When did you move into your current home?
I worked in a water damaged building in 2010 for about a year (confirmed Stachybotrys found). I also worked in another water damaged building from Oct/2012 to Sept/2013.
When entering both of those buildings you immediately smelled dampness, an earthy smell like rotting leaves. Both buildings had leaky roofs, signs of water damage and the toilets were constantly overflowing, adding moisture to an already moldy situation.
How many years have you lived there?
pent approximately a year in each building (same employer rented these buildings).
How soon after you began living there did you begin to feel sick?
Within weeks of starting to work in the two buildings.
What were your symptoms?
Started with allergy type symptoms: burning eyes, runny nose, itchy throat, headaches, nausea. Progressed to pain in arms, legs, balance issues, impaired cognitive abilities, vision issues, heart palpitations.
How many doctors did you consult with?
Seven and a Psychologist.
How helpful were the doctors you consulted with?
Only two and the Psychologist were helpful. The Neuropsychologist did testing to conclude that I do have cognitive impairment. The Immunologist I saw believed mold was an issue in the building but was leaving on maternity leave for a year so did not see me again. She did report the building to public health, but they felt the building was not open to the public, so it was not a concern.
Did any of your initial doctor visits consider mold or air quality as the cause of your sickness?
No. I had ELISA testing done on my own and I have the mycotoxin Tricothecene in me. But Doctors here in New Brunswick (NB) do not believe mold makes you sick. Unfortunately in NB, with a shortage of Doctors, you cannot switch to another. So my Doctor believes I have Fibromyalgia and that is as far as she is willing to go. One of the Neurologists I saw agreed with her and did not want to hear about the ELISA test results.
The Neuropsychologist knows a bit about water damaged buildings and mycotoxins, but he believes that with time you get better. You do not need anything to help you get rid of the mycotoxins.
When was mold identified as the cause of your sickness?
When I did the ELISA testing in Ocotber of 2013.
What treatment are you currently under?
None, I have not been able to convince my Doctor to find someone who can treat me for this. She tried to give me anxiety medication which just made things worse.
How long do your doctors think it will take to recover?
I do not have a prognosis as I do not have a Doctor who is versed on mycotoxins and mold.
I have documentation of the air quality testing in both buildings. They used the same company each time. In the first building the company came back and stated the building was fine. However, further testing confirmed that the building had stachybotrys so my employer moved us to another building. Unfortunately, this building also had water damage, yet testing did not prove conclusive for mold so if I wanted to keep my job I had to continue to work in the second building. My illness progressed.
I am in constant pain. Eventually, I could not manage the illness further and could not concentrate and think. Despite attempts to get my employer to accommodate me through notes from my Doctor, nothing was done and I was forced to leave my job. Financially, this has been very difficult because I can not collect Disability or Workers Compensation, so I do not have an income and have been forced to refinance my home.
Living in New Brunswick, Canada, is proving difficult to get the help I need. My Doctor has told me to find another Doctor because she does not believe mold causes any health issues. But she knows that where I live, you are not able to get another Doctor because of the shortage situation. I have to continually go to After Hour Clinics seeing whatever Doctor happens to be there at the time. Doctors are paid by the province here, so we have no say. Plus, testing for mold illness is limited because health care is covered for the province. Because of this, I have sent my DNA sample to to 23andme to see if I am one of the 28% who are affected by mold and am hoping that I will be able to get help. Mold illness is terrible because you feel alone in your struggle because the medical community does not want to acknowledge the problem.