Meet Lee and her daughter, Grace. They were seriously injured by mold toxins and are still trying to heal. Lee bought a house in southeast Arizona about five years ago. When she first looked at the house she had noticed a small puddle of water on the kitchen floor, but like most people she didn't know (at the time) what a serious problem it indicated.
Water leaks - from plumbing and roof failures - are a couple of the most common reasons that mold starts growing indoors. If the problem is caught and fixed within 24-48 hours, it doesn't give mold enough time to take root. Once mold starts growing on a surface, the only sure way to solve the problem is to remove and replace the material. The backside of sheetrock is covered in paper and mold thrives on everything made of cellulose (ie. wood products). The inside of your sheetrock walls and ceilings are the perfect environment for mold to grow. It's warm and dark and the air is still. Mold spores are everywhere and they got inside your walls during construction. The only thing missing for mold to grow is moisture - except when the humidity is high enough or there's condensation or there are water leaks.
Lee and Grace both began to feel ill after moving in. It started out with random health problems that grew worse over time. Even dental problems showed up. Every new bout of sickness and every new symptom they experienced was increasingly severe. And none of the problems seemed related to one another. They did notice that they seemed to feel better when they were away from home.
Strange Rashes & Bruises
Lee tried to figure out what could be wrong. She thought it was possibly EMFs emitting from the new smart-meter that had been installed on the house. Doctors tested her and Grace for everything under the sun and put them on prescription medications for autoimmune disease and diabetes. They performed painful tests for possible cancers and sent them to appointments with every kind of specialist. Some of these required long drives only to be told, "We don't know what is wrong." Some suggested mental health counseling. One doctor tried to convince them it was COVID.
Lee remembers laying in bed thinking she was dying and actually planning her funeral so her children wouldn't be too burdened. It wasn't until she became infected with the superbug MRSA and her doctor suggested she might have toxic mold in her home that she had even considered that possibility. By this time she did know she had a leaky roof and her son offered to have it repaired for her.
Water Leaks Lead to Mold
When they opened up the roof it was filled with fuzzy mold growing everywhere! She had no idea what problems this had been causing for her. But now that she had some pretty good clues she began researching and found out what a serious problem it is. Her house and everything in it - including Lee and Grace - had been exposed to the toxins for a prolonged period of time. This wreaks havoc in your body! It's a system disruptor - minor issues become major problems. When the immune system falters, opportunistic pathogens are able to gain a foothold, leading to seemingly chronic infections and sickness (eg. candida overgrowth, chronic Lyme). And healing from anything is long delayed or never fully realized.
Lee told me her story over the phone with bits and pieces through email. I got her permission to write it and asked her to send me pictures as well as some of the specific symptoms they experienced. This is what she wrote: "The symptoms that we experienced in the very beginning were Asthma and allergic symptoms like a constant runny nose and not being able to breathe. As it progressed we both developed infections on our hands and fingers which were not diagnosed until a doctor discovered the mold. It turned out to be warts. Our immune system was so compromised that our bodies could not fight off the human papilloma virus and they spread like wild fire - under the fingernails, around our cuticles, on the tips of our fingers, and getting as big as several pencil erasers on our knuckles. We are still fighting this with systemic anti-viral medicines and have had several surgeries to remove the larger ones. My hair started to fall out as my immune system was so damaged it could not decide if my hair follicles were friend or foe. I had a constant sore throat, developed arthritis, fibromyalgia, rashes over our entire bodies, itching, high blood sugar for me and low blood sugar for Grace, high blood pressure, and finally I suffered a heart attack because of mold toxicity causing my blood vessels to spasm. We had a small hobby farm and our chickens and button quail began to die. Also our dogs became sick and my tropical fish started to die. We found out later after water testing that it was due to the the well walls being covered in black mold and leaching spores into the water. I had a small pond and one by one my koi and my turtles died from the water. My house plants suffered but the garden was worse. Black mold was growing inside almost every vegetable that was cut open - sweet corn that grew mold under the husks instead of corn, watermelons with mold growing inside."
Mold can grow/feed on just about everything and its toxins can leach into pretty much everything. It doesn't leach into glass and metal, but it can grow on the dust that builds up on them. For those suffering with Mold Toxin Illness, ongoing exposure to contaminated materials (even away from the mold source) continues to cause serious reactions.
Lee didn't know exactly what to do, but she knew she had to get out of that house so they moved into a tent. That was last fall. Unfortunately, she wasn't aware that the stuff she took with her would continue to cause problems for them. To this day Grace is extremely sensitive to sunlight (her eyes feel like they're burning) and suffers with horrible headaches. When she goes into her old house it has a sick smell and mold is growing in the sinks, tubs, and toilets.
Lee is currently in the process of building an earthbag house because it is the most practical, mold-free option she could find. But it is a herculean task by yourself, especially with everything she's been going through.
This is a heart-wrenching story about the effects of toxic mold. It can be devastating! It turned their life upside down and inside out. We know that countless other individuals and families are in the middle of similar, life-shattering experiences as a result of toxic mold. Besides the statistics and the countless stories we've heard, the reason we know this is because energy-efficient but mold-inducing building codes have been imposed almost everywhere. One-size-fits-all solutions almost always seem to result in unintended consequences. In this case, people's misplaced trust in government regulations to keep them safe has resulted in just the opposite - it has resulted in buildings that are extremely vulnerable to toxic mold.
Lee took the rainbow picture at the top of the page - maybe there is a new beginning after total disaster.