Navigating Chronic Illness and Mold Exposure

Michael Rubino

November 10

Today’s Mold Talk’s guest is Tessa Bowers, CEO of Nourishing Functional Health and a Certified Functional Nutritional Counselor. Tessa dealt with chronic illness for the better part of her life but believes her mold journey started when she moved into her brand new home in 2016 and has continued ever since. When her painful symptoms reached a new peak in 2020, including muscle cramps, chronic fatigue, and even MRSA, she knew something had to be done. 

She luckily had a friend that led her in the direction of the root cause of her issues and has been on the road to healing ever since. It’s been a journey filled with road bumps, but now that Tessa knows what the culprit is, she’s been able to weather the mold exposure storm. Now she uses her experience to help clients look at the entire picture to determine how they can live healthier, happier lives.

Our chat today discusses Tessa's journey dealing with chronic illness and how mold exposure sent her health into a tailspin. Luckily she found the culprit and is now on the slightly bumpy path to healing.

Also Available On:

Today’s Talk:

"I just didn't really think that that was the quality of life I was meant to have." 

Tessa Bowers struggled with chronic illness for the majority of her life. It’s part of what pushed her towards her career as a Certified Functional Nutrition Counselor. When she started developing a long list of continually worsening symptoms in 2018, though, she knew something was particularly wrong. Looking back, she said, "Never in a million years would I have made the connections that I know now are related to it." 

The severity of her symptoms peaked in 2020 when she woke up out of the blue in excruciating pain, a pain so powerful that she passed out alone in bed. She managed to make her way downstairs to get the supplements she needed to feel slightly better, but that moment began her tipping point into digging deeper for an answer. After this experience, she visited a couple of doctors and even took a trip to the ER over the fear that she had developed diabetes, but no one could give her a concrete answer. From drinking too much water and not getting enough nutrients from her diet to potentially having varicose vein problems, she was gaslighted in a variety of different directions. 

The most alarming part of her experience was her inability to be the woman she wanted to be and normally was. Between constantly feeling unwell, chronic fatigue, and brain fog, her friendships suffered as did her ability to be a mother and wife.

As a young and relatively healthy individual with a near-perfect diet and supplement regime, she knew in her heart that the diagnoses she continued to receive were wrong. Luckily, she was friends with a functional medicine practitioner who was trained in the Shoemaker protocol. On that very first visit, her friend pointed to mold as the culprit for Tessa’s flare-up of symptoms. 

"I was like, there is no chance I have mold."

Initially, she believed it was impossible. Tessa had just moved into a brand new house in 2016, and she kept the indoor space incredibly clean. There were also zero signs of mold. Still, she placed faith in her friend and allowed her to run a series of tests. In the meantime, she started a treatment protocol for individuals suffering from mold toxicity. A few days later, she got the call. 

"She (the practitioner) goes, 'Well, you have mold. Now you need to find it in your house.' And that's the only guidance I got."

While she had to figure out the mold situation at home, Tessa felt over the moon to at least have an answer to her problems. She wasn’t crazy and her health wasn’t failing. 

"To finally have light at the end of the tunnel, knowing that everything you've gone through it's like finally there. There is an end. It might be a distance away, but it's there. It's, it's definitely is a relief." 

As her stress began melting away, she focused on creating a plan for healing both for herself and her home.

Since then, she’s unfortunately been through one failed home remediation, but she’s fostered a new understanding of what proper remediation should look like and is awaiting another company to come in and decontaminate her home. Until then, she’s managing her symptoms. It’s not perfect, but again, Tessa said she’s just happy to have the answers. She knows that eventually all of the pieces will fit together, and she’ll be able to feel more like herself again. 

For others going through similar experiences, Tessa encourages them to get out of their house if they can. Continually staying in the place making you sick won’t give your body the break it needs to try to feel better. Her second piece of advice is to take treatment in bite-sized pieces; don’t just jump right in. 

"You've got to make sure that your body's able to handle releasing those toxins or you're going to get more and more sick." 

From there, she says everyone just needs to trust their gut. It’s better to rule out mold than to miss diagnosing mold toxicity because it seems like it couldn’t possibly be the cause. 

"If it's negative, great! Then you can move on and do something else. But, if there's a slim chance that your body is being exposed to the toxins of mold, and it's creating a ton of inflammation and wreaking havoc on your body, you want to know that sooner than later."

Learn more about Tessa Bowers at:

Instagram: @nourishingfunctionalhealth