A Compromised Gut Lining
As many of you know, I’ve been battling some serious allergies and sensitivities to chemicals, EMFs, and mold. The problems I’ve experienced are often lumped together and categorized as a disorder called multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). It has gotten so bad at times in the last few months that I’ve even been forced to live outside and even sleep in my car, which is common for environmentally intolerant (EI) individuals. Allergies, autoimmunity, and severe chemical intolerance, in my opinion, indicate a compromised gut lining (or at the very least, systemic complications secondary to a leaky gut). So the best approach for me has been to avoid thinking about it as a mental disorder (as some are apt to advise) and just focus on protecting and rebuilding my gut.
Protecting My Gut
I had been trying to mainly approach the problem by protecting my gut lining up until about a month ago. I guess I felt this was my only hope, because I hadn’t found an effective way to really rebuild it until recently. At first, I attempted to protect my gut lining by basically avoiding the inside of my home. You see, all at once near the end of Summer, a series of environmental changes occurred inside and outside of my home, in the form of:
- a chlorine shock to my well water
- high humidity in the house
- moldy foods under counters being exposed
- toxic construction dust outside.
There were also some possible direct offenders to my gut that appeared, specifically some post-surgery clindamycin (powerful antibiotic) administered to my dog. Clindamycin is known to cause c. difficile intestinal infection, which is definitely relatable to leaky gut (though it is a different presentation).
Avoidance of offending chemicals, allergens, and EMFs was my approach to restoring my gut for the first two months of this awful flare-up. Generally, I felt better at first just by not going in the house at all, especially while that nasty moldy potato smell was still wafting around. It took about 2 months to completely clear out. Eventually, I got to where I could tolerate being in there with a bandana over my face, with the bottom tucked into my hoodie so that the toxic air wouldn’t make it’s way through the bottom of it.
Even with the bandana, though, I could only be inside the house for 3 or 4 minutes tops without starting to feel a gurgling, painful sensation in my gut. This would really manifest itself any time I tried to fall asleep, and at that point would be accompanied by something called myclonus. Myclonus is a very unpleasant symptom of sudden insomnia where you may be drifting off to sleep or already sleeping and suddenly awaken with a nasty jerk. Intestinal pain in the form of a slight jabbing sensation would almost always accompany this awakening. To me, all of these were direct indication that these spores/mycotoxins were offending me mainly in the gut area, and that I’d been oversensitized to them by indirect exposure to a powerful antibiotic.
You Can’t Run Forever
The more time I spent away from the house it seemed, especially outdoors, the more it seemed my body could resist whatever toxins were indoors, especially as the house was airing out and doing some detox of its own. This is generally how allergies work, because the antibodies are more plentiful the more recent your exposure has been. So, as I spent time away from the allergens/toxins in the house, my system was becoming less weaponized. My parents were simultaneously making efforts to remediate the sad state of humidness and moldiness the house had descended into, so the amount of toxic burden was decreasing while I was in this state of avoidance.
It was very inconvenient doing all of my work outside during this time. I even had to shave outside a couple of times:
It gets kind of old sleeping in a tent every night, even in the warm throes of early September when it’s fairly comfortable, so we were on a constant search for places to crash. Unfortunately, the first place we crashed (before I started living in a tent) had a serious formaldehyde/acetaldehyde problem from recent construction that had never properly aired out. This unpleasant experience that induced tachycardia, insomnia, asthma, and hallucination helped me to understand that moving away from a moldy house would be much more complicated than just finding a new house.
Knowing this early on was providence from God, I am certain.
We tried at least 4 of my friends’ houses, thinking we would need only temporary respite as my system got less sensitive to the toxins in my house. Only one of them worked out well, but it would have been way too inconvenient for my friend and his wife if we’d chosen to stay there permanently (the offer was never really on the table). Every other house either had a formaldehyde (or other chemical) problem, some degree of mold, or cats. Also, though they were all kind enough to turn off all wireless sources to ease my symptoms, ultimately it seemed that the inconvenience of having to be plugged in would probably be too much for each of these generous souls.
Pretty soon, it became apparent that we needed to find a different place to stay, having tried over and over to sleep in our original house as it continually aired out, always with the same result. Also, to my great annoyance, I started to experience worsened allergies outdoors (as I was often sleeping in a tent in my front yard). It took me awhile to figure out why. As it turns out, the dust from construction on a housing development across the street was exacerbating my allergies, drying out my sinuses, giving me bad headaches, and even making Rachel (who often slept in the tent and worked outside with me) experience outdoor allergies out of nowhere. We were the itchy twins for a couple of nights watching Netflix out there on the lawn.
Ryan Homes Construction Blows… Dust
My sensitivity to the dust from across the street, where Ryan Homes broke ground for the Gunpowder Overlook development, became more and more apparent. As my symptoms worsened, I began to smell the dust more and more distinctly. It always seemed to be worse on days that they were digging, which was not too hard to notice (it was loud and there’s clear line of sight from my front door). Eventually, I could not continue to sleep outside in the tent (situated on the side of my front yard) without waking up doubled over in pain from the digestive distress that dust inhalation caused. Ryan Homes, you are an evil corporation with no regard for the health of individuals in a community. I got very sick because of your development, Mr. Ryan (CEO?), and I will be pursuing legal action. To this day, I cannot spend time in my front yard—or really any part of my yard—barefoot, because the amount of toxins unearthed by your construction made the dust settle all around my property.
Here is some info about common sources of pollution from construction if you doubt that construction dust could be this much of a problem. I’ve talked to several people about this, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it was either biosolids from prior agriculture (we definitely live on land that was all potentially farmland in the past) or mold toxins unearthed from the deep, untouched soil.
So, to get away from all of the woes of (now not just my house but) my property, my 8-months-pregnant wife and I even went as far as Memphis and Dallas to check out houses we could rent that were designed for those who have MCS. Sadly, both options had their complications, and I realized that I might be dealing with allergies to everything in every place I go. Also, it was a really long way to go considering our situation with the pregnancy. If we were going to have this baby 1000 miles away from everyone we’ve ever known, the place we’d be sleeping in would have to amount to an all-inclusive getaway in Rivendell. Though they were both far better than the house I had been staying in, in many many ways, I can’t say they lived up to the Tolkienian standards I’d set up for myself.
Stay tuned to find out the two super supplements I found that would decrease my sensitivities so that I could move back into the house, where I could stay safe and warm with my wife and future daughter…