Day 141 | An Encounter with Moldy Blueberries

July 28, 2017

This morning when I opened our container of blueberries, I noticed three little berries in the corner that had some fuzzy white mold growing on them. My heart started pounding anxiously. There it was…

My arch nemesis.

But guess what? I didn’t feel any reaction coming on. So I exhaled, picked up the moldy blueberries and tossed them out onto the prairie. Then I rinsed the rest of the blueberries and ate them anyway. Nothing happened. No throat swelling. No hives. No headache. Not even a little brain fog. I was perfectly fine.

Wow. My reactivity has come down a lot. Even more than I realized! I know it’s non-toxic fruit mold, but still… I wouldn’t have been able to tolerate that a few months ago, let alone touch it.

I remember when I was going through what mold avoiders call “intensification” and I was reacting all the time. We don’t really know why this happens, but often getting clear of biotoxins causes a huge surge in reactivity before things start to calm down.

Intensification was really miserable and stressful for me. I couldn’t go into any building without a respirator mask. I couldn’t stay at campgrounds, not even tent-only campgrounds. I couldn’t even drive through a town without risking serious throat swelling or overwhelming panic attacks. All it took was one mildly contaminated person to walk past me and symptoms would erupt. The only place I was truly safe was at our backcountry campsite far away from all civilization. It was a really difficult season and it seemed like it would never end.

Yet here I am!

My reactivity has come down so slowly that I barely even noticed it, but when I look back it’s astounding! I don’t even carry Benadryl with me anymore. I can spend all day in a city with decent air and don’t even have to decontaminate once.

When I do react, it’s a lot more subtle… a slow decline into fatigue, headaches, joint pain and irrational anxiety. Often, I still get a little “brain squeeze” feeling as a warning sign. That’s what happened this evening when the ranchers started burning trash. So, instead of letting the decline begin, I decontaminated and we left for a few hours.

So, I still wouldn’t go into a building with toxic mold growth or serious cross-contamination. I still wouldn’t park our van next to an RV with a Stachybotrys problem. And I definitely wouldn’t stay in an area with problematic outdoor air, but here in this part of South Dakota, I’m pretty safe. I rarely react unless the wind is blowing something nasty in from another area.

The levels of cross contamination I come in contact with on a day to day basis are well below my threshold and I no longer feel like I’m having to worry about mold constantly. My reactivity has come down enough that the camping lifestyle takes care of most of the mold avoidance for me. I don’t even have to think about it most of the time.

It’s really freeing and gives me a lot of hope for the future. I think if I keep detoxing and my reactivity keeps going down, a fairly normal life might be a real possibility.

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.

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  • Sara Mattson

    This is great news! Yay Ana!

    July 30, 2017 at 4:54 pm Reply
    • Ana Harris


      July 31, 2017 at 7:49 pm Reply
  • Bethany Rose

    It would be so wonderful if you could return to an almost normal life! ❀️

    July 30, 2017 at 4:55 pm Reply
    • Ana Harris

      Tell me about it! 😊 I can’t wait!

      July 31, 2017 at 8:27 pm Reply
  • Ashley

    Dear Ana
    Wonderful news!
    I appreciate especially the hopeful and happy nature of this post. Often times chronic illness makes it hard to be hopeful of a future without serious struggle.
    In our family it seems like the rollercoaster of uncertainty and emotional fatigue is its own challenge apart from the illness.
    I’m glad you are recording these moments for all of us (and for your future normal -life-living -self).
    Continuing to pray for you!

    July 30, 2017 at 7:04 pm Reply
    • Ana Harris

      I totally understand Ashley! I don’t think I would really be able to visualize a normal future if mold avoidance hadn’t given me a taste of what it could be like.

      July 31, 2017 at 8:29 pm Reply
  • Hailey

    I am so happy to read this! It’s fantastic how far you have come, praise Jesus.

    July 30, 2017 at 7:10 pm Reply
    • Ana Harris

      I’m still so amazed!

      July 31, 2017 at 8:32 pm Reply
  • Laura Davison

    Ana, that’s so exciting!! How wonderful to be able to see just how effective mold avoidance has been for you and that you really are in recovery.

    July 30, 2017 at 7:20 pm Reply
    • Ana Harris

      I know! 😊

      July 31, 2017 at 8:32 pm Reply
  • Chris

    Yippy!! Super news Ana! So happy that things may start to calm down in your body and you will no longer react. As far as normal goes, well, Patsy Clairmont says that “Normal” is just a setting on your dryer!! LOL Ha Ha. (Just a little laughter for you today! :)) But I think everyone longs for a time in life when they feel well and can do the things the Lord has in mind for them to do. So I pray for this for you!! And with this kind of progress I feel its just around the corner! Praise God!!!!!!!

    July 31, 2017 at 7:40 am Reply
    • Ana Harris

      Haha! I like that! Thank you for praying! 😊

      July 31, 2017 at 8:33 pm Reply
  • Charis M.

    Hooray! Blueberries are yummy and I’m so glad that you were able to enjoy them, and that you’re feeling better! πŸ˜€

    July 31, 2017 at 8:18 am Reply
    • Ana Harris

      I know. πŸ˜‹ Thank you Charis.

      July 31, 2017 at 8:34 pm Reply
  • Tonika

    Thank You Jesus!

    July 31, 2017 at 10:53 am Reply
    • Ana Harris


      July 31, 2017 at 8:35 pm Reply
  • Michael

    That is awesome, Ana! Praise God!

    July 31, 2017 at 2:52 pm Reply
    • Ana Harris


      July 31, 2017 at 8:35 pm Reply

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