I am currently protesting my house. It is really hard to do that considering how hard it is to find places that lack heavy EMF, chemical, or mold pollution. Yet here I find myself, eating at Chipotle, which generally seems to come through for me on all three fronts, and I can actually eat the food to boot. No chemical smell in this place, the Cornet RF meter reads about a .05 µV/m2 (about the best you can hope for eating out), and most importantly, no mold.
As you might know, I’ve been struggling with the after effects of lifelong acute mold exposure for the past 2.5 years now.
Some highlights of symptoms from that moldy home experience have been:
- Years and years of night sweats
- Chronic fatigue
- Compounding allergies
- Chronic sinus infections (mostly when I was young)
- Heart palpitations
- Brain fog
- Being “out of it”
- Difficulty breathing
- Myclonus (where you jolt awake)
- General insomnia
- Acid reflux
- Muscular fasciculations (or getting a case of the “twitchies” as I call it)
I believe from all of my research that these are presentations of allergies to toxins and proteins in my environment and food, exacerbated by the disorientation caused in my detox pathways and gut bacteria by overexposure to mold. This happens easily for some people (24% to be precise) due to a genetic deficiency in production of aldehyde dehydrogenase by the liver. I have been tested and found to have this deficiency.
There are times when these symptoms resurface. Often I will spend a short amount of time in a moldy building and get temporarily weak or more sensitive to food than usual. This is something I’ve learned to take as it comes whenever some new source of mold insinuates itself in my life, and I get into a frenzy. Generally, one or a few of the symptoms crop up if I enter a moldy building or something, but I just spend some time taking deep breaths (and exhaling them) and the problem usually subsides by the end of the day.
To manage these general bad symptoms that crop up now and again since I’ve been aware of my mold sensitivity, I’ve had to employ:
- A perfectly “Bulletproof” diet
- EMF avoidance
- Multiple chemical avoidance
- Avoidance of moldy buildings
Even with all of this, I wouldn’t have called myself a fully energetic person or even a functional person for the past couple years since I’ve been aware of it. I still carried some slight inflammation around my midsection (that no amount of squats, ab exercises, or intermittent fasting seemed to change), preventing that oh-so-coveted 6-pack from forming. I often woke up with sore muscles, even after disposing of a moldy mattress and vacating the room it was in to sleep on a stack of yoga mats/afghans on the floor in the living room.
You see, the problems I’ve experienced are all affected by diet, EMFs, and chemicals, but the negative impact of all of these things was most likely exacerbated and exaggerated by prolonged low- to mid-level exposure to mold. In other words, if I’m in a “moldy” place, I’m never going to be optimal. Dave put this best when he said in the Moldy documentary press (one of the clips—maybe this one), that if you’re living in a moldy house, no matter how well you eat or exercise/do yoga, you will become sensitive to food and never perform optimally. This clearly is the case for me, so I want that to change, and very soon!
However, this time it’s different. I know this, because I find myself living outside at the moment.
Let me start at the beginning. A few weeks ago, I took my dog, a Maltese named Missy, in to get a check-up on her teeth. She had to have 17 teeth removed, and I agreed to allow them to administer antibiotics. Somewhere along the line before the operation, my Mom took over (it’s actually her dog, but I’ve kind of adopted her affections). Anticipating her surgery, I lavished more attention on her than usual.
One day before the op, Missy had already been on the antibiotic, which I didn’t know. I was floored, because I’d already begun to feel a bit woosy and more susceptible to my environment and now knew a possible reason why. Unbalanced gut bacteria can definitely make you feel this way, especially if you’re allergic or sensitive to a certain type (this one is like a very strong penicillin called clindamycin, and it’s human strength even for small dogs). So, I decided to lay off the lovin’ a little bit on Missy until she was off the antibiotics.
I know that some people might think that you couldn’t possibly absorb antibiotics from your dog, but if you say something like this, you are being incredibly naive. When you have any drug in your bloodstream, it spreads throughout your tissues and can be easily transferred membrane to membrane to another organism. Arguing this is futile. However, while it may have helped to distance myself from my dog, it didn’t work. My sickness, especially my digestion (think very painful IBS/UC symptoms), continued to deteriorate, and restful sleep came harder and harder, even in the family room where I thought I’d found solace from the leftover mold from the moldy mattress in my bedroom. A whole lot more things than that were still to go wrong.
This is me the night after realizing the antibiotics had been administered:
Yeah I know, I’m not looking so hot here. This crap is for real. Learn more in the next installment, where I discuss issues with chlorine in well water and moldy potatoes.
Part 2: The Well