Art and photo credit by Karen (along with the video)
Karen is a mold warrior. Exposure at work made her sick. She felt like she was going to die. Traditional doctors dismissed her illness as “stress”. She used retirement funds to get help and saw a mold doctor. She was diagnosed with CIRS (Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome) and MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity). She describes brain swelling and inflammation as “a very bad thing” when exposed to mold, gasoline, cigarette smoke, and perfume. Her painting above is titled “Brain On Fire”. Many environmentally poisoned individuals describe the brain inflammation in this way.
This video also paints the picture of the chaos, the fear, the panic and the solitude many mold sick people endure. All in an effort to seek safe housing and safe air. Many are alone and limited in their ability to participate in the things that used to bring them joy. But, despite the struggle, or perhaps even because of the struggle, Karen is definitely somebody.
As parents of a “normal” child who acutely became chronically ill, we searched high and low for answers. We went to some of “the best” doctors. Some of them didn’t even look at us but rather focused on their computer screen and filling in the boxes. Some of them chanted the ole “If you hear hoof prints look for horses not zebras”. Guess what doctors… some of your patients are zebras. And you are misdiagnosing them and improperly medicating them. Do no harm, Doctor. Do no harm.
Erik Johnson, the very first mold warrior, has been seeking to educate researchers and the general public about the dangers of toxic mold since 1985. He has devoted his life to this cause, and I applaud him for his efforts and the groundwork he has laid for the mold community. He teaches mold avoidance and how to survive mold illness. Erik most often can be found climbing mountains, or teaching others how to climb the mountains in their lives. Listen to his story. He will be heard, he is Somebody.