part 2 of why we built a modern farmhouse
Here’s a quick recap for you: we suddenly became ill with strange symptoms. (click here for Part 1)
After some investigation, we discovered our 100 year farmhouse (that I grew up in) was growing mold in the attic.
Below is a picture of the mold (black stuff) growing on the underside of our roof.
After the first mold inspector left, I looked at my husband in dismay.
Could this really be why we were sick? I mean seriously, we live on a farm and we’re outside everyday being exposed to mold in the hay, grass, straw, etc.
We were truly dumbfounded and honestly in denial. Unfortunately, denial often leads to paralyzation.
We did nothing for weeks, mostly because we didn’t know what to.
So my research into mold illness began
I am a research junkie so I started reading, listening and asking questions about anything related to mold.
After months of research, I couldn’t ignore it anymore. The mold was likely playing a part in our declining health.
what happened next? More Mold inspectors.
Now it was late August 2017 and Fall was fast approaching. If you’re in the agricultural world, you know that your life revolves around the fall harvesting of crops and everything else takes a back seat.
I felt a huge sense of urgency, because I knew that once we started harvesting crops, we would get preoccupied with that and the “house issue” (as it was now referred to) would be on hold.
So I made more phone calls, and had mold inspector number two, three and four come look at the house.
They all agreed, the mold was extensive.
Their recommendation was all the same, we should move out.
Call it stupidity, but it’s emotionally harder to move out of your home than you think. I grew up in this house, spent my honeymoon years there, brought my baby girl home to it. I had lived in that house for all but 5 years of my life.
One inspector said, “Well, we could try remediation to get you through the Fall Harvest. It could buy you some time.”
So we fogged the house from attic to basement and bought two expensive, double filter HEPA and charcoal air purifiers. We wiped down every inch of that house and all our furniture.
By december i was sicker than I've ever been in my life.
My body was slowly shutting down. I had new symptoms almost daily and was seeing doctors at Mayo Clinic weekly.
The worst symptom was the vertigo. It was so bad I literally laid on the floor all day. (The bed felt too wiggly and would send my head spinning).
The second worse symptom was my esophagus muscles quit working properly. It literally hurt to swallow anything. I quit eating, it hurt to much. I was losing weight and sanity.
I remember times when the only thing that got me through the day was singing worship songs in my head from our church. Anytime the vertigo sensation would begin, over and over I would hum the songs, clingy to the words, clinging to my faith.
Finally my thyroid gave up and actually went Hyperthyroid. The anxiety and panic attacks set in and for the first time in over a decade, I saw fear on my husband’s face.
the final straw
Harvest was done and I was so sick I could barely take care of our toddler daughter when Mark was working outside on the farm.
Then one day I was steading myself by the furnace in the basement and looked up. The picture below is what I saw.
I stared at the duct work coming off the furnace in disbelief. Was that what I thought it was? Seriously?! How could mold be growing when we had fumigated the entire house after finding it in the attic?
I reached up and touched the ducts which were hot from the furnace pumping hot air to the house. Mold likes moisture and warmth, so how could it be growing on the outside of a dry, hot, metal duct?
I reluctantly looked around the rest of the ceiling. It was everywhere; it was literally growing on every duct coming out of the furnace.