Could Mold Be the Cause of Your Health Problems? One Family's Unbelievable Story

Mold is terrible. It can make you sick--and worse. If you have health issues that are unanswered, mold might be the cause.

Following is Andrea Fabry's Mold Story. It's a story of sickness, discovery, and recovery. It's excruciating and scary to read it, but it just might save your life, or of life of someone you know.

{I have "known" Andrea Fabry for a long time. She and her husband are radio personalities and I have listened to them on an off for [ahem] many years. We even went to the same university (but at different times).  One of the most memorable stories I have heard is Andrea's - of her family's battle with black mold symptoms, how they found out where it was all coming from, and what they did once they knew.

Now you can hear it as well. I hope this helps someone out there get the relief they need.}

We were a relatively healthy family prior to moving into the home of our dreams the summer of 2000.

It was a 5500 square foot home, triple the size of our first house. We could see Pikes Peak from the upstairs window.

The home was perfect for our family of 10.

We knew little about medical problems.

We had been to the emergency room only once in our 15 years of parenting.

Within six months of our move, however, things changed.

Our Lives Were Changed Forever by Black Mold Exposure

Here's how:

- Our 6 year-old daughter was diagnosed with a seizure disorder
- another daughter’s food allergies escalated
- a bird died
- our dog developed diabetes
- I felt some slight neurological changes.
- Respiratory illnesses, fevers and ear infections became routine.
- Our ninth child was born in 2001 and immediately placed in neonatal intensive care for lung issues.

We thought nothing about the increased health challenges.

After all, health is random. Some people get sick and others don’t.

At least that’s what I thought.

The Mold Discovery

Two days before Mother’s Day 2007. I found a spot on carpet in the corner of my daughter’s room.

We pulled up the carpeting and found black mold.

It was also growing behind the bathroom wall, though we couldn’t see it.

We called a mold remediator and he assured us that mold is harmless, and admonished us not to heed any of the mold “hype.”

We believed him.

Without testing, without masks, without any type of containment the workers tore into the wall, exposing massive amounts of mold – well beyond what we anticipated.

Fans were blown directly on the exposed walls.

Black Mold Symptoms Progressed in Our Family

Six Weeks Later

- Our 7-year-old son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
- Three months later our 11- year-old developed debilitating tinnitus in his left ear.
- His tinnitus soon developed into full blown vomiting and vertigo.
- By November he was in a wheelchair.

Six Months Later

Six months after the remediation:

- our 10-year-old daughter was diagnosed with a serious vision disturbance.
- The convergence insufficiency led to intense headaches.
- Her personality changed.
- She could no longer read and was forced to withdraw from fourth grade.

Soon all of our children, my husband and myself were struggling. Our issues included the following black mold symptoms:

- Brain fog

- Digestive problems

- Migraines

- Abdominal pain

- Rashes

- Memory loss

- Mood alteration

- Peripheral neuropathy

- Fatigue

- Joint pain

- Nosebleeds

- and even Black Tongues

In all, we saw 60 doctors in that one year.

I begged for help – especially for my son with vertigo.

(Read Reagan’s unbelievable story here.)

We tried pediatricians, neurologists, ear specialists, ophthalmologists, and gastroenterologists.

As specialists they showed little interest in my other children’s symptoms.

My role as a parent was questioned.

I heard statements like:
- “Your child needs tough love.”
- “She needs attention.”
- “Your child is just stressed.”
- “Don’t make your child’s illness about you.”

I was fighting for my sanity as well as my children’s health.

Something was terribly wrong.

A friend asked if I was familiar with the term, “Sick Building Syndrome.

The thought began to nag me.

I called an environmental hygienist. He dismissed our symptoms saying mold only causes respiratory problems.

The New Mold Spot

In May of 2008, one year to the day after our first mold discovery, Colin, who was 8, pointed to a spot on the ceiling and asked, “What’s that?”

It was a water mark in a completely different part of the house.

Unknowingly and still believing our declining health was unrelated to our home, we called the same mold remediation company.

The workers tore open the ceiling and blew fans on the mold yet again.

I began to feel increasingly unsettled.

My husband, drowning in escalating medical bills, agreed to my request for a second opinion.

We called a new remediator who was shocked by the fans and the exposed walls. He encouraged us to call a hygienist to test the home.

We got our air samples back and found:

astronomical levels of stachybotrys or “black mold.”

I knew nothing about "stachy" (pronounced "stakee") but I now had a specific term to research.

It was immediately clear our symptoms were consistent with mold poisoning and mycotoxicosis (mycotoxin poisoning)--they were black mold symptoms. At last the dots were being connected.

We called a qualified company to undo what had been done. They wore masks and contained the areas properly.

We replaced virtually everything in the home, anticipating an end to this horrific chapter in our lives.

- We sought alternative health strategies.
- Our bodies responded.
- We were able to wean our 14 year daughter off of her seizure medication.

A Mold Inspector in Protective Gear in the Fabry's bathroom
A Mold Inspector in Protective Gear in the Fabry's bathroom

More Problems

However in the fall of 2008, when we turned on the heat, our health deteriorated again.

I made contact with a leading toxicologist in the field, Dr. Jack Thrasher, and he explained that even with remediation, a systemic mold problem like ours was virtually impossible to eradicate.

On October 4, 2008 we vacated our home. As advised, we treated the home like a fire -- bringing nothing with us.

Black Mold Symptoms - Andrea Fabry's home - before they evacuated
The Fabry’s living room as they left it on October 4, 2008.

We found a smaller rental home close to our vacated home and started over.

While the loss of our home and possessions was devastating, I felt renewed hope.

- The kids would be back in school
- We would return to our life of activities, graduations, school plays and sporting events.

No more worrying about another trip to an emergency room.

The Fabry Family - one month after evacuating their home
The Fabry Family - one month after evacuating their home

Two months later, that dream died and our most challenging chapter began.

To be continued in a future post.

Make sure you are subscribed so you don't miss the next installment -- Could MOLD Be the Cause of Your Healthy Problems?  - Part 2.

Would you like to read our family’s story in full? See Timeline of Events

Interested in learning more about toxic mold and black mold symptoms? See A Beginner’s Guide to Toxic Mold.

Affordable Mold Tests

If you are concerned about mold in your home there are a bunch of tests available, but there are only a few that I would personally use after talking with friends who are true experts on the topic. They are the following:

1. ERMI Dust Test

The ERMI is really thought to be one of the best tests out there. You can get it at Momsaware and use code MOMSAWARE to get a discount.

2. ImmunoLytics Diagnostic Tests

MicroBalance

If you are on a tight budget, then the ImmunoLytics Diagnostic Mold Test Kit is a great one to use.

If you want to start with an even more inexpensive option, this 6 pack of testing petri dishes is great to see what kind of mold growth you might have going on in your home.

Micro Balance Health Products also has Mold and Mycotoxin Cleaners that will help keep the air healthy for your family. I have personally used these products and love them!

**Use Code wholenewmom to get 10% off your purchase.""

CitriSafe

CitriSafe has the same tests at a lower price point, plus loads of other great products as well. Use Code WNM to get 10% off your purchase.

3. Mold Detective

The Mold Detective uses the same technology that mold inspectors use when they do air tests, but this system is MUCH more affordable.

I personally think that a combination of the Mold Detective and the Microbalance is a fairly affordable option that would give a good picture of what is going on in your home, and then you could follow up with any of the above 3 after remediation (if it's necessary).

Dealing with Mold In Your Home

One thing that was super helpful to me when we had mold the second time, is fogging. Fogging with a good product that mitigates the effects of the mold and mycotoxins can greatly reduce your exposure and reactions.

Here are 2 products that I use and love.

CitriSafe

CitriSafe has a great Mold Concentrate that is very effective. You can buy it and use it in any quality fogger.

Use code WNM for 10% off your products.

MicroBalance has a good fogger that produces a 5 micron spray.

Force Of Nature

I LOVE love love this Force of Nature product. It makes a non toxic cleaner that kills mold. We spray the inside of our washing machine, shoes, clothing that's been in a moldy place (bags too), sometimes bedding, and it's great for cleaning. So many options!

Kills viruses too. Look up HOCl to see the applications. You are going to love this so much you really might want to buy 2.

Toxic Mold Help

You can also get more information on Toxic Mold in this book.}

Locating Hidden Toxic Mold book

And THIS book by Neil Nathan is thought to be THE best book on how to deal with mold toxicity related health issues. I'm reading it and it has superb information including ways to get started addressing this issue and the things that have worked best for his patients.

Do You Suspect Mold Could Be the Cause of YOUR Health Problems or
Have You Had an Exposure to Mold that Affected Your Health or Have You Been Experiencing Any of These Black Mold Symptoms?

Andrea Fabry from Moms Aware - chopping vegetables in her kitchen

Andrea is a former journalist and the mother of nine children ranging in age from 28 to 12. Following a toxic mold exposure, Andrea and her family discovered the wonders of natural living. Andrea is the founder and president of momsAWARE, an educational organization designed to empower others to live healthy in a toxic world. You can follow her family's journey at It Takes Time. She is also the owner of Just SoNatural Products.

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95 Comments

  1. Hi, my husband and I have migraine headaches, sour throat and runny or stuffy nose all the time. Two years ago we found black mold in our work place, it was professional removed and our insurance co paid for all of the it. However we never had the entire 1500 square feet building tested and I think our problem is still there and probably worse. Should we get out ? In some areas you can actually see the spores.

  2. I have lived in an apartment for a year and a half and within the last year I have lost almost all my hair due to mold under the flooring. I have Lupus and a Bunch of other stuff but within the last year I have non stop been going to the E.R. with non stop infections to the point of the last doctor saying he thinks I am pulling out my own hair and he suspects some kind of psych problem. I am totally down to earth and with my social phobia being at an all time high due to being bald leaving my house is something that is very hard. I am stuck in hell the apartment manager refuses to listen when I tell her of whats going on and yes I also have an allergy to mold. I am stuck in a place that is killing me and I resist even leaving bcoz I have no hair on my head.
    OVERWHELMED and have tried everything to fix myself but know I can't get well until the exposure is no longer in my home

    1. I am so so sorry to hear about all of this. It's terrible!

      Sorry for the delay in responding. I just added some things to this post the might be of help--they have helped us a ton: https://wholenewmom.com/health-concerns/black-mold-symptoms-mold-exposure-symptoms/

      Also I have a new group on Facebook where you can get some assistance as well perhaps: https://www.facebook.com/groups/416630345744824/

      Let me know if this helps! I can't believe your doctor. Find another one!!!

    1. You are welcome. Sorry but I don't allow self-promotion on my site so I had to remove the link from your comment that went to your mold company :). I'm sure you can understand that.

  3. The experience and information presented in this post is much needed. Awareness is growing, but we still need more! Thank you for the post and for the Microbalance coupon code!

  4. I know our tiny house has black mold I've seen it and I cant get rid of it. It's in the tub which is old and gross anyway on the ceiling and there's nothing we can do. We're too poor to afford to move or afford professional removal . Its effect me I've been coughing and sneezing for years now itch in my throat I can no longer concentrate my vision is blurry I feel paranoidand scared all the time and my thoughts are looping. Things don't make sense to me.

    I just feel like. crying because I'm poor and I'm dying from this mold and there'a nothing I can do about it.

    1. Hi there. I'm so sorry you are dealing with this. I'm trying to think about options. Is there a church or other charitable organization that might be willing to assist you with this? Just because it's black doesn't mean it's the stachybotrys but you can get tests that aren't that expensive. They are listed at the bottom of this post.

      There are options that are less than typical remediation that might work for you. Let me know.

  5. Hi and Happy New Year! Since the end of the summer, my family has been getting sick, mostly upper respiratory issues that seem to come and go every couple of weeks. We stopped using our dishwasher around the end of the summer as well due to poor drainage and kept it closed. It was opened a couple of weeks ago and now its filled with mold and filth! Do you think that that could be the reason we are all having cold like symptoms on a regular basis?

    1. Hi there and Happy New Year to you as well. Mold is terrible. Depending on the type and your sensitivity it could of course be the issue. I would recommend looking at ways to clean it up safely. I am looking at different products but the company at the bottom of this post has a lot of really good products and I have a new coupon code - wholenewmom will get you 10% off. I am using quite a few of their products right now. Let me know if that helps.

    2. Hi again - I would recommend their saline wash. I have a DIY saline wash here, but the Citridrops are a great addition. https://wholenewmom.com/whole-new-budget/how-to-make-your-own-saline-nose-wash/

      If you continue to have symptoms you could consider the fogger to help remedy the situation from your home and of course you could do the testing using their inexpensive tests that I mention in that post prior to fogging. We are using the fogger right now. Really like it. With all of the issues surrounding toxic mold it might be a good thing for almost everyone to have in their home. I really like the laundry product too especially for front load washers.