Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: Definite Answers on Our Future

It has been 3 weeks since I left Envita Medical Center and this is my first blog post. It wasn't my intention to wait this long to update, but there has been a lot to figure out since we left and we've had limited internet during that time.

At my last appointment with my doctor, he emphasized that I seem to be very effected by my environment and that it was very possible that we would have to move. We had shared this concern on past blog posts as well.

The question was... where?

No offense to anyone that lives there, but Steve, the kids and I really didn't like the desert. Would we move there if my health depended on it? Yes. Would we chose somewhere else that has grass and was within a day's drive of family first?


As Steve and I evaluated the past 3.5 years (this past week was exactly 3.5 years since I got sick), we realized there was a place that I always improved and always felt better. When I first got sick and we were trying to figure out if we had mold in our home, Steve took me to his parents' house up on a mountain in Cookeville, TN. I improved almost immediately. I stayed for about 10 days. During that time I started coming back to life, running errands with the kids and sleeping... something I wasn't able to do at home.

After about 10 days we had a local lab come out which confirmed our worst fears- mold was everywhere under our house. You can read more about that and what happened at the previous link. Our church found us a place to stay for 6 weeks while we proceeded to throw out everything we owned and find a new place to live. As soon as I got back to Knoxville, I deteriorated.

Every time, however, I have come back to this mountain in Cookeville, I improve. Every time I come back I have energy, start cleaning like crazy and go on walks with the kids.

Last October we flew out of Nashville to Phoenix for testing at Envita. When we left our house in Knoxville, I was in the wheelchair and unable to walk. We came to Cookeville the night before and I started walking. By the time we got to Nashville the next morning, it started going again.

(on the way out of town)

Looking back at all of this, we decided we'd try an experiment. Cookeville was on the way home anyway. We'd stop in Cookeville on the way home and let me stay there for a week or two and see how I feel. If I couldn't even handle Cookeville, then I most definitely couldn't handle Knoxville.

So why not Knoxville? What could really be so different about two parts of Tennessee a little less than 2 hours apart? Anyone who lives in East Tennessee knows we're in the valley. There is a plateau on one side, and the Great Smokey Mountain National Park on the other (one of the most beautiful places on God's green earth, I'm convinced.) The problem we learned, however, is that the air never really moves. All of the mold, pollen, pollution, and anything else in the air just kind of sits there. Ask anyone who lives there how bad their allergies are- they'll tell you!

After arriving in Cookeville I stayed before about a week. I felt great! I was cooking three times a day. I walked my dog for the first time- ever! (I got Winston after my first paralysis episode.)

Things were going really well.

We got a big rain front in (about 5 inches in 3 days). The rain didn't bother me at all- I was out walking my dog in it a few times a day and still felt great. However, it did cause some septic issues where we were staying so we thought we'd go home for a bit. I actually said to my friend,

"I'm not worried about losing the ability to walk again or anything. I think if anything I might just not feel good and feel kind of sluggish."

Wednesday night we went home. It had been almost exactly two months since we had been gone. There have been a few questions and points of confusion in sharing this story so I want to clarify a couple of things:

  • This was not the home where I originally got exposed to mold and got sick 3.5 years ago. We left that home then.
  • There are no leaks in this home
  • My dad had ordered a high quality air filter for me and set it up. It had been running for a week before I came home.

We arrived around 9 pm Wednesday night. The air felt so crisp and clean when I walked in (thanks to my dad and the aforementioned air filter).
We got some laundry started and got the kids to bed. I went to bed around 11. Almost immediately I started getting "shocked" awake. I don't know how to describe this feeling other than to say it feels like something is shocking your brain. I've also called it brain pulses. It's horrible. And it's something that I've dealt with with mold exposures. After being shocked awake multiple times in my room, I finally went to sleep on the couch and got some broken sleep- but better- in there.

Thursday morning I woke up and started making breakfast. I was almost done with mine when I started feeling it- the weak shakiness that I feel in my legs right before they start going. I called Steve with the bad news.

"It feels like my legs are about to go."

"You're kidding. You've been home less than 12 hours!"

I called my father in law and he said he'd come get me immediately. I started to walk to the kitchen and had to yell for Emma and Reese. My legs were turned in and going. They caught me and dragged me to the couch.

I called Steve sobbing, "Emma and Reese just dragged me to the couch. They're gone."

He said, "I'm on the way home."

A couple of minutes later I got up so I could record what my legs were doing just a few hours after coming home. You can hear Isaac in the background yelling and telling me to sit down.

I don't record all of this because it's fun. I record it because I have proof. If you go through any illness, especially if it's rare, you WILL have to fight for yourself and, unfortunately, you probably will have to record it.

Within two hours of leaving my house I was walking normally. I've been walking normally ever since. This is a video from the next day.

We had been praying (and others told us that they were praying as well) for definite answers on where we should live. I would say that we have those answers. It is possible that I could feel worse once everything starts blooming in a month or two, but since it hasn't been an issue before now, I don't believe it will. So, I would say we are about 99% certain that we are moving to Cookeville.

As we look back over this journey, it is really quite appropriate. Steve and I met in Cookeville.

We got married at a church on the same road where we're now living.

So I guess you can say, we're going home.

Please pray for us during these next steps. 

I have come so far but still have a way to go.
Steve is starting a new business.
And we are very sad to say goodbye to family and friends in Knoxville.

But God has been good to us on this journey.
We will continue to share.

In Christ,

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