Thursday, January 21, 2016

In All Things God Works For Good - Climbing the Mountain of Mold Toxicity, Part 1

Being careful not to let the door slam behind me, I tiptoe out the front door into the early single digit chill, the sun peeking up above the horizon just enough to light my path.  Stupid winter, I curse, the steam from my words hanging in the air in a cloud of frustration that only I can see.

The current morning routine of starting up the van in the dead of winter, so that it can warm up for a few minutes before I run Andrew to school, is not my favorite way to start the day.

But today's morning didn't end with cursing in the cold, today was different.

You see, my world, our world has been turned upside down these past few weeks. And, while I've done my best to keep the children and my husband in a happy little bubble, hoping they will float unscathed through the storm of life we're in, being the protector of that bubble has not come without a hefty mental, emotional, and physical cost.

As I turned the ignition key, the dash lights flashed and just above the rumble of the engine a voice on the radio came streaming into my ears, breaking through all of the attention I was giving to hating the cold. A woman's voice, filled with emotion spoke, "Romans 8:28 says,

 'And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, 
who are called according to His purpose.'

This was the answer to the prayers I had prayed the night before.
I am tired, Lord.
Why is this happening to us?
Why are you asking this of me? 
And, why have you allowed such a heavy cross to enter our lives while my husband is sick and I am pregnant?
Please speak to my heart, give me Your word so that I have something to hold on to.

For months we have known that Steve has been suffering from mold toxicity (in addition to Lyme Disease), and his lab results have proven it to be true.  His symptoms are specifically neurological in nature (the feeling of electrical frequencies in the head, memory loss, brain fog, inability to concentrate and track conversations) which are some of the most difficult to endure, and are evidence of later stages of toxicity, which can be very dangerous.

{You can read more about the symptoms of toxicity here and here.}

Trying to find the source of mold in our home has been very difficult, because we have not had any known water leaks at any time since we moved in two years ago.  Two different specialists have come out to inspect our home.

The first one found nothing, the second, after digging for an entire day, finally (by random chance) found a small area in our basement storage room, high up on the wall near the ceiling, where behind insulation he uncovered a very small area that was just damp enough to produce a mold growth.

For mold to survive, it has to have 3 things:
1. A constant water source
2. Oxygen,
3. A host (in this case it was the plywood on the wall.  The mold had literally eaten through the panel!)

The source of water (presumably rain) had dripped down between the exterior brick and interior wall from a window (which appeared to be perfectly sealed) in the guest bedroom just above the storage room.

The funny thing is, there was no visible damage to the window, nor the walls or trim in that room which would lead us to believe that this could potentially be the source of the problem.  So, initially when we went searching for the mold, we could see no evidence for concern.

It is literally a miracle that we were able to find the water source and mold growth without having to tear the entire house apart.

Let me tell you again, because if anyone in your home should happen to have any symptoms that could potentially be mold related, it only takes a very small amount of mold to make someone who has a sensitivity to mold extremely ill.

{Mold is all around us - it is literally everywhere - but some people are more sensitive to it than others. For someone who is sensitive, whose body cannot naturally rid itself of mold toxins, prolonged exposure to those toxins is what eventually causes varying degrees of illness, even death.}

Thankfully, no one else in our household is sick.  Steve is the only one who has extreme sensitivity to the mold.

Without overwhelming you all with too many details, I will mention that it is not the mold itself that Steve is reacting too, but the microscopic toxins that the mold exhibits through it's spores which can easily be spread throughout the house. (The specific toxin that is making Steve ill is called trichothecene.)

Once the mold source was discovered, Steve was advised to leave the house immediately. Within a few hours he had packed his bags, moved in with his parents (who thankfully live close by), and I was left alone in our home with our children, gripped with worry over what the days ahead would hold for all of us.

After a week of being separated (which was terrible!) We were all instructed to move out of our home, so that the team of remediation specialists could come in and begin working to restore the integrity and safety of our home.

While the past couple of weeks are ones that I hope we never have to live through again, we are not despairing. God is good.  He has not left us to wonder through this trial alone. He has strengthened our resolve and blessed us with the wisdom, knowledge, and resources to finally conquer this mountain we've been climbing for the past two years.

And we believe that He truly is working for the good for those of us who love Him. 

More about the remediation, 
the angels who have come to help us, 
and Steve's journey to the Hansa Center to come in Part 2.


  1. Susan your faith is a true testimony to the grace of God. Although I only know you through your blog I'm grateful for communion in the Body of Christ and will offer my rosary for you and your family today. God is truly with us - Amen.

  2. I'm so sorry to hear you've all been going through this, Susan. Prayers for complete healing for Steve, and a healthy home.

  3. Praying for healing for your husband and strength for you. I'm so glad you found the mold without having to tear apart your house!

  4. I am so glad that someone was able to figure out that the problem was mold, and not send you down the wrong path for who knows how long. This may be a blessing to help you find just the right, and healthy house, that you are looking for. Prayers for you all.

  5. Wow, what a rollercoaster of emotion, worry, and stress. I am so thankful you found the source of the problem and I pray that Steve will make a full recovery. I also pray your house can be restored mold free. I will be praying for all of you. Sending love and hugs.--Cathleen Martin

  6. I have been reading your blog for a long time and always draw so much wisdom from your posts. Prayers for you family, your husband and your house. My mom is going through a time like your ( health issue after health issue) and I have been reading Mother Angelica of EWTN's biography and was amazed at the amount of suffering she endured in her life.. Surely your family will have many saints and mighty works drawn from this, but it's understandable that as St Teresa said to our Lord, "if this is how you treat your friends now wonder you have so few."

  7. Been reading your blog for awhile now, so sorry your family is going through such a difficult time! Sounds like things are taking a major turn for the better... Praying for healing for your husband and peace and strength for your family!

  8. Oh no!!! So sorry to hear about this!! I hope that they can fix that problem quickly so ya'll can be together again and that your hubby is feeling better. Thinking of you guys xoxox.

  9. Oh Susan. I am so sorry you have to go through all this. Know that we are praying for you, your hubby and your kids. #stcourtneypray4us Love from Virginia <3


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