Those who have experienced ill health due to toxic mold exposure often feel isolated, and even crazy. I’m writing this post to assure you that you are not alone, that many are struggling.
When our family of 11 connected the dots in 2008 (read our story here), I was assured by then leading toxicologist Dr. Jack Thrasher that we were not the only ones. “I’d like to retire,” said Dr.Thrasher, “but too many people are suffering.” (Dr. Thrasher has since passed away, but I recount his statement in this interview recorded eight months before his death.)
Despite Dr. Thrasher’s assurances, I felt utterly desolate and distraught. No one seemed to understand. Relationships were strained.
I began blogging about our experience in 2009. I founded momsAWARE soon after, and within months I realized that Dr. Thrasher was right. Since 2009 I have received hundreds of emails, and the themes are the same:
Here are excerpts of emails I received in a three-week period in 2018. I’m sharing these to validate your experience and hopefully lessen your feelings of isolation.
Excerpts of Emails Received in the Spring of 2018
For the 3 years living in the home, my kids were constantly sick with upper respiratory infections, ear infections, strep throat, pneumonia, etc. I had my kids in the hospital every month and still did not put 2 and 2 together. The house looked nice from the outside of the walls but behind them was hidden mold.
I went to the doctors and they kept telling me that it was my asthma, that kept flaring up. At that time I went along with it.
I became very tired, trouble breathing and overall weak. I would cry—my body was soooooo tired and I could not explain it. I had that cough for a year when I started having numbness and tingling in my arm where it felt like I had little circulation.
Leaving everything behind was tough enough and now I can’t seem to find a doctor to help me. The dizziness and weak legs is causing me to become discouraged and depressed.
Have you heard of these symptoms before? Could you direct me to any resources? Should I be throwing all our belongings away? We lived in this apartment for one month.
I am sick all the time. I have been to all kinds of specialists, so many different tests and even repeats. No one can ever find what the problem is. They assume it may be fibromyalgia. I keep telling them I feel toxic.
I feel alone and lost. I have lost my job and business and feel like a burden to my family. My health affects so many people.
I worked at a business for a year and a half and was so sick and could not figure out what was wrong with me. My symptoms were so bad I just recently left there a little over a month ago. I cried when I read your story.
It seems that the toxins keep following us around despite stringent efforts to try and not cross contaminate. It’s literally driving us insane.
Here are some recent subject lines of emails received:
- Sickness wont go after living in mold
- PLease help
- Pls how do i make contact w/you , so dizzy and confused pins and needles all over my face, lots of pain here
These two statements are more common than I can say:
- I’m not sure why I’m writing to you, except to find hope.
- I feel like it’s one step forward, 20 steps back.
Sadly, environmental illness is not on the radar of most physicians. The world at large has yet to embrace the reality that poor building and maintenance practices often lead to serious health issues.
Thankfully, the tide is turning. Awareness is growing. A group of physicians has come together to form the International Society for Environmentally Acquired Illness (ISEAI).
While the road can be long and the journey isolating, there is hope. Sometimes hope is found in knowing we’re not alone.
I share more about finding a new normal in the post How I Got My Life Back After Our Toxic Mold Exposure.