My Name Is Jennifer And I Have Mold In My Brain. Do You?
Do I have your attention? While I try not to use over-the-top tabloid headlines, I felt that I needed to really get people to pay attention to this post. Because it’s true. I DID have mold in my brain.
I am so pleased to see how interested you all are in not only my toxic mold nightmare but also learning about mold and mold exposure in general. I personally feel that this is a VERY important topic to discuss. I see more and more people being negatively affected by water damaged buildings, toxic mold, and environmental mold in the years to come.
Today I am sharing some of the mold exposure symptoms and health issues my family experienced. While difficult to prove 100% that ALL these were related to mold, it is just too much of a coincidence for them not to be. After all, 95% of our health issues began AFTER we moved into our moldy home. I believe these were either caused by, related to, or exacerbated by our toxic mold exposure.
In addition to listing all the mold exposure symptoms my family directly experienced, I also listed as many of the other possible health issues that can be caused by or related to mold exposure. I even included a section for pets!
And without further ado, I share with you…
Mold Related Symptoms I Experienced
Almost all of these are what I would consider a “sudden onset.” These were not health issues that I had been plague with for years and years. They all came about or were exacerbated in the 7 years we lived in our home.
- Abdominal Pain
- Allergies – environmental and food
- Anxiety – extreme and sudden onset of it
- Blurred Vision
- Brain Fog
- Difficulty Sleeping
- Feeling “Drunk”
- Feeling Like You Are Going To Pass Out For No Reason
- Focus/Concentration Issues
- Fungal Infections
- Growths or Tumors Suddenly Developing
- Heart Palpitations/Irregular Heart Beat
- Inability to Properly Detox (clogged detox pathways)
- Increase or Decrease in Heart Rate
- Increased Sensitivity to Chemicals/Perfumes/Etc…
- Inflammation (chronic)
- Joint Pain
- Light Sensitivity
- Liver Issues
- Loss of Balance
- Malabsorption Issues
- Memory Issues
- Mineral Deficiencies
- Mood Swings – these were extreme for me. I practically was a different person for several years.
- Muscle Cramps (especially in my calves)
- Neurological issues
- Red Eyes
- Rashes (especially unusual ones) – my unusual rash that never went away happened to be on my right hand and in my left armpit. I also had other weird skin issues come and go with no explanation – rashes between two toes, rashes on my nipples, and rashes on a couple specific parts of my leg.
- Skin Sensitivity
- Ulcerative Colitis – I had a sudden onset of ulcerative colitis in 2010. It was a long 20 month battle to send it into remission. While there were some circumstances surrounding the onset of the flare that made sense, I wasn’t totally convinced that it was the real reason for the flare.
- Weak Immune System
- Word Recollection Issues
Mold Related Symptoms My Daughter Experienced
My daughter was conceived, born, and raised in the moldy house until she was almost 6 years old.
- Abdominal Pain (unexplained and fleeting)
- Allergies – environmental and food
- Discoloration of the Tongue
- Focus/Concentration Issues
- Increased Sensitivity to Chemicals/Perfumes/Etc…
- Loss of Balance
- Mineral Deficiencies
- Mood Swings
- Neutropenia (she was born with this and I have since learned that in-utero exposure to mycotoxins will cause a child to be born with neutropenia)
- Nose Bleeds
- Rashes – my daughter’s rashes would manifest themselves as clear bumps along her back and sides.
- Red Eyes
- Sensory Processing Disorder
- Sinus Problems – constant stuffy nose
- Skin Sensitivity
- Sleep Disorders – to the extreme
- Sweats (especially night sweats)
- Weak Immune System
Mold Related Symptoms My Former Husband Experienced
You will all notice that this list is much shorter than my list or my daughter’s list. My former husband was not in our home as much as we were. Therefore, he did not manifest as many health issues as we did.
- Allergies – environmental
- Focus Issues
- Increased Urination
- Memory Issues
- Red Eyes
- Sinus Problems – I used to tease him that he sounded like an elephant all the time. He had no idea that he would trumpeting all day and night.
Other Health Issues That May Be Attributed To Mold
Below is a list of possible symptoms of mold exposure that our family did not directly experience or at least not that we are aware of. These can all be attributed to other causes of course but if you have a lot of these issues (or any of those listed above that we experienced) then I would be suspicious of possible mold exposure).
- Appetite Swings
- Asthma (as a side note – I had HORRIBLE asthma before we moved to this home. It totally disappeared after we moved in. Really bizarre right?)
- Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Autoimmune Disease (sudden onset)
- Brain Damage (sudden without a known cause)
- Bronchitis (Chronic)
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
- Coughing Up Blood or Black Stuff
- Decreased Learning of New Knowledge
- Ear Infections and Pain
- Excessive Thirst
- Hair Loss
- Ice Pick Pain
- Kidney Issues/Disease
- Low Grade Fever
- Metallic Taste
- Morning Stiffness
- Neurological & Nervous Disorders
- Sexual Dysfunction
- Shortness of Breath
- Sinus Infections (Chronic)
- Static Shocks
- Still Births
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
- Swollen Eyes
- Swollen Glands in the Neck Area and under the Armpit
- Temperature Regulation or Dysregulation Problems
- Unusual Pain
- Vision Changes (extreme)
- Yeast Infections
Mold Related Symptoms In Pets
The symptoms of mold exposure may vary somewhat depending on what type of pet you have. For instance, a dog or cat may show somewhat different symptoms than a rat or rabbit. Symptoms may vary from breed to breed. It will also depend on how much time your animal spends indoors versus outdoors.
Some common symptoms of mold exposure in pets may include:
- Development of sores (not from excessive licking)
- Excessive licking
- Excessive scratching in the absence of fleas
- Fungal infections, especially in paws
- Hair loss due to excessive scratching and/or licking
- Labored breathing
- Loss of appetite
- Runny eyes
- Runny nose
- Sudden onset of disease not common to the breed (Our dog developed diabetes which was not common for his breed. We were also not able to manage it well despite every effort)
- Wheezing sound when breathing
If you would like to learn more about Pets and Mold, please visit that post. It will give you many ideas on how you can support their health after a mold exposure.
Wrapping Up The Symptoms Of Mold Exposure
Obviously I may have missed a few symptoms and illnesses. If you are a mold illness sufferer and see something missing, please leave a comment and I will edit the list.
Now please DO NOT PANIC if you have a few or a lot of these symptoms. It may not be related to mold. However, if you have had a mold issue in your home/workplace or live in a water damaged home/workplace, then you might want to do some mold testing to rule out/in toxic mold as the source of your health issues.
- How I detoxed from mold exposure
- Toxic: Heal Your Body by Neil Nathan, MD
- The Mold Survival Guide for your Home and for your Health by Jeffrey and Connie May
- Surviving Mold: Life in the Era of Dangerous Buildings by Ritchie Shoemaker
Sources for mold related information include but are not limited to:
- Adverse Human Health Effects Associated With Molds in the Indoor Environment.” American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Feb. 24, 2011.
- Bennett JW, et al. (2003). Mycotoxins. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC164220/
- Borchers AT, et al. (2017). Mold and human health: A reality check. DOI: 10.1007/s12016-017-8601-z
- Bush RK, et al. (2006). The medical effects of mold exposure. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16514772
I was wondering what tests you have to have done to find if you have a problem with mold in your body? My son and I have a lot of these problems that you have listed.
Survivingmold.com outlines which tests to take to determine if mold is affecting your sysyem.
Hi, Jennifer. Thanks for all this information and sharing your ordeal. I commented on your first mold-related post several weeks ago about my own health issues, which I believe are a result of mold exposure. I have hypothyroidism and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as constant stuffiness/sinus congestion and chronic fatigue. I also have a history of lyme and coinfections, as do two of my children. There is no family history of autoimmune disease. I have heard that autoimmune diseases can be linked to mold illness, and I find it interesting that the genes that show a susceptibility to mold sensitivity and to RA are both the HLA-DR genes. I haven’t been able to learn much about what that connection might be, but it makes me wonder. I did get the results of my ERMI test, but I am not sure what to make of it. It showed no stachybotros or Chaetomium, but did have really, really high Aspergillus penicillioides, as well as Wallemia sebi. There were also several other types in lesser amounts. The ERMI value was 13.2, and over 5 is considered high relative moldiness. This was through EMSL Labs. I’m not sure what to do now. Any thoughts on these results or advice on how to proceed? Basically, the humidity is high in our house due to an underground stream that goes through our crawl space. Several years ago we did mold remediation in the crawl space and had it encapsulated, which was not successful since there is just too much water. We also live in the woods, so the house just doesn’t dry out. It’s really bad in summer, when we find mold throughout the house, esp. in closets, under beds, etc. The mortgage is way underwater due to the bottoming out of the market here and will never recover its value. I wish I knew if my health problems would improve if I leave here. I also have three kids (two are teens and not keen on leaving behind all their things) and a husband. They aren’t convinced about the dangers of mold, so I am really going out on a limb. They all have some minor health issues that I think might be related to mold, but they aren’t severe enough at this time to motivate them to want to leave the house. Sorry for rambling on so much, but I know you understand! I’m so happy for you that you are out of your toxic environment and, I hope, beginning to recover your health.
Hi Meredith! I am going to take some time to reply to this via email and will do so this weekend! I am afraid my response will get rather lengthy. 😉 Stay tuned…
Renee M Bidgood says
I’m trying to tell my family too i think that an old mine runs under our trailer,live in a trailer park at the moment. There is also an old pond from the gold mining too. It’s the mold and or bad toxins around here. My daughter has Neuro issues but I’ve seen a whole different little girl and two trips and numerous tests have showed nothing. I took her off the epilepsy med too she was
On for eight years ithink she was misdiagnosed because partially part of these other symptoms she is doing better off it though. We cannot move, but yes they will thank u later. I think the mold screws u up so bad u don’t want to go anywhere
Terri Basting says
Hi Jennifer, Would you please share how you were tested to find out you had toxic mold in your brain? I have had many of these symptoms, none completely debilitating but very disturbing. Thank you for your blog. I pray you and your family are on your way to wellness…
Hi Terri! I actually have had two sets of neurological tests done. One was with the toxicologist who we worked with to test our home and the other set was with the Environmental Health M.D. we are now seeing. The tests are pretty unique and the second set took 6 hours. I failed most of the tests. When we were working with the toxicologist, he actually gave us a long physiology lecture complete with brain scan images to show us how the mold spores get into the brain from the sinuses. Its crazy and scary. I’m not having a brain scan unless down the road I feel it is necessary. I felt like the neuro tests told me all I needed to know for now. Thank you for all your support and prayers!
I’m thinking of getting our apartment tested after reading this post! Our apartment had a lot of water damage this past spring and I hear it’s not the first time this has happened! Sometimes our bathroom can smell like wet mildew too. (Yikes!) I’m not sure that my symptoms are from the mold itself as I have always had bad allergies but I’ll have to get our landlord to look into this!
Good idea to look into testing! If water isn’t dried completely within 24 hours, mold can form. Previous water damage certainly has set up the perfect environment for mold growth as well. If you smell anything unusual, you can almost bet there is mold lurking. Bad allergies certainly can be from mold exposure. Let me know if you need specific information on testing. I am happy to help!
I was also curious if you would recommend going to the doctor if we have a bunch of the symptoms listed above – I’m sure some symptoms would be attributed to the allergies but you can never be too careful.
It depends on your doctor! Most doctors are clueless when it comes to mold related illness. There are certain tests that you can ask to be run and these can indicate possible issues related to mold exposure. Whether your doctor will “do” anything with that information is another thing entirely. Let me know if you would like some links to doctors that are well versed in mold exposure. If you know for sure that you have been exposed, it is a good idea to at least have a consultation with one of the Environmental Health M.D.s out there.
I would like the link to environmental doctors. I have been diagnosed with toxic mold illness but current doctor protocal not working as expected. Need another opinion in case something was missed.
Here you go! https://hybridrastamama.com/toxic-mold-doctors-a-comprehensive-list/
Kevin Brubaker says
I just came across your website and hope you can give me some advice! I have concerns about mold in house I rent. Only visible mold is in bathroom grout. But we had water come in attic years ago and wet spot in kitchen from bathroom. I have severe panic attacks, brain lesions and other health concerns. What is a good test for home? I was told recently to do homeopathic borax in neti pot for sinus. I’m scared about everything!
Hi Jennifer, I’m Jennifer too. ? I know EXACTLY how you feel. Here’s me sending you and your little one a billion hugs and the upmost compassion.
I have been extremely ill for 18 months, since my son was just two months old (I also am a Single mom). After countless doctors and unhelpful tests, I finally have been diagnosed.. After tons of research I took the test with RealTime Labs. I have the same problem as you. I would be happy to compare or share with you my test results. My symptoms are extreme fatigue, confusion, memory loss, the terrible dizzy/drunk/pain medication feeling (this is the worst one, maybe. I just hate it. ?), weight loss, hair loss, abdominal pain, muscle spasms, heart arrhythmia’s… There were a few months last year where I couldn’t even walk. I am in the process of trying to decide on a treatment plan (I have seen an Envirommental MD) and throw out my possessions. I would LOVE to ask you some questions.. It sounds like our stories are very similar. Have you gone through a treatment? I am not certain that I want to follow the doctors suggestions, exactly. I am incorporating many holistic treatments and wondered if anything has been helpful to you and your daughter.
I moved out of the mold house ( where I’m 99% certian this came from) a few months before I became pregnant. I have already taken all of my possessions out of the house that I owned when I lived there (2&1/2 years ago). What I’m wondering is do I also need to dispose of everything else that I acquired AFTER I moved out of that house? For example, the baby clothes I bought for my son have been washed with my clothes that lived in the moldy house, and hung in a closet next to each other… Are the “new” items contaminated?
This is such a mess. ? I’m so scared, knowing what’s living in my body. I am however relieved to FINALLY have an answer to why I’ve been so sick… And to know that it wasn’t postpartum depression and anxiety (all in my head) like 30 or so doctors tried to tell me. I’m so ready to have a fresh start and work towards my recovery, as I’m certain you understand! Thank you in advance for your help! I can’t wait to hear from you. It’s so hard when everyone around you doesn’t understand, and I know that you do! Here’s to hope and a healthy future!
Hi Jennifer! I am going to email you. 🙂
Stacie harper says
I know I had toxic mold exposure for 4 years. Our home tested positive for 4 toxic molds. The air quality tested at 19,000 per cubic square or something. It was the highest the man had ever seen. :'( I have developed multiple chemical sensitivity as a result of the mold. My bilirubin stays high. My blood pressure stays low. My brain feels light. I’m dizzy all the time. My blood sugar drops. I want my health bad! How do I get it out of my body?? I’ve been out for 2 months and still feel sick. Test aren’t showing anything. I want to be better so bad! I don’t know what meds I can tolerate.
Hi Stacie! I know how difficult this is. The recovery process is LONG! I have been out of the house for two years but had rexposures so really, I am only a few months into recovery again. I am working on a guide as to how I have gone about detoxing and healing. My priority is to get it finished and out in early 2017!
Your comment is awaiting moderation. Hey Linda, what is your email address to make it more personal? I would love all and any of the prayers I can get right now in regards to this blog….
I’m reading all your stories –errr — sound like nightmares! My son got sick from his high school a few years ago, and it took us some time to figure out WHAT was making him sick. It become so OBVIOUS that the school environment was triggering his neurological and asthma symptoms — twitching, tremors, jerking, and cessation of breathing (his LAST day at that school). Unfortunately the school district denied any problem with the building, despite an outbreak in 2007 and INADEQUATE environmental tests indicating toxic mold, including Stachybotrys. Do you remember all the girls that got sick in Le Roy, New York? That’s what my son had — and mold does not discriminate by gender. It’s my opinion that school was affected pretty badly with mold.
Anyways, it took a while for us to figure out WHAT was making him sick, and then some more time to find a medical professional to treat him. We finally found a doctor who treated him with anti-fungals, and did some genetic testing. There are several genes which can affect detox, etc. — CYP450, MTHFR, HLA genes, etc. Have you all had genetic testing? It’s so important — it helps identify WHY you got sick. Some people are more susceptible genetically to mold exposure. And the genetic testing points you towards optimum treatment.
We got the best results with serious prayer for my son. That’s a story in and of itself. He actually felt something leave his chest, and arm. No kidding. My son has not had any twitching since. And he’s able to drive! I also learned how to pray more effectively for healing as a result of my son getting so sick. There is hope, and I’ll be glad to pray for any one interested — I just prefer to do it more personally than on a comment blog.
Wow! This is amazing to hear! I am so happy for this outcome for your son. We have had the genetic testing done and have all the fun genes that impede detox. 🙁
Did you ever get rid of that drunk like, dizzy feeling? If so, what helped it? Medicine? Supplements? I’ll be seeing a naturopath next week that is certified in the Shoemaker Protocol to be tested for mold toxicity in me. This drunk like feeling has been in me for over 2.5 years now and I’m FINALLY hearing about mold as the potential cause of this!
I had that horrid feeling for over 6 months non-stop. There was nothing that would help it other than leaving my home. Two days after leaving it disappeared completely and has never returned!
I went through a home where it was flooded and stachybotris spores got in the air. Of 4 people I was the only one that reacted severly to it. I have allergies but this was a new level for more. I developed asthama that after 10 years has never gone away, just improved by moving and using hepas.
Along with the asthma I had a secondary infection my lungs because I was taking steroids to quell the inflammation which decrease the immune system. Pretty sick for a year. I did have elevated liver enzymes.
I found it alarming that most of the medical community think all molds are the same, like outdoor molds are the same as indoor. Meaning its all over the world mold can’t hurt you its just an allergic reaction.
I do admit most people do not react to it like I did. So to them its not real because it does not affect them to the same degree. Once sensitized to it my reactions are 10 fold worse than before. Meaning low amounts that did not bother me in the past irritate my lungs and bring on asthma.
I did have brain fog that started months after, that was due to secondary infections. Eventually blood-clots had Thrombocytopenia(drop in platelets) It was unreal to me that my body was literally falling apart month by month. It was more of a domino effect than a direct result of the exposure.
I will say it depends on what type of mold. Its not just an allergic reaction. Those mycotoxins cause the reaction to be much worse than if the spores did not have it.
So two reactions
1. Allergic type 1 from the spore
2. Irritatant – from the toxin.
I am allergic to alternaria and its in the air each summer. Yes I got a snuff nose from it but nothing like what I experience from stachy spores in the house. That was more than just a stuffy nose it was like breathing in hot pepper. For others is was just a smell and they did not react to it like I did.
Most doctors do not seem to know much about it other than it can be allergic. Worse is some doctors dismiss that it can have any ill effects. They take the position “hey molds are everywhere they can’t hurt you” I will say most can’t but some can. Stachybotris produces a toxin 2x stronger than military nerve toxin. So not sure why they think it can’t hurt anyone. Its dose dependant and they don’t measure toxins in tests. Only the military will check for toxins and they are not looking for mold they are worried about enemy nerve gas, sometimes they get fooled and think a location has been gassed by the enemy when its really just mold toxins they are detecting.
How can you get rid of Brain Mold? Thank you
Hi Alice! I have an entire post about detoxing. Have a look and let me know if I can clarify anything. https://hybridrastamama.com/need-to-detox-from-mold-exposure-heres-how-i-did-it/
Hi Jennifer! Little side note, about our names: my name partially came from yours, my mom took the Jenna from my cousin Jennifer (whom fought for 4 strong years until she unfortunately passed away at age 18 from brain cancer) and the other part Lee from my grandmother Leona, whom unfortunately, I never got to meet because she passed away on my moms 7th birthday. Wow, sorry that tangent was longer than what I expected; it’s just the name Jennifer always reminds me. 🙂
Anyway, (let me try this again haha) Hi Jennifer! Thank you so much for posting your personal expierence, which enlightened us all. I would love if you could email me to discuss some other details. I am in desperate need of some advice and would really appreciate it!
I look forward to, hopefully, hearing from you soon! Thank you!
Hi JennaLee!!! I am happy that you found me as well. I will shoot you an email now. 🙂
Martha Gonsalves says
I am just seeing your article about “having mold in your brain”. At least, now I don’t feel abnormal. I do have mold in my brain and have tried umpteen times to get help from doctors in the past but to no avail. I lived in an apartment in the Bronx, New York for 16 years. I had lesions on my body at different times and one doctor thought I may have had leprosy — that is if I lived in some country abroad in the past. Of course, that was not the case. I also recognized many of the symptoms you described, especially hair loss and chronic sleep disorder which is still happening.
I would really like to ask you how you were able to treat your brain mold. I am looking for help and advice from people like yourself and others on your blog who have experienced this horrible problem.
Hi Martha! I basically just did everything I could to detox and reduce inflammation in my body. Here is the post on how I detoxed: https://hybridrastamama.com/need-to-detox-from-mold-exposure-heres-how-i-did-it/ Start here and let me know if you have questions!
You didn’t mention seizures.
But this is a very good list.
Also, for everyone: survivingmold.com is a good website by a doctor specializing in mold poisoning. It outlines what lab tests to have done to diagnose mold poisoning.
Mycometrics is recommended on that website for do it yourself mold testing. Follow their instructions precisely.
Or go to bbb.org and search for mold remediators, many of them do mold tests.
Then once mold is confirmed, have it removed by a professional mold remediator with a good score on bbb.org.
And/ or take it to court.
And detox the mold out of your system all the way through it.
I was wondering how long you took activated charcoal? Thanks so much!!
I stayed on it for about a year.
Zachary Tomlinson says
I never knew that exposure to mold could affect your ability to focus and give you a constant feeling of uneasiness. My aunt talked about how she plans to move into a historic home for her retirement. I think it would be a good idea to get the place inspected for mold before anything else.