Living Underwater With an Anchor

Michael Rubino

November 28

Today’s Mold Talks Heroes guest is Ashley Brockinton, a mother of five, mold survivor, and awareness advocate. Ashley shares her story of how intense mold exposure impacted her family’s lives, from anxiety and chronic fatigue to intense PANS/PANDAS symptoms. After five years of suffering, they were barely getting by day-to-day.

She and her family experienced significant loss and turmoil while attempting to determine the source of the problem and, once the mold was discovered, dealing with it properly. It took years, and they’re still in the process, but they're finally beginning to heal. For the first time in years, Ashley has been able to take a breath (of clean air). 

Her story shows the importance of trusting your instincts and pushing through the fear of the unknown. While the journey was incredibly difficult, she advocated for her and her family's health. Now, she’s using her experience to help others dealing with similar issues and help her family recover.

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In this episode: 

1:00: Ashley explains how she began realizing that mold was an issue in her life. As a mother of five, one of her children began developing a series of symptoms related to PANS/PANDAS and they dove into testing to determine what was exacerbating his condition. "I was in total denial for years that it was mold. Our house was beautiful; it looked great, and there was no smell of mold… Nobody wants to look too hard for mold because, at their core, they recognize what the sacrifice will be if they find it. On the other side, I will say, the benefits far outweigh the struggle."

3:00: Ashley details a failed inspection she initially had done in her home, which only used an air inspection. As a result, her child continued to suffer from PANS/PANDAS. “That false sense of security cost us two years of happiness and health.”

5:30: Ashley describes how one sign of mold that she missed at the time was a huge amount of dust.

9:00: Ashley explains how dealing with the fallout of mold exposure and her sick children led to her husband taking time off work to help her deal with the family. After seeing how intense the issues were, he began pushing to figure out what was wrong, which led to their discovery of mold. “I just, in my gut, knew that that was what was making my son sick, and we had to leave.”

11:15: Ashley details how she and her family went to a hotel, and she immediately ordered an ERMI. The results of the test showed high levels of multiple species of mold. 

12:45: Ashley explains how mold exposure affects the brain and causes inflammation, which exacerbated her child’s PANS/PANDAS. She goes through several symptoms her child experienced and the struggles they faced. She also lists a few symptoms she and the rest of her family experienced. “Mold is very sneaky, and it’s very slow.

20:00: Ashley describes her experience with remediation and the struggles she’s faced with her insurance company not paying for the process. “We’re having to build our house back by ourselves now.” However, they knew that it was worth the work because they wanted to heal, they didn’t want another family to suffer, and knew they could potentially move into a different house with a contamination problem.

25:30: Ashley goes through how her family is healing and the detox processes underway. “For most people, you can’t just leave mold. You’ve got to detox from it. “It felt like I was living underwater with an anchor. That’s how hard it was.”

30:00: Ashley describes the cost and amount of loss they faced, but she’s choosing to focus on the positives. “If you can’t find positives in your health, look elsewhere and find something… I wouldn’t have known the quality of people around me if I never experienced this loss.”

39:30: Ashley reveals how she later found out that the home they bought was a sight unseen foreclosure, which she believed had water damage that was handled improperly. That’s why she’s a huge advocate of having a new home tested before moving in and properly handling any water damage. “If you don't handle that stuff correctly, it’s a ticking time bomb.”

46:45: Ashley explains the lack of compassion and resources out there regarding indoor mold growth.

51:15: Ashley details her current feelings on mold and what her experience has taught her. “I’m not afraid of mold anymore because knowledge is power. Now I’m afraid for other people.”

53:15: Ashley shares advice with others going through a similar situation with mold that she wishes she had at the beginning of her journey. “Hire people that are informed on the health aspects of this.”


Instagram: @ashbrockinton