Random Thoughts on Marriage, Mold Toxicity & Faith

I can’t pretend that I have a perfect marriage, nor can I say that we have always handled everything thrown at us with grace and patience. We’ve tried, but we’ve failed and started over so many times.Truth be told, we have fallen flat on our faces. We have quit, screamed, cried, walked away, and felt broken.

With my husband and me, our health journey started when we were dating. My cute boyfriend worked 12 to 16 hour days in contracting and didn’t really eat healthily. He had little time to focus on taking care of himself. He lived on coffee. I would cook for him and meet him on his job site. Those were some of my favorite dates—me sitting in my car while we chatted about our days, and he scarfed down his food.

When we met, he was having issues with indigestion and muscle cramping. We would be walking, and all of a sudden, his legs would cramp, or his hands would curl up, and he couldn’t move them. The pain was intense. Once we were chatting about his bodybuilding days, I told him that I would compete with him and ride our bikes along the intercoastal for about 30 miles. He laughed and said that he would beat me. Halfway through our cycling trip, I couldn’t hear him, so I turned around to see him on the floor. His legs were cramping, and he was in pain. I stooped down, kissed him on the cheek, and said, “So much for beating me.” For those wondering, he wasn’t dehydrated. He had a severe mineral deficiency that I helped him overcome via diet and supplementation later on.

Then I started to have mild cardiovascular symptoms, extremely low blood pressure, and other strange health issues. I had no idea that my office was causing my health woes. If you want to hear about my toxic mold journey, click here, here, and here.

Early on in our marriage we were both struggling with our health. Due to my toxic mold exposure, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, POTS, ME/CFS, Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis, and several other conditions. I suffered with severe chemical intolerances, sensitivities and mast cell issues which was very limiting to say the least. My husband was dealing with debilitating migraines that landed him in the hospital repeatedly. After that, he underwent four emergency surgeries and could not work for several years due to this.

During the years he was not well, I was also sick. I had no choice but to keep working full-time. I raised kids, cooked healthy meals, served at church, and felt utterly exhausted. I had no physical outlet. I had stopped working out at the gym because I couldn’t tolerate the fragrances being used, and my pain levels after exercising were unbearable thanks to my toxic mold exposure. I didn’t have close friends that I could run out and have a coffee with on a weekly basis. The close friends I had either lived far away or were busy most of the time.

Slowly I fell into a deep depression. During these years, I was also mourning the loss of my sweet father. I was a total mess. I’d find out later that my exposure to toxic mold had messed with my neurotransmitters and hormones, making my depression worse.

When I think about those days, I have to take a deep breath. I remember going in and out of hospitals with my husband before, during and after being pregnant. I remember visiting the hospital month after month, year after year, while my husband went in and out of surgeries. We would leave each day with our last child, a toddler at the time and spent entire days in the hospital. On the weekends we would all cram into my husbands hospital room and spend the entire day there with him, since he was hospitalized for days/weeks at a time.

It was so hard, and we didn’t have a support system around us. We felt like we were drowning and that no one truly understood the difficulties we were facing. Sure we had one or two people help us but it was just a one time thing. We had a single mom show up to take our kids out to the park and bowling and that was such a treasure for us. Another time our kids were able to sleep for two nights at a friends home so that I could stay in the hospital. That was about it as far as support goes.

I remember feeling so angry and sad at the same time. I needed help from my community, but the support we needed wasn’t available. I struggled with not wanting to live anymore and remember sitting in my car praying and asking God to help remove those awful thoughts from my head.

I didn’t tell my husband how I was feeling. For a while, I didn’t tell anyone. My desperation and helplessness were too much to explain. It hurt too much to verbalize my pain. I felt like a butterfly whose wings had been chopped off and was left in a sealed glass jar to slowly die. Those years were so hard. I’m tearing up now, as I recall that season.

When you have a sick spouse, it can drain the very life out of the marriage. Especially if you have small children and are trying to balance everything yourself. But when both people are sick, it can be absolutely devastating and destroy the best of marriages.

Learning to cope and to take things one day at a time is crucial. Learning to forgive yourself and your spouse and start anew is also super important.

For us, our faith in God and in his word has been the only glue that has kept us together. It may seem cliché, but God does show up when a couple searches for his help and daily provision. He does strengthen. He does rebuild. He does, my friend, he does.

I would not be able to survive the many crushing trials we have had to endure if it were not for my relationship with God through his son Jesus. I know that some of you may not know God or may simply feel like you hate him. I get that. I’ve been there. I’ve questioned, and I’ve doubted.

I remember that after my dad died suddenly due to medical malpractice, I was in my bathroom crying and screaming at God. I was so broken and so hurt that all I could say was this: “If I hadn’t seen you work in my life before, I would hate you.” I share these painful moments because I want you to know that you’re not alone in your struggles and doubts.

There is hope even when everything around you seems like it’s collapsing.

In our marriage, we know that to stay on track, we have to keep the communication lines open. We can’t go to bed upset at each other, and we cant give one another the silent treatment. Both things we did early on in our marriage.

We have to make time to pray and to be encouraged and strengthened by God and by what is written in his word, the bible.

We have to be gentle and forgiving with one another. We have to serve each other and our children no matter what happens. Serving one another means not giving up when things get complicated. It means doing those things that you don’t necessarily like doing and doing them with love.

We are still learning to let go of the things that don’t matter and choose our battles wisely. We never stop learning.

Each day brings about its new challenges and mountains, so we try not to plan too far ahead. That causes unnecessary stress, especially when you don’t have the means or solutions to plan ahead. So we take things one day at a time and pray for God to give us the bread and sustenance that we need for today.

Together we’ve faced some pretty hard health complications. We’ve faced hidden homelessness and losing our belongings multiple times due to toxic mold. We’ve fallen into serious debt. We’ve seen how toxic mold has affected our children, physically and emotionally. We’ve faced rejection from close friends and family and so much more.

We’ve been misunderstood so many times, but we know that as long as we have one another and as long as God is in the center of our marriage, we have all that we need and we are strong.

“If two lie down together, they will be warm.
But a person alone will not be warm.
An enemy might defeat one person,
but two people together can defend themselves.
A rope that has three parts wrapped together
is hard to break.” Ecclesiastes 4:11-13

We don’t have this all figured out. We’re still healing from past traumas and mistakes and learning to be better communicators and friends. Getting sick early on in our marriage and having so much to carry really impacted how we grew in our relationship. There was no guide on dealing with pregnancy, kids, loss, mold toxicity, and a sick spouse. We just pushed through as best as we could without talking about the pain and hurt. Now we know that we cant do that. False positivity and neglecting your hurts and hardships is not healthy. Yet, it is something that is taught and encouraged in many circles, including in churches. It is taught as a coping mechanism. Suck it up, buttercup, and keep moving. This kind of thinking irks me.

When people are hurting and struggling through chronic illness, they need to be supported by their loved ones and or friends. If they are part of a church, they need to be a top priority. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve spoken to women in tears because their church community doesn’t believe them and doesn’t even care to call and see how they are doing. It breaks my heart.

When you have a chronic illness or multiple chronic illnesses caused by toxic mold, chemical injury, and or Lyme disease, you often find that there are no support systems for you.

When someone has cancer, entire communities rally around you. I’ve seen this so many times in the news and even with good friends of mine. You have support for weeks, months, sometimes even years; from meals to transportation, there is often a lot of support available.

Similarly, if your house burnt down and you lost everything you owned and became sick because of smoke inhalation, entire communities would rally around you. There would be Go Fund Me accounts set up for you. Churches and businesses in your local community would chip in and help you rebuild. You’d feel and see the support of your community tangibly.

But when you lose everything you own or most of what you own multiple times because of toxic mold and develop tumors, autoimmune conditions and other debilitating chronic illnesses, you get nothing. This really sucks. Please understand that I’m not making this parallel because I don’t think others shouldn’t get support if they have cancer or if their home burns down. That is not my intention. I’m simply trying to explain how devastating this is for those of us who figuratively have had our house burn down multiple times, and we walked alone with little to no support, without understanding, and without ongoing help.

If you’re a friend or family member of someone who has developed one or more chronic illnesses after environmental exposures, what can you do?

My first recommendation is simple, just listen. Listen and then listen some more. Be present and let your friend or loved one know that your love and friendship will not fade away, although you may not understand what they are going through.

Listening means that you don’t get to throw a bunch of thoughts or solutions at them, especially if they aren’t well or are trying to recover from a recent crash or exposure. Understand that their brain and body aren’t functioning the way your brain and body are functioning, so hold your suggestions and questions unless asked for.

Pray for them and with them. If you’re part of a church, start a ministry for people with chronic illnesses and make sure that these vulnerable members of your community have a fellowship opportunity and can be supported. Over the last few years, as I’ve done online ministry in this area, I am constantly overwhelmed by the tremendous need that exists.

When they are not feeling well enough to cook or do house chores, offer to stop by and pick up their kids for a movie or a park visit. I can’t tell you the times I yearned for someone to do this when we had young children in the house.

Often children of parents who are suffering from one or more chronic illnesses miss out on so much. Having a close friend or family member to babysit or take young children out is so important. Offering to come over and help with cleaning and cooking is also important. The sick person will most likely struggle for months or years and will need all of the love and support that you can offer. This isn’t the flu that will come and go or a broken wrist or having wisdom teeth removed; it is a constant, hourly, and daily struggle that is often fought alone and in the dark.

If they have financial needs, help if you can and if you can’t help personally but know someone who can reach out and be a constant advocate for your friend or loved one.

In the early years of my health decline, people would ask me how I was doing. I remember trying to explain things and asking for support in some way. Although I wanted help, most of the people around me didn’t understand what was happening and seldom offered a helping hand. Whenever I tried to explain my strange symptoms and what our family was enduring, people usually gave me the deer in the headlights look. I laugh because today it is much of the same.

Most of the people we know still don’t get it. Still, we keep pressing on as best as possible with God’s help, and we are so thankful for those few who have supported us, who have prayed for us, and who have encouraged us along the way. Their love and support mean the world to us.

Our journey is a journey of faith, restoration, and growth, and although the road has been bumpy and long, we can’t wait to see what the future holds.

4 thoughts on “Random Thoughts on Marriage, Mold Toxicity & Faith

  1. Oh how well I do understand! Lived all this, had friends and family walk away because it was too bizarre, but unfortunately for me it was all too real; the MCS, EMF sensitivity assaulting my nervous system, wearing a mask when no one else was, living in my own bubble of protection, intense MCAS, eating only 7 foods for such a long time. Praise the Lord He is my strength and fortress, His truth is my shield and buckler. Without Jesus Christ to run to where would we be? He understands and He cares. Your post today was spot on. Thank you for being transparent and also offering hope. For those of you suffering, read the book of John in the Bible. Asked God to reveal to you Himself, how to confess your sins and have them forgiven and how to trust in Jesus’ shed blood on the cross as your only HOPE for salvation and eternal life. John 3:16.

    1. Amen! I’m so sorry to hear about what happened to you. I know how hard this journey can be.
      Thanks for sharing your story and for your encouraging words.
      God bless you!

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