Next Stop? Leaving the State and Mold Avoidance

Thank you so much for everyone who has prayed and encouraged us. We have received a lot of questions so I thought I would take some time to explain our next steps.

Obviously, Tennessee is a no go. No one can say we didn't give it a valiant effort. A few friends have asked if we need to go back to Envita. While Envita is amazing, and they saved my life a couple of years ago, no. That would be around another 50k for treatment and wouldn't really solve my problem. Dr. Poteet, my doctor at Envita, warned that I might have to move multiple times to figure out where I feel good and "move there."
If we had 50k (we don't) the money would be better put toward that process.

I want to do my best to explain Mold Avoidance and the Locations Effect from others who have gone down this road before me. I am very sick so I'm going to share their words and the links to their blogs and books so you can read more if you'd like.

“I was literally right back to crawling to the bathroom again,” he said. “I had one episode where I was just lying on the floor, unable to move. It was like my brain couldn’t move my muscles and nothing made sense.” His doctor from the epidemic told him that he was at a level of illness that most people find intolerable, and that many individuals commit suicide as a result. The doctor stated that Ampligen, an experimental drug, was the only thing that would help. The drug cost more than Erik could afford -- more than $50,000 a year. There was a free trial funded by the manufacturer, but because Erik was not wholly bedridden, he was not eligible for it. “I did see some people improve on Ampligen, but for me it might as well have been on the moon,’” he said. “That was a real low point. I had nothing left to cling to. Possessions meant nothing to me. I was going to die. I had nothing left to lose anymore.” So Erik decided to try an experiment that he’d been thinking about for a while. Six months later, he climbed to the top of Mt. Whitney, the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States. The hike is 22 miles and has an elevation gain of 5000 feet, with a peak height of 14,500 feet. Half of the people who attempt the climb do not complete it. Erik has maintained control over his illness -- including working full-time, exercising regularly and generally feeling good -- since that time.

Back From the Edge by Lisa Petrison

A very few species of mold produce certain chemicals that are harmful to humans and to other animals. These chemicals are called mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are not alive. They fall into the same category as spider venom. They are poisons made by living things. Mycotoxins can be made by toxic molds growing in a wide variety of places -- for instance, in the outdoors, in buildings, in sewers, in foods, and (possibly) in the human body. There are many thousands of papers in the peer-reviewed literature detailing the negative health effects of exposure to these chemicals. Aflatoxin is an accepted cause of liver cancer. Ochratoxin is known to damage kidneys. Penitrem A has been shown to cause channelopathies leading to neurological damage and heart problems. Trichothecenes are acknowledged to cause harm to the immune system, the neurological system and the intestinal tract.

The volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) made by mold are different than the mycotoxins but have been shown to have the ability to cause neurological damage.

Anecdotally, it seems that many of these individuals previously have endured extended exposures to environments that were particularly problematic with regard to toxic mold. When these hyperreactive individuals are exposed to even small amounts of these toxins on an ongoing basis, their illness symptoms present in ways that are appropriately diagnosed as myalgic encephalomyelitis, chronic Lyme disease, Gulf War illness, fibromyalgia or other related diseases. When these people decrease their exposures to these toxins to a level that does not cause them harm, their symptoms begin to recede. Decreased exposures to these toxins also may allow their bodies to be more able to engage in activities such as detoxification, pathogen killing and systems repair.

A Beginner's Guide to Mold Avoidance by Lisa Petrison and Erik Johnson

When I found these pristine locations, my body responded in an almost unbelievable way. I began sweating out toxins like a waterfall–toxins which hadn’t come out at all with sauna therapy. My exercise tolerance immediately was restored, and I began hiking miles each day.

My liver started functioning normally for the first time in years. My Lyme infections came under control without treatment. (Although I did require some more ten-pass ozone from time to time.)

Many other symptoms began to melt away. I started experiencing profound, deep healing, on levels never before achievable for me. I was responding to this healing strategy more successfully than I’d ever responded to any treatment before.

It took a long time to really believe that this “locations effect” was legitimate. I doubted it many times, and went back and forth many times between pristine locations and “normal” locations, to test my experience. Every time, it held up to the test.

As I write this blog post now, I’ve been living full-time in an RV for almost two years, with my family. My kids are homeschooled and have now had great adventures throughout the Southwest. My health is better than it has ever been before.

It is important to emphasize that something very specific was happening to my body in these good locations. It wasn’t simply that I was “relaxing,” or that I was “de-stressing,” or that I was “enjoying the beauty of nature.” No, it was a very specific, profound, biological effect. It seemed as though a toxin-free environment literally triggered my body into dumping decades worth of toxins stored deep in my tissues and brain.

-Bryan Rosner

False assumption: “All mold is bad”

Reality: It turns out that most mold isn’t very bad, and only a few kinds of molds are “super toxins” and the toxins we really must work to avoid

False assumption: The worst mold is indoors

While it may be true that initial illness is at least partially caused by living in a moldy home, once the damage has been done to the body, we notice that the molds driving ongoing illness are mostly outdoor mold toxins. You read that correctly. Areas with these “outdoor super toxins” also tend to have really bad homes as well, due to the impact these outdoor super toxins have on the biome in general. This article on outdoor mold super toxins is a MUST READ.

False assumption: Moving to the Southwest is an easy way to escape mold.

Reality: Humidity has nothing to do with succeeding in Erik-style mold avoidance. The presence of the molds we call “super toxins” can be equally likely in both humid or dry climates. For example, Tucson is one of the very worst cities in the country for “MT,” which is one of these super toxins.

-Bryan Rosner

I titled this page “Why I Chose Mold Avoidance” but perhaps it would be more accurate to say that mold avoidance chose me. Truthfully, pursuing avoidance was not a decision that I got to make, it was forced upon me by my circumstances.

-Anna Harris

On Saturday, November 4, 2006, I woke up semiparalyzed. My legs felt lead-plated; the signals instructing them to move seemed to get scrambled on the way down. It was as if someone had sloppily replaced my limbs with those of an elephant and connected only 10 percent of the nerves. My brain felt like an overripe peach, its juices threatening to seep from my eyeballs. Pain glowed out of my bones.

For seven long years, something hadn't been right. On countless mornings, I'd wake up exhausted even after a full night's sleep. When I exercised, my body reacted like an old nag, one that flattened its ears and bit when spurred. Early on, my doctor had gently asked about my stress levels. I burst into sobs: On top of my teaching job, I was building a straw-bale house outside Santa Fe with my own hands; in the meantime, I was living in a pair of ramshackle travel trailers with my husband, who was in the midst of a bipolar breakdown. "Sounds like you have good reason to be stressed!" my doctor declared. Days after the appointment, though, I found myself dragging my hand along a wall to steady myself, afraid I might pass out, and wondered, Could stress alone really do this?

-Julie Rehmeyer

And so, very soon, we leave. We are selling both of our vehicles, getting a rental vehicle and heading out of state. Our new travel trailer is badly contaminated, beyond what I can handle, and will likely be sold. We will stay in hotels in different states out west as we start this journey. The plan is to start in Oklahoma. This is for 3 reasons:

1. It was recommended to my by someone else going through this.

2. When we went for treatment at Envita, I started improving when we entered Oklahoma. This was December so it may be different in the summer but we'll have to give it a go.

3. With everything in me, I believe I need New Mexico. A lot of mold illness patients feel well there and I felt amazing there on the way to and from Envita, however right now there are fires so it isn't the best thing for my health.

I will strive to document and share our journey as much as time and energy allows. I don't expect it to be short.

We are in Knoxville for a few more days. I'm here to get an IV treatment I need to build me up before I leave and I'd like to say goodbye to family, if they can even get close to me. We will be leaving asap. I believe in everything in me that I can never live in TN again. Will I be able to visit some day? That is completely up to God.

In Christ,


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