Another possible piece to the puzzle.
Short and sweet… We live in mold capital USA. I was living in an older, probably moldy house for almost 3 years. The week before my first “episode” that I had to call 911 for, we had installed our window AC units. I never thought to clean them or even look in them. My husband had been away for work for a weeks but before he left, he developed bronchitis so bad he was coughing up blood. It went away while he was gone. I got so sick I was sure I was going crazy. I didn’t feel just physically ill – I was delirious, delusional, and inconsolable at times and had absolutely no control over my emotions. I experienced electric shock and vibrating sensations that would start in my head and go through the rest of my body. I couldn’t stay still and had this intense need to “just leave”. That’s all I kept thinking and feeling, that I needed to escape. I felt so sick for the first two months, I didn’t do much more than lay on the ground.
After a weeks and weeks of constant trips to the doctor and ER with no answers, and long waits for specialists, we started to look at environmental factors – I noticed a slight improvement when I was out of the house for a long period of time. For some reason, I decided to look inside our units with a flashlight and they definitely had mold growing inside. The house behind us was also being renovated and had been roped off with lead exposure warnings. That’s also the side of our house that had the AC units. So whatever possible toxins (molds, lead, asbestos, etc) they were unleashing were getting sucked up and pumped into our house. Once I noticed that, I sealed off the units with plastic and duct tape as well as I could. We moved into a new house in October and I felt a bit better. The vibrations and shock sensations stopped and I didn’t feel the constant panic that I needed to escape anymore.
We had my doctor run a mold panel on me and my results came back moderately high for one and insanely high for another. Skin prick testing for molds was also very reactive a few months ago. I’ve developed environmental, chemical, metal, and food sensitivities/allergies that I didn’t have before (multiple chemical sensitivity). Common when you’ve been exposed to toxins (but also in autoimmune processes). My heavy metal testing was within normal limits. I believe the mold exposure was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I’m so glad our boys seem okay. Kids are often the first to become sick when exposed to toxins because of their smaller size – these munchkins seem to have amazing immune systems, they’re rarely sick and that would be my guess as to why they are okay. Booger Warning: Our oldest son did have black/brown mucous coming out of his nose for awhile but that has cleared up since moving into our new house.
I know I just have theories right now but I believe I have an underlying autoimmune/health issue that made my body weaker and more susceptible to the mold. Finding a doctor who understands mold (mycotoxin) sickness is pretty challenging. My old primary and allergy doctor just exlaimed, “Mold is everywhere! If it caused nervous system damage, everyone who lives here would be sick too!” I haven’t done further testing and treatment for mycotoxins because it is expensive and can take years to treat. I want to rule as much out as possible as far as other causes go.
Here are a few links about mycotoxin exposure and it’s health effects:
Surviving Mold – Dr. Shoemaker is one of the leading docs in the mold sickness world and has a protocol for treatment.
Toxic Black Mold Syndrome – some decent information.
Moms Aware – I really like this site, great information from those who’ve been through it.
Exposure to toxins is listed as one of the causes of Dyaautonomia (mold mycotoxins fall into that category). I frequently see patients in my Dysautonomia/POTS and mold groups mention that they became sick after either acute or long term exposure to mold.