Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Mold and Other Icky Toxins

After a few years of treatment under my belt, I'm embarrassed to say that it's taken me this long to take seriously the issues with toxins separate of Lyme. I've gone on and off of the "Lyme Diet," caving in to sweets and gluten when I'm feeling extra terrible (half because I actually crave it, and half because I have the tendency to be a destructive emotional eater when I feel like nothing matters anymore.)

But as I shunned the toxic sugar and gluten, I paid no attention to talk about mold and chemical toxins and how they affect the body. I still can't speak eloquently on the topic... right now I'm still in the curiosity/research stage, so if you have and info to share PLEASE do so in the comment section.

What piqued my interest is that my doctor keeps bringing up the issue of detoxification--something I could take or leave as I spent the last few years just pumping myself full of antibiotics. (Yes, dumb in retrospect.) As I sat this weekend in a haze of dizziness, nausea, and pain, I was brought back to a mental place I hadn't seen in three years.

I took my mother's advice and spent an hour sitting in a chair on her deck while she pushed the baby around in the stroller. Just watching the motion made me seasick. Sounds were coming in and out. The trees were a fuzzy blur. My heart rate kept speeding up, slowing down. I felt like I had 4 different strains of the flu, if that makes any sense. It was as if my body and my mind weren't connected at all. I couldn't cross my legs. They just wouldn't cooperate. I literally had to focus: "Come on legs, cross now...come on hand, pick up the cup." I could do it, it just took time to connect. Anyway, like I said, it's been forever since I've been here, and by here I mean plagued with a scary thought: Might I be dying? Is this what it feels like? I'm so out of it and tired, I could honestly just close my eyes and float away.

Then rationalization steps in. "Sara, you are not dying. You've felt this way before. It passes. And you don't have time to die anyway... the baby needs a bath and a bottle in 20 minutes." Still, I started to cry. I hope I'm not the only nutcase that has done this--jumps to the conclusion that they are about to croak and then actually starts crying over the made up death scene they feel they're about to experience. Anyway, it did in fact pass after a long nap, but not before desperation set it.

There HAS to be something more to this whole treatment thing. I can't be feeling like total shit just because I'm pregnant.

I am stretching far for answers, because I am stumped.

Out of nowhere, the Universe finally threw me a bone (yay for OBVIOUS signs) and flooded our basement. It happens quite often, but not to this extent. We live at the bottom of a grassy hill, we have a concrete slab basement with a billion cracks, and it's been raining like a bible catastrophe for the past week. The ground water seeps in (in this case it poured in) and no matter what we do, we can't get it to dry out down there. This time it reeks badly. I can smell it right now as I type, circulating through the house. Like old, moldy towels or a dark, drippy cave. The key word is mold. It's never smelled like this before. If we didn't have a mold issue before (which I'm assuming we did, as there's always some water coming in the basement) we certainly have one now. I think it's bad when you can actually smell it, right?

Now I'm in a state of anxiety trying to figure out how to fix this expensive problem, and on top of that, I'm a mess because my overactive brain keeps reminding me that every breath I take in is giving me a nice dose of toxins. I asked my old friend Google about Lyme and mold, and I found this article (written in a Lyme for Dummies style, so forgive me if you're way above this--I'm still new.)


Makes total sense to me. Now what do I do? Anyone have experience with mold or other toxins? Did it exacerbate your symptoms? How did you treat the problem? Anything you can safely take during pregnancy?

So grateful I have a LLMD appointment tomorrow. I'll ask him about it too and report back soon.


  1. Oh my! I can relate to the "dying" and "crying". Every few weeks I think I'm dying for reals.

  2. As for the dying feeling- it has happened to me more times than I can count....looking at my children and crying because I am convinced I won't live to see them grow. I looked a lot into mold when I first started getting sick last year (about 3 months before Lyme diagnosis). We have a crawl space and our bedroom smelled like mildew. We put in vents and a fan and the smell went away. But I am always wondering if we are all breathing in mold. We never pursued getting the house checked due to money. However, now it's Spring and now that I have Lyme and am 2 months pregnant, I am wondering about various toxin build ups, too.

    So glad you have this blog. It has helped me and encouraged me so much!


  3. Hey there. Sorry you have been feeling so low. I have been feeling worse too, although I don't think I'm as bad as you I'm pretty laid up due to severe muscle pain and stiffness everywhere. I'm holding my breath as to how the next six months will play out.

    I've been where you are now and for extended periods of time and it takes a strong person to get through it. There is always that little voice saying it can't get better. But it can and it will right?

    I'm trying to picture that I was actually able to play in the yard and run with a kite last fall after years of barely being able to walk out into the back yard!

    BTW, The bile binding medication Questran is great for removing toxins (lyme, mold and other) although gave me the worst herxes from very small doses(literally my legs turned purple from bruises the first few days on it) and it can be hard on the liver/gallbladder. It's not for pregnancy. There are books written on it by Dr. Shoemaker. Here's his website:
    As I said before, I'm just taking chlorella for toxins now on an empty stomach. It's helping, but I can feel I'm toxic and probably has a lot to due with all the inflammation I am having.

    Stay strong!

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Sorry- this is my first time on Blogger and I think I might have double posted- sorry if this shows up twice!

    I found your blog while looking for chronic lyme and pregnancy sites. I totally understand where you're coming from on the mold issue. Last year, my husband and I had to do a massive basement cleanout due to mold and water and other unpleasant basement pestilence.

    I know you have a crawl space and are at the bottom of a hill, but there are some things you can do to combat the mold. Do you know if there is a drainage system around your house? Lots of times, people put in what they call "French drains" to stop water from coming in. Do you know if there is one around your property?

    For the mold, I will tell you what worked for us:

    First, definitely take some precautions: Someone will have to go in the crawl space to get rid of the mold, and they will need a respirator to work in the space. Also, you should make sure that your air vents are turned off while work is being done so you don't circulate any spores to the rest of the house.

    Second, spray the rafters, walls, and floors with hydrogen peroxide and let it sit for 24 hours at least. Hydrogen peroxide works better than bleach to kill mold spores

    Third, you have to remove the water and scrub the area. Use a wet/dry vac to remove the water. Set up box fans and dehumidifiers in the basement to dry any water you can't remove with a wet-dry vac. It's a good idea to run a dehumidifier in the house or basement after clean up too.

    Fourth, stop the water from coming in. Seal up anything you can around the house. Paint the walls with Kilz and patch any holes in the foundation

    Fifth, pay someone to clean the air vents

    Ok- I'm not going to lie- doing this to our house was NOT fun and it was REALLY hard work! But since we sealed, we have had no incidence of mold and very little water in the basement (after dealing leaks for years!) It was totally worth it and my symptoms have improved immensely since doing all the work.

    Good luck!

  6. Hi all, thanks for the suggestions and support!

    Denise, thanks for the great tips on cleaning out the mold. It's great to hear that your symptoms have improved, even if it took a lot of work. I'm thinking my husband might get a scrub brush and some Kilz for father's day this year. ;)

  7. LOL! Sounds like the perfect gift!

  8. Just found this website because I am curious to see who else has figured out the lyme, mold connection. My family of 5(all have lyme) spent 3 years living in a highly moldy house which we didn't realize. It was finally cleaned up a couple of months ago- it was very expensive but worth every penny. Our lyme symptoms in 9 weeks have gotten better- much better. I think we were more sick from the mold and I think it was the mold, that brought out our lyme in full force. It was what lowered our immune system, so that the lyme could replicate more. The hardest part now, is just getting out the toxins. The mold and lyme- using questran and Red Rice Yeast/CoQ10- are slowly coming out, but they do greatly affect our kidneys and adrenals and hormones. I do body work- accuppressure and bioset- allergy clearing often to keep us all on track. I highly recommend cleaning up the mold and making it your highest priority. Then using the binders to help get it out- slowly under a doctor's care.