Today’s Mold Talks guest is Lindsey Jones, mother of three, mold survivor, and passionate advocate. Lindsey’s unique journey with mold began with a pipe burst that led to a massive contamination situation that slowly took over and eventually led to them moving out of mold. To make it even more frightening, the entire situation occurred while she was pregnant with her daughter.
For the year that they lived in the toxic environment, Lindsey struggled with a range of symptoms, even after they hired a remediation company to come in and fix the situation multiple times. The health effects were so drastic that she could barely take care of herself, much less her newborn baby. She and her husband battled to overcome the hurdle of downplaying mold exposure as the culprit for their issues, but when Lindsey found hidden mold all over her home, she realized that his fungus might be to blame after all.
Lindsey’s encounter with mold shows just how overwhelming and debilitating living through mold exposure can be, especially as an expectant mother. The various issues she faced throughout the ordeal show how much more attention needs to be paid to this indoor contaminant and how difficult it can be to accept that mold could be the cause of such large-scale issues.
"I’m Lindsey. I am a mold survivor myself and I am just wanting to raise awareness and be an advocate to help others that are going through it too."
Lindsey’s unique experience with mold began in 2018 when a pipe burst in her family’s home while they were out of town. Given that they were away from their home, the water event had time to not only flood the attic but also the rest of the house as well. And, this all occurred while Lindsey was pregnant with their third child.
Hoping to avoid a moldy problem, she and her husband immediately called a water remediation company, which showed up the same day to begin drying out their entire homes. After moving back in, Lindsey noticed that she continued to have a range of chronic symptoms, but chalked it up to her pregnancy. For the second half of her pregnancy, the symptoms were so bad that she remained on steroids almost the entire time.
About four months after moving back in and close to the end of her pregnancy, Lindsey noticed that her kitchen island had some sort of growth that looked like mold. She and her husband once again called a remediation company to come in, who assured them that the black mold on the island wasn’t a big deal and that they would come in to get rid of it quickly and easily.
"At this point, I know nothing about mold. So they tell me, ‘We're mold certified. This is what we do. You're going to be fine. You and the baby are fine.' And so, eight months pregnant, I'm sitting in my living room with the house exposed and they're like ripping into this black mold and they're like, ‘It's fine. We can tell by looking at it that it's not toxic. You're safe. It's all gone and it's going to be fine.’ And I’m just trusting them."
It wasn’t until after she gave birth to her baby that her health took a sharp downward turn. Her entire body began stiffening up in such a drastic way that she struggled to complete everyday tasks such as dressing and moving around the house. Taking care of her newborn was also a struggle, forcing them to constantly have another person in the home to help Lindsey get through each day.
The experience led them to see a long list of doctors to determine what was going on with her body. Many believed that as she had just had a child, this somehow was the cause of her ongoing issues. Oddly enough, Lindsey regularly went to see a functional medicine doctor who brought up the topic of mold.
"She’s asking me, ‘Is there mold in the house?’ I'm like, no, we had this huge company that's mold-certified to come in and they cleared the house. We have no mold; it's not mold. We need to move on from it."
For the next year, Lindsey would continue to battle her debilitating symptoms, going through test after test, but no one could find the answer to her issues. Again, a neurologist asked her if mold could be the cause, but she assured them that the issue had been resolved by a remediation company.
"It was hard for me to believe that mold could do something that extensive to my body, like paralyze it."
Her ah-ha moment came when she went to a bathroom she rarely frequented upstairs and noticed black mold coming out of the vent. Further inspecting their home, she and her husband found black mold in almost all of the vents upstairs in their home. Her discovery made her start considering whether or not massive mold exposure from their house was the culprit behind her symptoms all along.
While they attempted to remediate, they couldn’t completely decontaminate the house due to the massive financial cost of an entire home project. Instead, they prioritized their health and decided to move out of the space permanently with just the clothes on their backs. Luckily, Lindsey’s research and discussions with others let her know that in order to heal, they had to leave all of their contaminated items behind.
Thankfully, Lindsey is feeling back to her normal self and is using her experience to help others who are going through similar events. While she and many around her continue to downplay mold’s ability to affect health, she’s hoping that by bringing more awareness to the issue, this mentality will not continue.
"I see so many times where people are in denial that their house is making them sick. Like, they even know that there's mold in the house, but they're like, ‘Oh, it's not bad.’"