Fellowship of the Suffering

The following are excerpts of e-mails and comments I have received over these last few months. Environmental illness touches people of all ages from all walks of life. I am convinced that while this illness is quite different from the swine flu, it is an epidemic in our country. I am grateful for the friendships I have formed and can't say enough about the encouragement and help I have received from these fellow strugglers.

"My two children (at present, 20 and 18) and I are still very sick. The three of us each have major mold problems."

"It's like unraveling a medical mystery story - only we wish we could just read the end to find out the solutions. A reminder to myself that God knows the ending, and he will guide us in the paths of health and healing.

"I have been diagnosed with Aspergillus Flavus - end stage along with both of my sons. My youngest has collapsing lungs due to toxic mold and we are currently living in a hotel."

"I hope one day to search medical website message boards for people with unexplained symptoms and suggest to them they explore the possibility of mold in their environment. For example, their post says they have an unexplained chronic cough, etc. This was one of my first MAJOR symptoms."

"We got our full report back and although it's not horrible, I have decided that I need to leave as soon as I can, and hopefully get on the road to recovery as fast as possible. I have decided that the only thing I will bring with me are the clothes on my back, and once I shower, I will get rid of those. "

"We have decided to go completely organic and chemical free. Our daughter's rashes have gone away."
"I have taken the kids to my parent's house again, but like I said, we have brought too many things here in the past weeks and months to have this be safe. I figure that the air here is at least a little better. My baby is very sick. He had been doing slightly better while we were at my parent's before and I was feeding him a hypoallergenic diet, but then we went back to the house for a few nights, and yesterday, he had 8 dirty diapers. He is starving before my eyes."
"Summer 2006 was when I got a super-bad sinus infection...had to have a CT scan, heavy-duty antibiotics and meds, etc. Somewhere along the way I found out from the tenant in the other duplex (it was a side-by-side duplex) that there was a leak in the roof of that duplex. The bedroom that had the leak adjoined with our main living area. The tenant told me that there was actually water running down the wall, getting his things wet in that room, etc. The landlord was aware of the leak for quite some time and seemed to monitor it. In spring 2007, as I remember, he had the roof fixed. In April 2007 was when my symptoms hit like a ton of bricks and very suddenly--bad chest pains, worst headaches I'd had in my life, severe anxiety and panic attacks, irritability, etc.etc. By that summer I was really sick and had the crushing fatigue. The dr was scratching his head, trying to figure out what was wrong."
Marc has been struggling for 13 years. Since High School. "I had been to the west coast for brain scans, all the way to the east coast. I have had every blood, urine, stool test known to man, along with being on every drug known to man. All of my tests came back normal leading people to believe that I was just crazy and it was all in my head. Until I went to a chiropractor a year ago who was testing for bio-toxins because he heard of dr shoemaker's work. Found out my c4a was sky high and they told me I had a problem with mold. I was like, "What?" I had never even heard of it before, and I had been studying obscure medical illnesses for 12 years trying to get myself better."
"I can't tell you how many times I have been in the pits of despair, in a near psychotic state, or in some other emotionally unstable moment where my brain is not only unreliable, but down-right scary. This is a pretty big swing for a guy that used to be known as "patient and level-headed." You can read Tom's story at Caring Bridge
Finally, there's Melanie. A mom in Virginia with two sick boys, one of whom (like Reagan) lost his ability to walk. Because of Melanie's help we connected Lyme's with our daughter Megan's struggle.
"Easter tomorrow - a good day for resurrection out of Coleman's bed. I got out of the house for a few hours today and when I came home, Coleman was walking around the den without a walker!!" You can read Melanie's story at Our Fight with Toxic Mold Illness