I just want to share my story with everybody and see if there is any advice out there that anybody can give me in all of this.
Nearly the last year of my life has been complete hell. I was married in October of 2009 to the love of my life and was ready to begin a happily married life.
The morning of June 26, 2010 I woke up and my world turned upside down. My husband and I had gone out drinking the night before with our best friends and had eaten at a sushi restaurant. I woke up the next morning with a bad headache that I thought was probably a small hangover. I had a little coffee, took an excedrin and spent some time on the computer in our downstairs bedroom. About an hour later I became extremely dizzy, had some shortness of breath and heart palpitations. I thought I would take a shower to see how I felt. I passed out and fell down in the shower and my husband took me to the ER. Of court the ER couldn't tell me anything. They did bloodwork, a chest xray and an EKG - all normal. They took me that I drank too much coffee and had an anxiety attack. Really? I typically drink 3 cups of coffee a day and half a cup will do this to me...whatever. I went home thinking I was silly and had overreacted.
The next 3 weeks were absolutely terrible. I began to feel worse and worse. I was in the ER a total of 6 times in 2 weeks and they all told me that I was crazy and making it up. My body would physically tremor and shake and they told me it was all anxiety. But I have never had an anxiety attack in my life? My world was turning upside down. Everybody thought I was making things up, I was crazy or trying to get attention. Everybody except for my amazing husband who knew the real me and knew that there was something wrong. He would get into screaming arguments with the ER doctors and nurses when they refused to help me.
I eventually went to see a psychiatrist after starting to believe everybody else that maybe I was losing it. And the psychiatrist told me that I had something physically wrong with me!! Still...nobody would listen.
I saw at least 40 different doctors in the next couple of months and had every test run that you could possibly imagine. Cat scans, MRIs, Xrays, Ultrasounds - EVERYTHING. And everybody insisted I was healthy!
In September of 2010 I was able to get into contact with Dr. Thomas Bolte in NYC - he is often referred to as "The Real Dr. House". I thought if anybody could help me it would be this guy!
He began testing me for heavy metals (normal) and parasites
(normal). He did find that I had high amounts of yeast in my stool and pretty bad malabsorption but did not know where it was coming from. He treated me with enzymes, HCL & grapefruit seed extract - in addition to some other vitamins. My malabsorption was fixed over a 2 month period but I still felt like hell!
This is when he began to question where I was living. I live in NYC (well Queens actually) and my apartment is 2 floor loft style apartment. Our bedroom is technically the basement.
I never had any type of mold exposure before in my life so I guess I was completely clueless to put two and two together. About a month before I became sick we had a pretty bad flood downstairs when we had some bad rain. It was cleaned up (not professionally) and that was that. I remember in June it was really really humid and hot as well. Part of me always had it in the very back of my mind but I guess in a way I was trying to deny it as well. We have 2 large dogs and live in NYC - do you know how hard it is to find a place? We really liked our place, had a yard for the dogs and everything.
Then I started putting some pieces of the puzzle together. We had the flooding in May before I got sick. The landlord at one point mentioned that there was flooding down there previously. So we started looking for a place. I took a week off of work to spend at my mom's and see if I felt any different at all - I didn't. So then I started to think it wasn't mold again. My doctor told me I had to get away for more than 1 week to see.
But I couldn't afford to take more than 1 week off of work. I was already working 4 hour work days because I was so sick. And that on top of the fact that I had a TON of doctor and hospital bills.
A little over a month ago, I was looking for an apartment online and magically found an apartment that had everything we needed. A huge backyard for the dogs, 2 bedrooms and in the area we needed. I decided to email the landlord and try to get in to see it. Literally 20 minutes later I went downstairs to get something and...stepped in water! I felt like it was a sign. That was it. Maybe it took a lot for me to see but I was finally able to see the truth!
So we ended up getting the apartment and moved in last Thursday. Wednesday night I was packing some boxes from the closet and I found it! I had a box in the back corner of the closet that I never really moved. As soon as I pulled the box away the wall was wet and black! We had to throw out practically everything in the vicinity...all of our mementos from when we were dating and childhood things as well. Plus a ton of clothes :(
Once when we mentioned the water damage to our super he asked about the closet. We said the closet was fine because we thought it was at the time. When we told our landlord that we were moving and why he asked about the closet as well. Now I know that they knew about it and probably painted over it before we moved!
I know as far as legal issues - mold is a very gray area. My number one concern is that my landlord is going to do the same exact thing and other people are going to move into this place and get sick like I did. How do I prevent this from happening?? Do I go to a lawyer or do I go to the city? I spoke to a lawyer earlier this week and he thinks I have a strong case. I don't really want to go after the landlord for money. I am not out for revenge or anything, although Lord knows I have been through hell. I am more concerned that the problem will not be taken care of and that somebody else will have to go through this hell that I have been through.
Shortly after my husband and I got married we noticed a large tumor in the neck of my then 4 yr old dog. She had surgery (it ended up being 2 tumors) and it was thyroid cancer. She had her whole thyroid removed. The vet said that as long as it didn't spread to her blood she would be fine. She is active and lively and her bloodwork is always fine. Around the same time I got sick she got another tumor in the same area. We talked to my vet and he believes that she is sick due to the mold as well. I only wish I would have put together all of the signs a long long time ago. My other dog seems to be fine and my husband is fine (other than some stuffiness). My doctor said my body may have had a different reaction to it because I have metal rods in my back from scoliosis surgery when I was a teenager. I have been to the allergist and only have a slight reaction to mold in the prick test.
I have been in the new apartment for about 5 days now. I felt good the first couple of days - like I could breathe better and my vision was slightly improved. Now the last couple of days have been bad. My doctor said that I might feel bad for a few weeks while my body detoxes from this poison. I take a lot of vitamins - multivitamin, fish oil, vitamin D (I am very deficient), vitamin c, p5p. I also take enzymes, HCL, grapefruit seed extract and chinese herbs given to me by my acupuncturist. I
Is there anything that anybody on here recommends I take in order to help with the detox process??
My adrenals are shot and my thyroid results are always going up and down as well. I worry that I may have permanent effects from all of this.
Is there a time period where I should start to notice some improvement or does that depend on each individual?
I believe I was exposed for close to 2 years, although I have only noticed symptoms for the past 9 months.
I am currently on a very strict, mostly yeast free diet. I have strong reactions to certain food and get burning rashes if I eat anything moldy or fermented. i pretty much just eat meat, veggies, nuts & some fruits (bananas & apples). I make my own homemade yogurt for a probiotic. I drink only water and try to drink at least 64 oz
a day. I do take a very small amount of Klonopin (.25 every night) to help me get to sleep. I have suffered severe insomnia through all of this.
I am so sorry about how long this post is. I am just desperate to have my life back. I am so lucky to have such an amazing husband help me through all of this. I just feel like I haven't gotten a chance to be a wife yet since this happened right after we got married. I am 28 and I feel like I am 80. I am only able to work 4 hours a day and still have trouble with that. I am not able to do anything or go anywhere because my muscles are so weak and I am so so tired all of the time. I just want this to go away. I was such a happy girl before all of this and I know she is in there somewhere.
I don't want to feel sorry for myself. Everybody goes through tough times and I only hope there is some reason that I am going through this so I can help others and make myself stronger.
Please if anybody has any advice at all I would love to hear it. I am sure there are a lot of things I forgot to include as well so I will answer any questions anybody has as well.
If you made it this far...thanks for reading & God Bless!