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.