Saturday, April 26, 2014

We've been poisoned out of our house-Mold Saga Part 1

Good bye, nice little house.  Sniff, sniff :-(
Last winter we tested our house for mold and the results came back very high.  Since we were already having work done on our house (and living in a hotel), we decided to have the mold remediated while the walls were all torn apart.

Tim and I have been having a very difficult time health-wise these past few months, and we've been working with our doctor to try to dig up any possible reasons why the Lyme treatment we've been on for years doesn't seem to be making us better any more.  We both saw improvement for the first couple years and then started backsliding over time.

After racking our brains, we remembered that we had not discussed our previous mold situation with our current doctor.  When we did, she asked to see the report.  We faxed it to her that same day.  She personally called me and yelled into the phone "I know why you and your husband are still sick!"  Well then.  She's very kind and caring.  She was just very concerned for us.

She was shocked at our results.  Here are some of them:



No matter how much someone knows about mold, I don't think anyone wants to see "major" so many places on their mold report.  Particularly Stachybotrys (black mold) in 3 areas on both floors of the house.  We were so nieve.  It's maddening to think that we have been living in that house for an additional 15 months after we received this report.  We didn't know any better.  And it didn't help that the guy who did our inspection said levels were "not bad right now."

So, last year when we were out of the house, we had our house remediated of the mold.  Or at least we thought we did...  What we now know is that all the mold was already inside the walls and then when the walls were torn down, the mold was released into the air like a wild animal rushing out of an opened cage door.  Not only was our house not fixed, it was made worse.

We talked this through with our doctor, and we agreed that we needed to get out of our house.  It was a very hard decision to make, but it was somewhat easier than it otherwise would have been since our house is already on track for foreclosure.  So, as of this week when we returned from our doctor's appointments, we no longer live in our home.  We will never live there again.  We're really sad about that.  We are currently staying in Tim's parents' basement, and we don't know what comes next.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Another visit to our Lyme doc, and a trip to my new allergist!



We had another trip to our amazing Lyme doc on Monday, and then an appointment with my new allergist yesterday.

Tim's appointment went well.  The doctor said his balance was much better, which is an indication of better neurological function.  The other neurological markers showed improvement as well.  Our doctor was very excited about Tim's progress.  He still has a long way to go, but we're thrilled with any forward movement.

My appointment wasn't quite as happy.  My doctor and I  made the decision that I will get another PICC since I've lost so much ground since I got my other one taken out.  I plan to discuss this with my primary doctor, who is local, in hopes that I can get it inserted at our local small-town hospital.  We love our little hospital and have always been cared for well there, and we are not familiar with the large infusion company our Lyme doctor typically works with.  I am hoping to get the ball rolling on this soon so I can continue moving forward with my treatment.

AND THEN I went to my new allergist yesterday!  Both he and our Lyme doctor are far from our house but relatively close to each other, so I'm hoping it will continue to work out to visit them together in the future.  You may remember from the first time I mentioned this that his first opening was in June, so it was great to get a cancellation appointment in April!  This allergist is no stranger to people with ridiculous illness-inducing (and even life-threatening) allergies.  He's been doing this for nearly 40 years and has studied under some of the greats in the field, and he is passionate about his job.  That's a great quality in a doctor! :-)

The allergy office is big and new and beautiful (as far as doctors' offices go...).  There are several dozen employees, and it runs like a well-oiled machine.  It's a busy place.  We started out by meeting with a nurse to get all my stats and vitals.  We then went to a different waiting room than the first to wait to get into the doctor's room.  We were called back and met with his nurse for a moment.

After that, the doctor came in and introduced himself.  He is an older man with a kind smile and a great confidence.  We went over all of my past medical experience.  He started with birth (yes, really!) and went through my childhood illness and surgeries, the births of each of my children, and all the way up through all the details this current Lyme saga.  He is brilliant and so talented at what he does.  He knew just how to test me for different allergies I might have.  He sent me out to the testing area, and here is what my arm looked like when they were done with me:


They have fancy ways to inject, measure, and keep track of what is what.  I didn't understand it all.  So glad they do. :-)  The one at the top that is so huge was dust mites.  Some of the others include different types of trees, grasses, and molds.  I am allergic to so many environmental things in addition to all of the foods.  It's hard to even know where to go from here.  We have a toxic mold problem in our house (which I will explain in a later post) and now I know that I am also severely allergic to several types of mold as well.  That means I have a double-whammy as far as living in a moldy house.  I will continue to monitor these spots for the next few days and report any changes to the doctor.

According to my allergist, the allergies that I have are a result of the "total load" my body is carrying.  The toxins from the Lyme, mold, and all of my different treatments over the years have become too much for my body to handle.  It now attacks things it shouldn't be attacking, and now doesn't know how to handle every day things like eggs and trees.  I wish I could just tell my body that it doesn't need to freak out when I'm exposed to eggs and trees, but it doesn't seem to work that way...

I received sublingual allergy drops (more info on those from the ACAAI here) from the allergist's office and will start those in the next day or 2.  The idea is that there are trace amounts of the things I am allergic to in the drops.  By taking these drops each day, my body should eventually be able to handle these things again.  They have to start at low doses and go up over time.  The drops I currently have contain only dust mites.  The doctor said he gave me just a small percentage of the amount he would give others because of my immediate and extreme reaction.  I am so thankful he knows what he is doing. :-)

I will add in additional drops in the future.  Treatment with this type of allergy drops typically takes people about 5-10 years to complete, so I've got a long road ahead of me!

One last note in case you're interested...here is what a PICC looks like:

Picture found here