+100%-

(A sweetened condensed version for Health Rising)

 

Thanks to Lissa for providing her disturbing but enlightening version of a severe mold problem in an apparently beautiful house. The deeper Lissa and her husband dug, the worse it got – a cautionary tale for us all. Cort

I became chronically ill with ME/CFS almost seven years ago, in the late summer of 2010.  It started as a flu-like illness that lasted for over a month, and then turned into what seemed like pneumonia.  I knew it was really serious when it got to the point that it became difficult to walk.

My husband and I were celebrating our 1st Anniversary, and after taking a short hike along the shores of Lake Champlain to watch the sunset, I could barely make it back to the parking lot.  I suddenly felt as if gravity was pulling me into the center of the earth.  I could barely move my legs, and every cell in my body…   j u s t…  h a d….  t o….  l i e…  d o w n.

My brain was slow and thick, struggling to make sense of things.  My speech was slurred, incoming information felt garbled, driving was impossible – my reflexes were slowed, my night vision was atrocious.  Sound and light were both excruciating – everything felt like sensory overload.   My whole body ached relentlessly.  And on top of it all, the exhaustion was completely mind-bending.   I had done nothing to warrant such an intense physical and neurological reaction.  Instead of walking a few dozen yards, it was as if I had just run two marathons back-to-back, or climbed Mount Everest without oxygen.

When my health started going downhill, I’d been a cartographer at NAVTEQ, making digital maps for 15 years.  I’d earned my way to working from home and I had a great setup – including a company SUV, outfitted with gadgets for GPS data collection.  The job entailed extensive travel throughout the U.S., with many hours of driving and/or navigating, as well as collecting multiple layers of data, which would be entered later back at the office.

This required a skillset that included the ability to think spatially; to memorize vast amounts (over 3,000 pages) of specifications for coding data; to navigate on the fly – thinking ahead and plotting out the best way to drive all the streets in a neighborhood without backtracking; and also, to be capable of finding creative solutions to any problem that might arise, whether it was “real world” on a road trip, or digitally, to resolve a quirky coding conflict.

Most of these skills and much of the knowledge I’d gained over the years seemed to disappear.  I couldn’t remember even the simplest of things, including some basic, entry-level coding of road geometry.  (Hard to imagine, when I used to be the regional go-to person for coding extremely complicated areas, like Logan Airport and “The Big Dig” in Boston!)  I’d blank out on conference calls when I was asked to report on special projects.  I felt panicked about upcoming field work in NYC – I knew my brain wasn’t working right and I was terrified that I’d have a massive fail in front of co-workers who were counting on my experience and skills.

I was utterly exhausted, sick, and struggling to work TWO hours a week.  I couldn’t even work from home – never mind any travel!  Within a few months, after my short-term disability ran out, my long-term disability was denied, and I lost my job.  I was utterly devastated.  I’d always thought it would be my dream job until retirement!

In the beginning, I quickly discovered that regular MD’s had next to nothing to offer.  There were no ME/CFS specialists within hundreds of miles, so that wasn’t an option either. I was lucky that my GP actually diagnosed me with ME/CFS right away, but pacing was his best suggestion.  That helped to reset my expectations and avoid the worst of crashes, but it didn’t really bring any big gains.  (And for POTS… I wore a heart monitor occasionally to keep an eye on my anaerobic threshold.  It seemed mostly futile though, because the threshold was so low.)

Then I found a great ND, who discovered that I had almost no amino acids, and severely depleted vitamins and elements of all kinds.  After about a year or so of taking bazillions of supplements, including herbal antivirals, and trying various diets, I went from being nearly bedridden to averaging about 20% of my former self and being mostly housebound.  I even got a wheelchair for any big excursions, so I wouldn’t feel so left out of life.

Eventually I gained a little more from a combination of correcting my neurotransmitter levels (Dopamine, GABA, etc.), and adding ATP Fuel which seemed to boost my metabolism.  Throughout this time I also had passive Yoga Bodywork appointments once a week.  This helped with flexibility (I’ve always been super stiff), it improved my rapidly declining posture, and supported lymphatic drainage.  Basically it was encouraging gentle movements that I couldn’t do on my own.  I’ve found this to be invaluable therapy over the years, and I can really tell the difference when I’ve missed a session.

For several years I seemed to plateau at about 30% of my former self with “good days” getting to 40% or 50%, which were, however, few and far between.  Then last year I discovered Mast Cell Activation Syndrome – and treating for that helped even more… for a while anyway.  Ditto for SIBO.  I went through multiple treatments, low FODMAPS, and even did the Elemental Diet, but within a couple months all the bloating, belching, weight gain, and general yuckiness would always come back with a vengeance.

At the end of last year (2016), I found a new ND who had studied the genetic side of things.  She created a finely tuned, specific prescription of supplements based on my own genetics.  This makes up for any quirky gene variants that may be preventing proper detoxification and/or methylation.  With this avenue of attack — I did see further improvements, but not the leaps and bounds that were expected.  Because of this, my doctor asked, “Is there any chance that you’ve been exposed to mold?”  That turned out to be the million-dollar question.   If only one doctor, of the multitudes I’d seen, had asked me that decades ago!  In hindsight, I can now see that I was living in a pattern of relapsing/remitting ME/CFS since childhood.

As soon as my new ND asked about mold, a light bulb went off.  My husband, David, and I looked at each other, having a WOW moment.  This was something we’d been reading about for the past year or more.  We were familiar with Joey Tuan’s story, Erik Johnson’s story, Lisa Petrison’s story, and more recently, Julie Rehmeyer’s story.  We’d been fascinated.  In fact, we had even discussed trying to do a Mold Sabbatical in the Southwest, as a random test, “just in case”.  We’d been wondering about the possibilities of mold in our home for quite some time, but whatever minor issues we’d had were fixed as soon as we discovered them.  Because we couldn’t see or smell anything, it didn’t seem like it would be possible to have a problem of a magnitude that might harm us.  Boy, were we WRONG!

About a year after getting married, we had bought a house (which was only 10 years old at the time), while I was in the midst of the initial pneumonia-like onset.  Then I never got better.  I really hadn’t pondered that it seemed to coincide with my illness.  After all, I’d had a lifetime of bizarre maladies over the years.  Nothing would have led me to think that they might ALL be connected… until now.

We had been preparing to finally start a long overdue, master bathroom renovation in mid-February.  David was ripping out the vanity and getting ready to demolish the old flooring.  When he removed the baseboard behind the toilet he unknowingly unleashed the mother lode of Toxic Black Mold that had been residing there.  It was a surprisingly small amount, growing unseen and undetectable in the dark crevice between the baseboard and the tasty surface of the drywall – stealthily wicking sewer water to feed on, up one tiny grout line.  Apparently, the toilet had been leaking slowly since the house was built, but it had been so tightly sealed to the floor that there were no signs of water.

In an instant, David was as compromised as I was – with my 7 years of having ME/CFS.  He staggered out to the living room where I had been resting, trying to read.  I suddenly felt awful for no apparent reason.   In fact, I had been sitting there puzzling why the downturn – I hadn’t even been doing anything.  David was slurring his words as he spoke to me, trying to explain what he had uncovered.  He was pale, shaky, and slow; off balance, and very clearly affected by what he’d gotten a face full of.  It was frightening to watch.  It was a nightmare image really, seeing him as sick as I was in just one heartbeat.

Instinctively we knew it was bad.  Really bad.  Together we mobilized as best we could and sealed off the master bedroom suite with plastic.  It was, in hindsight, fairly ineffective given the real scope of the problem.  Then we started researching and trying to figure out what to do next.  It sure seemed like we might, indeed, be dealing with the dreaded Stachybotrys – which produces trichothecenes, and go figure…. suppresses the immune system.

Thankfully when all this happened, we already had an appointment scheduled with a Shoemaker mold doctor for the upcoming week.  (For once there was actually a local specialist!)  She did all the appropriate tests, confirmed the diagnosis of toxic mold poisoning, and prescribed CSM for both of us.   Immediately, we set up an appointment with the environmental test guy she recommended.  He came out right away and got us started with what would be the first of many return trips for testing the house. (ERMI, air samples, etc. which concluded it was Stachybotrys in the master bathroom.)

We spent hours and hours reading articles about mycotoxins. I joined the Mold Avoiders FB page, and I gleaned all I could from Paradigm Change – a fabulous resource for all things moldy.  Instinct told us that we needed to get out of the house right away – despite the test guy not seeming terribly concerned on his first visit.

For 10 days, we tried living out back in my little art studio – a 9’ x 13’ shed – only using the house for the bathroom, cooking, and doing laundry.  But we soon discovered that it was a bad idea.  In our relative ignorance, we were creating a cross-contamination nightmare between the two buildings.  It didn’t take long to notice how much worse we’d feel just being in the house.  Not only did we feel awful, it made us cranky and snippy too.  Totally not ourselves indoors, we realized that as soon as we left, our moods would return to normal again.

By March 1st we found an apartment in a nearby town, and were able to safely move there with our two cats and not much else.  We’d already learned that cross-contamination happens far too easily.  What followed for the next month was incredibly chaotic – we spent all our time trying to get our feet under us and replace the absolute basics:  clothes, food, a new mattress, and new computers.  Our apartment was nearly empty as it was just too risky to bring anything.  David even had to trade in his nice truck (that was already paid off) for a beater truck, because the “good” one was making us sick every time we rode in it.

By April we had contracted with a professional remediation company, but it was going to be SO expensive that it was worth our while to try to empty the house ourselves, despite being sick.  The mold testing had revealed that it wasn’t just our master bathroom — our entire house was compromised.  It turned out that the original builder had made multiple, major construction errors that had allowed moisture into ALL of the exterior walls, where mold was secretly growing in the insulation behind the drywall.  The exterior sheathing was rotting — completely unseen, under the cedar shakes. No way of knowing until now, after it had been exposed. So most of the walls around our house contained some flavor(s) of Penicillium/Aspergillus, which produce aflatoxins and ochratoxins.

So, we spent the entire month of April commuting to our own home, wearing Tyvek suits and bright pink respirators, and going through every one of our belongings — chucking things into the giant dumpster, which was parked like a Scarlet Letter beside our house.  We rented a storage container for things we tried to save, and vast piles for donation were stuffed in our garage.  It took us 2 full weeks, working solid days, every day of the week, plus 4 weekends, before we called “Uncle”, and left the rest of our limited belongings to the professionals.  It was an eye-opener to find that most people didn’t understand, and “help” was both limited and hard to come by.

Unfortunately, the remediation company was delayed, and they couldn’t start our job until the 2nd week in May.  Enter a long and terrible tale of mistakes and mayhem during the remediation – too long to tell here, as it is already quite the story.  In essence, after two full weeks they still weren’t done, because they had to come back and re-do things they had missed or screwed up.  By June 1st, we wound up having to spend 10 days in a hotel in Burlington with our cats, because our landlady had rented our apartment already, and the remediation STILL wasn’t done properly.  Then even after that, when we got back in to our house “officially” (yet again), we STILL kept finding more stuff the supposed pros had missed. They had to come back again and again, while we hunkered down in the studio once more.  The list of what they didn’t find or clean properly was long and cringe-worthy.

For instance, the remediation plan advised only removing the bottom half of the exterior walls. As “experts” we trusted them, and now we have discovered that the insides of the upper half of the walls were contaminated too, simply due to air circulation. (WE found it because they had randomly pulled out too much insulation here and there so we had to remove more drywall to get the new insulation in.) Now we know that the entire exterior wall in each room should have had ALL drywall and insulation removed.

On top of that — through our own sleuthing, we uncovered more toxic mold in the wall under the kitchen window, behind where the sink was. Invisible from either side of the wall — completely hidden within it. We found that not just the kitchen window had failed, but ALL the windows in the house had failed, and were slowly leaking into the wall cavities beneath. Not a peep from the pros. They just painted over the studs in question, and left us with the aftermath. If we hadn’t been paying attention, we would have been sealing things back up and repeating the problem.

Oh — and as if that weren’t enough. In July we found that the attic was contaminated too, so ALL the ceiling insulation and drywall has to be replaced. Thanks again to the builder, who, among the trillion other mistakes made, also didn’t insulate the can lights that are in the ceilings of every room. The condensation over the first 8 years, before we bought the house, caused hidden mold/toxin damage in the ceilings, behind the lights. So that has been spewing down on us all this time too.

For all our troubles, we have gained an uncanny ability to sense contamination to within a few feet of the source.  David is especially fine-tuned now – the most notable symptom for him is that the toxins make his ears ring.  I get a weird, split-second, earthquakey, “twitchy-nerve” kind of thing in my legs.  It feels like someone tugged a rug underfoot, but there isn’t one.

We’d been there a month (since mid-June), and were still feeling sick – despite all our efforts to get to where we could start rebuilding the house.  All this — after spending the last 7 years valiantly keeping our home in good repair, making incremental upgrades, and putting so much love into it and the surrounding landscape too.  It has been a passion for both of us for the entire time that we’ve lived here. Especially since I was too sick to travel – as an alternative to vacations, our goal was to make the property a great place to simply BE.

Originally, we chose this house precisely because it shouldn’t have had a mold problem!  It has a slab foundation with radiant heat, and no basement.  A simple one-story building – it’s built on a hill, snugged up to a mountain, has good southern exposure for sun, and gets cooling breezes coming up the valley.  Perfect, right?  It now stands there, as a shell of its former self.

The house is completely gutted.  The exterior walls are missing the siding 2 feet up, all the way around on the back section, which includes the bedrooms, bathrooms, laundry and mudroom.  There is only thin plywood sheeting, covered in temporary Tyvek house wrap and tape to protect it from the weather until we can fix it properly.  Likewise, the house is missing the bottom 4 feet of drywall and insulation on the inside of all the exterior walls.

The wood flooring and carpets were all ripped out, so nothing is left but the cement slab floor, and some tile that was in the mud room and laundry. We also had to toss all of our appliances, laundry machines included, due to contamination.  There is absolutely nothing left of the kitchen – all the cabinets were contaminated with toxins (which bond to grease), so they have to be refinished in an attempt to save them.

Although we had been able to sleep in the guest room for a couple weeks, we were still using an air mattress on the floor.  It was too sketchy to bring the real one (that we had replaced in March) inside yet.  David also did a stint in a tent in the yard for a few weeks to see if he could make additional improvements.  (I was too scared of bears to join him!  Hah!)

On top of all that, we were left with no functional bathrooms.  The master bath was gutted.  It has a tub still, but nothing else and no ceiling above the room.  The guest bath still has a shower stall, but they originally left us with no toilet, and no sink.  (Now fixed thankfully!)  We had been using a port-a-potty rental since March to get by.  Prior to that, when we were trying to live in the studio back in February, we resorted to peeing in snowbanks.  Fun times for a Vermont winter – and oh so thankful we live in a rural area at least!

Now here we are – seven months later, having paid an astronomical tab for the remediation, and THIS is what we were left with.  We can’t start putting things back together, because of the issues that remain within the exterior walls, as well as the attic, and all the failed windows.

By late August, even living outside, cooking on the side porch, and sleeping in the studio and/or a tent for several weeks was not enough.  We had to leave the property again and move into an apartment in South Burlington.  Now we are living there full time, it has added 30 minutes to David’s commute, and we still have to deal with regular yardwork, mowing etc. at the house in the meantime.

Essentially, we’ve been swirling in circles like a stalled-out hurricane for months now. It’s like we’re in a “Cone of Uncertainty” trying to figure out how to save our house after a massively failed remediation. Paying for a second remediation, AND materials for a rebuild, AND labor— is just beyond our means. It’s like pick 2, but not all 3.  We are both too sick for it to be a total DIY project. It would take 10 years!

So – being mostly gutted, but needing the remainder to be gutted— the house has lost its value of course. We got sicker trying to live/work on it for the past 3 months. Now we are living in an apartment– paying rent, AND the mortgage. Trying to figure out what to do… And hoping to get a bounce in our health from having left the property…AGAIN.

We are torn because saving the house is overwhelming. But it has a lot going for it, radiant heat on slab, no basement, etc. The problems were ALL from a horrible builder screwing everything up. Putting it back together correctly would fix the issues and we’d know what we have because we did it. I shudder to think of dumping the house and becoming vagabonds — terrified to get involved in real estate again, but still needing a roof over our heads. Blargh.

We have discussed bankruptcy with a lawyer, but our only real debt is the mortgage, so it makes zero sense in our case. We’ve owned the house 7 years, and it is only 16 yrs old. Since there were multiple parties who either lied or made enough mistakes to have made the perfect storm out of this situation – the idea of bankruptcy at their collective hands is a hard pill to swallow.

We, in good faith, were going about our lives as homeowners, upgrading the property and house in reasonable DIY increments — all the while getting sicker from the hidden mold. It’s crazy making to think we may lose what we thought was our dream home because of other people’s negligence…. and to have no recourse!! We feel like lost souls without a clue how to solve this.

Did I mention that insurance doesn’t cover a penny?!  What about IRS – catastrophic loss?!  NOPE.  Same response as the insurance company… a “slow” issue is YOUR problem.  Not only that – the statute of limitations ran out 6 months prior to exposing the toxic mold, so supposedly we have no recourse through the court system either.  Even using the “discovery rule”, no lawyers have been willing to take our case on contingency.  We can’t afford to put our house back together, let alone pay a legal team out of pocket.

UGH. So, special thanks goes to the incompetent builder, the seller who lied about mold, and the state of Vermont for not having any building codes. Oh, and a very special kind of thank you for home insurance, the bastards that write the clauses to exclude mold, making sure there is no help to be found.

In any case, we both improved after leaving the house and moving to the (1st) apartment.  I seem to have had the most significant gains overall.  Although David feels somewhat better too, he was more compromised by his acute exposure and he also happens to have the double whammy HLA genetics.  Unfortunately, because we are super sensitized now, and still being exposed – even at minute levels, we are both still struggling to make better progress.

I kept ME/CFS symptom records for years, and also had been using a Vivofit fitness watch to record my activity (or rather lack of).  For the past two years that I’ve worn it I averaged about 4,000 steps a day.  Since getting out of the mold, I am regularly doubling that count, and I’ve even had a few days that I topped 14,000 steps.  And I wasn’t even thinking about it or trying!

I’ve been doing most of the cooking now (even without a real kitchen for three months!), and also have been chipping in to run errands, do some grocery shopping, and even help with some of the more minor projects around the house.  I still get tired, but by necessity I have to get up and do it all again the next day – and I CAN.  My brain fog has significantly cleared, unless I’m around mycotoxins… then things shut down again.  Body aches, stiffness, and gut problems also fluctuate in proximity to mold – now that we are paying attention, we can both notice the correlations.

More recently, since we’ve been in the new apartment for almost a month now, we are definitely doing better than we did at the house.  However – we are not in the clear by any means.  We are still not feeling as well as we did the first time we got out.  As of yet we haven’t been able to determine why.  There are far too many variables still… is it cross contamination?  Slow detoxing?  Contamination or VOC’s from the new apartment?  Is it contamination from neighbors?  Shared laundry facilities?  Is it something from the pine woods behind the apartment complex?  It is truly crazy making.

On a lighter note, we are so lucky to have each other, and to have the same mind-set about working together to get our lives back.   David has seen me through thick and thin, and now that he is experiencing some of the same, he has an even fuller understanding of all I’ve endured, and vice versa.  I know exactly what he’s going through too. Thankfully we have been weathering the storm as well as we can.  The glimmers of health we’ve seen already from avoiding mold have brought us much hope for the future.

Most of all, we are both determined to follow through by telling our story to anyone and everyone who will listen.   The more we learn, the more we know; the more we wonder, the more we research; and the more we realize just how HUGE this mold thing really is.  It’s unfortunate that people don’t tend to really understand things until they’ve experienced it themselves… we can speak to our own former ignorance, and we hope to raise awareness to help others.

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It’s a story one wouldn’t wish on one’s worst enemy.  I asked Lissa knowing what she now knows what she would have done differently.

Looking back what would you have done differently regarding buying the house? Is there any way to protect yourself against something like this happening? 

In hindsight we definitely would have gotten professional mold testing done before purchasing the property.  It was a mistake to think that not seeing or smelling anything meant it was OK.  (And just a side note — those DIY Box Store kits are NOT good enough.  ERMI and multiple sampling methodologies are the way to go.  Our tester did the right tests, he just missed a bunch of issues, and glossed over some slightly suspicious results.)

I would also have done a more thorough investigation when seeking a professional air quality specialist.  We went with a person who was highly recommended by our Shoemaker doctor – yet we did not think to check what types of certifications were the “gold standard” in the business.  Because we were in a rush to find answers, when the guy seemed knowledgeable, we automatically trusted him without looking any further.  It certainly would have behooved us to slow down and seek out advice from online groups that already had experience with finding reputable testers.

Not to mention, it also would have been helpful to look up what types of associations a good professional might be a member of, to ascertain competence — and to make sure there was a thorough understanding of exactly how poisonous toxic mold is.  I’m sure the guy we hired was very good, for the average house or person.  But our case was so extreme, we should have been advised to handle things very differently from the beginning.  Their standards seemed to pertain more to flood damage, and using that mode of thinking for the remediation is what left us with contaminates still in the upper halves of the walls.

What would you have done differently regarding remediation? 

Wow – maybe the same kind of answer as for the air quality testing – we should have done a more thorough investigation of standards and company backgrounds.  We automatically went with one of the companies that our Shoemaker doctor had listed.  The problem was that although they did a good planning report, they were woefully under-educated on the realities of making a house safe for people who already have compromised health.

This was only discovered after we’d hired them and they were part way through the job, making mistakes willy-nilly.  It was hard to stay on top of things because neither of us was healthy enough to be supervising on site.  It was only after things were amiss that we caught them – which made for several do-overs.  And ultimately landed us where we are now.  Things weren’t discovered that should have been, and some of their mistakes contaminated the house even further than it was originally.

What resources can you suggest for people concerned with mold issues in their house?

First and foremost — I’d suggest stop Googling “mold” and use the word “mycotoxin” instead.  You will find enormous amounts of research and articles all backing up the fact that the toxins from mold are extremely harmful to both humans and animals.  Some are even used as biological weapons….

It is unconscionable that so many websites (notice that it is mostly govt, insurance, pharmaceuticals, and allopathy… saying this!) can spout that mold is harmless and can only cause allergies.  NONSENSE.  It is a well-known and published fact that mycotoxins come in many flavors and can cause immunosuppression and all kinds of neurological damage, as well as affecting multiple organs.  Start reading, and keep asking questions.  I promise you will be profoundly affected by the reality of it all.

A few websites for starters:

There are also several high quality Facebook groups that revolve around Mold Avoidance… I strongly suggest joining one, as they are full of information as well as people sharing their experiences.  It helps to not feel so alone!  (Don’t we all know that already, as members of HR!)

And if you haven’t already – go read Julie Rehmeyer’s book, Through the Shadowlands!

Now for the cringe-evoking question. How much have you sunk into this? 

We’ve lost almost all of our belongings…. Cost?  Priceless. I have close to a thousand books – a lifetime’s collection – that are now in storage, but most likely contaminated.  I can’t bear to part with them – yet anyway.  Most of our furniture is gone.  Large appliances we had just replaced, thinking the house was clean…. Now have to be replaced again because of contamination.

We paid around $6,000 for the multiple air quality tests — and re-tests.  The remediation tab was $22,000.  And that was down by $8,000 from the first estimate because we mustered, burned through three weeks of David’s vacation time, so we could do a majority of the cleaning/dumping/destroying of our belongings ourselves… and with some help from David’s parents as well as a couple of his friends. (Huge thanks to them!!)

The mistakes both parties made during the remediation will cost us close to $65,000 in addition to the original costs above.  This includes the multiple months we’ve had to rent an apartment (with an unknown deadline now…), 10 days in a hotel, multiple vet bills for the cats, a backwards slide in our own health – wasting meds by being back in a toxic environment, having to replace all the new appliances and expensive air purifier filters, having to replace the new insulation & drywall we had started to install,  having to keep renting the storage container, having to rent an additional dumpster and pay for more debris removal, having to do some of the remediation ourselves, and estimating the cost of having to hire another remediation company and tester to come back and do it right.

We took out a home equity loan for $50,000 when this all started, assuming that we’d be ready to fix the house back up after the remediation was successful.  Now it will take even more money and materials than originally planned, to gut it even further and then put it back together again.  (To hire a contractor and team to do it all — now wouldn’t THAT be delightful?!)  It will take a significant chunk of change – beyond our life’s savings, that we’ve already been setting fire to.  A rough estimate at this point is around $150,000 for a full rebuild with paid labor. (Keep in mind, it’s certainly not California, but Vermont is kinda pricey! It’s truly a modest house of about 1800 sq ft, one story with no basement.)

The grand total is truly overwhelming… all in all this disaster easily has a price tag of close to $300,000 in losses/expenses – and that is just from trying to save the house.  Because we haven’t owned it that long, we still owe a significant chunk on the mortgage – and if we try to sell the house “as is”, we’d take a huge hit by trying to dump it.  Suffice it to say we are at wits end.

What about crowdfunding to support you guys? Is that a possibility? 

We have been tossing around the ideas of crowdfunding — and are unsure where to start.  Never thought we’d be in this position, and to be honest it has been hard to think about when so many are suffering with the hurricanes and all.  GAH.  In comparison, we are so “lucky” in so many ways.  But we’ve also been screwed beyond compare, through a ridiculous chain of atrocities.

I think we’d feel very grateful if anyone felt they could lend a hand for a good cause.  A good cause being – finding our way through this mess and getting a home that is safe and secure so we can focus on what is truly important:  First and foremost – healing.  And then — I’m still intent on trying to write a book version, and really get the story out there.  David is also in hot pursuit of how to make waves.  Perhaps becoming a mold consultant, teaching self-insured companies about how mold is harming their employees.  Medical costs would certainly go down if people would just realize how sick they can get from toxic mold!  It may be an inroad for change from that angle – or at least we are hoping.

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