After six years spent untangling a web of miscellaneous symptoms, my doctor proposed a new theory: I was born with a genetic susceptibility to bio-toxin illness and, in 2015, a fungal respiratory infection release such a toxin, which has been plaguing my body and health ever since. Recurring leaks and water damage in our home has exacerbated the burden on my body. Whoa.
A battery of tests–genetic, blood markers, visual acuity, and environmental all support that theory.
Two weeks ago, a mold remediation service ripped out several walls and found an abundance of black mold in two bathrooms and two linen closets. An entire wall of our kitchen was saturated with green mold and an active termite infestation; the building support pillars were so badly eroded that they were not even touching the ground. What fun!
Here’s a update to my timeline within the context of this theory:
- I was born with a particular generic fingerprint that makes my immune system sensitive to fungal bio-toxins, as evidenced in recent testing (HLA DR Mold Genetic Test)
- In March of 2015, I was exposed to coccidioidomycosis (colloquially known as valley fever), a fungal respiratory infection. While most who contract was asymptomatic, I was bedridden for a full month, with debilitating fatigue, severe weight loss, and glass-shard coughing. I never fully recovered.
- In December of 2017, the debilitating fatigue returned, bringing along an entourage of new symptoms, including an acidic burning sensation in my muscles with any physical exertion.
- In May of 2018, the ceiling fire sprinkler pipe had a leak and completely flooded 30% of our home. I wonder now whether the leak and mold were present in late-2017 and our walls had been filled will water for longer than we realized, triggering the worst of my symptoms.
- In August of 2018, a PET/CT scan showed the fungal infection has taken up residence in the soft tissues of my lower legs. That same year lumbar puncture, tilt test, cardio-pulmonary test, EKG, echocardiogram, electromyogram, and more all came back “normal” though I felt as if my body was slowly shutting down. I asked about mold; multiple doctors thought I was crazy.
- In March of 2020, we discovered mold under the kitchen (stachybachis) and guest bathroom (aspergillus) sinks. We confirmed there were mold spores in the air and received quotes for remediation, but held off due to the pandemic. We instead bought Concrobium from Home Depot and did our best to kill the visible mold outselves.
- In July of 2021, we confirmed that I have: 1) a generic susceptibility to bio-toxin illness, 2) structural brain atrophy and inflammation clinically linked to mold exposure (and evidenced by NeuroQuant MRI), 3) our-of-range blood markers associated with bio-toxin illness (MMP9, TGF-β1, MSH, ADH, Osmolality), and 4) a HERTSMI-2 environmental mold score indicative of a problem. Bingo!
- In August, the mold was removed and several of my symptoms began to resolve. A large portion of our home is still missing drywall and cabinets, but I’m on the mend.
- Next step, I’ll be on binding agents for the next month to support my body in pulling the remaining biotoxins out of my body. Hallelujah!
My doctor believes that, based on my progress thus far, I may be fully recovered within a month. This after six years of often-debilitating symptoms and a barrage of doctors telling me that it’s all in my head. Without negating the fact that COVID-19 had a negative impact on so many, I am beyond grateful that the pandemic opened up the opportunity to consult with physicians across the country. After exhausting all local resources, taking my search for answers national has been life-changing.
Onward and upwards!