Today I sent my dad a text saying, “This couldn’t be going any more poorly.” Upon reflection, I realized that the statement was not objectively true. I could have had a life-threatening mast cell reaction to our dog, Ramona, and be stuck in a moldy ER right now. Such an event was not outside the realm of possibility and it would have been much, much worse. Still, the statement accurately reflects how I’ve been feeling. I am utterly overwhelmed right now and at my wits end.
The truth is, this whole visit is going much worse than I ever imagined it would and I am very disappointed. I knew there was a chance I would react to my family and Ramona but I just didn’t think it was likely to be very serious.
I don’t know for sure that it was just spending the night with Ramona and hugging my family that triggered all of my increased symptoms. Maybe Ramona was contaminated enough (in spite of two baths) to push me over the edge back into hyper- reactivity, but perhaps the air in Custer State Park is just getting worse now that tourism season has started. There are so many RVs and campfires everywhere! The two things inconveniently coincided making it difficult to identify the cause. Maybe either one of those exposures would have been tolerable by themselves but both together was too much. I don’t know for sure.
I spoke with Sara Mattson, my mold avoidance mentor, on the phone today and she was explaining the concept of total load to me. All the exposures add up to increase the total load of what my body is dealing with. At some point the load becomes great enough that my body can’t handle it anymore and I start to relapse.
The good news is that there are things we can do to try to reduce the total load and increase the chances that we’ll be able to see my family and maybe even get to keep Ramona. For starters, we can change locations. It’s pretty clear that I’m not able to tolerate campgrounds consistently anymore. There are too many potentially moldy RVs and campfires and I can’t handle any more exposures right now. So we’re going to have to move… probably find somewhere to primitive camp.
Another thing Sara suggested might bring down the total load is to replace our bedding and clothing. Over time, clothing picks up contamination from my own body as I detox and it could make a big difference to replace those things. Sara said she had to replace her bedding and pajamas once a month at this stage.
Lastly, in terms of Ramona, we can try shaving her, bathing her with activated charcoal and exercising her at high elevation. Hair seems especially able to hold onto mycotoxins so it might help to get rid of some of that hair. I sure hope so, but I’m not holding my breath. I can’t afford to get my hopes up again. We’ll just have to see what happens.
All of this is pretty overwhelming when Brett is in the middle of a launching an online program and I’m trying to re-stabilize as quickly as possible before it’s too late to see my family. I’m just trying my best to stay calm and take it one step at a time.
The first step is finding a new place to camp. We’re planning to try the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands tomorrow. Tonight we’re just going to sleep at the truck pull-out. I sure hope tomorrow is a better day!
By the way, Brett and I made a beautiful PDF of my favorite resources for suffering souls. I created the content and he made it look fancy with his superduper graphic design skills. It’s available for free to my email subscribers. Click here to sign up and receive 5 Resources for the Suffering Soul.