By Request: A Continuation to “When Mold Becomes a Member of the Family”
Following last week’s newsletter, I received several emotional responses to the impact that mold illness plays on family relationships, emotional health, and the isolation that results. The pain inflicted by mold on families is immeasurable; it is difficult to hear some of the heartbreaking stories of patients and their loved ones.
As with many devastating illnesses such as cancer, addiction, depression, or any other debilitating disease, the entire family suffers during the stress and strain while seeking diagnosis and treatment. The financial stress associated with the inability to work with mounting medical bills sometimes drives families into bankruptcy, separation, and deeper depression. It is its own obstacle. Physicians do not have the time or training to better understand the “whole story.” Depression and anxiety symptoms are then simply treated with medications that mask or sometimes make mold-related symptoms worse. In addition, I discovered a “whole new world” of pain experienced by office staff who often have the responsibility of much of the communication with the patients.
Office staff members and physicians have described numerous cases of marital problems, divorce, inability to care for children, and family arguments due to the financial stress created by the illness. These health care professionals are so important to patients; because they listen to them with an empathetic ear. This is an important element of treatment as patients seek to validate and vent their perception of their situations. At the core of this need for understanding and to feel heard is the disbelief exhibited by spouses and family members for the seriousness of the patients’ illness.
The perception that the illness is in the mind of the patient or that they are hypochondriacs is hurtful and angering to them. There is a constant need for “proof” that what they are experiencing is, indeed, real and dangerous to ignore.
When emotions get risen, we can conceive of all the hurtful permutations that can come out of arguing participants mouths.
I’d like to share a few stories from readers who had the courage to share their stories online to validate the extreme nature of this problem. In addition, I encourage readers to a very specific article on this topic by Catherine at Moldfreeliving.com here. In her post, Catherine had the courage and inspiration to provides her very specific account to how mold impacted her marriage. She is very specific and provides both her and her husband’s perspectives and the dynamics that occurred during the entire process of working through the issue and their marriage.
Another Divorce Story
In this story, the author, Jill, described how far the illness spread into her family relationships, in addition to breaking up her marriage. Divorce alone is too high a price to pay for any illness. In this case, it spread to the immediate family and poisoned critical relationships for Jill. She describes a “ferocious loneliness,” isolation, and ridicule. Debilitating chronic illness aside, contemplating the described isolation and emotional impact suffered would be devastating for any person. We all have our health, family, and livelihood to cherish. Losing even one of these is a devastating loss.
Here are her words:
“This newsletter is my story. A newly purchased dream home, a supportive husband. When I was diagnosed with mold illness after 6 years of suffering, it became clear that I could not live in the home (our third in a row with mold), and my husband said, ‘You come back to live with me in this house, or I will divorce you.’ And, so, we are divorcing, despite his acknowledgement that I have improved greatly since leaving.
He also told my mother and siblings that I was mentally ill and imagining the mold connection – the ultimate in self-absorption! I have lost my family of origin, too, as a result. Of course, my grown children don’t understand either. It is so ferociously lonely. If I had had a cancer diagnosis, or heart disease, the people in my life might have ‘circled the wagons.’ With a mold diagnosis and all the life changes that the diagnosis commands, there is isolation and ridicule on top of the suffering already endured. How hard it’s been.”
There are even sadder stories where the marriage survives, but the years of fighting so many battles takes its toll on the human spirit. When this happens, hope is somehow lost.
A reader named Beverly had the courage to post about her situation. This is one of the most painful accounts of the impact mold has had on one family that I have read. In this case, I hope Beverly can find the right combination of changes and treatments to restore hope and love of life we should all experience.
Here are her words:
“Please address the bitterness, rage, and despondency that builds in a formerly loving, high-energy, positive human being before she was cursed with this illness. I merely exist now, I don’t live anymore.
The pain, the nausea, the chronic exhaustion, heat flashes, cold chills, etc. This isn’t living anymore.
I’ve become painfully constipated from trying four different binders. No matter how slow we go or how many preventative measures I take, the results are the same. My diet is squeaky clean, but I remain 60 pounds over my pre-illness weight, because I can’t move, exercise, etc. I’ve tried coffee enemas, skin brushing, charcoal soaps, salt baths, supplements and more supplements. Nothing is changing; nothing is improving. $35,000 later we have a clean, safe house with very little in it.
I don’t even care anymore. I play by the rules, do it all how I am supposed to, but nothing improves. What my poor loving husband is going through. I had been vibrant, active, and filled with encouragement and love for others. Today I feel half alive. I’m left empty except for bitterness, rage, and despondency. Why don’t any of the toxic mold writers address these issues?”
A Medical Professional Speaks Out on Schools
In this case, an unnamed patient of Dr. Dennis’s voiced her empathy with children and frustration with schools and the traditional medical establishment’s lack of understanding of mold and its potential harms in school buildings.
“As a survivor of exposure to toxic mold and being in the process of healing, it breaks my heart to think of the number of students that have been exposed to mold in schools. And, yes, moldy dorms that are seen by their physicians, but who don’t even think to ask about their environments. I am a healthcare professional (PA-C) and Dr. Dennis’s patient, and I have become very frustrated that more healthcare professionals will not open their minds to mold exposure and toxicity in their differential diagnoses!”
As I have discussed many times before, in today’s world, the burden of identifying and diagnosing mold sickness falls on the patients and families. The regular “process” of seeing a general practice doctor, treating symptoms, trying medications, and following the referral system dictated by insurance plans not only takes lots of time and money; it is ineffective. Educating our communities about mold and its consequences is a start. We make every effort to share experiences, solutions, and hope to readers. Unfortunately, it takes the “gift of desperation” to research the illness or luck in finding a medical professional who understands the magnitude of harm mold in indoor environments can create for those living or working in them. Word of mouth and sharing in online communities is the best way to participate in the conversation and spread of knowledge.
What Can You Do About Mold?
- If you or a family member is suffering chronically from any of the above described, you can always test with mold plates for a conclusive determination of if you have a mold issue. These plates can be purchased inexpensively at hardware stores or on microbalancehealthproducts.com.
- Seek medical attention for unexplained symptoms that do not subside. It is important to seek out a physician or integrative medical doctor for treatment. These doctors
pend more time with the patient, and are trained to inquire about the patient’s environment and to make suggestions on addressing it.
- Continue to research and explore “out-of-the-box” solutions. When it comes to environmental illness, the patient often carries the burden to find the right medical professionals. Traditional general practitioner M.D.s may not formally trained to treat mold illness and manage the complex balance of detoxification.
- Find the cause of moisture in your home and fix it. Without addressing the cause, continuous inhalation of mold spores or mycotoxins will prevent the body’s ability to heal.
- Be consistent in replacing HVAC filters with HEPA capabilities. This will help improve the overall air quality in your home for a healthier living environment overall.
- Practice mold hygiene using non-toxic, all-natural products to remove mold and mycotoxins. Doing this regularly will decrease mold counts in the air and on surfaces. This includes cleaning walls, floors, curtains, furniture, and clothing.
- If you suffer from sinus issues, daily rinsing with a nasal rinsing system and Citridrops Dietary Supplement will remove mold and mucous from the sinuses. If mold does not gain entrance to the body, it cannot cause inflammation and make you sick.
- In the event mold is visible or can be smelled, seek professional remediation help. Proper containment of the moldy area is necessary to avoid disruption and distribution of mold spores throughout the home. If the mold is confined to less than 10 square feet, a competent DIY practitioner can manage with instructions and safety precautions such as an N95mask and protective clothing, eye protection, and gloves.
- Invest in a high-quality HEPA vacuum and use it regularly on floors, furniture, and upholstered items to keep dirt, dust, and mold spore counts down.
- If you do not own your home or suffer at your place of work, cold fogging with the EC3 SANI+TIZER Fogger and EC3 Mold Solution Concentrate is a “short-term” solution that can be continually replicated to keep mold air counts down and to make a less than ideal space livable.
Please feel free to ask questions or provide comments to this post.