A patient's journey from disabling illness to toxic mold recovery.
I have been sick for over a year. It started out just as a cough – I thought it was allergies or a cold at first. But after two months of coughing, I started going to doctors. I was diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection, severe allergies, pneumonia and paradoxical vocal cord fold movement – to name a few. I missed weeks of work. I ended up in the emergency room twice. I went to five general physicians, two pulmonologists, an allergist, a cardiologist, two ear, nose and throat specialists, a doctor of alternative medicine and a speech pathologist. They all traded money for prescriptions and ultimately referred me to another doctor. No real answers.
Of course, I had a theory. The cough began within two weeks of my family moving to an apartment in an old house. I knew I was allergic to a lot of things: cats, dogs, dust, pollen, and mold. After coughing for a few months, a friend told me to have the apartment checked for mold. I ordered the at home mold test – it was positive. Well, at least I had an answer.
Wrong! When I brought my results to my many doctors along with my research on Mold Illness, they weren’t convinced. They didn’t see how that was a sound diagnosis. They asked me what doctor was supposed to treat mold exposure – I thought the obvious answer was them, but I guess I was wrong.
So, I listened to the doctors. I took their strong inhalers and cough medicine – one caused severe throat problems and the other caused projectile vomiting. I kept going to other doctors, hoping one of them would find the cause and solution.
I moved. While my doctors weren’t convinced, I thought the mold may still be the problem. My fiancé and I moved to an apartment with no signs of water damage (where mold may grow). But I was still sick. In fact, my body was continuing to get weaker. I was always exhausted and constantly getting colds or infections. I made sure to sleep eight hours a night during the week and extra on the weekends, but my body was still so tired. The inhalers I was on were causing issues in my throat and vocal cords, making it even harder to breathe.
Exhaustion, coughing, infections, coughing, pain, and coughing.
About seven months ago my mom heard about Dr. Guggenheim and told me to make an appointment. By then, I had lost hope on recovery. I began to believe that this un-diagnosable, untreatable thing would forever be part of my life. I was tired of throwing money away on copays that did nothing. But, like a good mom, my mother nagged me until I made an appointment.
My sister accompanied me to the first visit with Dr. Guggenheim in Connecticut, and, despite our shared lack of faith in doctors, we both left the office feeling hopeful. I felt, after a year of being punted from doctor to doctor, that this doctor actually cared, actually LISTENED, and could possibly help. During that first visit, Dr. Guggenheim determined that the toxic mold from my previous apartment was the culprit, the catalyst for all of this.
With a solid diagnosis, we began a recovery plan. I went on short-term disability. I began taking supplements to help restore my diminished immune system. I changed my diet. I was put on IV drips to help restore some of my strength. Then, when I was a little stronger, we began Ozone treatments. I was slowly but surely improving.
Dr. Guggenheim referred me to another specialist and under the care of both of them, I am recovering. I no longer need my asthma inhaler multiple times a day. I can sleep without waking up in the middle of night gasping for air. My energy is slowly returning. My overall immune health has improved greatly.
Finally, I can begin to focus on living instead of just surviving.
To learn more about toxic mold and its associated risks, check out this information provided by the CDC. https://www.cdc.gov/mold/stachy.htm