My Toxic Black Mold Journey (Part 1)

Hello sweet pea's,

Today is the beginning of my mold journey story which I hope will help other's out there who are suffering, seemingly, without a cause.
There's so much to say, so I am going to do this in a series because I truly believe that there is too much to learn, to pass on, and to continue healing from, that one post would be inadequate.
I have been putting off writing this series of posts for a while, for various reasons.
Firstly, because I had been so unwell that out of necessity, I had to pour what little energy I had left, into getting out of the mold environment and focusing on getting better.
Then there is the fact that I am still healing from this and it has been almost 6 months, apparently 1 to 2 years is a normal recovery time. Sometimes longer, I pray that is not the case for me.
Yes, I am much improved but not yet 100%, that means that I am still struggling and needing rest, still seeking answers, and some days I don't do so well.
I am also reeling from the impact this has had on my life, as well as my relationships with those I love and who love me.
There have been major upheavals, things that shook me to my core, had me questioning everything and knocked me to some very low places; which still hurt my heart. All this makes it tough to face the days, adding difficulties to the process of healing, often breaking down with tears and pain, and making it so hard too feel good about myself.
That takes time to come back from.
I won't get into it further but suffice it to say, life and loving have been heartbreaking on levels I never realized could exist, and I'm not over it yet; but I will be some day. For now, I focus on self-care, even if others do not see, get, or understand mycotoxin poisoning.

This part 1 will be a very basic look at black mold and the beginning of my story. This will be followed up with other posts that will include what protocols I chose to follow, links to information, along with a bunch of other helpful stuff you will need to know, if you or a loved one are the reason you stopped by here. I have been contacted by a few individuals on social media who have had so many questions, legitimate concerns, and need for some guidance; I pray this finds you and helps.
I want you to know that this is really a journey, not a destination. This kind of health issue is something that takes time to figure out and takes even longer to recover from.
Do not get discouraged, you can and will do this. God will open the doors, provide a way, and help you get the answers you need. Just as he answered my prayers, sent people and information, in the most surprising and quick ways, so I could be blessed with his loving & healing grace, to be writing this for you to read today.

Let us begin by showing some info graphics of some of the symptoms of black mold exposure; because when mold was first mentioned to me by a loved one, I was initially less interested in what and more concerned with how it was effecting me.

Black mold aka Black slime mold aka Toxic mold aka Stachybotrys Chartarum.
Below is information garnered from other sites, as I am not a mold expert or doctor. Preferring to give proper information from reliable sources, as I discovered them during my research for my own exposure, I am providing links for you to pursue the knowledge yourselves. I also beg to differ with some statements, as I have seen mold grow in crazy places and on crazy things, along with giving people a bunch of symptoms we are still learning about. So, take things with a grain of salt and Sherlock Holmes your way to wellness!

Stachybotrys chartarum (also known as strachybotrys atra) is a slow-growing greenish black mold. It grows only on wood, paper and cotton products and can be found in 2 to 5% of homes in the United States.
Stachybotrys chartarum may produce several toxic chemicals called mycotoxins. These chemicals can be found in spores and small fungus fragments released into the air.
There is a potential for people to develop symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, runny nose, irritated eyes or throat, particularly if the person has developed an allergy to this fungus. Stachybotrys chartarum has been blamed for pulmonary hemosiderosis (bleeding in the lungs) in a small number of infants. However, experts claim that this is “not proved.”

It is sometimes found in soil and grain, but the mold is most often detected in cellulose-rich building materials from damp or water-damaged buildings.[1] S. chartarum was originally discovered on the wall of a house in Prague in 1837 by Czech mycologist August Carl Joseph Corda. It requires very high moisture content in order to grow and is associated with wet gypsum material and wallpaper.[2]
Health problems related to this mold have been documented in humans and animals since the 1930s;[3] it is also considered a likely candidate for the Biblical condition mistranslated as "leprosy", tzaraath.[4] More recently, S. chartarum has been linked with so-called sick building syndrome. However, the link has not been firmly established in the scientific literature.[5]
There are two chemotypes in S. chartarum, one that produces trichothecene mycotoxins including satratoxins and one that produces atranones.[6]
Two cats died under anesthesia in what is believed to be the first documented case of black mold poisoning in pets. The cats had been living in Florida in a water damaged home. During routine dental procedures both cats experienced severe pulmonary hemorrhage and later died. Blood tests confirmed the presence of a toxin produced by S. chartarum, and severe mold contamination was found in the home.[7]


Four distinctive microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOCs), 1-butanol3-methyl-1-butanol3-methyl-2-butanol, and thujopsene, were detected on rice cultures, and only one (1-butanol) was detected on gypsum board cultures.[8]
How common is mold, including Stachybotrys chartarum (also known by its synonym Stachybotrys atra) in buildings?
Molds are very common in buildings and homes and will grow anywhere indoors where there is moisture. The most common indoor molds are CladosporiumPenicilliumAspergillus, and Alternaria. We do not have precise information about how often Stachybotrys chartarum is found in buildings and homes. While it is less common than other mold species, it is not rare.
How do molds get in the indoor environment and how do they grow?
Mold spores occur in the indoor and outdoor environments. Mold spores may enter your house from the outside through open doorways, windows, and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems with outdoor air intakes. Spores in the air outside also attach themselves to people and animals, making clothing, shoes, bags, and pets convenient vehicles for carrying mold indoors.
When mold spores drop on places where there is excessive moisture, such as where leakage may have occurred in roofs, pipes, walls, plant pots, or where there has been flooding, they will grow. Many building materials provide suitable nutrients that encourage mold to grow. Wet cellulose materials, including paper and paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, wood, and wood products, are particularly conducive for the growth of some molds. Other materials such as dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation materials, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery, commonly support mold growth.
What is Stachybotrys chartarum (Stachybotrys atra)?
Stachybotrys chartarum (also known by its synonym Stachybotrys atra) is a greenish-black mold. It can grow on material with a high cellulose and low nitrogen content, such as fiberboard, gypsum board, paper, dust, and lint. Growth occurs when there is moisture from water damage, excessive humidity, water leaks, condensation, water infiltration, or flooding. Constant moisture is required for its growth. It is not necessary, however, to determine what type of mold you may have. All molds should be treated the same with respect to potential health risks and removal.
Are there any circumstances where people should vacate a home or other building because of mold?
These decisions have to be made individually. If you believe you are ill because of exposure to mold in a building, you should consult your physician to determine the appropriate action to take.
Who are the people who are most at risk for health problems associated with exposure to mold?
People with allergies may be more sensitive to molds. People with immune suppression or underlying lung disease are more susceptible to fungal infections.

My story is kind of strange in how it all came about.
Mold of this sort has an unmistakable odour. It is musty, earthy, very pungent, in an unpleasant and disturbing way, and it does not go away. I would clean the bathroom for hours and still notice an off smell within less than an hour of being done. 
I couldn't understand what the issue was. 
It turns out our upstairs neighbor confirmed the mold to us this March of 2018; he had helped the owner "clean" it four years back and the entire bathroom wall had been covered in it. Unfortunately, no proper, professional mold remediation was ever done-which needs to be, and it grew back in a prolofic manner, as the pipe that constantly leaked was never properly fixed either. 
We had also had numerous flooding situations in our home which the landlady ignored for extended periods of time. The last one being in early spring of 2018, we had flooding in our kitchen for 28 days straight, with us running to empty buckets on and off throughout the day and night.
Yeah, not a good owner and not a good situation; but an ideal spawning ground for black mold.
Last we heard, there was someone from the city inspecting our abandoned dwelling, in a hazmat suit because it was too toxic to even walk into unprotected.
To think, we almost stayed for a 5th year, before we found out all of this mold stuff.
Here are some pictures of the spores we found in our rental, followed by some up close pics I found on-line, that show what the miniature spores look like up close.
This first pic above,  was what I first saw when we had gone back to clean our rental, the day after we moved out. I thought the movers had banged the wall with our washer and dryer when they moved it and had damaged the wall. When I went to clean another spot with marks, just above it, I noticed the wall was really damp and I ran my hand over it. That's when the section peeled away and all these spores were exposed. I unwittingly inhaled them and got another direct dose of serious mycotoxin poisoning.
This next pic is one of mycotoxin spores up close, there's a pine needle on the bottom one, left hand side, just to give perspective on size.
This little, seemingly innocuous mofo is a freaking destroyer of lives and worlds; and I am not being melodramatic when I state that.

What is so insidious about toxic mold is that it releases spores, rich in mycotoxin's, that cling to soft surfaces in the home, get picked up and travel throughout the house, transfer to other surfaces, and pets and humans unwittingly inhale them.
Mycotoxin toxicity has the ability to mimic other illnesses, symptoms come in phases, in quiet, slightly off ways, that leave you with something doctor's easily prescribe for because a sinus or lung infection only needs antibiotics, right?
You take those scripts believing that's that because what does the average person know about mold in the home, beyond scrubbing bubbles cleaning product commercials?
Meanwhile, something else crops up, different symptoms, then another and another, your health diminishes, your ability to function decreases, you begin this downward spiral of constant health issues, your libido drops, your cognitive function becomes impaired, your immune system crashes, you swell, can't eat but gain weight, your moods are erratic, everything aches and hurts, you have rashes, burning sensations, twitches, weird spasms, numbness, exhaustion where sleep doesn't leave you refreshed, you get dizzy when seated or standing, you start stretching and need a nap after 5 minutes, night terrors are an all the time thing, you wake up in cold sweats, anxiety is through the roof with no stressors, your body is in a constant autoimmune response, you look and feel awful with no true cause presenting itself.
You get misdiagnosed, treated like a fool or complainer, sent for tests that all look normal or just a little off but nothing serious.
A lot gets put down to age, hormomes, weight gain, lack of exercise, diet, new allergies, environmemt, and the always lovely, you're crazy and wasting my time; which is never spoken aloud but you know it when you see it.
In all honesty, doctors can not be completely blamed. Yes, there has absolutely been an erosion of health care in our modern, capitalist, sickness model of health "care", but that's a whole other post for another day. The problem is that there's not much data on mold exposure, and I would be surprised if it is ever covered in basic med school programs; you probably only come across it as a specialist.
Unfortunately, this age old problem with very little information available to anyone, as it is still in its infancy, with regards to modern medecine,  requires you to be the strongest and loudest advocate for your health.
My GP, who is an excellent doctor, flat out told me, and I quote:
"I know nothing about mold and toxic mold exposure, except that it's dangerous,  I'm sending you to an allergy specialist."
The allergy specialist tested me and decided that I needed to be referred to a microbiologist, gastroenterologist, and thyroid specialist.
The microbiologist sent me for blood tests, specialized breathing tests, along with monthly follow-up visits. Even with all this very real, serious and deadly stuff, I have loved one's telling me things like, you're always cancelling, just cheer up, you always think you need to see a doctor but it's all in your head, stop worrying so much, pray your way to being better, maybe if you didn't think so negatively it would improve, you're not getting better because your faith isn't strong enough and you have doubts, there's nothing really wrong with you. I had one well intentioned person tell me not to let that shit get me down, thankfully someone else set them straight for me as I was too weak and tired to.
Take it from me, don't listen to well meaning dunderpaints because, all they are are really saying is that they don't get it, don't really care because it's not their problem and they're already dealing with enough in their lives, and the self-help positivity bs they are spouting, that will get you killed.
You are in a dangerous place that harbours an environmental danger that is literally killing you!!!
God is telling you, take care of yourself and do what you need to do to get safe and well again. Prayer does not eliminate mold from a house but God will answer it to help you figure out what's wrong and how to make it right.

When I went to see my doctor and had asthma for the first time in my life this year, she became angry with me for not taking the this illness seriously. That people die from mold exposure and asthma, and that I needed to understand this was no joke and to take it bloody seriously. Yes, she said it to me twice!
I didn't comprehend until I watched video's on youtube about the long term impact of black mold exposure. That it can cause multiple sclerosis, is a marker for developing Alzheimer's, and leads to eventual death.

The microbiologist I see here in Montreal QC, Dr. Pierre Lebel, has been very quick to constantly remind me of my need for rest, healing, finding joy, and continuing to get better, so I can have a high quality of life.
I want to take a moment to thank Dr. Pierre Lebel and his team; they are all so kind, helpful, polite, and took me seriously.
One thing I truly appreciated about Dr. Lebel's approach was that he allowed me to follow a holistic regime, at my request; fasting, the Bali diet, rest, gentle exercise, and natural supplements with a focus on detoxing and then healing protocols.
I walked into his office rather sceptical about him, as so many doctor's over 4 years, had completely dismissed what was happening to me. The blood tests were always normal, symptoms were put off as minor because they were treated individually, not with an overview of the issues in their entirety. I lost count of how many prescriptions for infections, inflammation, pain, and sleep I was prescribed or suggested.
I was was determined to be heard and I prayed to God to send me someone who actually cared, and would help me instead of thinking me to be some hypochondriac.
God answered my prayers, for which I am so very grateful. The first thing I noticed was how attentive, thorough, and gentle he was. After reviewing my results, asking questions about previous doctor visits, and accessing where I was at, he heard me out. I explained my frustrations, the myriad of symptoms, and explained that I truly believed in my responsibility to take initiative and put in the work required to get well; along with his medical knowledge and guidance, I truly believed recovery was doable.
He appreciated my desire to be proactive in my health goals, guided very patiently, and was overjoyed with the results, (months later) from the work I put in; and believe me it was work!
I am the first patient he has had in over 20 years that has recovered so quickly.
I now see him on a bi-monthly basis but will continue to be followed until he deems it no longer necessary.

For now, I will stop here, as that was a lot for an intro. I will keep posting and keep updates on my particular journey over the following weeks and more.

Take care, be well, love freely...

Chef Kiki
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