And About Having the “Courage to Change the Things We Can”
By Cesar Collado
During 2018, I researched and wrote about many topics; however, each article or combination of articles were all meant to convey some key themes in fighting mold illness. The many variables in addressing mold illness gave me several viewpoints from which to address the topic without creating redundancy or repetition. Some articles described the many steps we can take to not just get better, but to get well; while others were meant to build a knowledge base for our readers. There were also several articles addressing recent newsworthy topics. However, it is my sincere hope that some of these messages got a foothold and instilled further curiosity that might result in the beginning of a path to “real” wellness. Some of these articles were not the most “clicked on” or read; but they also conveyed important messages. Today, I will close out 2018 pointing to specific newsletters and messages that addressed some key themes that can make a big difference in this community’s diagnosis and prognosis.
“Actions Will Get You Results”
January’s newsletters began with “8 Things You Can Do (Outside Medical Treatment) That Will Improve your Mold Situation”. This revolved around the basics needed to make a plan to address your mold situation. Simple but effective methods were outlined to identify and verify if it is, in fact, mold that is causing your suffering. It covered testing for mold, rinsing your sinuses, removing mold from your environment, and avoiding behaviors that can make your illness worse.
Other articles emphasized the process and vigilance required help you get better. Throughout these articles, I emphasized the not so subtle fact that your body cannot heal itself if it the immune system is continually assaulted by high levels of mold in your home. “The Path to Wellness from Mold and Mycotoxin Illness is a Process” incorporates a real patient’s path to wellness by documenting specific actions taken to communicate and demonstrate their results on health. “No More Half Measures” describes the top reasons patients do not get better when they only partially follow the doctor’s orders. The article provides a broader perspective on the importance of going “all in” to address mold in your environment and following a “mold hygiene” protocol over the long run to get to wellness. Another article, “A Customer’s Success Story Teaches Valuable Information Regarding the Importance of Mold Hygiene” provides another patient’s experience. And finally, my attempt at using a sports analogy to describe another approach to thinking about and taking care of your mold situation, “Getting Well From Mold Illness Requires Active Participation”.
2. “Mold and Mycotoxins and Their Impact on the Body”
It is important to know how mold can make you ill. I described our “Body’s Toxic Load” and how mold exposure could have caused your “Toxic Load Tipping Point.”. These two topics describe what happens when mold exposure crosses the line from being an allergen to becoming toxic and a chronic illness that can negatively impact all aspects of your life. Another article, “Your Sinuses Are Your Body’s ‘HEPA’ Filters for Mold and Airborne Particulates” describes the importance of cleaning your sinuses and your home air as a an essential element to getting better.
Several articles during the year explicitly describe what happens to our bodies when exposure to mold or mycotoxins makes us severely ill. “Understanding Inflammation for Mold Sufferers”,
“Mold, Fatigue, and our Hormonal Systems”, and “What Happens When Toxins Get into the Brain” provide “non-medical-speak” to describe what physically happens to our bodies when mold and mycotoxins take over and impact our health.
I also included some of the day-to-day consequences of mold exposure to our bodies:
Mold can also cause a “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder” that can negatively impact patients’ lives. This means that small “triggers” can cause physical reactions or panic, where patients instantly react prior to assessing whether the mold threat is real. Some people can enter a room where the ultra-sensitive olfactory nerves (smell) can trigger a “panic attack.” “PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) Caused by Mold” describes this phenomenon and what you can do to retrain the brain’s limbic system to control your symptoms systematically and rationally.
3. “Mold Illness is Real and Not ‘Just In Your Head’
To begin the year, “Mold Sick and Feeling Hopeless? 3 Actions to Take Right NOW to Gain Control of the Situation!” provides an introduction to the topic of mold.found it important to recognize that even getting a diagnosis for mold illness is a challenge with today’s health care system. Traditional Medical Doctors (M.D.s) have little formal training in diagnosing and treating mold illness. Because symptoms are very similar to many other chronic diseases, diagnosis requires unique insight and perception. Because mold illness involves the patient’s environment, most physicians have little time to explore all environmental elements and patient medical histories involved in making the correct diagnosis. Modern medicine focuses on a treating the symptoms-based approach that just doesn’t cut it for mold illness.
To address the emotional and complex impact mold can have on our lives beyond just the medical aspects, several articles were written about the catastrophic and indirect impact mold can have on personal lives. Since I can only empathize, I recounted experiences shared by our readers to provide authentic context to this important topic. “The Debilitating Path of Mold Illness” described this catastrophic impact mold has had on patients’ lives. “When Mold Becomes an Active Member of the Family” shared the pain and emotions involved with mold illness and the direct impact that chronic illness has had on some of our readers’ marriages and relationships. Misunderstandings, anger, and even apathy can result and permanently damage relationships and tear families apart. The following week, several other readers shared their personal experiences in “Emotional Reactions to Last Week’s Newsletter”.
Because a mold diagnosis is a “diagnosis of exclusion,” meaning it might only be diagnosed after testing for everything else, “A History of Unexplained Chronic Illness” provides some historical context of many unexplained illness diagnoses. This article provides some understanding of why many doctors do not address this illness immediately with cost-effective methods, and instead put patients through a series of diagnostics, referrals, and unnecessary, non-efficacious medicines.
“Water-Damaged Homes, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (“CFS”), and Mycotoxin Poisoning” provides insight into the causal relationship between water-damaged homes and mycotoxin poisoning.
4. “Practical Advice for Mold Illness Sufferers”
Throughout the year, I tried to provide practical, situational advice to handle symptoms or for ways to find the right help to address mold illness. Because of the challenges in diagnosing the disease, patients most often bear the burden to find the right physicians to properly diagnose and treat their mold illness. This requires research and some direct questioning of physicians to focus on the proper diagnostics, environmental investigations, and treatments. “Mold Sick and Feeling Hopeless? 3 Actions to Take Right NOW to Gain Control of the Situation!” provides some immediate advice. Other articles that provide guidance for the mold sufferers include:
- “Get Your Facts Collected Before Seeing a Doctor About Mold!” emphasizes that preparation before seeing your doctor can result in a speedier diagnosis and relief.
- “It’s Time to Open your Doctor’s Eyes to Mold and Mycotoxins!” encourages patients to so some research on their environment and symptoms to make their physicians aware of how mold may be the cause.
- Why is it Still So Hard to Find an ENT that will Treat for Mold & Mycotoxins? provides insight into the challenges of finding the right ENT that will address fungal sinusitis and mycotoxin exposure.
- Why “Healthcare Economics” Matter to Mold Sufferers’ describes the short-and long-term implications and financial consequences of not getting the right treatment. It also describes how to capitalize on your health insurance HSA and FSA to gain a triple tax advantage and discounted products to treat your symptoms and environment.
- “What to Do When Mold at Work is Making You Sick” provides advice on the delicate issue of handling mold in the workplace without endangering your employment future
“9 Common Cognitive Biases by Physicians That Can Prevent a Mold or Environmental Illness Diagnosis” is probably my most misunderstood but most insightful article, from my perspective. It explains that just seeing a physician will not ensure you will be diagnosed properly. In fact, it explains why circumstances and normal biases we all have can make the possibility of an immediate diagnosis improbable. This gives us more reasons to research and prepare prior to a doctor’s visit to get to the right diagnosis. I also encourage accumulating and providing the right information to your doctor to improve your chances of getting an accurate diagnosis.
I thank you for supporting and reading the newsletters. Best wishes this holiday season. I will be back next year and will begin tackling 2019 by building awareness, advocacy, and community to help everyone we can who is facing and battling mold illness!