Breaking Free from Mold Illness

Breaking Free from Mold Illness

A couple weekends ago my husband and I went to a spiritual retreat. About 55 people came from all over the world. Major human interaction over two and a half days. Trey and I haven’t done anything like this in years, and we were somewhat sequestered during the first couple years of learning mold avoidance. We go to public places now, Saturday market, restaurants, bars with music on occasion: small crowds. We also eat food from restaurants, something I couldn’t do for many years both when my food sensitivities were so severe, and my immune system so weak that I was extremely prone to contracting food poisoning, as well as colds and flu.

I’m not a fan of crowds, so you will rarely spot me in one. Yet now we participated in what was essentially a 55 person weekend-long slumber party, with conventional (not organic) group meals. Of course, we could only do this because we are mostly recovered from mold illness.  I wouldn’t have even considered this event a year ago.


The experience was amazing, healing, and fulfilling. I left feeling truly phenomenal. Then two days later, I felt a tickle in my throat and nose and that so familiar “virus” feeling…a cold.  My first cold in years!

After a childhood and early adulthood of catching every cold that came along, I know each step of a cold in my body like a ballerina knows her dance. But I hadn’t had a cold in so long (due to rarely being around other people and practicing careful decontamination when I was) that I missed the earliest sensations, and with those missed the magic stage where I can prevent it from going full blown.

So I spent a week with a cold. That itself wasn’t worrisome, just miserable – particularly with the 95 degree heat, 80% humidity of the desert monsoon season, and no air conditioning in our house yet.  Sweaty, stuffy, sneezy, snotty misery.

Worries Start

On the 8th day, I woke with the beginning of a migraine. That’s when I started to worry. What if I got dosed with more mold than my recovered detox system can handle?  Can I completely trust myself and my ability to avoid intolerable-to-me mold? Will I ever break free from this concern?

The migraine symptoms cleared with a little work, including on my sinuses which were quite clogged and starting to feel infected. I went to bed feeling much better, with a little more energy, and assuming it would be gone in the morning. But I woke yesterday with sinuses clogged again, still feeling tired, and that nagging thought bothering me.

Trey and I decided we seriously needed to break state, get out of our house which was starting to feel like an infirmary, take a drive, and get some really fresh, less stuffy air. We took our dog as well so we could also ozone our house while we were gone. (We like to ozone to get rid of germs and odors. I am not recommending people do this without learning how.  If you ozone a home that has a mold problem it will become many times worse initially.)

Getting Clear…and Having Fun

So with my mild sinus infection we drove up to one of our favorite places to hang out, Idyllwild, California,  a little over a mile above sea level. We got food at the new vegan restaurant, avoided a section of buildings in the main drag that I’ve found are badly moldy, and picked up coffee in an old coffeehouse that is a tolerable and charming building.

Traveling up that high with a sinus infection wasn’t pleasant, but two aspirins plus the fresh air cleared it out! I was pleasantly surprised to feel the pressure drain away and not need to blown my nose anymore. We went to a park and spent a couple hours doing light hiking and nature observing. Then we got dinner at the new brewpub which has a good building and also great outdoor dining on the patio. We decided to call this a date, since it was such a fun splurge.


When ozoning, we’ve found we need to be able to do it at least 7 hours to be very effective, so we had to be gone all day no matter what. When we got back home around 8pm, then we had to air out the house. So we went for a long stroll around the neighborhood while ventilating our home with fresh air.

My energy levels were astounding. We had already been hiking at 5400 feet, now we were back home walking around our neighborhood effortlessly (which was perfumed with the scents of a hundred laundry loads – something that was completely intolerable to me only a few months ago). But I knew that the real test would come in the morning. Would I wake tired and sick?  Would post-exertional malaise – the hallmark of mold illness – still haunt me?

It’s morning. I have a little trace of the last sinus snot draining out. (I have extremely productive sinuses. They really should go into business.) But I feel great. High energy, clear head, and flexible, painless body.

Hallelujah. That old ghost isn’t tagging along any more. I can be “normal sick” now  – experience mild illnesses with clear trajectories and end points, like a cold. I have broken free.