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Mold


janiedelite
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On December 31, 2009, I felt water dripping from our ceiling during a very rainy day. We moved out furniture, including floor-to-ceiling bookcases lining an exterior wall. The wall was damp as well. Since then we've found that wall has been continually damp from a slow leak in a cracked shingle. This is an exterior wall, and we regularly check our attic and underneath the house as well. This leak was hidden by insulation, however. Once the drywall was off, it was evident the wall had been damp for years as the studs, header, footer, exterior plywood and even the exterior siding was completely rotted and mold-ridden (I've owned the house for just 4 years.)

Our house was built in 1965 and the siding was never backed with plastic or tar paper. There was particle board under the cedar shakes which acts like a sponge especially in our damp climate. So we've replaced all the siding this past week. We also found that the previous roofers didn't install flashing correctly (where the rooflines meet), causing other potential problems. So we're tearing off the roof Monday.

We've been living with my parents, who are always very kind to my hubby and I and our two large dogs. :D As soon as we found the mold, we vacated the home not wanting to risk making me sicker.

We hired mold remediators who tore out the ceiling, that exterior wall, and cleaned and encapsulated the remaining wood. We went the extra mile and hired mold hygienists who ran air samples and our recent sample showed there's still significant stachybotrys (black mold) as well as other types of mold. So Monday the remediators will come back and tear out the remaining 3 walls in that room, clean any suspicious areas, and we'll run another air sample.

Most insurers have excluded payment for slow leaks and mold since Katrina, including ours. We're in this for at least $25,000 so far. My hubby's a teacher and I can't work, so this is a big stressor. ;)

I bought this house just over 4 years ago, and the inspection went great. It would have been hard for him to catch what was growing in the walls, and to see the poor construction of the siding.

I came down with POTS in 10/06. I asked my primary doctor if the mold could be implicated at all and she doubts it, saying that mold usually only causes respiratory or allergy problems. However, we do hope that by cleaning our house of mold that I might improve! In the meantime, this all feels like a bad dream.....................

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We had mold too and our whole evacuation took place this summer.

I first stayed at my parents house and then my in laws.

I have noticed symptoms wherever I am especially at work, I seem to flare there and I am almost certain there is mold in that building.

Now I'm getting off on a tangent but several workers have had to have growths removed from their vocal chords. We have a couple that have had cancer, some with migraines you name it.

And most of our residents (it is a nursing home) get post nasal drip that they never had before they came there.

I was the only one symptomatic in our home. But our pet mouse had died and also our pet cat. She had respiratory symptoms and then I think died of kidney failure.

We had flooding in the basement every time it rained so I believe it was the source.

We had our house bombed, then everything taken out and bombed again.

Anything with mold growing on it was removed, wood type structures in the basement.

The attic was bombed too and then they sprayed the entire basement with a mold resistant paint.

We had the testing and they were him hawy about the results.

Said they lost them and came and took another sample.

They still have not gotten back to us even though we are back in the house.

I have not had any worsening of symptoms while here.

In the end I couldn't even come into the house before it was treated without my throat practically closing up on me it had gotten so bad and there was a smell.

I do think that we should follow up on those results.

We are already needing to add on to this small home-if it's still a hazard after all that we would be better to just get out or tear it down and rebuild.

Oh we did dispose of our mattresses, our couch, anything that mold could have seeped into and be lurking around in.

It was an expensive process, I don't have an exact total.

We also had to have a sump installed in our basement so that we didn't have any more flooding problems, so far we're dry.

But yes we don't know what is lurking behind walls or even in duct systems.

The way they blew that enzyme through the house I would have thought it would have run through our duct system too and killed any mold that might have been there but I don't know.

My husband ended up in the hospital the following week with pancreatitis.

He was helping with the process.

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You'll have to scroll to the bottom 1/4 of this page, but there is a list of symptoms attributed to toxic mold. Here is another website that describes toxic mold exposure symptoms.. I don't know (and it doesn't seem to be any information) if that the mold could have set off the POTS and other dysautonomia, but I can say for certain that exposure to it would exaserbate symptoms. Lieze, I would come down hard on the testing company about getting the results. If they don't seem to want to help, I would recommend that you try to find another company, as I wouldn't even want to work with that company after that... if they are so inefficient about giving results, who knows about the quality of their clean-up.

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OMG!!! No! Mold causes major neurological effects. We kind of think that mine came either from a former meth lab or moldy apartment and we've been keeping an eye on news reports and stuff. We personally know two different families who had neuro problems from mold in their house.

I would do a research search, do a google search, and then find out if your homeowners covers you and your illness and what it will take to help prove that it may have been from mold. There may be some action groups that you can utilize to help you.

My heart sank when I read your post. What a trial you are going through. I'm glad you have somewhere to stay.

I pray that angels are by your side and will help you with comfort and rest. Nothing is worse than anxiety and I hope you can find little rays of sunshine wherever they may be.

Kits

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Thanks, guys! Lieze, I'm sorry that you're able to relate to our predicament.

Ericka, thanks for the link. The CDC and EPA don't have any studies that link any certain type of mold to anything but respiratory symptoms, so that is what my Dr based her opinion on. However, all the symptoms of toxic mold exposure match up with me. I know it takes awhile for nervous systems to heal, and sometimes they don't heal completely. We are going "above and beyond" standard mold remediation by paying for the air sampling. But my hubby and I want to make sure our house isn't making me sicker!

Hey Kits, unfortunately I've read our homeowners policy and they have it written about 3 different ways that they don't cover slow leaks or mold of any type. We did file a claim and were denied. At least my hubby has great health coverage, so we're good there. Thank you for the prayers, and God has sent us good weather so far so that the contractors haven't been delayed by weather at all yet!

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Thankful,

I was interested to read your post because I just had a long conversation about this with a new doctor. I am switching pcp's and interviewed a new one last week. She has had a lot of experience with dysautonomia patients and actually has had 6 of them whom she was able to find an environmental trigger for. Once they were removed from those environments, it took a while - like a year - but they got better. She has been doing work with a very well known dys specialist and when she has time will be writing this up for a journal. Her take is that there can DEFINITELY be an environmental trigger for some people. Since you got sick during the time you were in this environment, I would strongly suggest making sure that ALL mold is gone before you move back in. This could be your key.

Good luck!

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Since you got sick during the time you were in this environment, I would strongly suggest making sure that ALL mold is gone before you move back in. This could be your key.

Yes! We are doing that (air sampling, tossing out furniture...)! Thanks so much for your encouragement, sharing your doctor's experience with environmental triggers. It makes sense that it could take a good year to improve. Our nervous system is the slowest system in our bodies to repair itself. I do believe I have a bit more energy after being out of the house for a month (although that could just be the result of my optimism :unsure: ).

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Do you think that it is possible that I get triggered that quickly going into my work environment where I believe mold is present?

I barely work there at all now and feel good at home, although I do agree we should pressure that company to give us the results of those tests. It's not their fault if there is still mold here it could be behind walls and things.

I get so sensitive talking about these things almost fearful and paranoid.

I'm really trying to get past that.

It has been a traumatizing experience.

lieze

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Lieze,

As for me, I don't suffer immediate symptoms when I enter the moldy area of our home. Conversely, I really don't notice a huge improvement since being out of that environment. Some people who have allergic reactions to mold can tell immediately. Either way, I'd still pressure the air sampling company to give you the results. It's ridiculous that they wouldn't do so, and it's fraud. You paid them and they took your money without delivering on their promise. You could report them to your state's attorney general, if they continue to refuse to deliver what they promised when they took your money. I know this is traumatic. Our home's issues seem to stem from the prior homeowner having done shoddy repairs. We're investigating compensation, although it seems the statute of limitations has run out. I hate even thinking about it, though, but we have to protect ourselves. :unsure:

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I think that I first got sick because of mold. A doctor that I was seeing at the time said that my symptoms were like I was being poisoned.

I think toxic mold exposure is not so much an allergy. I had a systemic reaction. Even ALL of my lymph nodes were swollen. I did not have typical "allergy" symptoms.

I wonder how many of us who know we have had mold exposure have hyperadergenic POTS. Maybe this kind is more likely to be cause by toxins.

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Very interesting topic as I always wondered about my mold exposure and POTS!

I lived in a building that had some water/leaking issues. I didn't know this when I moved in. We had a very moldy closet (we didn't really use) because the AC was in there. They 'cleaned' it and painted it once, it came back, and finally we moved into an upper floor unit to avoid the leaking closet. I was probably around that mold for 4 years.

Then there was a huge flood and the basement of the building flooded (I didn't spend much time down there, of course). I was very glad I was no longer on the first floor.

A few months after the flood we discovered a wall behind some stuff we had stored in an extra room was full of dark, icky mold. My cat liked to hide in there and he had been having literal asthma attacks for months. We even had him X-Rayed and checked out for his respiratory problem that came out of nowhere!

We fortunately were able to move a few months later. About a month or so after moving, my cat stopped having his awful asthma attack (they were so upsetting to me and him I am sure). I am doing a bit better. Not greatly, but we'll see how I am at the one year mark.

My POTS came on in the middle of this...in 2007. I also had a bad virus in 2007 so it could've been a combination, who knows. But I don't think the mold situation was healthy! My cat being 100% cured of awful asthma attacks really says something to me, though.

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Hi all -

As was previously said, it's super important that mold problems are taken seriously. Stachybotrys, Penicillium, and Aspergillus are neurotoxic molds. They are not your average "refrigerator" molds. If these molds are present together (usually with high levels of bacteria), they cause a synergistic effect, meaning that they become even more dangerous than they are alone.

With neurotoxic mold present, it is not uncommon to have any one or combination of the following: fatigue, headaches, muscle aches, rashes, muscle twitching, mental fogginess, digestive problems, hearing loss, nose bleeds, constant dizziness, inability to multitask, disorientation, irritability, swollen glands, sore throat, frequent urination, sinus problems, memory problems, or the need to sleep constantly. There can be respiratory problems as well, but this is not an "allergy." It is a neurotoxic poisoning.

Neurotoxins from Stachybotrys are used to develop biological weapons for war. They are nothing to mess around with. Getting proper air testing/remediation is extremely important if you are having symptoms. It is also important to know that not everyone exposed will react in the same way and with the same severity. Due to genetics or simply exposure time each day, some people may be much sicker than others. Also, the mold can be concentrated more in certain areas of the house or release spores more at some times than others.

It is also important to be aware that even when the mold is killed/cleaned, mold spores still give off the toxins. You can't kill the toxins. It's very difficult to improve health when there is contamination of clothing, furniture, or anything with porous surfaces like paper or wood. These things can be contaminated with spores in the air, and they can continue to make you sick long after all visible mold has been cleaned.

It is possible to become chemically sensitive after mold exposure, where triggers (perfume, cleaning chemicals, pesticides/herbicides, cigarette smoke) will cause symptoms. It is possible to have symptoms upon immediately entering a "sick building" if you are chemically sensitive. It is also possible to feel "ok" and gradually decline the longer you are in a "sick building."

I have been through all of this - the medical/contamination/moving/chemical sensitivity/loss - all of it. It was over 11 years ago, but it still hits me hard emotionally when I hear about other people dealing with this. The best defense is to do a lot of research and to be informed about what you're coping with. Do not let anyone tell you it is an "allergy." An allergy to mold is very different from toxic mold exposure, and there are doctors who can diagnose and treat it.

Here is a terrific blog/resource of a family going through treatment for mold exposure: http://moldrecovery.blogspot.com/

Please PM me if you have questions. My heart goes out to you!

Kristen

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Kristen -

What do you think about POTS plus mold? My POTS came on during mold exposure. It sits in the back of my mind and I wonder and hope, if it was partially that, if I can heal now that I'm out of that environment.

Anyone who does have POTS and mold should do whatever they can to clean it out. Definitely. The stuff I've read on these links is surprising. I didn't know mold was that bad...and our mold was disgusting. If it was coming through on the wall I just have a feeling there was a LOT behind that wall. I don't even want to think about it!

My cat is healed. After tests/x-rays/etc. Healed. No more asthma. And he didn't improve until we moved! I just don't find that a coincidence. And my cat is a very close companion of mine and I adore him so I pay attention. It breaks my heart mold in his sleeping area was harming him.

When I moved, I threw out my mattress and couch (both were very old). I also have new curtains. I am glad I decided to get rid of those as spores can hang around.

Good luck, everyone. I wish I would have had the mold tested, but I didn't own the place and it's costly. But it was not a normal 'food/kitchen' mold. It was black and nasty.

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This really makes me wonder...as I said earlier in this thread my new doc says for some people there is a strong environmental link. I wonder because we had just moved into our new (very old) house when I got sick. That being said, I believe the reason I got sick is that I had some awful life-threatening complications and several surgeries and months in the hospital when I gave birth. Then I was sick.

However, our cat right around the same time developed some sort of allergy. We don't know what it is - but it has to be to something in this house - she didn' thave it before and now she licks all of her fur off on her belly and arms because she gets these bumps/scabs. We have her on cyclosporine (sp?) and that helps her.

The house is old and the people who lived here before did NOT take care of it. Insulation soaking wet from bathroom leaks, etc. We gutted that area and installed all new insulation and sealed the basement and did everything we could think of but still...makes me wonder. We were going to get some testing done on the house a couple of years ago but had to cancel last minute. Now I know how important this is but don't have the $$. And honestly if our house was making me sick we would just end up moving. We wnat to move eventually anyway. Just would be a matter of making sure the new house was 'clean' too.

So for me I don't know - I definitely think I got sick because of the trauma my body endured but who knows. maybe there is an environmental factor that is not helping things.

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dsdmom - It is interesting your cat showed a reaction. too. We're all 'mammals' so this type of thing can't be healthy! And like I said before - what if it could be just a bad luck trigger: environmental + trauma (virus, surgeries, etc) and it was just the right combination to send some of us over the edge? Very upsetting to think about!

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Yes our pet mouse died first. Just out of the blue found it on it's back dead.

Then the cat within a couple months.

And I was sick so we got out.

We have field mice running through our heating vents now and even though to some people that's creepy I figure if the mouse is still alive we're probably okay.

He's my little canary in the coalmine.

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Our cat spent most of a winter in what is now known as the "mold room" and now has constant sneezing, snot, yucky stuff. She's been at my mom's house for a year, and still has those problems, but I bet they were caused by the fungi growing in that room.

I've been doing a lot of research on PubMed on Stachybotrys. OMG! All of my symptoms can be accounted for by this mold... burning skin, metallic taste in mouth, fatigue, headaches, etc... We are going to have a safe house to come back to, though.

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Kristen -

What do you think about POTS plus mold? My POTS came on during mold exposure. It sits in the back of my mind and I wonder and hope, if it was partially that, if I can heal now that I'm out of that environment.

I think the causes of POTS vary widely, but it's true that any assault to your system (i.e. accident, surgery, trauma) can trigger it. I think it's natural to wonder about the long-term health effects of mold since Stachybotrys in particular has proven to be neurotoxic. I did a quick Google search and found a journal article which states that toxic mold-exposed patients had abnormal autonomic response. It's good that you were able to get out of that environment! I think that mold-avoidance is a great way to start the healing process.

thankful - My family also had the burning skin and metallic taste that you mentioned (in addition to the fatigue and headaches i mentioned earlier). I'm so glad to hear you are having remediation done and have arranged for air-testing. It's awful to go through financially and emotionally, but it's good that you are informed and have made all the right decisions for your health. Have you looked into HEPA air filters?

lieze - I totally know where you are coming from about the mice being a comfort. Smaller animals obviously are more susceptible/sensitive to environmental issues, so it is definitely a comfort that they are breathing the air you breathe and are alive and well! :)

dsdmom - It sounds like you had multiple factors at play in getting sick. You're right that proper air testing for mold can be VERY expensive. If you really want to explore it further, there are do-it-yourself tests that can be cheap (but maybe not as reliable), or possibly you could stay with a family member or friend for a while to see if you feel any better. just some ideas!

One thing i forgot to mention earlier is that remediation, remodeling, or tearing out toxic mold without professional know-how can often make the spore count in the air shoot up dramatically. If anyone has a major mold problem, it's best to let a professional handle it, like thankful is doing. It can be very dangerous to try to get rid of large areas of mold without the proper training and air-testing.

Kristen

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Kristen, thank you for sharing your experiences and knowledge. I do hope that my symptoms will at least subside a bit now that we're ridding our house of mold, and it's horrible that your family had the burning skin and metallic taste too. Did those symptoms subside eventually after being in a clean environment?

Anyway, I just had the remediator look at a suspicious area in the ceiling of our bathroom. He thinks that our small (and only) bathroom doesn't have green board (the proper water-resistant drywall). It looks like there's been mildew growing under the paint on our ceiling (the prior owners painted and re-tiled the bathroom prior to selling). I just moved all our belongings out of the bathroom so the remediator can set up containment (put plastic and tape around the door and put a HEPA filter in). I can't believe it... another room... my heart is sinking thinking about the cost :blink:

The office where the first leak was found is completely void of drywall, insulation, flooring, and they encapsulated all the wood, even the rafters.

We had the whole roof torn off and replaced yesterday and we replaced all the siding last week.

But I'd rather have it fixed properly when all's said and done.

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thankful, my heart sinks for you when I think about how much this must be costing! I mean of course it's for the right reasons but still it must be so expensive!

OK I am going to ask what may be a very silly question. What is the deal with mildew? Is that considered mold? Is it dangerous?

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OK I am going to ask what may be a very silly question. What is the deal with mildew? Is that considered mold? Is it dangerous?

Yes, mildew is mold. I guess I shouldn't have called it mildew. I looked up "mildew" and it's mold that grows on fabric. I just thought it was the stuff that collected on your shower curtain or in the grout.

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I just found mold in my closet (if faces an outside wall of the house-our house is 50+ yrs old w/ wood siding) - I have been wondering if my POTS symptoms were from the mold b/c I don't know how long it's been there (it was clothes I haven't worn in a long time, so that is why I didn't notice) - My husband keeps insisting the way I feel is not related to the mold, and then I think, wouldn't he be sick too if I were sick from the mold?

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We have stuff growing on the ceiling above our shower. It's mildew/mold. And it grosses me out. Honestly I cant imagine undertaking what thankful is rightn ow as far as remediation. we don't have the $ right now...

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I just found mold in my closet (if faces an outside wall of the house-our house is 50+ yrs old w/ wood siding) - I have been wondering if my POTS symptoms were from the mold b/c I don't know how long it's been there (it was clothes I haven't worn in a long time, so that is why I didn't notice) - My husband keeps insisting the way I feel is not related to the mold, and then I think, wouldn't he be sick too if I were sick from the mold?

I would guess it would effect everyone differently. Some are probably more sensitive than others.

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My husband keeps insisting the way I feel is not related to the mold, and then I think, wouldn't he be sick too if I were sick from the mold?

My hubby has lived with me in our mold-infested home without serious symptoms either. He has some fungal skin issues, but they are minor. No systemic issues. One of our dogs has skin allergies, while the other one doesn't. If it were me, I'd get it checked out by a mold remediator. But, as I've shared, that can be very costly.

Since I've been out of our home, my mom and hubby notice I have more energy. My other symptoms haven't changed yet.

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