the list of doctors grew longer. Our pets were exhibiting problems.

“The most important thing is LIFE. Our lives. My children. My wife. Me. It’s why I’ve worked so hard to provide – to give them life. And if the place that we are living is taking that life from us, it only makes sense to leave.

“So on October 4, 2008, when I drove from the Denver airport, I put my suitcase with my new suit in the garage, changed clothes, and we walked out and closed the door behind us.

“I was telling my wife with this act that I believed in her more than I believed in my own fear of the future.

“For us, the story did not turn out to be fiction. The house was killing us. And it’s been a long road to health since then.”

-From It Takes Time (2012)

 

It Takes Time

 

Scott Forsgren Turkey Trot

Scott Forsgren

“In my personal journey recovering from Lyme disease after a tick bite in 1996 in Northern California, the journey has been one of uncovering many stones and addressing numerous layers of issues that were affecting my health. While borrelia, bartonella, babesia, ehrlichia, and many other microbial factors did play a role, it was not until I read the book Mold Warriors, by Ritchie C. Shoemaker, M.D., in 2006 that that I considered the possibility of mold as another key part of the systemic body burden that had without my awareness made me ill for so many years.

“Upon further evaluation, it was determined that I had been living in an apartment for nearly 10 years that was contaminated with numerous molds, including Stachybotrys, better known as ‘toxic black mold.’

“Moving to a safer setting was one of the best things that I did as part of my journey back to health. I do not think I would be where I am today if I had not discovered and addressed this ongoing, toxic environmental factor that was contributing to my then poor state of health.”

-From Townsend Letter (2014)

 

Townsend Letter

Better Health Guy

 

Kim Goodwin

Kim Goodwin

“Our first day camping, I felt quite different. Even though I’d barely slept, I woke up refreshed and, incredibly, not achy at all. When we got to the desert I noticed more changes – I became less light-sensitive, my energy increased, and my digestion normalized.

“When we returned home to Oregon, my husband and I both had a regression. Our doctor and other people experienced with mold illness had warned me about problem locations that have powerful outdoor toxins. That was in part why we made the trip to Palm Desert, to see if there was an effect to my being in a new environment. As we drove back into the Willamette Valley of Oregon, I developed a migraine, heart palpitations, Parkinson’s-like shaky movements, nausea and exhaustion, and my chemical sensitivity increased again. We repeated this trip two more times, with the same, convincing results.

“[In the desert full-time], I’m healing and feel stronger every day. What’s more, I’m healing from lifelong MCS – something I never thought was possible.”

-From Honey Colony (2016)

 

Honey Colony

Living Clean in a Dirty World

 

Jessica 1

Jessica Grow

“I had become bedridden from extreme fatigue, nausea, memory loss, severe depression, body acne and painful joints. I started Dr. Shoemaker’s protocol and was not getting better. Both my house and office mold tests were good, and I decided to isolate myself to only those two places. Within three weeks, I began to feel really good.

“After two months, I almost felt normal again and my blood work significantly improved. By avoiding mold I continue to feel well.

“I never would have thought that small exposures to mold while shopping could affect me so badly.”

-From “How I Survived Toxic Mold” (2014)

 

How I Survived Toxic Mold

 

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Ana Harris

“It seems so obvious now, but for most of my life, I never considered that the quality of the air we breathe could be even more fundamental to health than the quality of the food we eat.

“I feel like I’m finally subduing the cruel monster that’s tormented and controlled me these last five years. I’m not helpless anymore and that is a wonderful feeling.

“Learning to identify biotoxin exposure and decontaminate quickly has helped me to see my illness as being separate from me. My body isn’t the enemy anymore, it’s an ally telling me when I’ve been exposed to something dangerous. And that is such a healing realization.

“Mold avoidance is still suffering, but it’s a different kind of suffering than being at war with my own body. Yes, it’s incredibly difficult to be cut off from civilization and to be unable to even enter a building to use the bathroom. And yes, it’s incredibly isolating to not be able to interact with humans in normal contexts.

“Even so, I am finding this kind of suffering to be refreshingly different. It’s not nearly as isolating as being trapped in a sickbed with a level of mental and physical anguish that cannot be put into words. People can relate to this new suffering much better because it is not hidden inside my body. The suffering isn’t internal anymore and that makes me feel much less alone. I feel less ‘other’ and more human.”

-From Ana Harris Writes (2017)

 

Living Clean in a Dirty World

Ana Harris Writes

 

Erik Backpack

Erik Johnson

“If I carry the response after any exposure, I decontaminate, no matter where the exposure came from. If it dies away, I take this as an indication that that I was only hit with VOC’s and not fungal detritus, and I often don’t bother to decontaminate if I feel no lingering effects.

“As I get higher on the power curve, I feel the need to decontaminate far less than I used to. Places that used to feel horribly toxic are now fairly bearable. I take this as further confirmation that although mold toxins are certainly becoming more toxic, a great portion of the way they felt toxic was primarily due to being so low on the curve and more susceptible.

“I’m going all kinds of places that used to scare me to death and hardly even having a problem any more. I don’t have any problems at Home Depot now, not even the lumber, carpet or fertilizer sections.

“Never thought that would happen. Life is much better now.”

-From Erik on Avoidance (2008)

 

Erik Johnson

 

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Joseph P. Klein, M.D.

“Mold developed in a bathroom of our house. Unfortunately, I didn’t understand the significance of that black mold with a rather peculiar odor. When we tried to dry out the moldy area with fans, as suggested by our local pest control company, my illness rapidly escalated.

“I soon had to move out of the house; I actually lived in a tent for about one week.

“Since then I have lived in about forty different motel rooms trying to figure out how to get away from this toxic stuff. Also, I have lived in four new houses, the most recent being devoid of any carpet, stuffed furniture, etc. It is basically sparsely furnished with a tile floor, no rugs and vinyl window dressings.

“Additionally, my family and I had to get rid of all our possessions including financial records, bank statements, pictures, photographs, photograph albums, clothing, furniture, books, bedding, kitchenware, silverware, computers, automobiles, desks, chairs, office machines, family heirlooms, everything.

“Symptoms included tremendous fatigue, malaise, muscle aches and cramps, restlessness, inability to sleep, and severe burning in my chest with exertion.

“Currently I am able to live a 95% normal life. I am able to be nearly normally active.

“My problem now is that I can’t go near, much less work with, any paper or books contaminated by the mold spores. If I do get exposed I become ill again for anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the intensity and length of the exposure.”

-From Stachybotrys Website (2002)

 

Stachybotrys Website

 

Jeri

Jeri McClure Kurre

“I developed chronic fatigue syndrome in 2006. Fatigue was the least of my problems. I was experiencing episodes of being unable to move my arms and legs. There were days that I was so weak that I had to crawl to the bathroom. I had head and neck pain that made me feel as if I’d been beaten with a baseball bat. I had new-onset dyslexia; loss of short-term memory; frequent syncope; racing heart rate; seizures; and natural killer cell numbers so low that my doctors first thought it was a lab error. I lost my friends, my career and my independence.

“The reason that I am able to be here today is because I have been fortunate enough to be able to use therapeutic strategies based on evidence that has been ignored for over a quarter-century. Incline Village survivor Erik Johnson, who served as a prototype for the syndrome, noticed a phenomenon with regard to biotoxins in this disease.

“He developed a strategy in response to it that allowed him to achieve such an astounding recovery that he is able to climb mountains. Thanks to his work and persistence, there are now quite a few CFS patients who have used his techniques to achieve recovery.

“We are not cured. However, many of us who were severely disabled are now able to live near-normal lives. It’s time that researchers start looking at this. If it had not been for Mr. Johnson, I would either be dead or still rotting in my bed.”

-From Testimony to CFS Advisory Committee to HHS Secretary (2014)

 

CFSAC Testimony

Health Rising

 

Beatrice (2)

Beatrice Latherings

“I lived in the Mold Castle from 2001 until 2012. The last six months, I lived in my garage with fresh air flow but still had to use the house for kitchen, shower and bathroom.

“I moved out three years ago. I made various attempts to find a safe place to live and failed to find anything safe in my city, suffering several more exposures in my attempts to live inside a building. I lived outdoors, out of a pickup truck, on a back porch, in a garden shed, in a breezeway, for most of a year. Then I bought my Camplite trailer in March of 2012.

“There is not a doctor in charge of my treatment, nor has there been because of my lack of results with doctors. I’m 95% recovered and have resumed normal activities except for not being able to spend time in a large percentage of buildings, and not being able to find any dwelling I can live in.”

-From “Got Mold?” (2014)

 

Got Mold?

How I Survived Toxic Mold

 

Resiliently Rachel (2)

Rachel Leland

“It was the most wonderful feeling. For the first time in over a decade, I was thriving. At 24, I was off all antibiotics for the first time since I was 13. I could run. I could dance around my apartment.

“By treating the mold and Lyme together, I was able to eradicate all my Lyme symptoms. I now realize that the plateau that I hit back when I first got out of the wheelchair wasn’t just a ‘plateau’….it was mold.

“Mold prevented my Lyme treatment from going any further, and it wasn’t until we treated it under the supervision of a mold specialist that I truly experienced good health again.

“After going through this past year with such intense mold treatment, I now understand that it is vital to avoid mold.”

-From Living Clean in a Dirty World (2016)

 

Living Clean in a Dirty World

Resiliently Rachel

 

Kathleen Manganaro 1

Kathleen Manganaro

“In January 1983, I was 29 years old, married and the mother of a three-year-old son. I jogged regularly, was very energetic and always had been in excellent health.

“Then I went back to work as a school speech language pathologist working in four different schools, ranging from kindergarten to high school. In one of my buildings, I had an office that had a roof leak, water damage and mold. I felt especially sick there and convinced the administrators to let me see students in an abandoned bathroom that didn’t make me feel quite as ill. I felt sick in that building from the start, with a variety of classic CFS symptoms that got worse over time.

“Fortunately in 1992, I was transferred from that building. My energy got much better, but I never had the energy that I did before walking in the building.

“From 1992 until 2003, my health was stable. Then in 2003, I was reassigned rooms and worked in an office in one of my school’s basements. I saw water marks and peeling paint on the wall, but no visible signs of mold. My symptoms returned and got worse over time. By May 2007, I had to stop working because I couldn’t function.

“I am fortunate that the biotoxins and molds were in my workplace and not in my home, because I have been able to regain some of my health, though I must pace. But visit a moldy building for even ten minutes and I will be back in bed for days.”

-From Testimony to CFS Advisory Committee to HHS Secretary (2013)

 

CFSAC Testimony

 

Sara Riley Mattson (2)

Sara Riley Mattson

“As crazy as it seemed at the time to head off into nature to pursue mold avoidance, I know I will always look back fondly on this last year of healing and especially this last six months of living in my cargo van. As long as I don’t experience exposure, I feel healthier than I have since I was a teenager.

“My mind has never felt so calm and I am getting the best sleep of my adult life. I’m jogging again, productive again, and just like Erik Johnson, climbing mountains again. In fact, I wrote this post in my head while on an impromptu six-hour hike to the top of a 12,000 foot mountain.

“Even in my ‘healthiest’ years prior to mold avoidance, I would not have been able to do that. I’m also eating tacos and drinking gin and tonics whenever my fantastically healthier heart desires.”

-From “Living Clean in a Dirty World” (2016)

 

Living Clean in a Dirty World

Camp Like A Girl

Sarah Riley Mattson

 

Giles

Giles Meehan

“The mould avoidance that I’ve been doing hasn’t been as extreme as many other people have experimented with. I had already recovered fairly well anyway, and I might never have known how much of that, if any, was due to simply living in a relatively un-mouldy environment.

“But I started to bathe and wash all my clothes immediately after going into any building that smelled as if it might have had any mould in it – or at least I would wash my face and hair, and put my shirt or jumper into a sealed bag till I washed it.

“I found a message I posted a few weeks ago after I started trying it, when somebody asked me how it was going. It said, ‘I’ve been sleeping very well, especially if I rinse my hair and face before I go to bed, and change my pillowcase regularly. Many of my symptoms are much less common. When people ask me how I am, I often find myself saying simply ‘Okay’ or ‘Tired’ rather than thinking of a dozen post-exertional malaise, neurotoxic, POTS and immune symptoms.

“The more clear I got, the better I felt and the more I could sense mould toxins in certain buildings or occasionally even outside. I started to notice in some places a very strong musty smell – I could almost taste it more than smell it – that seemed to bring on the classic M.E. symptoms.

“I used to think I was far too recovered to be at a risk of a big relapse of M.E., unless I overdid it far too much. But now I’ve been in several people’s homes where I strongly believe that if I were living there, my M.E. would get worse again.”

-Mould & M.E. Video (2014)

 

Mould & M.E. Video

Locations & M.E. Video

 

Jill_Neimark_author_photo_fullsize (2)

Jill Neimark

“Camping has not cured me, but it has helped to heal me. I’m still sick – vulnerable genetics, a few tick bites, and some bad environmental luck have made me forever fragile.

“Yet I’m back in the game of life. Much of the world and its chemicals sit well with me now. I wear whatever I want, cook over gas and propane stoves, and don’t notice residues of fabric softener on Paul’s clothes. I’ve camped winter and summer, and enjoyed them both.

“Where once I could barely walk to my bathroom, I now walk miles on nature trails and country roads. I become cold-adapted in winter, cooking in a hoodie and sandals, in temperatures that might have formerly made me shiver.”

-From Aeon (2014)

 

Aeon

Jill Neimark

 

Shemane Nugent

Shemane Nugent

“We left our beloved home, a beautiful, five-thousand-square-foot house that stood majestically overlooking a lake with ducks and geese. a place which had so many memories. We left Ted’s guitar memorabilia and our son’s baby pictures, and walked out with only the clothes on our backs – and then we got rid of those.

“Twelve years ago I was dying. I couldn’t walk up a flight of stairs if my life depended on it. Fortunately, the human body has an amazing ability to heal, and after a year of detoxifying our bodies with functional medicine like vitamin IV’s, infrared sauna and oxygen, the Nugent family is well.

“We still struggle with chemical sensitivities to things like artificially scented candles and cleaners, but actually that’s okay. The average American home is inundated with man-made toxins that cause headaches, fatigue, allergies and asthma. We stay as far away from those as possible.”

-From Shemane Nugent Blog (2012)

 

Shemane Nugent Blog

Shemane and Ted Nugent

 

Lisa Black Canyon

Lisa Petrison

“When I was living in my moldy house, I was unable to tolerate any treatments for this disease. Tiny doses of antibiotics and antivirals made me extremely ill, and I didn’t recover from those experiments for months after I stopped the drugs. I got sick enough on Rich van Konynenburg’s supplements that I was included in the ‘adverse events’ section of his papers. Candida was out of control no matter what I did to address it. And though I was fanatical in terms of my attention to food sensitivities, rarely did anything but rest in bed, and took a whole bunch of supportive supplements, my health just kept declining.

“Throughout my 12-year illness, I tried every single treatment I could find for this illness. Some of them helped a little, but in general my health just kept going down. It only stopped going down after I got away from the mold.

“I didn’t have to pursue ‘extreme avoidance’ to experience improvements. Just moving out of my house and putting aside the stuff from the house was enough to allow me to make really big gains.

“After I made those gains, a lot of the treatments that I hadn’t  been able to use before – like Rich’s supplements, antivirals, antibiotics and things to address candida – became tolerable and beneficial to me.”

-From M.E. and Biotoxins: An Introduction (2010)

 

M.E. and Biotoxins: An Introduction

Paradigm Change Video

Lisa Petrison

 

Julie Rehmeyer

Julie Rehmeyer

“When I got back from Death Valley, I found that I reacted strongly not just to the trailers but to my belongings in the trailers.

“I got rid of nearly everything that had been in Berkeley or in the trailers.

“Luckily, the person renting my house at the time happened to break her lease and move out, so I was able to move back into my house with just my camping gear.

“Even more luckily, my house turned out to be mold-free and in a location with good outdoor air.

“A month after heading to Death Valley, I was able to hike up the hill behind my house, which is a 300-foot climb. I hadn’t been able to do that in about a year and a half.

“I was astonished and overwhelmed, and I emailed a zillion people from the top of that hill with a picture of the incredible view from there across the Rio Grande Valley, saying ‘Oh. My. God.’

“That was the first indication that this whole crazy mold thing was actually going to make me better.”

-From Health Rising (2014)

 

Health Rising

American Scientist

Moldy Movie

Washington Post

Paradigm Change

 

Hybrid Rasta Mama (2)

Jennifer Saleem

“I walked away from my house six months ago.

“We’re in a temporary space trying to get healthy. We don’t have a permanent place to live. We’re still dealing with the old house in terms of getting rid of that. I’m still in a limbo space, and that creates a lot of emotion. It messes with your mind.

“I still have a fear of the unknown. I like to know exactly what comes next, so this has pushed me so far outside of my comfort zone.

“Looking at this just six months down from walking away, it’s positive. I know I did the right thing. I’ve never second-guessed myself, but everybody around me did.

“Just a few short days after leaving the house, I stopped getting headaches. I hadn’t not had a headache for eight months, and then I didn’t have them any more.

“When you’re in that contaminated of an environment or you’re reacting that strongly, and you leave, you’ll see a small difference very quickly. Hopefully that spurs you on to realize you are doing the right thing.

“Knowing what I know now, I am so grateful that we found out about it.

“You have to look at mold as something that can kill you. Because it can.”

– From Wholistic Vitality (2015)

 

Wholistic Vitality

Hybrid Rasta Mama

 

Nikki Sharp

Nikki Sharp

“We have 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.

“Everyone in my family can feel mold. It limits our lives in ways that 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 overall isn’t my favorite. And to have to tell someone I can’t come visit is extremely hard for me.

“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 is where we want to stay.”

-Beyond the Mold (2016)

 

Beyond the Mold

 

Suzanne Somers Chickens

Suzanne Somers

“We moved into a leased house on a hill. We were there four years and during those four years we started getting sick.

“My husband started getting sinus problems, red eyes, watery eyes, sneezing. And then he started having facial spasms and grimacing.

“I’m rather thin and my stomach would blow up like a basketball at the end of the day, and I would think, what did I eat? And then I ended up in the hospital with anaphylactic shock and it was diagnosed as cancer.

“Under our house that we leased, there was an unfinished room with standing water like ‘Little Shop of Horrors.’ The black mold, the worst kind, Stachybotrys, was climbing up through the drywall, up through the air conditioning ducts, and making us deathly sick.

“So once we discovered what it was, we had to leave our house like bandits and leave our stuff. You can’t take the moldy stuff with you.”

– From Newsmax (2015)

 

Suzanne Somers

 

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Sara Tamames

“I managed to recover somewhat when we moved to this new place, but over a winter with constant rain, my health started to decline and I got terribly ill with severe ME symptoms. I thought I would die because my digestion was so paralyzed I could barely eat. I ate almost nothing for over six weeks.

“That is when I learned about mycotoxins. I knew immediately that was the missing  piece in the puzzle of why I was so ill even though I was living almost chemical-free and in great isolation from the rest of the world.

“I read A Beginner’s Guide to Mold Avoidance and started applying the principles as best I could. I am a biochemist and to me it all made perfect sense.

“With these techniques I have been able to clean my living spaces and possessions enough that I am recovering steadily.

“I now have very little pain in my body. I can eat normally and my exercise intolerance is greatly reduced. My mood and cognitive abilities are also much more stable and positive.”

-From Living Clean in a Dirty World (2016)

 

Living Clean in a Dirty World

Beyond Mold: Thriving

 

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Judy Tsafrir, M.D.

“Illness related to mold exposure is something that I had heard of, but did not take to heart until recently. This fall I started Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training, which required a daily home practice. I set up my yoga props in a cozy corner of the carpeted finished basement and practiced there for at least an hour every day.

“Kundalini Yoga often involves long deep breathing as well as a rapid breath pattern called Breath of Fire. After about two weeks of inhaling the basement air, I began to feel an overwhelmingly heightened sense of anxiety, profound depression, and began to wake up multiple times throughout the night. There were no other symptoms. I was baffled as I could identify no obvious precipitant.

“During this time period, one of my readers wrote to me and mentioned she had been diagnosed with toxic mold and thought I might be interested in the topic.

“I don’t know why I stopped going down to the basement to do yoga. I must have been feeling too miserable to practice. But a few days later, my anxiety started to melt away, the depression lifted, and I started sleeping through the night. After three days I felt completely fine again.

“Suddenly I remembered the email, re-read it, and began to wonder if toxic mold had been causing me to feel so awful. The growth of toxic mold is initiated by water damage, and there had been flooding in my basement several years ago.

“Testing the basement revealed very high levels of mold. I now am in the process of contracting for remediation and trying to minimize going down there until it’s safe again.

“The more I learn about toxic mold, the more grateful I am that avoiding the moldy basement was all I needed to do to recover. That is not the case for many people.”

-Judy A. Tsafrir, M.D. (2016)

 

Judy A. Tsafrir, M.D.

 

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Christa Upton

“On April 4, 2010, I hobbled out of our moldy house, never to set foot in it again. The clothes on my back were new from Walmart the day before; the purse I took was washable and would be washed later that day.

“Fast-forward almost six years later – years of sleeping on driveways, in the van, on kitchen floors, in camping cabins, in ‘bad’ rental houses, in a camper and in a shed – and I nervously sat in our van as my husband Steve drove up to our new house.

“Could I sleep in it? Could we keep it from getting moldy? Would I get better?

“On February 8, 2016, I began my journey upward, a journey of hope and healing.

“Within eight hours, my digestion began to improve. I could eat meat without severe pain for the first time in five weeks.

“My energy has gone from about 1% of normal to 25% now. That’s a huge increase. Many symptoms are clearing up or getting much better, despite setbacks from unavoidable chemicals.

“My pain levels are far lower. My heart is working normally much more often. I am able to be on the computer and Wi-Fi without symptoms. My digestion is better than it has been in over eight years.”

-From Living Clean in a Dirty World (2017)

 

Living Clean in a Dirty World

How I Survived Toxic Mold

Black Hills Picture Books

 

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Sofia Webster

“[In 2016], I planned and went on two ‘mold sabbaticals’ to Death Valley with my mom and dad. It was incredibly life-changing. I climbed mountains, rode a bike, pitched a tent, and even hiked. I  was crying tears of utter disbelief and joy at the top of Golden Canyon, my first hike in ten years. I learned that my life could have joy and that recovery is possible for me. It was beautiful and special.

“Overall this year I have been working really really hard at recovery from my ailments and diseases. I am doing a really good job of taking care of myself, and my body and mind are thanking me for it.

“I have more melanin in my skin, I am less pale and more brown, I have more energy and much more brain power, I am a healthy weight (I struggled with being underweight), I am happy and stress-free, and I am constantly reading and working on getting better.”

-From Touched by Lyme (2016)

 

Touched by Lyme

 

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Sandy Wolfe

“The day the floors were opened, I became so sick that I couldn’t get out of bed and my seven-year-old son vomited most of the night.

“Our lives have changed dramatically since that day. Everything in our entire house became contaminated. I worked hard for 20 years to buy beautiful furniture and provide for my son. I paid off my car before the divorce. My car is so cross-contaminated, we can’t even get in it. We were forced to leave our home with $400 and the clothing on our backs. Anything we touched from the house made us sick.

“My son is doing much better because I got him out quick and had a strict avoidance policy for him. After a year, he’s at 90%, but still has severe allergic reactions if encountering mold.

“Although I am doing better, I have no clue when I’ll get fully healthy because the mold poisoning caused me to have hypothyroidism and CIRS which won’t let my immune system calm down.”

-From Mold Sensitized (2015)

 

Mold Sensitized

 

Jonathan Wright

Jonathan Lee Wright

“Since my exposure, I have endured four years of intense suffering and debilitating health problems. I’ve had crippling arthritis in my extremities, constant diarrhea, migraine headaches, chest pain with heart arrhythmias, liver pain with dark urine, blurred vision, mental impairment that makes even reading difficult, crushing fatigue, nervous system effects, numbness and tremors in my extremities, hives, bruising, and rashes.

“I have been able to avoid continued problems with indoor molds by taking the extreme step of abandoning my home and living outdoors almost full-time for the last ten months, camping through a winter in North America.

“I am lucky, because I have recently gotten almost complete remission of symptoms through this ‘extreme mold avoidance’ lifestyle. When I’m healthy and in a non-reactive state, I can engage in vigorous activities like mountain biking and rock climbing. But when I’m affected by exposure to molds, I have difficulties walking without pain.”

-From Testimony to U.S. House of Representatives (2004)

 

Jonathan Lee Wright

Black Mold Exposure

 

 

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