We are not only inspectors of mold, but survivors of toxic mold. We have been in the shoes that no one thinks they will ever wear.
My family and I moved from Austin, TX. to Livingston,TX to pursue an opportunity that was presented to us of buying a family owned restaurant. That decision included being able to have an opportunity to spend more time together as a family raising our new son, whom was about 10 months old at the time and more time with relatives and other family members that would be much closer if we lived in Livingston.
The townhouse we moved into had been freshly painted and cleaned. We didn’t see anything wrong with it at first. That first night we discovered the tub leaked from the upstairs bathroom into the kitchen downstairs. The landlord had it repaired that week and made a comment that it had leaked before and had actually flooded the downstairs at one time. Again, the townhouse seemed clean and we couldn’t find any other leaks or visible water stains. This would all change in the months to come.
Our Family’s Health
My family has always been very healthy and at this point in time, our son hadn’t had any health problems other than the normal teething issues that many infants go through.
Our 2 dogs started going to the bathroom in the home as if they couldn’t hold it. They were very house trained and we hadn’t had any issues with them since they were pups. We brushed it off to being nervous in the new environment. Then our son started to get really congested about the same time my husband started to suffer from an extreme case of sinusitis. We brushed it off again to the new environment and allergies.
Our son whom had no problem with his ears or being around other people suddenly developed chronic ear infections and an extreme case of fear of anyone but us. He started hitting his head on the walls and slapping at his head with his hands. Our relatives said it’s more likely due to teething. I had him checked out and the doctor said he is probably developing allergies to the new area since Pollen was really bad in Livingston. He told me if his drainage was clear, then it’s allergies. Se we brushed it off again.
My husband’s sinusitis was persistent and continued off and on every month that we lived there. He started to also develop pain in his joints, involuntary twitching, problems with his memory and speech and inflammation in his neck. His joint pain was so bad, that he had trouble standing up straight in the mornings.
Then I started to get ill. One morning when I woke to get out of bed, I couldn’t. I could not lift my legs because the pain in my abdomen was so severe. This pain persisted for 3 weeks and would continue off and on for the year we lived there. I did go to the doctor and they did an ultrasound and the results came back negative. I kept telling the doctor that something was wrong. The pain was too severe for it to be nothing. I thought I had developed IBS or Endometriosis. Those were the 2 diagnosis that I felt matched all my symptoms in the beginning. My doctor’s remedy was to prescribe me birth control to see if that would help regulate my hormones and help solve some of my problems; It didn’t.
Then a leak from the roof started in our living room. Apparently it had been a problem before. The landlord had it repaired but it came back within a month. It was never repaired again even though we told them several times it had started again. It was around this same time that a huge water stain appeared on the second floor above the stairs. It had been painted over and when we asked about it. They said they had that leak repaired and there was nothing to worry about. It was just an old water stain.
But when our dog started to have seizures and our son started to develop breathing issues along with his other problems that now included bowel issues, I consulted his doctor if there was any chance this could be mold related. He said no. He listened to our sons lungs and said there was definitely build up but it was more than likely due to a cold. So another prescription was prescribed. Our dogs seizure was never explained, nor were the 2 benign tumors she now has in her stomach.
Skip a few months and we are all still battling issues. But around Christmas is when I went downhill fast. My head started to hurt, not like a typical headache at all. I was waking up in puddles of sweat and my joints started to ache all over. I thought I had the flu or something and it started the day after our son was diagnosed with strep. My strep test came back negative and the doctor said I didn’t have the flu. They gave me a prescription for strep just in case, which didn’t help. Over the next four months my headache spread all over my head… my scalp became so painful to touch, I didn’t want to wash or brush my hair. My headache would not go away. I thought I had runners colitis one day after I ran a few miles. That problem persisted for 6 months. . I developed involuntary twitching of my fingers and my right eye. I had constant drainage. My memory was horrible, I started to stutter a lot and I started to have heart palpitation issues along with almost daily anxiety attacks. Additionally, I developed a fear of stray animals… oddly enough, I am an animal lover. The doctor examined me again and said there was a lot of fluid build up behind my ears and gave me another prescription. It did not cure it. I went back and they performed a visual check for meningitis; negative. They did an x-ray of my lungs; negative. I had squishy knots on the back of my scalp suddenly appear. Then a tumor like bump appeared on my leg, but it went away after 2 weeks. I was getting sick of being sick while at the same time trying to be there for my family whom was not feeling 100% either. I felt like I was going mad. Going to the doctors felt like a dead end to me and all I felt that I could do was pray. So I prayed a lot.
Our “aha” Moment
The prayers were answered when we decided to schedule a trip out of town to visit my brother and his family in late March. It had been 12 months now that we had lived in that town home. After the first 24 hours of not being in that town home, for the first time in almost 4 months, I told my husband that my head felt better. After 48 hours, the pain in my head was still not as severe as it had been. He also told me that he was feeling better too and our son was also acting more energetic than he had been in a while.
We knew right then, that something was wrong with that townhouse. We had it tested for mold as soon as we got back. It showed positive for high levels of three molds: Stachybotrys, Cladosporium and Penicillium/Aspergillus-like. All three molds were present at high levels in the living room where my son our dogs and I spent most of our day. It was also present at high levels in the ac system, which means the toxic mold spores were in every room. I was thrilled to find out that it was mold causing the issues with my family; but scared at what kind of damage it may have caused our son. He had started trying to speak around age 1 but now he was almost 2 and he had reverted back to babbling and he has the same knots on the back of his scalp. I spoke to a doctor and a professor in downtown Houston that’s an instructor on mold related illness. He said the best cure is getting out of the toxic environment, time and changing our nutrition to not include any moldy or sugary foods; such as cheese, yogurt beer, wine, coffee etc… We would need time for our bodies to detoxify naturally and by cutting out sugar and any foods made of mold would help expedite our recovery.
Our Persistent Battle
When we moved out. The nightmare did not stop. We had to leave all of our things in the townhouse since they were exposed to the mold mycotoxins and needed to be cleaned after the mold remediation. The company that did the remediation was not licensed and ended up exposing more of our belongings to the mold spores through their sloppy workmanship. The landlord refuses to compensate us for our loss. So we have had to come out of pocket for everything necessary to be comfortable in a new house. It was a costly lesson on our health and our finances.
We decided right then, that we want to do everything we can to prevent anyone from going through what we had to endure. We got educated and trained and licensed with the State of Texas to do mold inspections.
It is now our goal, which is fueled by our passion in life, to educate the public on prevention and secure people’s peace of mind and air quality. No one will treat your home or business with as much care and attention to detail as we will.
We also have over 15 years experience combined in the home construction industry; giving our clients the extra peace of mind that we are also knowledgeable on not only Mold but the structural integrity of your business or home.
If you suspect a problem, please give us call.