Toxic Mold Survivor Update: Gina Lopez
Last year, we did our first interview with a toxic mold survivor: Gina Lopez. Since publishing the interview, I have kept in touch with Gina just to see how she is doing and to get status updates on her health.
On April 4th, Gina and I spoke over the telephone to get a complete update on what has happened in her life since we published our first interview on October 19th.
Gina, how are you feeling now?
I am feeling much better today. I still have not recovered fully and am not sure if I ever will because I still have brain damage. I still suffer from long term memory issues, though I am happy to report that my short term memory seems to have gotten much better, I don’t forget recent stuff as much anymore. So, there has been some improvement from a cognitive perspective.
Emotionally, as well, I am doing much better. During the darkest period of my health crisis, I was an emotional mess. I had severe depression, constantly cried, and suffered from extreme anxiety.
Physically, I am improving, though the right side of my body still gets numb once in awhile and I still have serious digestive problems. My walking has improved dramatically, I don’t need a cane to walk anymore, which is a good sign, but I do still get tired quickly.
I still suffer from CIRS and feel pain and weakness consistently; by the end of day I feel so weak that I have trouble walking. I have also become super sensitive to chemicals. In addition, when I am exposed to mold in a home or building, I always know because my ears begin to ring and I feel a brain fog…kind of difficult to describe, but mold sensitive individuals will understand.
Gina, recently, I read one of your FaceBook posts that mentioned that you met with Senator Peter Wirth. Please explain
Well, you could say that I have become a mold warrior, so to speak. After suffering through my sickness and realizing that this could have been prevented, I have decided to try to help others in my community avoid this situation.
I sent an e-mail to Senator Wirth, explained how I became sick and asked him to read the interview you published on October 19th. I am pleased to report that the story you shared and published had a significant impact. In fact, after reading my story, Senator Wirth contacted me and asked me to come see him.
Gina, that is awesome, so what exactly did you and Senator Wirth discuss?
I explained that this did not need to happen. I advised him that the only reason I got sick was because I rented a property that not only made me sick from mold but also impacted the health of my kids. I asked him if there was a safe guard for tenants and he told me that he plans to research what other states are doing to protect their tenants and wants to get New Mexico caught up on toxic mold legislation.
I am very excited because an elected, public official is actually taking this issue seriously and wants to help.
Gina, thanks for sharing your update. Do you have any other comments or thoughts?
I think the one point I want to make is this. People just don’t realize how hard or how long it is to recover from toxic mold sickness. It takes time, I will be dealing with this for the rest of my life, but am optimistic that now that I know what the cause of my sickness is, I should be able to deal with this and I know I will continue to get healthier day by day.
My sincere hope is that by sharing my story and experience, that I can help others avoid this situation. I plan to continue to push for laws that protect the rights of tenants and forces landlords to provide healthy, mold free properties. In my view this is a public, human rights issue and my hope is that by continuing to raise awareness politicians will listen and hopefully create safeguards.
— #GotMold?™ (@gotmoldglobal) April 15, 2014