Last summer, the almost unthinkable happened.
We discovered that our home had a serious mold problem. It was sort of a relief, in a way — our kids had been getting sick more and more often, especially our youngest (then 16 months). Every couple of weeks he seemed to have a fever or vomiting episodes. I was exhausted, irritable, and brain fogged. Nothing was good. Learning that our home had a lot of mold gave us the reason for all we were experiencing.
Of course, that was only just the beginning.
In the middle of August, we left that home. We walked away from the home and almost everything in it — the furniture, the towels, blankets, all our books…you name it, it was probably gone. (We did save a lot of glassware, pots and pans, and a very small number of blankets that were handmade and special.)
After that, we spent a month living with my parents, two hours from our home and our lives. I found an apartment online and we ended up signing the papers for a full year lease, sight unseen. We moved in mid-September and began to put our lives back together.
The Final Chapter
Here we are, nearly a year later. It was at this time last year that I’d done a lot of research and had begun to suspect that mold was the issue. My husband didn’t yet believe me that we really had mold, or that mold could be that bad. (He sure does now!)
It’s been a long road to get where we are now. It’s been hard on our health, and hard financially as well.
As far as our health goes, it began to improve almost immediately after we left last summer. This winter, while all of our friends were complaining that their families were constantly sick, we weren’t. Normally we have a knock-down, drag-out stomach virus that lasts a solid week and is several hours of misery for each person. This year, three of the kids threw up once each (and were somehow completely fine before and after…no warning!) and that was it for the “big virus.” Half of us didn’t even get it. We didn’t get so many colds. Clearly, we were doing better.
It’s been hard to watch my husband go back into the house, but it was necessary. He was the one who had to clean it out. The kids were never allowed back in after we left — they’ve barely even been in the driveway. I did go in a few times right after we moved, but once I found out I was pregnant with #5, I did not go in again. So, my husband had to do the work.
Every time he was exposed to the mold, even slightly, he experienced a relapse in symptoms — brain fog, aggressive behavior (verbally), irritability, stomach distress, headaches, and more. One week, after going to the house three days in a row, he came home from work with a migraine. He never takes sick days or leaves work, so this was pretty serious.
Healing has been a slow process and is not yet complete, especially for my husband because of re-exposure. Our healing plan included:
- Juicing fresh greens, ginger, and citrus fruits
- Sugar-free diet
- Grain-free diet (temporarily)
- Regular detox baths (every day or every other day)
- Extra sleep, when possible
- Mild to moderate exercise
- Weekly chiropractic care
- Turmeric and black pepper capsules
- Fermented cod liver oil
There’s probably more we have done…and more yet that we will do. It’s more about rebuilding now. The kids were lucky enough to be young and to heal much more quickly than the adults did.
But, now, after my baby’s birth, I finally feel more like myself than I have in years. For the last couple years especially I have been so tired all the time, and have struggled to wake up in the morning. Some days I literally could not open my eyes, I felt so exhausted. It was worst right before we left the house, but happened sometimes even here for a while. Now? Even though I’m waking up to nurse a newborn (sort of…lol…we co-sleep so unless he’s having trouble latching, I don’t really wake much), I’m waking up at 7:30 or 8 without feeling too tired.
As long as I’m eating enough — not an easy feat since breastfeeding makes me feel starving all the time! — my energy levels are good too.
The kids’ energy levels are…high. ha. It’s just so much better. Our home is so much more peaceful because everyone feels better.
Many of you are probably wondering what happened to the house.
My husband spent the better part of the fall and into the winter cleaning it out, removing everything we owned to either throw it out or have it cleaned. We had hoped to be rid of it by late winter…because we were paying for both the mortgage, and our apartment rental, and this was not easy, financially.
It didn’t play out that way.
We needed to hire someone to come clean it out before we could list it for sale. But we didn’t have the money to do that. Finally, we sold our old car, which was a piece of junk (but it was fixable by someone who knew how and had time). We were able to use the money from that sale to pay someone to clean the old house. That job was completed on a Monday.
By Tuesday, we were signing the papers to allow the realtor (who specializes in distressed properties) to sell the house. On Friday afternoon, the online listing went live. Saturday and Sunday there were several showings. We got our first offer Saturday morning, and two more by Sunday night. (Yeah — we got really lucky!!) On Monday, the realtor went back to all the people who made an offer and asked them to put in their final offers.
We ended up selling for a decent amount over list price, in just three days! It sold to a man who invests in properties and will fix up and re-sell the house (or possibly rent it out — we don’t know). On June 30, we signed all the paperwork and the sale became final!
That is a huge weight off us because our mortgage will soon be closed out. We no longer have to make the mortgage payment, only the rent, which makes things much easier.
AND! This means we are 100% DEBT FREE!! 🙂
We’ve been on a journey to become debt-free since we got married. We had tens of thousands in debt at that point in time, and we made very little money (I was still in college and my husband was a brand new graduate in an entry-level job). We’ve worked hard, saved a lot, and now are completely debt-free. It’s pretty exciting.
While this whole thing has been difficult, I wouldn’t trade it. We got a chance to get out of a difficult situation that we didn’t want to be in (we wanted to move and couldn’t find a way to make it work). We improved our health. We became debt-free. We had a new baby! We’re happier, and we’re on a path to finally, finally do what we want. Part of that includes saving up for a farm property in a year or two. Which will be much easier now! The rest is a surprise…but you’ll hear about it this fall.
Natural Remedies for Kids
If you haven’t heard, my first traditionally-published book, Natural Remedies for Kids, is coming out in August!
I’m very excited about it. I’ve been using natural remedies for my family for over six years now. I remember being totally overwhelmed by it all when I first started — but over time, I experimented with simple remedies, found things that really worked, and gained knowledge about how to use herbs. I’m very passionate about natural health, and I love to teach others what I’ve learned.
The book is amazing — I had a team of excellent people working with me. Several of my colleagues offered tips and ideas on using herbs, which are found throughout the book. A professional photographer took wonderful pictures of the remedies and the book is filled with full-color photos. My co-author, Dr. Bob Zajac (a board-certified pediatrician and father of 8) offered his wisdom, found throughout the book in boxes called “Dr. Bob Says.”
It debuts in August, but you can pre-order it now. And if you pre-order by July 7, 2015, you will be entered to win an awesome basket of herbs! It’s exactly what you need to get you started using the book and making your own remedies. The basket is sponsored by Bulk Herb Store, and it includes:
- Lavender Flowers
- Mullein Leaf
- Peppermint Leaf
- Turmeric Root Powder
- Beeswax Pastilles
- 1 Qt. Vegetable Glycerin
- 2 2-oz. metal tins
All you have to do to be entered is pre-order your book right here. I know you’ll love it.
Have you dealt with a difficult situation that ended surprisingly well?
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