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It’s been a long, hard summer.
After we took an eye-opening “mold sabbatical” to Utah, we returned to Illinois, embarking on the second greatest experiment of the summer – seeing how our bodies coped with being back in the Midwest.
Jotham saw the biggest gains when in the clean air of southern Utah. But he also took the biggest hits being back in Illinois. It’s been so hard to watch the progress slip through our fingers. He didn’t lose everything, and has made some developmental progress over the summer, but he is so sensitive to the environment, which is influencing his growth and development.
We quickly learned that campfire smoke brings on anaphylactic reactions. Much of our summer was spent in campgrounds, and many evenings I had to sit in the car with the air running until other campers had gone to bed and the smoke was less dense. Going as far as putting our big EnviroKlenz air purifier into our tent made a big difference in the air quality.
Several encounters with loved ones revealed that baby Jotham would start having an anaphylactic attack when within a few feet of them. We knew he was sensitive to their home, but realized how crucial it was becoming to avoid being too close to people and things that have been in environments he can’t tolerate.
Typically in mold illness, the compromised environments where the sensitized person spent the most time, are the environments they become most reactive to. This has rung true for us. Sadly, this usually means that close family and friends in environments with hidden molds must be visited with very carefully. Limiting physical touch, staying upwind, or having them do a complete decontamination are some things that could allow for relationships to continue with some sense of normalcy, but it’s still limiting.
Anaphylactic attacks all blend together in my mind. I haven’t kept a tally, and there have been so many. Three of us have breathing problems and often hives as well when having a reaction (airway swelling is usually involved, and we’ve used more Benadryl in a summer than I have in my life). Gut pain, puking, digestive/urinary complaints, and body aches are some of the “lesser” symptoms we’ve experienced with exposure to a substance our bodies don’t tolerate well.
It’s getting cold in Illinois, and we’re spending most of our time outside to keep reactions to a minimum. We couldn’t find a rental that would give us the foundation we need for recovery, and since being in the desert completely removed all of these reactions, we decided to pursue moving.
My amazing husband applied for jobs, and almost immediately was offered a great position that should meet our needs. We’re scrambling to get everything in order so we can move across the country a few days from now.
We are so sad to leave. We leave behind many loved ones – both sets of our children’s grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, church family, friends, neighbors, co-workers. We leave behind familiarity – familiar faces around town, the ability to get places without Google maps, relationships with farmers that supply our food, doctors that know health histories, the support of church friends.
Leaving we are losing so much.
But staying requires compromises we choose not to make.
So we go.
Our home has not sold yet. We pray it sells soon, and we’re hoping we can find a reasonably-priced place to rent in Utah that will get us mostly inside for the winter months. Once our home sells, we can consider more permanent housing options.
By the time this is published, we’ll have our vehicles packed with our few possessions and be starting our journey West. Over fifteen hundred miles is a long way!
Sarah blogs from the red rocks and sunny skies of southern Utah, where she lives with her husband and three beautiful children. With dark chocolate always on hand, she keeps busy caring for her energetic kids and the youngest's special needs. Learning to be thankful for the hard, and choosing to embrace the circumstances God has given her, she gives voice to the imperfections of life, claiming grace and spreading hope.