Sharing My Story of Chronic Infections and Mold Illness
“God bless the broken road…”
You don’t know you are living a story until you can look backward and, in hindsight, see its purpose. Looking back now, I recognize that each chapter of my story built on the next to produce the life I was meant to live. Much of my childhood and teenage years were difficult and chaotic but I am grateful for it. I hope by sharing my journey of chronic infections and mold illness, I can give you hope and help you on your healing path. I feel that I am called to be a light on the path for this journey we call life and find it easy to guide others who are dealing with chronic illness because I know the path well having walked it myself.
How it Started
My mother was not supposed to be able to have children. Instead, she became a foster parent to help other kids. But then I showed up, the firstborn son to my parents and the first grandchild on that side of the family. I was a real blessing (at least that’s what I tell myself). Being an ‘80s baby, I was given all the typical vaccinations, medical care, and standard American diet. But I was not typical …
As I grew older into preschool and elementary age, it was evident that I had a learning disability–I was socially awkward and an extremely picky eater. There were times I went into hysterical episodes, rarely slept well at night, had night terrors, and slept walked. Digestive issues were frequent, especially bloating and constipation. The list goes on–extreme allergies, rashes, constant strep throat infections (with routine antibiotics as treatment). This led to the development of PANS/PANDAS (a neurological condition associated with Strep) that produces obsessive-compulsive tendencies, neuroticism, tics, and other issues. I was a handful. Alas, there was something more lurking in the basement …
Your Environment Pulls the Trigger
We lived in the same house for nearly 17 years, from my infancy to my adolescence. The basement of that house flooded constantly. My father did his best to clean it up after each flood, but it required pumps, shop vacs, fans, and dehumidifiers to keep it cleared up. Once we even started an electrical fire because the pump was running continuously to remove the water. In an effort to give me more bedroom space as the oldest child, we moved me down into the basement. Now I was breathing that basement air for many hours at a time. Mold suppresses your immune system, likely leading to all my strep infections, and can directly cause all the other symptoms I was dealing with too. We did not know that my new basement bedroom was placing me in the direct path of the storm.
A Mom’s Intuition
On some level, my mother knew there were deeper issues impacting my health. She had air purifiers running in the house, and, like a good mom, she also had me convinced that a greens powder drink was Ninja Turtle slime so I would at least get some decent nutrition as I refused to eat many vegetables. And while we strongly used the Western medical model, there were many angels along my path, guiding me towards something greater, as my mother also took me to chiropractors, naturopaths, and tutors to find me the right help. I’m forever grateful for those folks, especially my reading tutor who showed me that I was intelligent and had great potential for learning if I applied myself.
As I went into my teenage years, I became a competitive athlete. This was very important to me and gave me a great way to bond with my Dad through training and weightlifting. With all my underlying symptoms, I was often fatigued sleeping through school, church, events, and car rides. But then at age 16, I was hit with Epstein-Barr Virus (remember mold suppresses your immune system). Talk about chronic fatigue! As EBV began impacting my athletics and training, a no-go for me, my dad was spurred to help me set up a supplement program– vitamin C, multivitamins, minerals, immune boosters, and whatever else would help. Suddenly I saw and felt my energy levels increase and was empowered in knowing that something could make a difference.
A Spark of Hope
The way supplements and vitamins impacted my body in a positive way sparked something in me about taking health into your own hands. It also helped that I distrusted authority as a general principle, so listening to medical doctors and nurses was out for me. As part of improving my athletics and my physique, I began eating a healthier diet, ditching junk food and sugar, and forcing myself to eat fruits and vegetables. Then I learned about detoxification methods and started doing that. Did my athletic training improve? For sure, but even better, I was getting healthier! I didn’t need as many naps, my digestion was improving, and I could focus better. I lost over 60 pounds of fat. Health became a focus for me, and I wanted to be able to help other people. In order to do that I earned a degree in Exercise Science and then a Doctorate in Chiropractic Medicine. I know what it’s like to go through this journey of chronic illness and dis-ease and I want to see you come through the other end and find your health too.
Now I am blessed to work with folks dealing with complex chronic illnesses such as Lyme disease and mold illness, the people often left to be medical refugees. Having lived it myself, I have used the unique moments and my obsessive tendencies to drive my learning and refinement of applying advanced alternative medicine to these illnesses. I also recognize the importance of never giving up on yourself or the belief that you can and will heal. Healing just takes time and conviction–two things I have and know very well. God truly has blessed the broken road that led me here.