Haunting Question

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"How could you not have known?"

Every once in a while this question haunts me. "How could you see so much sickness and not consider your environment?"

I remember the first time my friend, Lisa, suggested the possibility that our indoor air was a factor. It was December, 2007. Reagan had just returned home from his fourth ear surgery.

She used the phrase "sick building."

I didn't dismiss her. But it sure seemed unlikely if not impossible that our mold remediation had anything to do with Reagan's vertigo and hearing loss. Or Colin's diabetes. Or the fact that Kaitlyn was calling from school saying she was dizzy. Or the issues with our older children.

After all, we had been assured numerous times that mold is harmless.

Nonetheless I called an environmental hygienist to check it out.

"Do any of your children have respiratory illness?" he asked.

"No," I answered.

"Then I wouldn't waste your money on an air test," he assured me.

I was relieved. In retrospect I don't know why I was relieved. Maybe because the environment road would require something more of us. Maybe because deep down I knew the ramifications of discovering our home was making us sick.

We kept going to doctors. The kids kept getting sicker. And I kept denying my own declining health.

In all we saw 30 medical professionals. When possible I mentioned my other kids' illnesses. Quickly these would be minimized or dismissed as irrelevant. I kept hearing the word "stress" or "psychologist" or "enabling." Because of my desperation I began to think outside of the box. I began to think for myself. I was no longer willing to accept the prevailing "symptom management" mentality.

We found mold again. In an upstairs bathroom. We called the same remediation company but my awakening helped me question their remediation practices. Thanks to wise counsel we decided to test our home, something the remediator never suggested.

These are the medical issues we were experiencing at the time we tested our home in May of 2008.

Endometriosis, vertigo, hearing loss, frequent urination, shortness of breath, type 1 diabetes, severe rashes, headaches, seizures, hair loss, sleep disturbance, fits of rage, muscle pain, diarrhea, ADD, memory loss, brain fog, abdominal pain, ear ringing, convergence insufficiency, depression, anxiety disorders, personality alterations, numb hands, cold feet, chronic sore throat, food allergies, severe acne, nosebleeds, nail fungus, weight changes, metallic taste, vision disturbances, swollen adenoids, and migraines.

Our test results came back on May 22, 2008. High levels of stachybotrys. 400 times the amount of mold indoors compared with outdoors.

"How could we not have known?"

Sigh.

When I try to answer this question I spiral into a world of self-centeredness and self-pity.

I find myself asking a different question these days,

"What will we do with what we now know?"

Now this question leads to a world of endless possibilities, hope, and healing.