Environmental Illness is costly not only emotionally to the person suffering through it and their family but it is monetarily costly as well. In the beginning of my illness I was sent to an allergy and immunology specialist by my ENT, Dr. Spitzer. Our insurance paid for the office visit but did not cover the EPD (enzyme potentiated) treatments. These treatments consisted of two injections given every two months at a cost of $150.00. My insurance did not cover the special B Vitamins I needed. And it didn’t cover the special flours and other items I needed to bake my own breads, cookies, and crackers. I had been told to avoid wheat, oats, barley, corn, and fermented products like soy sauce, catsup, vinegar, etc. I began making trips to a health food store an hour from home to buy rice flour, tapioca flour, potato starch, garbanzo bean flour, carob products, guar gum (a stabilizer to replace gluten not found in these flours), and special rings to make my hamburger buns.
Fast forward a bit and I need to take a nebulized antifungal. My insurance would pay for the nebulizer ($150) but not the compounded antifungal for the nebulizer ($1200.). Fortunately, I was put into a a trial that allowed me to buy the antifungal for $300.00 I believe.
Before long I was being sent to Dallas for the first of what would be several trips. I had filed for workers’ compensation but who knew what the outcome would be and if these new expenses would be covered. My first trip included the cost of airfare for both my husband and I from California to Dallas. It cost us over $400 to rent a car at the airport for the week my husband would be there (we learned that it would have been cheaper to rent a car outside of the airport). There was the expense of my husband making a second round trip by air to visit me when my stay was to be extended longer than we had planned. The cost of my room was $1100 per month for a two-bedroom environmentally safe apartment if I shared it with a roommate. My stay was nearly four months. None of these expenses were covered by insurance. I had to buy organic food and unusual foods for testing when I was rapidly losing foods that I normally ate. A loaf of yeast-free bread made of water chestnut flour was $7.00. A water chestnut flour bagel was $3.00. My bottled water was over $1.00 per bottle. I had to have special shampoos and soaps as well. Again these were not covered by insurance. My treatments had to be paid up front and then submitted for reimbursement by my insurance. Each item I did skin testing on cost me $23. I can’t even begin to tell you how many items I tested just to find safe foods and that was before I tested molds, pollens, and other inhalants. I was doing two IV therapies a week at $125 per IV. I was doing daily sauna therapy that was $35 per session. I was doing oxygen therapy. I was going through numerous labs and tests that were also very expensive. Weekly I would pull out a credit card one that still had room to charge on it), pay the weekly bill, then spend the weekend putting it all together to mail to my insurance. They paid a percentage of those bills.
I returned home from Dallas with antigens that I needed to take daily (I rotated them using a four-day rotation) and these items were expensive as well. After having a urine Tricothecene test, I learned that I was continually being made more ill by the mycotoxins on my clothing that had been contaminated from work. I had to give away my clothes and start over because the cross contamination of mold and mycotoxins would continue to make me ill. My mother came over and bagged up all my things. You can see pictures of this in my blog post, Environmental Illness – Not for the Faint of Heart. I also purchased a sauna for $3,500.00 that was not covered by insurance but was needed to continue my detox regimen at home.
I bought only a few clothing items because I could not afford to replace my entire wardrobe.
Dr. Rea from the Environmental Health Center – Dallas issued a letter that included a rough estimate of costs that I would incur as a result of my mold exposure to be used in court. I will include more from that list and other expenses during Part 2.