Our Home’s Dirty Little Secret

After eight months of asking for our third-party mold testing results, the HOA finally provided us the file. Twenty holes were drilled in the drywall for air cavity sampling. Five were significantly elevated and two contained the spooky “toxic black mold.” Behind the drywall, our home was hiding a dirty little secret. Per the comments on the report, these results are horrifying and unlivable.

Stachybotrys is the nasty one, rarely found in homes as compared to Aspergillus. Not only do we have the high levels of the neurotoxin, but where is it located? Right next to my side of the bed and butting up to my former home workstation. The same places I experienced violent sneezing, ice pick headaches, and trouble standing upright. Toxic mold was growing right next to me when a holter monitor captured a 167 resting heart rate while I was lying in bed. Toxic fumes were seeping out from my office wall when I fainted and lost consciousness for six minutes.

I have almost no recollection of the years 2018-2022. I know that friendships, jobs, and peak fitness were lost in the jumble, but I don’t feel the loss. I was too depleted to process whatever emotions I should have felt. Those are the blank pages in the story of my life.

We’re trying to pursue legal action to get our home back and possibly recoup some medical expenses. As we sift through the hundreds of files, I’m starting to feel some anger bubble up. My partner and I both had severe and worsening neurological, respiratory, circulatory, cognitive, vision, skin, immune system, reproductive, and endocrine issues for years. Now it’s clear that something in the environment was adversely affecting both of us. Yet, the doctors failed to recognize it, and so did we. We examined each symptom independently, following referrals from specialist to specialist. Even the functional, integrative, naturopathic, and homeopathic practitioners failed to see the larger picture.

Now, with 20/20 hindsight, the attorneys are telling us: “You should have reasonably known mold was making you ill.” I feel defeated. This is the same thing our attorney said last last year when he dropped us.

I begged my pulmonologist to test for mold in 2018 and when the labs came back negative for spores in my blood, I was assured it was not mold so I dropped it and moved on to other possibilities. We weren’t diagnosed with mold illness until 2021. How could I have known that the top pulmonologist in the state had been mistaken? Would it have been reasonable to assume the 2018 remediation was unsuccessful when their final air tests showed otherwise?

Whether or not we’re within the statue of limitations hinges on that question. Should we have known mold was the cause of our illness when we were first diagnosed in June 2021, or prior to that?

Sorting through the files, it’s like I’m reading someone else’s biography, until I remember it’s my own story. I’m the one whose biological heart age is 28 greater than my years lived. I’m the one who’s brain has type 3 Alzheimer’s. I’m the one who’s body is now at an elevated risk of cancer. I’m the one who was told repeatedly that it’s psychosomatic or conversion disorder. I’m the one who is spending $2,000 per month on medical expenses to remain functional. I’ve lost just about everything.

We’re still waiting to hear back from a few attorneys who are in depositions or at conferences, so fingers are still crossed. Worst case scenario, we take a online crash course on filing a lawsuit and do it ourselves before the June deadline (if our diagnosis is when the clock starts). Either way, we’re planning to schedule a conversation with our senators about extending the statute of limitations for personal injury due to environmental toxins. It’s one thing to go through a severe and chronic illness, and it’s the next level of hell to be told the responsible entity can walk free and clear. No one should have to go through this.

Lucky for me, my memory is shot is so I’ll have forgotten the entire rant by tomorrow. Ha. And lucky for me, the world wide interwebz will be here to remind me when I am trying to remember.

Point being: mold is a big deal for the 25% of the population who are susceptible. If you or someone you love has a constellation of wonky symptoms, look for mold. Your home may also be hiding it’s own dirty little secret. And it’s not the kind of thing you want to sweep under the rug to deal with later.

13 thoughts on “Our Home’s Dirty Little Secret

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  1. That sounds so horrible. 😦 And the attorney’s comments about hindsight are certainly not helpful. Sending you both lots of well wishes with the litigation! 💕

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    1. It’s such a frustrating situation, but helps to vent and talk through things a bit. Thank you, Ab!! 💕 We’ll see how things play out. We paid for a 30-minute consult with a mold who specializes in mold awhile and he assured us that we’re within the statue, so hoping we can get something filed and work out the details from there.

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  2. Oh my God. What a nightmare! I so hope that you are able to get some financial restitution for all of this. I’m so sorry you weren’t being listened to. It seems to happen more and more with doctors everywhere you go. They throw something at your symptoms and when you persist, they act like it’s in your head.

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    1. Thank you for your empathy, Allison. 💕 Yes, that’s been just my experience and it’s frustrating (and initially a bit hurtful). It’s heartbreaking to think of how many people are suffering and being gaslit every day. My primary practitioner is now a biochemist because he’s looking at the objective data… I may “look fine,” but he can see that my body is a mess and is helping to restore order.

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  3. It’s terrible how flippant people can be ie, doctors, lawyers, etc. I even bet if you’d pressed about mold illness with many doctors you’d be dismissed. Like you, I went to numerous doctors for different symptoms. Not one helped me. Years later, I find out I have Lyme disease. Ugh. I’m really very sorry you’re going through this nightmare.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really is terrible, and it breaks my heart because I’m fortunate to have made some progress with my health and I do have family to stay with, and I know that many are struggling far more. I’m sorry for all that you’ve had to go through. I know that Lyme is just as tricky and disbelieved as mold, if not more so, but I am glad to hear you’ve finally found the root cause. It’s a double-edged sword because a diagnosis doesn’t necessarily mean effective treatment, but it’s validation… and after years of being dismissed, to be believe is such life-affirming feeling.

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  4. I’m so sorry you were poisoned by black mold and it took so long to find out! We have a friend in the Seattle area who is suffering from Aspergillus in his lungs. Before surgery they are trying an antifungal treatment. Also, we lost a friend in Scottsdale to valley fever. It wasn’t diagnosed until the day before he died.

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    1. Oh, I am so sorry for the loss of your friend to valley fever. I was bedridden for a month with valley fever in 2015 and it took three weeks for a diagnosis. I had never heard of it, but I was astonished that the doctors didn’t think to test for it. As your poor friend suffering from Aspergillus in his lungs, I hope his body responds to the antifungal so he doesn’t need invasive surgery. I was only oral and IV antifungals for about a year and they are brutal. If you’re friend is open to more homeopathic remedies, I tried a few natural antifungals after the prescription didn’t work. At least for my body, seemed more helpful without all the side effects: olive leaf extract, oil of oregano, RidgeCrest Herbals ClearLungs, and ginger tea.

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  5. I am so sorry you have had to go through this… it is so frustrating when you do everything to get answers and well and people say it is all in your head or discount what turns out to be the real problem. I hope you win your case as no one should have to go through what you went through and be told they should have known what the problem was, when even all the doctors/experts did not find it. I can relate to the devastation mold can cause, after my life was turned upside down from less than a week of mold exposure at a college. I am so glad you know what you are dealing with now though. I don’t know if it would be helpful but change the air foundation does a lot of work trying to change state laws regarding mold, they may be able to offer some advice? Wishing you the best!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your empathy, Simone. I’m so sorry that you’ve also had to deal with mold. For those who are sensitive, even just a week can cause long-term damage. I’m not familiar with the Air Foundation, but I’ll look them up and try to contact them. I suspect mold is going to grow into a larger and larger problem and the quality of building materials goes down to cut costs. Wishing you all the best on your journey, as well!

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