Tag Archives: cross contamination

Catch Up Mondays: Why do I still hold on to this? Emotional reasons? – revisited

 

I first posted this on February 3, 2013.  How many of us hold on to things for emotional reasons?  The item has not value.  It may not even be safe.  But it has that special memory that tugs at your heart.  In my case, it was a special memory of a time long ago.  I time before illness and sensitivities to fragrances and other chemicals.  Just reading this post saddens me but it needs to be said for all those out there in similar circumstances.

I have tossed out so many things since my mold exposure at work and subsequent cross-contamination of all my belongings at home.  I have tossed out books that I loved, tossed out all of my clothes and shoes, watched as my husband tossed my old one-eyed panda teddy bear and Scottie dog from childhood, gotten rid of my computer which was less than a year old and placed all my photos away for future scanning by someone other than myself. Yet I still have this little tiny bottle of perfume. Have I ever worn it? No. Is it a small vial of a very expensive perfume? No. Do I even know what it smells like? No. Then why am I holding on to it?

When my husband and I got married in 1976 I had chosen the perfect gown. It was a candlelight color and I fell in love with it. I had gone to the bridal salon in plenty of time to get fitted and order the gown. My mother and I had been told the gown would be ready in eight weeks. Eight weeks came and went and my gown was not in. Finally twelve weeks after I ordered the gown, I received a call at work. I was so excited. The gown was in and ready for me to try on. I phoned my mom and she met me there. The dress was taken out and given to me to try on. It was more than a size too small. They had misfit me or inadvertently ordered the wrong gown. What was I going to do? It was barely over eight weeks until my wedding and this gown had taken twelve weeks. They offered to place an other order and said the gown would be here on time. I told them to do whatever they wanted. Tearfully I walked out to my car. What was I going to do?

That weekend my mother and I drove out-of-town in search of a gown I would like that we could purchase off the rack. We searched and searched and I “settled” on a gown. It wasn’t the gown I wanted but time was running out. We purchased the gown and the woman gave me this lovely little  bottle of perfume to take with me. I didn’t wear the perfume on my wedding day but this little bottle has been sitting on my dresser or table in my bedroom and moved from house to house with me all these years. Why haven’t I gotten rid of it? I honestly don’t know. I have never opened it, never wanted to wear it and now could never wear it. I guess there is something about it that brings me back to a happier time.

Sentimental Value
Sentimental Value

Today as I was talking with a friend about loss of belongings because she has found some mold in her house and is worried that she, like I, will have to get rid of clothes and other “things” (things that hold memories of a time long gone). I told her about my piles of black garbage bags that sat on the floor as my mother pulled all my clothes and shoes out of my closet (pictures will be in the book), etc. Then I mentioned the lone little vial of perfume that I have sitting in my bedroom on my dresser. Suddenly, after all these years a horrible and earth shattering thought came to my mind. Why do I have that in my bedroom? Yes it has never been opened and no fragrance or chemicals are being emitted from it. But what if? What if for some unknown reason, that innocent looking little vial of perfume were to fall on my hard tile floor and shatter. All those chemicals would be thrown into the air of my safe bedroom. How could I not have thought of this before? It is amazing what giving up possessions and memories can have on a person and make them totally “INSANE”.

It just looks pretty.
It just looks pretty.
So what happened to that beautiful little bottle of perfume that held so many memories?  My younger daughter took it outdoors far away from me and dumped out the perfume.  She then gently packed it up in a bag with paper towels and took it home with her to Texas.  She will be the guardian of what means/meant so much to me.  At least it didn’t have to end up in the refuse dump with all my other treasures from what feels like a life time ago.  I need to have her send me a picture of where it now resides.
What are you holding on to?  What about it makes it so painful to let go?

Catch Up Mondays: I was feeling better when I left the moldy place. What happened? – revisited

I first posted this on November 16, 2012.  This topic is one that is hard to grasp but I have been asked more than once why this could be happening.  The toxins in the mold, mycotoxins, cause a great deal of damage to our systems.  Only after we remove ourselves for a time do we truly see what has happened and it is not what we are ever prepared for.

How many of you who have suffered from a mold exposure and asked this same question?  What happened?  Why am I more allergic and feeling worse?

The simple and yet not so simple answer is that it can take 2-12 weeks for your body to get the toxin and load level down enough after removing yourself from the constant exposure to recognize all the allergic responses the mold has caused.  You feel better immediately because you are no longer being exposed.  Then the allergic response kicks in and you suddenly realize that things that were never a problem before suddenly are.  The mycotoxins have done their damage and now you are becoming aware of what those damages are in the increased sensitivities and other illnesses that crop up (fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, chronic sinusitis, autonomic nervous system dysfunction and severe depression to name a few).

I stopped working in the moldy environment and thought I was feeling a little better but then I was placed in a new school building where construction was going on and dirt was being moved everywhere for landscaping.  I began getting exposed to the mold spores in the dirt (my air filter cartridge by my desk needed to be changed after two weeks rather than the usual 2-3 months).  I was being exposed to toxic paints, toxic glues in the carpet as well as high levels of formaldehyde in the carpet and all the new furniture.  I was also being exposed to the dust from construction.

A few months later I went to the Environmental Health Center-Dallas where I was not exposed to chemicals or fragrances of any kind.  Slowly I began to notice smells when I went to the grocery store and would become dizzy after a short time in the store.  I was still wearing my clothes that I had worn in the work environment.

Fast forward about 8 months and I had a urine tricothecene test done which revealed a high amount of tricothecenes in my urine.  I was told to get rid of my clothes.  I did and then headed for Dallas for surgery.  Between removing my toxic uterus and ovaries (my ovary we learned later had 125 ppb of tricothecene mycotoxin in it), anesthesia and starting over in safe clothes I became even sicker.  I began noticing that when I got near mold or someone who still had their clothes  from their moldy homes I would go into tremors.  I experienced these tremors when testing molds and mycotoxins.  My chemical sensitivities and food allergies were also heightened.  The worst of this happened about six weeks after my surgery.

Friends of mine have told me the same stories.  Some had this happen exactly at 8 weeks; some had it happen just before week 12.

Catch Up Mondays: Mold Spores, Mycotoxins, and Cross Contamination

I originally posted this on August 27th, 2012.  As I read or hear from more and more people about being contaminated by mold, I decided it was time to share this post again.  Mold is insidious.  It gets into and onto everything including those things that we hold most dear like a favorite stuffed animal from childhood, a well-loved book, and our precious photos.  Some of you have heard this talk from me many times about giving things away.  I have heard from some that all I needed to do was place my things out in the sunshine or wash them in borax or vinegar.  For me the decision was my things or my health.  I had gone through so much by the time I was told that it was best for me to give up my things.  I didn’t want to go down that road again and risk another contamination.  I offer what I and some others have done but ultimately the decision is up to the individual.  Some have managed to keep some items and not others.  This is such an individual illness.

Many of you living in the US have seen the commercial on mesothelioma.  It talks about if you or a loved one was exposed to asbestos either directly or indirectly  you could experience this form of cancer.  It has taken years for asbestos and the damage it can cause to finally come to the forefront and for these cancers to show up.

When trying to explain cross contamination from mycotoxins and mold spores, I ask if the person I am talking to has seen this commercial.  I explain that it is very similar.  I was exposed to mold spores and mycotoxins where I worked.  I wore those clothes home and sat on my furniture, walked on my carpet, lay down on my bed, sat in my car and those same spores were spread into the air as I walked around the room.  Those aerosolized spores then were sucked in to my computer fan, my refrigerator fan, my air conditioning ducts and anything else that has a fan or takes in air.  I was constantly being re-exposed at work and then through cross contamination in my home and car.

After getting the results from my urine tricothecene test, I was told that I needed to get rid of my things (clothes, computer, cloth furniture, papers).  I was told this just as I was about to make my second trip to the Environmental Health Center-Dallas for testing and to have major surgery.  I ordered new clothes and was told that until I left and something could be done with regard to my furniture that I could cover the furniture with sheets to help protect whatever new I had bought.  I had no idea that I would be in Dallas for most of 2003.  When I came home my husband had built me a new house using safe products, tile floors, etc.  Before coming home I ordered new clothes again and would only come home with the clothes on my back and toss them and shower before coming into my house.  I was determined not to cross-contaminate my safe place.  I did not bring my computer, refrigerator, television, cloth furniture, papers or clothes.  I literally started over.

When I tell those who have asked me questions or sought advice about such things that they need to basically start over, it is overwhelming and hard for them to comprehend.  I remind them that they are just “things” and their health and recovery is more important than “things”.  I understand their pain at getting rid of their belongings.  I understand their fear of re-contamination.  In my book I wrote:

On February 11, 2004, I wrote in my journal, “I hate this aspect of my life. It causes the paranoia. I am so afraid of re-infecting myself that I wonder: even if the allergies get more manageable, will I be able to go out anyway because of this fear of mold and mycotoxin? It has already taken so much of my life away.

I also wrote:  I saw Rick toss out my old stuffed Scotty dog that I had had since I was very little. I saw him toss out my favorite old teddy bear. I saw him pack up old blankets, cloth Christmas decorations, baby clothes that belonged to the girls, baby clothes that were once worn by me. It was devastating!

This illness goes beyond the physical pain of reactions and extends to the raw emotions of getting rid of cherished belongings, being told you are crazy, being told environmental illness and multiple chemical sensitivity does not exist and of learning to deal with isolation and a new way of living.

Mesothelioma Awareness – September 26th

On August 27, 2012 I wrote a post titled Mold Spores, Mycotoxins and Cross Contamination.  In this post a related a commercial here that has run on the television about how family members can be ill from coming in contact with asbestos on the clothes of family members who worked with asbestos.  My post was trying to say that they “get it” in terms of cross contamination with asbestos but the public just doesn’t get the cross contamination of mycotoxins and mold spores just yet.

About a week ago I received an email through the contact portion of my website.  The email was a heartfelt message from a man whose wife is a “rare” Mesothelioma survivor.  He asked not for donations, time, or money but if I would be willing to share his wife story.  September 26th is National Mesothelioma Awareness Day.  I am not able to make changes to my website but offered to share her story here on my blog.  I am aware of the prognosis of someone being diagnosed with Mesothelioma and it is not good.   I am also amazed at those that continue to survive long past the normal diagnosed lifespan.   We have a tenant that has outlived his diagnosis with Methoselioma.

Please watch the video clip of Heather Von St. James.  In the clip she talks about preferring to live with hope.  I talk a lot about survival, courage, and hope.  Heather’s story is definitely one of survival, courage, and hope.

 

Can my home be cross contaminated with mold from another house?

Yes it can in my opinion! My home was cross contaminated from my workplace. I unwittingly brought mold and mycotoxins into my home via my clothes, shoes, purses and even my hair.

There are so many schools of thought on this and opinions from those who have experienced mold exposure and having to leave their home/work environment, from those who do remediation, from doctors and scientists who specialize in mold and their mycotoxins, and from those who have no understanding of mold at all.

What I believe is that when you leave your home that is contaminated with mold and their toxins (mycotoxins) and take your belongings with you, you are without realizing it cross contaminating your new environment. The mold spores and mycotoxins get spread through the air as clothing and furniture are brushed against other things  in moving them from place to place. The fan on your computer puts air out and dust that came from your contaminated environment.

Some believe that you only need to leave your paper, cloth furniture, clothing or porous items behind. Others believe you need to also not take your computer, refrigerator or other electronics that may have dust in them from the previous home or office. There are those that believe if a piece of wood furniture has a hard seal on it, it can be saved by wiping down with ammonia and possibly spraying more sealer over the wood surfaces. Others have had success in keeping their clothing by washing them in ammonia which Dr. William Croft believes can kill the mycotoxins.

I learned about the ammonia and clothing long after I had gotten rid of mine. Although for my own piece of mind, I don’t think I would have kept my clothes and taken a chance that it would work for me. After going through all that I have and still deal with today as a result of my mold exposure, the thought of doing something and risking that  the mold/mycotoxins are not being completing killed off is not something I want to do.  Risking a re-exposure and worsening of my conditions is just a risk I cannot personally take. Not only have I had to throw away clothes from my home that I had either worn to work or washed with the work clothes or stored with the clothes, I have had to throw away clothes after exposures in defense doctor appointments.

This question has been posed in search engines that have led others to my blog.  To those  who follow my blog and who have experienced mold exposure and cross contamination, I would love to hear your responses to this question.

DISCLAIMER:  I am not a doctor, mold remediation specialist or expert in the area of mold and mycotoxins.  Anything I say is just my opinion based on my own experiences.

Can you cross contaminate your car when you leave your moldy home?

Can you cross contaminate your car when you leave your moldy home?  This was typed into a search engine that eventually led someone to my blog.  My answer is  yes from my own experience.  In fact the car was already most likely cross contaminated while he/she was living in the moldy home. The reason I say yes is because the mold spores and the mycotoxins produced by the mold become airborne.  They settle on your clothing and they settle on the carpet and you walk on it with your shoes or socks.  It also settles on your furniture and is picked up on your clothing as well.   You then get into your car and the spores that are now on your clothing become airborne in the car.  Those spores and mycotoxins attach themselves to the fabric in the car and go through the air conditioning system.  I got my mold/mycotoxin exposure in the work place.

I got rid of my car and everything  that had porous or soft surfaces.  I also got rid of all appliances, etc that had a fan that might have sucked in the mold/mycotoxin and would emit it again when the fan was turned on.

Depending on a person’s sensitivity I guess would depend on whether or not they would be able to be in their car once they get rid of everything else.  I tried being in my car after I had gotten rid of my things and it made me feel ill.  This is a decision everyone with mold exposure has to make and it is based on what does/does not make them feel worse.

For others who have suffered mold exposure.  What have you done with regard to cross contamination and your car?

NOTE:  I am speaking from my own experience and that of a few fellow mold sufferers.  Everyone must make their own decisions on what they should do.