ONE AND A HALF YEARS OF TREATMENT DOWN!! Given that my initial estimate timeframe for treating was 3-5 years, this could mean I’m halfway there folks!
Physically, I’ve been holding up pretty well considering how crazy life has been since the whole mold debacle at my brand new house. (More on that later.) Honestly, with the fact that for most of month 18 I was working more than full time at Microsoft, fielding calls from contracts/mortgage brokers/real estate agents/ extra doctors, switching homes every few days or weeks, eating fast and packaged food exclusively, living out of a suitcase and facing serious uncertainty in my home situation, things could’ve gone a lot worse.
Many of the unusual symptoms I experienced in month 18 were a direct result of mold exposure, and only happened when I was around my home or near belongings taken from my home. Let’s do the list!
Month 18 symptoms:
- Ringing in ears as always (no more variation in tone or volume though – I believe this was related to a dosage increase in Zithromax which can be ototoxic)
- Plugged ears, especially when inside my moldy house or near items taken from that house
- Mild dizziness / brain fog when inside my moldy house or near items taken from that house
- Bad dreams or vivid dreams, especially during this month’s super moon
- Tightness and pain in wrists and ankle joints that seems directly related to muscle tightness, including one day of acute onset carpal tunnel that left my left hand numb and weak until chiropractic treatment
Things I’ve had less of in month 18:
- Intermittent hearing loss and variations in volume and tone of tinnitus
- Tremor in my right hand
- More frequent heart palpitations, especially at night
- Early waking
- Muscle pain, especially in butt and back – core supplements (2 pills 2x a day with food) is the thing that finally cracked this nut!
For month 19, treatment tweaks I’m making include:
- Doing one scoop of Cholestyramine 2x per day to bind to any mold toxins
- Switching from a 4 on / 3 off antibiotic pulsing schedule to every other day (still taking doxy, Zithromax and Bactrim DS)
- Using A-Bart and A-Tula herbs 2x a day every day
- Adding selenium and chelated Zinc supplements
- Adding a LOT of anti-inflammatory supplements from my doctor; quercertin, turmeric and nettles are all major players
- I have run out of my Bob Miller supplements, and I’m going to see how I do without them (since none created earth shattering improvement upon starting)
Fingers crossed these changes promote further healing. Perhaps what will be most healing of all, though, is that the worst of my housing situation is over. At this point, I’ve decided to abandon my moldy house and all my belongings. I know. Crazy, right?? Unfortunately it felt like my only choice. Three factors went into me making this decision:
- Cost to repair was still very high: $40-50k to fix just the sub-roof and attic space
- The home is still attached to 4 other homes with the EXACT same problem, so likelihood of recurrence seemed, to me, to be quite high
- This was the kicker: I realized after taking some of my clothes from my house to the condo I was staying in, that the mycotoxins from the mold had seeped into all surfaces of the home. Just being around a couple bags of clothes made me very ill. This suggest that I could fix that attic all I want, but all items, all other surfaces, all drywall and wood and everything, would also have to be replaced for that to be a safe home for me. And I’m sure that cost would be more like $150k.
With one of the toughest decisions of my life solidly made, I set out to find myself a new home. Naturally, I started searching again in my beloved Capitol Hill neighborhood, where all my friends live and where I can walk to work. I looked at a couple of vintage units since they’re so affordable, but my ears plugged up immediately (deal breaker). I looked at a modern unit that seemed fine but was just too tiny. And I looked at a larger vintage spot where, kind of miraculously, my ears didn’t plug up at all. I was still skeptical, but some angel must have been looking at for me, because the leasing agent agreed to let me run a mold test and actually took the apartment off the market for almost a week while I waited for results. WHO DOES THAT?! Thank goodness she did. It ended up being one of the best ERMI results I had ever seen (2.99 ERMI score, 29 when you add Group 1 and Group 2 molds together and a 4 on the HERTSMI calculation). YAY! I decided to move in.
On the day I was going to sign the lease at my new apartment, I discarded all the clothes I’d had with me “on the road” since I’d washed them all with my moldy clothes when I was attempting to save them. I had only the outfit I was wearing, which was also contaminated. Just before arriving to signing the lease and get the keys, I went down to Pacific Place and purchased a pair of sweat pants, a tank top, a bra, underwear and a hoodie plus a pair of Uggs. When I got to the apartment, I stripped off my last set of contaminated clothes, double bagged them and stashed them in a corner of a closet I am not using. I showered, I changed into my clean clothes and I started my new life.
The most common question I’m getting at this time is “Did you really leave all your stuff behind?” The answer is yes, yes I did. I did try to save my clothes. I washed everything in hot water and borax, but kept reacting to them, so I gave up. I did move 6 paintings, 10 of my most favorite articles of clothing and my blue acoustic Washburn guitar into storage. I am hoping that once my body calms down, I can visit those things and see if I react to them. If I don’t, great! I’ll try them in my new, clean home. But if I do, I’ll either need to find a better way to clean them or just let them go.
So far NOTHING from my old house (except for me and the dogs) has come into the new place. I washed the dogs, I washed myself, and I even had the car that transported so many of these items cleaned and shampooed. As best I can manage, I have truly started over. I moved in with a sleeping bag, a Christmas tree and hope.
What happens next? Well, I foreclose on my home. I lose the $20,000 I spent buying it and I’ll have ruined credit for 7 years. And I’ll spend a lot of money purchasing new non-contaminated belongings of course (guessing $15-20k all said and done). But I’ll have my health, and my dogs’ health. And this endeavor will still be FAR less expensive than it would’ve been to try to save my house, especially if I hadn’t been successful. And really, what kind of price can you put on wellness?
The boys and I will be cruising into Christmas with a week plus off work, and nothing on our agendas except a whole lot of rest, relaxation and recuperation. To say life has been stressful since October is the biggest understatement ever (especially considering that September was home buying, travel and moving the FIRST time too). But the worst is over, we’re going to do a little reset, and I am SO grateful for this blank slate, for relative good health and for the gift of new beginnings.
Cheers to 2017. Wishing you all happy healing!
How am I treating? It takes whole-body healing. Here are my areas of focus:
- Under the care of an ILADS Lyme-literate doctor, I am following the Horowitz protocol using antibiotics, biofilm busters, supplements and herbals to treat Lyme and bartonella. In month 17, my meds were: doxycycline, Zithromax, Bactrim, a-bart and a-L complex.
- Under the care of a Klinghardt/Shoemaker trained doctor, I am also doing some light mold treatment (cholestyramine) and nutritional deficiency work (B12, zinc, and other minerals).
- In month 3, I did LymeStop in Idaho in addition to my antibiotic therapy. while I am skeptical that it was healing, it certainly may have helped. I did one follow up visit 3 months later. I did not take any of the LymeStop supplements.
- I had my 23andMe results analyzed by Bob Miller and am following his supplement plan in addition to supplements from my LLND.
- I follow a no dairy/egg/gluten/sugar/alcohol diet. I eat paleo type meals for my “core” meals, but I do also eat things like rice, beans, tortilla chips, tacos, thai food and the occasional vegan / gluten free pizza when I’m dining out with friends. I eat lots of veggies and drink a lot of lemon water to stay alkaline.
- I have done “emotional cleanup” in my mental health life, including CBT therapy to address thought patterns that don’t serve me, letting go of a romantic partnership that wasn’t supporting my healing, and making a strong investment in a positive social network (online and off).