by Christa Upton
Today I will share more of our “story”….
To recap a bit, my mysterious homeless-causing illness came about largely due to hidden mold in our house.
Upon leaving our moldy house, my energy rose a little and some symptoms disappeared almost immediately. But I have heredity susceptibility to certain illnesses and had been in the mold toxins too long; I had suffered full-blown, severe Toxic Injury.
Now I found myself getting heart problems from fabric softeners (most of which contain petrochemicals), vertigo from new tar and gas station fumes, extreme nausea from new plastics, muscle pain or headaches or faintness etc. from various other chemicals. My energy level was still FAR from normal, I struggled with digestion and sleep, and every day I encountered chemicals that caused (and still cause) problems. Another name for this is Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS).
The recommendations for me were: arid or semi-arid climate (especially because my particular Toxic Injury was triggered by mold), possibly higher altitude, no agriculture (aerial spraying), and as remote as possible.
Eventually we moved to the Black Hills of South Dakota, and immediately my energy rose a little further. Overall, I had not felt this good since before the mold house!!! Also, the rental house we had found (with the wonderful help of some local relatives!) was better than most rentals regarding inherent chemicals and triggers.
But seven months later came the rain. And more rain, and more rain. Apparently the Black Hills got more rain that spring than in many years. The mold count shot up, especially in the Central Hills where we were living.
I found myself getting more and more exhausted and dizzy. Familiar symptoms began creeping up on me, and eventually I had trouble eating, sleeping, or even making it to the restroom across the hall. A day or so after that, I began having breathing trouble known as Reactive Airway Syndrome or occupational asthma.
We stayed with friends for a few days, but they lived in the Northern Hills which were wet and therefore moldy, too. A relative graciously offered for us to stay with them in the city. We knew I didn’t (don’t) do well in any city, but they were on the outskirts—maybe it would be okay….
Steve finished his tasks for the day and loaded up the car, and we drove out around 4pm.
Within a few minutes of entering the city, I had the worst breathing problems I’d ever had, and my right arm went numb. I was scared!!
We stopped by our relative’s house and then got out of the city as fast as we could. We knew going back to our home would only keep me breathing badly (etc.), so we headed south with our relative’s tent and some campground information. (Fortunately, it was a beautiful July evening!!)
God gave us the grace to purposefully lead the kids into a sense of excitement, looking at our situation as an adventure. (My health problems were a terrible/scary reason for the adventure, but why not make it fun?)
After procuring pizza, nachos, and fudge, we finally found some good Camping Cabins. The environment was dry enough that I was breathing well. I could not sleep in the Cabin (detergent/fabric softener pervading the atmosphere), so I slept in the car. But we were all together and safe, and the kids had a fun, good place to sleep.
It took us two weeks to find a house to rent. The camping part wasn’t so bad (except that campfires are very hard on me). Wondering when we would find a house was pretty hard.
But I look at life differently than I used to, and I am glad for that!
Christa Upton Black Hills Picture Books PO Box 293 Custer, SD 57730