Tag Archives: mycotoxicosis

Catch Up Mondays: Mycotoxins – revisited

This was first posted on August 23, 2012.  I still find that many understand what a mold spore is but have no idea what mycotoxins are and how dangerous they are to the body.  When I met with a traditional allergist almost a year ago he didn’t want to believe me about the molds, mycotoxins, and my illness or sensitivities.  One of the questions he asked was, “Do you even know what a mycotoxin is?”.  Of course as soon as I began saying what it was, he didn’t want to hear it.

When I first became ill and we realized that I was being exposed to mold and had an allergy as well, I thought ok so that is what is making me so sick.  I had no idea about molds and their byproduct, mycotoxins.  I learned that yes the mold can make you sick and cause allergic reactions but the mycotoxins are even worse.

Molds produce mycotoxins which are poisonous to our bodies, can cause multiple illnesses and death. In September 2002 I had my lymphocyte panel checked again.  My numbers were not good.  The mold mycotoxins were still very much attacking my body.  A urine Tricothecene test was ordered to determine what my level was.    The test revealed that my level was an 8.  The best being 0-1 and the worst being 18.  I was diagnosed as having mycotoxicosis referring to the poisoning from exposure to mycotoxins.  The mycotoxins can potentially cause acute and chronic health effects including weakened immune systems  from ingestion, skin contact and inhalation.

Two years later while on a return visit to the Environmental Health Center-Dallas, Dr. Rea told me about another test for mycotoxins using DNA testing on mucous and or tissue samples.  I became ill with a sinus infection while there and we collected mucous from the sinus and had it tested.  The machine detects DNA of molds and mycotoxins.  We were checking for Tricothecene since that was high in my urine.  The lowest detectable level of the machine is .02 ppb.  The level in my sinuses was quite high at 11.54 ppb.  Dr. Rea then suggested that I speak with the doctor doing this test about checking tissue of my ovaries taken during my hysterectomy in 2003.

As soon as I returned home I contacted the hospital in Dallas and requested that samples be sent to the Environmental Health Center for testing.  The report I got back was unbelievable.  The level of mycotoxins in my ovary was 125 ppb.  The sample had to be diluted because there was so much the machine couldn’t count it.  No wonder I was sick.  No wonder the count went down right after the hysterectomy and I became so sick from ridding my body too quickly of the mycotoxins.

Since that time my urine Tricothecene level has bounced back and forth.  It seems to be higher when my fungal sinus infections are bad because the fungus has taken over my sinuses.  The Tricothecenes are stuck in my cells (kind of like velcro is how it was explained to me) and periodically I am able to release them.

There are many different mycotoxins produced by different species of molds.

Catch Up Mondays – At a loss for words – revisited

handwriting during a reactionDon’t you just hate it when you lose or can’t retrieve the word you want from your brain?  Since becoming ill I have found it is a regular occurrence.  I will be talking to someone and in the middle of a sentence I can’t come up with the word I want to use.  Try as I might, the word won’t come.  Sometimes I have been successful by trying to find another word that means something similar.  In the middle of a reaction as I was in yesterday, I was hard pressed to come up with the other word.

What was the word you say?  I don’t know.  I still don’t know.  I was trying to convey how when dealing with someone I would just respond very vaguely without giving either a yes or no answer.  As I was searching for the word I became tearful.  I tried and tried and finally came up with equanimity (calmness, poise, serenity, self-possession).  It seemed to work but wasn’t really the word I wanted to use.  Maybe I was wanting to use apathetic (showing little or no emotion, indifferent, not interested or concerned).  As I am writing this definition I think that is the word I wanted to use.

As hard as I try to retrain my brain by reading, crossword puzzles, etc. I still lose words in conversation even more so in the midst of a reaction.  I still find when I type that I transpose the same letters in certain words over and over again even though I know how to spell the words.  Yesterday when I was in the reaction my handwriting became hard to read (see picture for a sample of my handwriting in my journal during a reaction) and I spelled things wrong, my right hand became very cold and I had a much harder time expressing myself.

I have been told that mold mycotoxins can damage brain cells.  Sometimes you regain some of the processes you lost but usually not all of them.  When I was first exposed to mold (didn’t know it then) I would take phone messages and then look at them and realize they didn’t make sense and have to re-write them. Sometimes my boss would come in and ask me what the message meant even after I am sure it had been rewritten.  My handwriting was also deteriorating .  At the time I would become frustrated over this but it never dawned on me that something serious was going on with me and my brain.

This was originally posted on June 23, 2012.  I still find myself in a conversation and suddenly don’t even know what I am talking about.  All it takes is the tiniest of distraction (a noise in the background, a knock at the door, hearing someone else’s conversation going on, or the person on the other end of the conversation saying something that distracts me).  When typing I make the same mistakes over and over and over again despite knowing how to spell the words and where the keys are on the keyboard.  It is so frustrating!  Has chronic illnesses affected you this way?

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.

What I learned during National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week

Sunday ends National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week.  I first posted Monday on National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week and included a link to the site  (http://invisibleillnessweek.com/submit-article/your-blogs-for-the-cause/).  I have read all the blogs posted (70) as of this writing.  What I have learned is that I am far from being the only person dealing with this outside my group of friends I have met since my journey began.  I have also learned that there are many “brave” men and women out there trying to carry on with their lives the best they can despite reactions, pain, chronic infections, chronic migraines, and the battle with depression either on its own or as a side effect of their other illnesses.  The stories were not much different from mine.  Some illnesses I was familiar with or had heard of but didn’t know much about.  Other illnesses I had never heard of before which sent me on a quick google search.

In honor of all those whose stories I have read over this past week and in honor of those whose stories are yet to be told, I say “GOD BLESS YOU” for hanging in there and for not giving up.

I am going to attempt to list all those illness that I read about here today.

Budd Chiari Syndrome  (I didn’t know about this ) – a blockage of the hepatic vein which carries blood away from the liver resulting in liver damage.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome  see ME

Chronic Pain (I think this speaks for itself) – chronic pain can be caused from anything from rheumatoid arthritis to injuries from an accident.

Cuada Equina Syndrome (CES)  (One of so many illness that I was unaware of) – this is a rare disorder that affects the bundle of nerves roots (cuada equina) at the lower (lumbar) end of the spinal cord. 

 Cystinosis (another illness I was unaware of) a rare genetic disorder that causes an accumulation of  cystine, an amino acid,  within cells.  This causes crystals to form and build up damaging cells.  The crystals can affect many systems in the body especially the kidneys and eyes.

Depression – this can be hard enough to deal with but could also be a direct result of any of these conditions.

Diabetes (something most people know about but it makes sense that it would be an invisible illness)

Dysautonomia or also referred to as POTS (I have heard this a lot among fellow EI and MCS sufferers) –This is a broad term that describes any disease or malfunction of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). The autonomic nervous system controls  heart rate, blood pressure, digestive tract, and sweating among others.   Some with dysautonomia are affected mildly while others can be left bed-ridden.

Ehler’s Danlos Syndrome  (I had never heard of this before) – A group of disorders marked by loose joints and hyperelastic skin that bruises easily.

Endometriosis  (I learned I had Stage IV while a hysterectomy was performed due to extreme hemorrhagic ovarian cysts and the possibility of ovarian cancer) cells in the lining of the uterus grow outside the womb and attach themselves to other organs causing pain, sometimes debilitating pain.

Environmental Illness/Chemical Sensitivity (This describes me) a controversial condition where slight exposures to a chemical or group of chemicals can cause a wide array of symptoms from severe headache and brain fog to neurological reactions and respiratory symptoms.

Fibromyalgia (I have this but not nearly as severe as others I know) a common syndrome in which a person has long-term body pain and tenderness in the joints, muscles, tendons and other soft tissues.  It has also been linked to fatigue, sleep problems, headaches, depression and anxiety.

Food Allergies (I have this as well) An allergy to many foods.  Reactions can vary from rashes and hives to anaphylaxis. 

Glycogen Storage Disease or GSD (something I was not aware of)  – An absence or deficiency of on of the enzymes responsible for making or breaking down glycogen in the body. Depending on the type of GSD a person has, their enzyme deficiency may be important in all parts of the body, or only in some parts of the body, like the liver or muscle.

Graves Disease – a thyroid disorder that leads to the overactivity of the thyroid gland.

Lupus   Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) an autoimmune disease which means the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue which leads to chronic long-term inflammation.

Lyme Disease (this is something that is finally making more headlines) – caused most predominantly by the deer tick.  Left untreated, later symptoms may involve the joints, heart, and central nervous system.

Migraine – a chronic disorder characterized by recurrent moderate to severe headaches.  Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, photophobia and phonophobia.

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (I have heard this in terms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome) – is used to designate a significantly debilitating medical order or group of disorders defined by persistent fatigue.

Mycotoxicosis (another diagnosis of mine) refers to the poisoning from exposure to mycotoxins.  The symptoms depend on the type of mycotoxin, the concentration, and the length of exposure.  Age, sex, and health also are determining factors in symptoms.  Mycotoxins can potentially cause acute and chronic health effects from ingestion, skin contact, and inhalation.  Some of the health effects found in animals and humans include death, identifiable diseases or health problems, weakened immune systems, allergens, or irritants.

NASH or Nonalcholic steatohepatitis (I had never heard of this disease before) – is a common often “silent” liver disease.  It resembles alcoholic liver disease but occurs in those who drink little or no alcohol.  The main feature is fat in the liver along with inflammation and damage.

Parasitic Infections – Many different parasites (including that which causes Lyme) can cause devastating effects on the body.  Some I have read about during National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week are Babesiosis, Bartonella and Ehrlichiosis.

POTS  Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome  is a condition of  dysautonomia (see above).   A change from  lying to standing upright causes an abnormally large increase in heart rate.

PVC or premature ventricular contraction (another invisible illness I had never heard of) may be perceived as a skipped beat or felt as palpitations in the chest.  They are extra abnormal heart beats that begin in the heart’s lower chambers or ventricles causing insufficient circulation.

Rheumatoid Arthritis –  a long-term disease that leads to inflammation of the joints and surrounding tissues.  It can also affect other organs.

Sarcoidosis (A friend once told me she had been diagnosed with this) – Sarcoidosis is a disease in which inflammation occurs in the lymph nodes, lungs, liver, eyes, skin, or other tissues. The cause of the disease is unknown. Sarcoidosis can affect almost any organ of the body, but it most commonly affects the lungs.

Sjogren’s (again this was something I had heard about bud didn’t know anything about) a chronic autoimmune disease in which white blood cells attack their moisture-producing glands.  Most known symptoms are dry eyes and mouth but may also affect other organs such kidneys, blood vessels, lungs, liver, pancreas and the central nervous system.  Another piece of information that I wasn’t aware of is that is one of the most prevalent autoimmune disorders and 9 out of 10 patients are women.

Wegner’s Granulomatosis  – a rare disorder in which blood vessels become inflamed, making it hard for blood to flow.  It mainly affects blood vessels in the nose, sinuses, ears, lungs and kidneys.  It is thought to be an autoimmune disorder.

Mycotoxins

When I first became ill and we realized that I was being exposed to mold and had an allergy as well, I thought ok so that is what is making me so sick.  I had no idea about molds and their byproduct, mycotoxins.  I learned that yes the mold can make you sick and cause allergic reactions but the mycotoxins are even worse.

Molds produce mycotoxins which are poisonous to our bodies, can cause multiple illnesses and death. In September 2002 I had my lymphocyte panel checked again.  My numbers were not good.  The mold mycotoxins were still very much attacking my body.  A urine Tricothecene test was ordered to determine what my level was.    The test revealed that my level was an 8.  The best being 0-1 and the worst being 18.  I was diagnosed as having mycotoxicosis referring to the poisoning from exposure to mycotoxins.  The mycotoxins can potentially cause acute and chronic health effects including weakened immune systems  from ingestion, skin contact and inhalation.

Two years later while on a return visit to the Environmental Health Center-Dallas, Dr. Rea told me about another test for mycotoxins using DNA testing on mucous and or tissue samples.  I became ill with a sinus infection while there and we collected mucous from the sinus and had it tested.  The machine detects DNA of molds and mycotoxins.  We were checking for Tricothecene since that was high in my urine.  The lowest detectable level of the machine is .02 ppb.  The level in my sinuses was quite high at 11.54 ppb.  Dr. Rea then suggested that I speak with the doctor doing this test about checking tissue of my ovaries taken during my hysterectomy in 2003.

As soon as I returned home I contacted the hospital in Dallas and requested that samples be sent to the Environmental Health Center for testing.  The report I got back was unbelievable.  The level of mycotoxins in my ovary was 125 ppb.  The sample had to be diluted because there was so much the machine couldn’t count it.  No wonder I was sick.  No wonder the count went down right after the hysterectomy and I became so sick from ridding my body too quickly of the mycotoxins.

Since that time my urine Tricothecene level has bounced back and forth.  It seems to be higher when my fungal sinus infections are bad because the fungus has taken over my sinuses.  The Tricothecenes are stuck in my cells (kind of like velcro is how it was explained to me) and periodically I am able to release them.

There are many different mycotoxins produced by different species of molds.