First Anniversary Of Toxic Mold Interview With Gina Lopez

First Anniversary Of Toxic Mold Interview With Gina Lopez
This week marks the first anniversary of the beginning of our toxic mold interviews. Last year on October 19th, we published our first interview with Gina Lopez.
The interview occurred because Gina contacted me on FaceBook after I featured her story in one of our Mold In the News blogs. What started as a comment on FaceBook advising me that she was the person that the story was done on, turned into correspondence on FaceBook, several phone calls, and ultimately the interview that we published on October 19th last year. Since publishing the interview, I have followed up with Gina and published an update which highlighted that the awareness efforts are working. The follow up story published on April 15th highlighted the fact that Gina’s story empowered her to meet with Senator Peter Wirth in the state of New Mexico. Gina’s experience as a toxic mold survivor even resulted in her inclusion in a documentary on the topic.
The publication of Gina’s story has resulted in a series of other interviews with other survivors whom have come forward, including: Raffaella Tassone, Kelsey Best, Elaine Kelly, Dr. Janis Bell, Karen Dean, and Beatrice Latherings. Listed below are links to all of the toxic mold stories published to date:
Interview With a Toxic Mold Survivor: Gina Lopez
Interview With a Toxic Mold Survivor: Raffaella Tassone
Toxic Mold Survivor Update: Gina Lopez
A History of Mold Illness: The Kelsey Best Story
Interview With a Toxic Mold Survivor: Elaine Kelly
Interview With a Toxic Mold Survivor: Dr. Janis Bell
Interview With a Toxic Mold Survivor: Karen Dean
Interview With a Toxic Mold Survivor: Beatrice Latherings
The primary purpose of these interviews is to raise awareness and the long term goal is to gather and document enough interviews to do a larger study that examines the similarities and differences of the experiences that different survivors have. In order to publish a fair study, a larger data set of survivor stories is required. If you are a toxic mold survivor and want to help us create awareness, we very much would appreciate the opportunity to interview you. To schedule an interview and get the process started, contact me directly using the form below.

Interview With a Toxic Mold Survivor: Beatrice Latherings

Interview With a Toxic Mold Survivor: Beatrice Latherings
The major problem in dealing with this illness is the lack of recognition by governments and medical people that this is a severe and real disorder, resulting in almost complete ignorance of what safe housing must consist of. A significant number of highly educated and intelligent people in the US are invisible due to being unable to live in normal circumstances, and hence unable to form any kind of an action-taking group. Mold illness’ consequence of lack of executive function leaves the majority unable to organize their way to any kind of stable living situation, and instead live in tents, travel trailers, pickup trucks, and back yards, counting on the internet to keep in touch with each other.
In our continuing efforts to let the victims of toxic mold speak, below is an interview I conducted with Beatrice Latherings. Many thanks to Beatrice and the interviewees before her–Gina Lopez, Raffaella Tassone, Kelsey Best, Elaine Kelly, Janis Bell, and Karen Dean–for sharing their stories with us. Awareness is our goal and hopefully these survival stories will lead to positive change to help future toxic mold sufferers get treatment quicker.
1. When did you move into your current apartment or home?
I bought the house in 2001; I moved out of it three years ago, made various attempts to find a safe place to live and failed in finding anything safe in my city, suffering several more exposures in my attempts to live inside a building. I lived outdoors, out of a pickup truck, on a back porch, in a garden shed, in a breezeway, for most of a year, and then I bought my Camplite travel trailer in March of 2012.
2. How many years have you lived there?
I lived in the Mold Castle from 2001 until 2012 when I starting trying to find somewhere else to live. The last six months, I lived in my garage with fresh air flow but still had to use the house for kitchen, shower, bathroom.
3. How soon after you began living there, did you begin to feel sick?
I don’t really remember but I think it was about two years after I bought the house. I found out eventually that it had developed a pipe leak inside a wall behind the water heater. There was no visible mold nor odor of mold.
4. What were your symptoms?
The first symptom was “restless legs syndrome” which over time developed into four-second-periodicity round-the-clock full-body myoclonic jerks. The short list of other symptoms: spasticity, unable to pick something up off a table without knocking it off; balance problems; attacks of vertigo; rage alternating with suicidal depression; food intolerances that worsened all the symptoms, causing me to eliminate all animal protein, gluten and nightshades; severe short term memory loss; significant loss of executive function making this engineer unable to balance a check book; weight loss (down to 89 pounds;) intense diarrhea; confusion; sciatica in both legs, making it extremely difficult to walk; muscle cramps, particularly in the calves in the a.m.; extreme fatigue; muscle weakness such that I could not remove a lid from a jar; extreme sound sensitivity; light sensitivity; PTSD from not being able to find any safe place to live no matter what I did or how much money I had. I did not develop asthma or other “allergic” symptoms
5. How many Doctors did you consult with?
At least 20 before I gave up and decided that if I were to improve I would have to find the answer myself.
6. How helpful were the Doctors you consulted with?
Not at all. I was offered drugs but no explanation of the cause. They all did the same blood tests which were always normal. None did any of the tests that would have indicated CIRS. Once I found out on my own what the problem was, I did visit a doctor in a nearby city who did the Shoemaker blood tests; I got the diagnosis of CIRS and found out that my HLA DR was mold-susceptible.
7. Did any of your initial Doctor visits consider mold or air quality as a cause of your sickness?
Never.
8. When was mold identified as the cause of your sickness?
I thought perhaps I had Lyme and was consulting with an engineer on the internet who had designed some Rife devices. One service he offered me was to remote view potential health problems. His conclusion: not Lyme, not Babesia, not Bartonella, not Ehrlichia, etc etc etc except that Mold was off the scale. He contacted me; I said that was not really possible because my house had no mold. He was persistent and finally convinced me to look into it. I read Mold Warriors, saw my NMD and got a prescription for CSM. I joined a yahoo group about water damaged buildings, and a person on that group told me emphatically to get out of my house no matter what it took, thereby saving my life.
9. What treatment are you currently under?
I am taking chlorine dioxide and following Kerri Rivera’s autism protocol to take care of the pathogenic and parasitic mess that is the result of a distressed and overburdened immune system. Oral chlorine dioxide got rid of my MARCoNS (proven via before-and-after lab testing) and has also alleviated many other troubling physical problems.
10. How long do your Doctors think it will take to recover?
There is not a doctor in charge of my treatment, nor has there been because of my lack of results with doctors. I am 95% recovered and have resumed normal activities except for not being able to spend time in a large percentage of buildings, and not being able to find any dwelling I can live in. I was offered VIP by a Shoemaker-certified MD but have declined because it will interfere with the chlorine dioxide protocol that I have decided to continue with. I may take VIP in the future.
11. Any other thoughts?
My theory is that when the immune system is under the extreme duress that occurs with severe toxic mold exposures, pathogens and parasites move in and set up housekeeping. I believe that many who do not recover either are not out of exposure (extreme avoidance was and is my principal “treatment”) or have not dealt with the (undiagnosed) parasites and pathogens that so often accompany mold illness. I have learned that lab tests for parasites are almost always false negatives and that treatment is the best diagnostic tool. I am doing the Kalcker parasite protocol and have been impressed with the results. Chlorine dioxide has been the most effective medical treatment I have ever done, but it cannot “save” someone who is still in exposure. I do not believe that CD denatures mold toxins, although I have evidence that it denatures other types of toxins, specifically oxalates. Its main function is to support the immune system in dealing with pathogens and parasites.
The major problem in dealing with this illness is the lack of recognition by governments and medical people that this is a severe and real physical disorder, with the result that there is almost complete ignorance of what safe housing must consist of. Mold-safe housing must be made of materials that mold does not feed on, and the vast majority of housing in the US is made of wood, which is “mold food.” Putting a plastic wrap around a house made of wood is a recipe for serious mold problems as soon as there is a water intrusion, even if the materials are mold-free to start with.
A significant number of highly educated and intelligent people in the US are invisible due to being unable to live in normal circumstances, and hence unable to form any kind of an action-taking group. Mold illness’ consequence of lack of executive function leaves the majority unable to organize their way to any kind of stable living situation, and instead they live in tents, travel trailers, pickup trucks, and back yards, counting on the internet to keep in touch with each other.

Interview With a Toxic Mold Survivor: Karen Dean

Interview With a Toxic Mold Survivor: Karen Dean
The number of people sick from mold seems to be expanding exponentially. There seems to be little hope that the United States will admit it has a problem.
In our continuing efforts to let the victims of toxic mold speak, below is an interview I conducted with Karen Dean. Karen completed a BFA in painting and ceramics at Pratt Institute and continued her studies completing an MA in Art History at Hunter College. Karen had a successful career as an Illustrator and Photo Retoucher in NYC for 15 years. In the early 1990s, Karen and her spouse moved to Virginia where she started a restoration business, focusing on antique ceramics and other objects. In Virginia, Karen’s health deteriorated because of mold. Today, Karen lives and works in Southern New Mexico between Truth or Consequences and Las Cruces. Karen continues to support herself with her business and feels fortunate to be represented by local galleries. Karen is also very dedicated to the mold awareness cause and is planning a Camping Convention for fellow toxic mold survivors to meet and greet and get to know each other. This event is scheduled for October 27 to 30th at Elephant Butte Lake State Park, NM. To learn more about this event, please contact Karen through her website, Karen Dean Studios, or her FaceBook Fan Page.
Many thanks to Karen and the interviewees before her–Gina Lopez, Raffaella Tassone, Kelsey Best, Elaine Kelly, and Janis Bell–for sharing their stories with us. Awareness is our goal and hopefully these survival stories will lead to positive change to help future toxic mold sufferers get treatment quicker. If you or someone you know would be interested in sharing your story with us, please click here.
1. When did you move into your current apartment or home?
My husband and I moved into a coastal home in the mid-atlantic states in 1992.
2. How many years have you lived there?
I lived there until about 2003.
3. How soon after you began living there, did you begin to feel sick?
We replaced windows in the living room a year after moving in. During the next year I began to feel sick.
4. What were your symptoms?
Migraines were my worst symptoms. I also began to feel tired all the time. My husband developed arthritis. He also had bad mood swings that escalated over the years. My migraines would go away in the winter and return in the spring. I also developed bad arthritis. In the latter years I also had peripheral neuropathy , twitching, uncontrolled jutting of arms and legs. In 1999 after weeks of terrible pain, I lost my gall bladder. No one in my extended family had ever lost a gall bladder. I gained enormous amounts of weight and craved sugar constantly. I had a terribly itchy head. I got rashes over my body. Light hurt my eyes terribly. Then I started developing vision issues. Later I also had bloody diarrhea. The last three months in the house I hardly could get out of bed. When I developed a red fungus in my mouth, the Doctors thought I surely must have AIDS or Cancer. Nothing helped.
5. How many Doctors did you consult with?
I went to 3 Doctors over 10 years, 2 GP’s and a neurologist for the migraines. This does not include the many Doctors I saw while in Florida when I collapsed with the bad gall bladder. They said my bile ducts were filled with cement.
6. How helpful were the Doctors you consulted with?
None of the Doctors ever helped. One Doctor told me living with my husband was making me sick. Pills for migraines helped, but in the end I was getting a migraine every day and the pills did not help. I was told to set an alarm early, take the migraine pill and go back to sleep. Nystatin was given for the red fungus in my mouth. Nothing ever helped my itchy head. I thought I must be getting an inherited illness my mother had, Amyloidosis, because of the neuropathy, twitching and jutting.
7. Did any of your initial Doctor visits consider mold or air quality as a cause of your sickness?
No Doctor over 10 years ever suspected air quality or environmental factors could be an issue in my long illness. Even when I told the neurologist that my migraines had stopped while in Florida, and started a few weeks after I got back, he never ventured a guess at anything that would have caused them, he only wanted to find a good pill for me.
8. When was mold identified as the cause of your sickness?
Finally, after 2 months of record breaking rain, I found I could not breathe in the house, and was forced to leave. If it had not been for the breathing issue, I am sure I would have stayed and died in the house. I could not be in the house without wheezing and passing out. I went to my Doctor and told her it was mold that was making me sick. She said congratulations. She asked if I wanted a referral to Dr. Shoemaker, who was 40 min away, or she could prescribe cholestrymine, which was his front line of treatment. My eyes were bothering me so badly that my eye Doctor sent me to a specialist. He seemed to know all about mold, said it was very hard on the optic nerve. He gave me many tests and said my eyes had no disease. He then gave me a VCS test, and said it would serve to check on my improvement, and told me to keep taking CSM.
9. What treatment are you currently under?
I took the CSM and moved into a clean rental. Almost everything I owned was tossed, as my belongings made me sick to be around. My husband committed suicide. I regained most of my health after a year and 3 months. But the house developed a mold problem and I became sick again. A new house was built with moldy wood. Another mold exposure which made me sick. I was encouraged by all Doctors and friends to leave the moldy coast and move to the South West. I did in 2006, right into a moldy house. Over the years I have seen a few of the “Mold Doctors”, been on many therapies, including The Grace Zeim Therapy, and everything Dr Gray tosses at you. I regained most all my health and strength by taking six months of ALA IV’s under Dr Burton Berkson. The repeated mold exposures gave me Rheumatoid Arthritis, which Dr. Berkson cured and controls with Low Dose Naltrexone. I also have Rosacea which flares every time I bump into mold.
10. How long do your Doctors think it will take to recover?
Regaining health has not meant regaining a normal life. After many years of repeat exposures, I have developed a severe allergic response to mold spores. This is in addition to still being very sensitive to the mold toxins. I now see an allergist and integrative Doctor who is helping me with these issues. It is a 5 year antigen protocol. I am just starting a Chlorine Dioxide protocol, hoping to reap the same benefits with it as long term anti-fungal use has for some. The Golden Fleece is beating back hypersensitivity. I will keep trying for as long as it takes.
Interview With a Toxic Mold Survivor: Karen Dean, Karen Dean, Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome, CIRS, Sick Building Syndrome, SBS, Dr. Shoemaker, mold, mould, Environmental molds, home, workplace, inflammation, toxins, chronic worsening of respiratory symptoms and illness, inflammation of the heart and lungs, mold illness, immune system, biotoxin illness, Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome, accute and chronic, systemic inflammatory response syndrome acquired following exposure to the interior environment of a water-damaged building with resident toxigenic organisms, including, but not limited to fungi, bacteria, actinomycetes and mycobacteria as well as inflammagens such as endotoxins, beta glucans, hemolysins, proteinases, mannans, c-type lectins and possibly spirocyclic drimanes, plus volatile ogranic compounds, an environmental physician, 25% of the population is susceptible to mold illness

Interview With a Toxic Mold Survivor: Karen Dean

11. Any other thoughts?
I live in the desert with almost no neighbors. I must spend a lot of time sterilizing my environment. I live without insulation, as I need an environment I can keep totally clean. I have some friends and an occasional boyfriend. I have the support of my family, and would have died for sure without my sister. I work part time, from home, and have clients in a close city and from internet and mail order. In these things I am luckier than most. I would have more work if I could expand the places I could go, and have a public work space. But I am mostly healthy, and that is the most important thing. Without my health there would be nothing I could do. I try to help others by giving freely of my experience and advice. The number of people sick from mold seems to be expanding exponentially. There seems to be little hope that the United States will admit it has a problem.
If you have questions or would like us to pass on a message directly to Karen Dean, please use the form below.

PDAP Mould Remediation Guidelines For Private Claimants and First Nations Residents

PDAP Mould Remediation Guidelines For Private Claimants and First Nations Residents
Flooding in Southern Saskatchewan has had on impact on 1000s of residents. The clean up has begun, but of course with any flooding situation, mold is a concern.
According to the Government of Saskatchewan PDAP website:
It is expected that if the proper preventive measures are taken, most flood damages will not lead to the growth of mould. However, if mould is suspected after all reasonable precautionary steps have been taken, the services of a reputable mould remediation company may become necessary. The process will require an air quality test, estimates from contractors and the approval of your PDAP adjustor before the work can begin. You can read more about mould prevention and remediation in Section 3.6.4 of the PDAP Guidelines. (FAQ – Private Claimants – Including First Nations Residents)
Private Claimants can apply for assistance through PDAP. There is a dedicated section on their website devoted to this and can be found here.
When you scroll down to the bottom of their page, you will find a link, PDAP-General Guidelines. This document provides you with general claim guidelines and is very important to review if you intend to seek assistance from PDAP.
With respect to Mould Prevention and Remediation, pages 29, 30, and 31, specifically provide guidelines and information.
According to Section 3.6.4.1 mould prevention is the claimant’s responsibility. PDAP lists the precautionary steps that must be taken to protect the contents and building and assert that if such steps are taken then this should prevent the propagation of mould.
Section 3.6.4.2 states that if mould is still suspected after all the precautionary steps have been taken, the services of a reputable mould remediation company may become necessary. PDAP recommends that the steps listed below must be followed if you intend to contact Got Mold? or other restoration contractors for assistance.
1. The first step in determining if mould is indeed present in a building involves an air quality test. The claimant will need to secure a home inspector or air quality measuring service to perform this test before any remediation efforts begin.
2. If an elevated presence of mould does indeed exist, the claimant will contact a reputable mould remediation company requesting an estimate of costs to perform the recommended remediation steps needed to get clearance.
3. These estimates are to be forwarded to the claimant’s PDAP adjuster who will ensure that the scope of the repairs matches the quoted damage. With the PDAP adjuster’s approval, the mould remediation company may begin their work.
4. Claimant must get itemized invoices from mould remediation companies, outlining materials, labour, travel, mileage, hotels, meals, equipment, overtime hours and any sub-contract work. Failure to provide such documentation may result in limited assistance from PDAP.
5. Once the mould remediators have completed their work, clearance testing needs to be performed by an independent firm (not by the remediators who performed the work as this poses a conflict of interest) to determine if the required remediation was performed adequately. Clearance testing MUST be conducted while the containment materials are still up.
6. Once the clearance has been attained, containment materials may be removed and the repair process can begin.
7. If clearance cannot be given through mould analysis/testing, the contractor should not be paid until clearance can be made by further remediation methods and re-testing (and this at the contractor’s expense, not the client’s expense).
8. The claimant will then submit all applicable itemized invoices to PDAP, along with the favourable clearance test/report.
SUMMARY
If your property was affected by the most recent flooding and you believe that you took all necessary steps to prevent mold and still suspect that mould may be an issue, then PDAP can provide assistance. The Government of Saskatchewan has provided lots of information for potential claimants who want to get mould remediation done on their property, but it is important to follow the steps and procedures they stipulate. The links below should be reviewed if you intend to contact PDAP about a potential mold remediation claim:
PDAP Private Claims Process
FAQ – Private Claimants – Including First Nations Residents
PDAP-General Guidelines (Pages 29, 30, and 31 provide mould prevention and remediation guidelines)
Got Mold? Disaster Recovery Services, Inc. has been specializing in mold remediation since 2009 and has many happy clients. All of the steps listed above, we strongly recommend as well. Got Mold? prides itself on getting the job done right the first time and follows an 8-step process on all of our projects. When you are seeking the assistance of a mold remediation contractor, be sure to get YES answers to these 10 critical questions and be sure to compare apples to apples when you are making your final decision. If you have further questions or need assistance, do not hesitate to contact us. Peace of Mind is just a phone call away!

Are You a Toxic Mold Survivor?

Are You a Toxic Mold Survivor?
If you are a toxic mold survivor and want your story published, then I want to interview you.
To date, Got Mold? has published five interviews plus an update from our first interview with Gina Lopez. Currently, we have two more scheduled, but we are always looking for more stories. Below is a list of interviews published to date:
Interview With a Toxic Mold Survivor: Gina Lopez
Interview With a Toxic Mold Survivor: Raffaella Tassone
Toxic Mold Survivor Update: Gina Lopez
A History of Mold Illness: The Kelsey Best Story
Interview With a Toxic Mold Survivor: Elaine Kelly
Interview With a Toxic Mold Survivor: Dr. Janis Bell
PURPOSE AND MOTIVATION
The primary purpose of these interviews is to raise awareness.
The long term goal is to gather and document enough interviews to do a larger study that examines the similarities and differences of the experiences that different survivors have. In order to publish a fair study, a larger data set of survivor stories is required.
Ultimately, there is not enough knowledge of the problems caused by mold; we need to change this, create awareness and hopefully have an impact on public policy so that victims of toxic mold can get help sooner.
As a final note, if you do agree to share your story, before your interview is published, you are provided a copy to review and approve.
To schedule an interview and get the process started, contact me directly using the form below.