Today’s Mold Talks guest is Shannon, a health coach and mother of two. Shannon’s unique experience with indoor mold growth began in 2018 and has continued until the present day. Her search for the root cause of her family’s ongoing issues didn’t start with her own health, though. Continuing to struggle to find a diagnosis for her son is what led her to start looking closely at their indoor environment.
By continuing to ask questions and persistently searching for answers, she eventually realized that all of the symptoms she and her family continued to suffer through were attributed to mold. But the journey to healing wasn’t the smooth ride she was hoping for. From failed remediation projects to misdiagnosis, she and her family’s exposure journey have been long and fraught with issues.
Their chat touches on a range of incredibly important topics related to mold, including doing what you can when you can, trusting your instincts, and fighting for health. Shannon’s journey is one filled with obstacles, but she’s grateful to be armed with the answers and encourages others to never cease asking questions and expecting an explanation. No one deserves to suffer in a home that’s making them ill.
"It (going through exposure) just made me realize like how few people know about mold illness and how it's impacting people, and they don't even know it, and I think that's probably the most frustrating. You don't know the signs to look for."
Shannon remembers the exact day her true journey with mold started, although looking back, she believes quite a few other symptoms and experiences can be attributed to mold. It was July 14, 2019, and her son had seemingly randomly developed ongoing neck and mouth twitches. A quick visit to a pediatrician resulted in her son’s diagnosis with PANS/PANDAS, a neurological condition associated with infections in children. A neurologist checked him over and, instead of working to dive deep into the condition, told her to just wait and see and use ADHD medication if the ticks bothered her son.
"I was like, no, that's not our problem. Thanks, and we're going to be on our way."
Luckily, Shannon had just completed her health coaching certificate and was already interested in environmental toxins. Throughout her studies, she remembered seeing a single instance of mold-related illness, and her gut told her that this fungus might be at play. She visited with a functional medicine doctor, who supported her theory after discussing a recent leak in her home. A mycotoxin urine test and an air test in her home proved that her son was indeed suffering from mold toxicity.
After finally receiving the answers to her son’s problem, a lot more puzzle pieces began to fall into place. It wasn’t "mom brain" and random hair loss Shannon was suffering from, and it wasn’t normal toddler temper tantrums her daughter kept throwing. They were both also suffering from the effects of mold exposure.
Unfortunately, her journey to healing got fairly rocky from there.
"I said we need, you know, a reputable company. Well, those reputable companies were costing a lot. And so my partner said, 'So wouldn't it be fun if we just destroyed this ourselves?' I knew that it was not a good idea. But being a one-income family as a stay-at-home mom, there was only so much power I could flex so fine, whatever, okay, okay. And then he said… if this doesn't fix our problem, then we'll get somebody to do it. So that was mistake number one."
As it turns out, they couldn’t tackle the problem on their own and decided it was best to move into her in-law’s house and hire someone whom Shannon referred to as "a guy" to come in and fix the problem. For about nine months, they went back and forth on the remediation, but within a week of moving back into their home, her son immediately started experiencing symptoms again.
What followed was another failed remediation that Shannon felt was even worse and less successful than the first.
"The second people didn't demo a thing. Not a thing. Looking back, I think they literally just fogged."
Since this experience, Shannon has spoken with a third remediation company and is preparing to ensure that the third time’s the charm and her home is completely decontaminated and safe for her family.
In the interim, Shannon is focused on helping coach others through detoxing from environmental contaminants like mold. Her ultimate goal is to help as many individuals as she can improve their health. For others suffering through similar situations as herself, she encourages them to continue looking for answers.
"Never stop asking questions. You always have to keep on asking questions and to get to the why. ‘But why?’ ‘Okay, well, when did this happen?’ Just ask questions so you can get to the root of your health issue."