My Mold Journey

I want to preface this by saying that the belief that mold means a home is "dirty" or "cheap" couldn't be further from the truth. I moved to the Northern Virginia/DC Metro Area in 2013. I moved into a huge one bedroom apartment that I had fallen in love with. It was my home, my safe space (or so I thought), my clean, organized, little OCD sanctuary, (I'm very clean and have gotten Better with my OCD but it still exists lol!)

Roughly around one year after I moved in I started developing extreme hair loss. My hair was falling out in CLUMPS all over the place. I would wake up each morning with what appeared to be an entire head of hair on the pillow case. Every time I would shower it would be the exact same thing. My scalp was itchy, had red circles, and I was developing bald spots. My boyfriend at the time also found it very concerning as every time I would stay at his place his bed would be covered in my hair the next morning. I'm not talking about small clumps, I'm talking massive, full head of hair clumps (luckily I have extremely thick hair).

This had never happened to me before so I wasn't sure what to do.

I ran to a primary care doctor (worst decision ever because they have zero knowledge of mold illness) and they diagnosed me with ringworm (lol, it wasn't ringworm I found out years later). They prescribed me special shampoo and ointment to put on my scalp and that was it. Neither the shampoo nor the ointment worked. My hair actually began falling out even worse. I was devastated as I was so used to always having extremely thick, pretty hair.

Then roughly around 2 years after living there I developed TERRIBLE cystic acne. Mind you, I NEVER had acne my entire life not even during puberty! I ALWAYS had flawless skin and would always be complimented on how flawless my skin was! I developed the worst acne of my life. It was hard, painful cysts that wouldn't pop and ALL over the sides of my cheeks. NO amount of makeup would cover it because they were raised off of my face. (Side note; acne on sides of cheeks is linked to lungs; I was breathing in toxic mold so made perfect sense). I went to multiple dermatologists no one was able to help me. I finally was prescribed Accutane and I signed all the paperwork to start taking it (you literally have to sign an entire booklet to take this stuff) and ended up never taking it (thank god). I began doing extensive research on Accutane and all of its horrendous side effects and decided not to take it. So I began researching on how to heal cystic acne naturally without any antibiotics or Accutane.

I began reading that most, (not all), cystic acne is linked to a deficiency in Zinc Picolinate; but why did I have a deficiency in Zinc to begin with? Because mold was depleting my body of every healthy mineral I actually needed. Luckily, three years prior to being diagnosed with mold illness, I began changing my entire diet and started taking supplements based off my own research on how to holistically treat acne, hair loss, etc.

My acne had become so severe to where I wouldn’t leave my apartment besides for work/school. I stopped going out and on the rare occasions that I did I would have to cake on a pound of makeup just to take the trash out bc of how bad my acne had become. 

I started to feel ugly, depressed, confused.

Little did I know this was all due to mold. A few months after the acne had started, I was diagnosed with Melanoma skin cancer in October of 2014. At the time I was literally addicted to the tanning bed I was orange and thought I still wasn’t tan enough (I look back at pictures now and literally cringe lol!) 

I think when people hear the term skin cancer they automatically assume it’s just a biopsy. Wrong. Mine was cancer that had spread to 3 different sites on my stomach. I had to have MOHs micrographic surgery to get rid of it which was an 8 hour long surgery and I was awake during the entire surgery. They remove every bit of cancer layer by layer it takes forever but it was well worth it! 

At the time I was in a very abusive relationship. I didn’t have many friends because I was still new to the DC area. My boyfriend at the time who promised he’d be there for me, ended up leaving me. Mind you I lived alone so I had to do everything on my own with stitches all in my stomach I couldn’t even turn without them hurting. I ended up ripping the stitches and had to have them re stitched.