I have been out of my “moldy” house for almost two years now and I still haven’t sat down to write out about my experience. Every month I receive multiple messages asking me about my experience, and I’ve realized how selfish it is that I’ve not taken the time to sit down and write what I know. If even one person is spared some of the health and life upheaval I’ve experienced, then taking the time to write this was worth it.
I’ll be breaking this up into a few parts, because I simply don’t know how to effectively abbreviate it. Everything I’ve learned could probably fill a book, but I have to start somewhere.
So… let’s start at the beginning.
My husband at the time, Luke, and I, purchased our dream home about 5 years ago. At the time, it was clearly a God thing. It practically fell into our laps. It was a small stone house on a few acres of gorgeous property. It was old but well kept, with incredible character and some of our dream amenities. A pool, a beautiful backyard, a pond, optimal location, the right number of bedrooms. Everything we wanted for our future. We were certain that our children would grow up here.
For the first few months things were just fine. With one exception, a leak in the skylight in our bedroom. It only happened during really bad rains, so we didn’t think much of it. At some point we climbed up onto the roof and sprayed some sealant and it seemed to stop the leak, so we moved on with life.
We had been there a while when I found out I was pregnant again. We had two littles already, and I was so excited for a third. But, this pregnancy was much harder than previous pregnancies. Before I discovered this pregnancy I had been struggling more than normal to lose weight, but once I was pregnant I really began to put on the pounds. In my previous pregnancies, I would gain 20ish pounds, but this one had me in the 40ish range. I also had panic attacks, extreme back pain, and a lot of itching. It was overall, a very unpleasant experience.
But the day came, that I had my 3rd child. A daughter, Annabel. We had a picture perfect home birth in a tub in the living room. She was pink, and perfect, and my joy was overflowing.
I remember I was 165lbs the day before she was born. The next day, just for the fun of seeing how much by body had expelled, I hopped on the scale. I was shocked. Despite just giving birth to a 10lb baby, and all sorts of fluids, I was 168lbs. That had never happened before. And I felt a strange feeling in the pit of my stomach.
But, I chalked it up to fluid retention and went on my way. I’d always quickly lost weight after my other pregnancies with some proper self care, light exercise and eating Paleo.
But months passed and that isn’t what happened. In fact, I slowly started growing in weight. I never again saw that 165lb mark that I’d seen the day before she was born.
Sometime in those first few months Luke and my dad decided to rip up the carpet in the back bathroom… yep you read that right… carpet in a bathroom!!! They were going to replace it with something water resistant.
Well, they pulled it up and found a subfloor blackened with mildew. They used a fan to dry it out, cut out the affected area, and hauled it through the living room to dispose of it outside. They put down linoleum and we all went about our business.
Simple right? Wrong, so very wrong.
Just days after this my weight started rapidly climbing. And I really mean rapidly. I was somewhere in the 180’s at that point, and by the time 3 months had passed I was 260 pounds. Some days I would wake up and have gained 5 lbs overnight.
I cannot remember the timeline exactly, but also somewhere in this time frame, new leaks began forming in our bedroom ceiling. We didn’t have money to replace the roof so we just put a tarp on it. New leaks would pop up, and then a new tarp. We didn’t have any other options (so we thought).
My weight hit the all time high at 265lbs and my health took the most intense nosedive it ever had in my life.
I was itchy all the time. I would carry a backscratcher in my car and scratch my skin til it bled. My stretch marks from my daughter’s pregnancy had turned a vibrant blueish red and occasionally broke open and bled.
I began having nearly daily panic attacks. I’d range from deep depression to moments of extreme panic.
My heart rate was so high I couldn’t gather my breath after climbing a flight of stairs. I began charting it and found my resting heart rate would never drop below 110. Even when in my bed, I’d wake and take my heart rate and it would be 110. I’d walk to my living room and it would hit 138 regularly.
I could hardly walk, forget workout.
I kept eating paleo, but then I started crashing. Eating paleo seemed to make all my symptoms worse, so I stopped. I ate whatever seemed to keep the panic at bay.
Then came the tremors. My arm, neck or hand would spasm at random times. I’d feel it coming on and try to relax, but most of the time it didn’t matter. It affected my ability to write, use my phone and even cook food for my family.
My muscles grew weaker and I experienced consistent pain. I spent almost every day on my couch or in my bed if someone was there to watch my kids. I’d never before felt such overwhelming illness.
Through all this, I was searching for any possible answer… and boy was that a journey.
(keep an eye out for part 2, coming soon)