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.
So, Ana, you mentioned maybe all of this was too much for you, and I had a thought. I wonder if maybe you could try just seeing one family member at a time in a pristine location after you and he/she have both decontaminated??? Without Ramona around, without anyone else around…just you and Brett and one family member. I don’t know…just a thought that popped into my head and I thought it worth mentioning. 😉June 21, 2017 at 7:58 pm
I’m so sorry the way this visit has gone had been such a disappointment. I was so excited for you to get to see your family again. It would be wonderful if you can find ways to safely spend time together and make a wise decision about sweet Ramona. I pray that for you! We met you briefly at Pilgrim in WA, but there’s been a big gap in my following your story. (And we aren’t there anymore either – we moved first to VA and now are settled in NYC! Along the way we’ve met many people fiercely battling Lyme, especially in VA.) I’m so happy to be reading your writing now, and hearing how mold avoidance has so radically helped you. It’s fascinating to hear about, though it sounds incredibly intense and I am so impressed by all that you and Brett have to do. I caught up on your blog and look forward to watching your continued healing!June 21, 2017 at 8:53 pm
Cait, may I ask, how do you do NYC with mold avoidance? The buildings are notably moldy? Thank you. LBJune 24, 2017 at 4:33 am
Hi Lori, we actually do not have a problem with mold! I’m very grateful for that, but we haven’t encountered any issues. I can see how it would be almost impossible for someone sensitive to it though. I am just following along Ana’s journey!June 25, 2017 at 8:59 am
Praying daily! I’m so sorry the visit has been difficult both emotionally & health-wise! I also pray that a way can be made that you can enjoy your time with your family & Ramona!June 21, 2017 at 9:07 pm
Praying for wisdom and encouragement, Ana! And that God would help you to find a good place to camp, re-stabilize quickly, and get to see your family!June 22, 2017 at 3:21 am
So sorry to hear that your symptoms have been worse the past few days Anna- I haven’t commented before, but I have been following your blog … thanks for these posts. I’m learning from you:) I hadn’t put together that the two campfires I’ve “enjoyed” this year, both left me with a terrible migraine…or learning through your description, to identify when I’ve had an exposure so I can ‘decontaminate’. Its beautiful to read about your commitment to Christ and each other. Keep looking to Jesus- especially on these hard days. ps- as a ‘reader’ I’d like to know more about Brett’s workJune 22, 2017 at 10:47 am
Aww… That’s so sad, and it must be really discouraging for you guys. 🙁 I’ll pray for wisdom, and that you’ll be able to spend some time with your family and Ramona.June 22, 2017 at 11:57 am
Ana!! I’m so sorry to read all this. I had a few ideas. Aside from getting the dog to run at a high place, can you make Ramona sweat? Because I just wonder if shes got some detoxing to do in her saliva and glands? Just a thought. But the charcoal is a great idea. Definitely that will work, and changing the bedding etc. Hang in there! Sara is a pro at giving tips and the whole thing may still be able to be salvaged. And at least you’re learning more and more. Seeing your family at a distance is probably not what you wanted and planned though and I’m sorry to hear its been wrought with so many struggles. This mold stuff is so complicated and a real pain!! We will pray!!June 22, 2017 at 12:20 pm
Well, I don’t know if it helps, but I’ve had some good news the last few days. I misplaced my thyroid medication, and have been without it for five days… but, I feel great! I was even able to help my Mama prepare the new garden plot she’s been dreaming of for the past year and a half. As I’ve suspected for a while now, I don’t really need to be on my meds right now, since my health has improved so much in the past few years. I still got bloodwork done on Monday, and will meet with my endocrinologist at some point. But, it’s such a load off my mind and heart to know I can do things now! I still got whacked today and Sunday with the heat we are having where I live, but I’m used to that. If nothing else, I just want to encourage you with the knowledge that God is hearing our prayers for one another, and He cares about every detail of our lives. Praying the rest of your family visit is better 🙂June 22, 2017 at 2:59 pm
Praying for you Ana.June 22, 2017 at 6:12 pm
As always- prayers. ❤️June 24, 2017 at 4:06 am