Tag Archives: sick buildings

Catch-Up Mondays: I just want a new nose – revisited

I originally posted this on April 7, 2013.  My sinuses have been one of my biggest nightmares since the mold first decided to take up housekeeping in them.  Surprising (knock on wood) after all the exposures I received while being with my dad my sinuses have remained healthy while the rest of my body is still protesting.

Ok – we all at some point we all wish we could change something about ourselves.  I have never really considered changing my nose although it isn’t a perfect nose.

I am not talking about wanting a new nose because of the way mine looks.  I am talking about exchanging it for a healthy nose, one that didn’t get invaded by aspergillus from my sick building at work and one that doesn’t get infected more often than I would like.  While I am grateful the infections are no longer defined as osteomyelitis (bone infection) requiring IV antibiotics, they are painful and frustrating none the less.

At one point I joked about getting a silver nose like the villain in the movie Cat Ballou.  Thinking, mold couldn’t grow in the silver.

Or maybe I could exchange my nose for one of these below.  They are all nice looking noses if they didn’t come infected with mold.

Click to show "Human nose" result 3

Or maybe I would try to see about getting Elmo’s nose.

A friend back in the beginning used to joke with me about how to get rid of the fungal infection.  Her husband was an AG teacher and they also lived on a ranch.  She told me she would just go and get some Dursban and pour it into my sinuses.  Of course we were just joking and whenever I complained about my sinuses she would offer to run and get some and then start laughing.  Can you imagine putting that in your sinuses?  Not me.

What body part would you like new but not for cosmetic reasons?   If I chose cosmetic reasons, I would be changing out a lot of parts.

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.

Girl quits school over allergy to books, part 2

A few days ago I posted about a young woman who has been forced to quit school because of an allergy to books due to dust, mold, and chemicals.  I wrote that could empathize with this young woman because of my allergies to mold and dust and my extreme sensitivity to chemicals.

A dear friend and fellow blogger, Michellina,  from the-labyrinth is a student at Victoria University in Australia.  Despite having similar allergies and sensitivities as I, she has managed to get the most amazing accommodations at her university allowing her to continue her education.  I am in awe of all that she has managed to accomplish for not only herself but her fellow students who may or may not know how to go about getting accommodations or who may be afraid for fear of being labeled “crazy”.  Please read Michellina’s post and learn all that she has managed to get done while a student at Victoria University.

Thank You

I have noticed today that I have several new followers to this blog.  I would like to take a moment to welcome you and say thank you.  Please feel free to comment on blog posts and ask questions. 

You will see that I have a great group of followers who are amazingly helpful as well.

To all of you, both new and long-time followers, I say thank you for wanting to learn more about my story and environmental and chronic illness.  Your support and encouragement mean a lot to me.

Allergic to Life featured in Indies Unlimited

Today “Allergic to Life”  is being featured as a “new release” on the Indies Unlimited website.  I am so excited to have the opportunity to share my story.  I don’t remember how I discovered the Indies Unlimited website but I am so thankful I did.  I have learned so many things regarding blogging and book promotion.  I have met some great fellow authors on this site and received wonderful support.

It is my hope that by sharing my story I am bringing more awareness to the public about the dangers of mold and what life is like living with chemical sensitivity, food allergies, and chronic illness.

I continue to thank all of you for your support in my endeavor.

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.