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This past winter was a doozy.
I had never felt so helpless.
I mean, things were really bad in 2016. I have been through some terrible health experiences before.
But this past December-March seemed to be in competition with the horrors of 2016.
If you have experienced mold toxicity to the degree that our families have, I know you understand.
There’s really no way to describe how awful it is.
Everything started in late November, when my son and I got sick. We’d picked up some crazy diarrhea bug. I never used to get sicknesses like this, by the way. I have had gastrointestinal issues several times since 2016, and before that I had never had diarrhea in my life!
So we got sick. Thankfully, after a couple days, my son got better. But I didn’t. I had diarrhea for a long time. I was in and out of the ER for over a week. They found low Mg/K and gave IV fluids each time.
I eventually went back in and begged to be tested for C-Diff. By that time, I had started on pretty heavy doses of colloidal silver, which is one of my “last resort” tools in my toolbox, and it had started to help. The C-Diff test was negative, but I am not thoroughly convinced that I didn’t have it. False-positives occur frequently, and I could describe things that were bright green and line up with the symptom profile of C-Diff. If you need to know more, you know where to find Google, haha!
I had exhausted the options local doctors were giving me, and really wasn’t coming out of the sickness. I contacted my Lyme Dr. in Michigan and we did MORE testing and she helped me determine that a parasite that I had also dealt with in 2016 was wreaking havoc once again.
After starting treatment for that, things got a lot better. Ish. I didn’t feel as much like I was going out of my head crazy. I wasn’t having as many blood pressure spikes or feeling like I was looking through a fish bowl and losing control of my eyes. My pulse was still high, but at least it wasn’t going to 145 when I stood up. More like 130. Ick. Still too high.
There were so many more symptoms. I was having awful sleep apnea and waking up so confused. I was starting to have shaking spells again where my body would just start shaking and I felt like I was going into shock. It was so scary and so awful.
At the ER and the doctor’s office, they were (and are) no help at all. They ask if I am on the anti-depressant they prescribed. No, because I KNOW that there is more to this than just anxiety! I feel so bad for anyone who doesn’t have any other option and tries to slap a “bandaid drug” on this junk. I honestly don’t think an anti-depressant can cover up being poisoned, but I am getting ahead of myself.
I barely made it to church the Sunday before Christmas.
And I haven’t been back since (although I hope to return very soon).
Because after Christmas, my throat started swelling.
I was still really struggling with so many symptoms and could hardly eat anything.
One day, I made a trip back to the ER sipping Benadryl, and got a new Epi-Pen.
But this throat swelling problem didn’t go away. Unless I was out of our house.
So I went and stayed with Sarah and her family where they were in an Airbnb.
It was okay for a few days, and then all crazy broke loose.
If you have had experience with mold avoidance, you know what I am talking about here too.
The problem is that when you leave a toxic environment, your body takes a breather and is able to recognize what was causing so many problems. Then the body decides it’s going to FIGHT hard against that toxin.
And that’s what happened.
Both my body, and my son’s body fought hard.
When my husband came in the house from being out in the car and at our house, our son flared like crazy with head-to-toe hives.
Of course I was very concerned. We had no idea what the cause was until we started to put 2 + 2 together and relate it to Josh’s presence. No amount of showers and clean clothes would fix the flares.
So we decided to separate from Josh and see if things got better.
But then it just kept getting worse and worse. It wasn’t just Josh, it was our stuff.
It was anything that had been in our house.
It was the car.
It was the car PARKED DOWN THE BLOCK and the wind blew in our direction and our son’s hives flared. I KID YOU NOT. I said nothing about it, to him, so I know it was not psychosomatic. My throat was also reacting with swelling to these exposures.
It was limbic systems in overdrive.
Then, Sarah and I were out with the kids one Sunday evening and we got in a car accident, totaling their car. I went to the ER again, because my heart was beating abnormally and I was very light-headed.
Then, things got worse. Ugh, I can’t even write about it right now, but it was just no fun.
We eventually got back together as a family after Josh started taking binders. Things were still very touch-and-go for me, but our son wasn’t unscathed.
After a couple months of bouncing around (we left our home completely) and spending so much money re-buying, throwing away, and re-buying things, we finally settled in a pretty new townhouse to continue our detoxing and healing. I want to emphasize how important it is to leave the environment triggering the reactions.
It’s not like we hadn’t done this before, but it wasn’t this bad last time in 2016. And it was bad in 2016.
I finally determined that no doctor was able to help me (we are still paying off thousands of dollars of medical bills where we heard the same response each time – “I don’t know whats wrong; I can’t help you.”).
I do have to give credit to our amazing homeopath that I had just started working with in December. She was able to help me a lot in the worst of the reactions, and I started to use homeopathy instead of Benadryl, which was a God-send, because I don’t feel well after taking Benadryl (wired and then so, so tired).
But beyond homeopathy, I knew that something had to change. There seemed to be nothing that would help from traditional western medicine, so I decided to pursue brain re-training through a brain re-training method that a friend offered to let me borrow.
So, I committed to re-training my brain.
Brain Re-Training Methods
There are a couple of methods that people tend to gravitate toward for brain re-training. Two of the more popular programs are the Dynamic Neural Retraining System (DNRS) by Annie Hopper, who was once sick herself to the point that she was living in her car because she couldn’t stand to be in a building (I get it!). Another program is the Gupta Program by Ashok Gupta. Ashok was also very ill at one point in his life and was able to apply the principles that he teaches in his program to help himself get well.
Over the past couple of months, I have gone to barely being able to walk (we had this one place outside we would drive to, so I could get fresh air, and each time I got back into the car my lips were white – obvious oxygen transport issues), to feeling a lot stronger.
My reactions have lessened a lot and I have made some great strides. The first positives that I noticed from DNRS was my ability to sleep in bed. I had gotten to the point where I was sensitive to the mattress, the polyester blanket, and the cotton sheets. My skin just burned whenever I laid down. I had other symptoms along with the burning, and I actually hadn’t been sleeping in a bed for about 6 months, even when we were in the house that was toxic. It’s so nice to not be on the hard floor anymore!
I credit a lot of my forward motion to DNRS and Gupta’s program, to recent time in the sun, some to a PEMF machine that I bought, and some to homeopathy. I have a lot of hope that Gupta will continue to help me.
What is Brain Re-Training?
It’s only in recent years that scientists have discovered the “tip of the iceberg” on how our brains work. No longer is the predominant thinking that our brains cannot change. Although this acknowledgement of neuroplasticity doesn’t always come through in every clinical setting, the science that backs up the brain’s ability to change only gets stronger.
Ashok Gupta of the Gupta Program shares his hypothesis for what he calls “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome” (ME/CFS) in an article that he had published in Medical Hypotheses.
“I propose here a novel hypothesis for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS). ME/CFS may be a neurophysiological disorder focusing on the amygdala. During a ‘traumatic’ neurological event often involving acute psychological stress combined with a viral infection or other chemical or physiological stressor, a conditioned network or ‘cell assembly’ may be created in the amygdala.
“The unconscious amygdala may become conditioned to be chronically sensitised to negative symptoms arising from the body. Negative signals from the viscera or physiological, chemical and dietary stressors, become conditioned stimuli, and the conditioned response is a chronic sympathetic outpouring from the amygdala via various brain pathways including the hypothalamus.
“This cell assembly then produces the ME/CFS vicious circle, where an unconscious negative reaction to symptoms causes immune reactivation/dysfunction, chronic sympathetic stimulation leading to sympathetic dysfunction, mental and physical exhaustion, and a host of other distressing symptoms and secondary complications. And these are exactly the symptoms that the amygdala and associated limbic structures are trained to monitor and respond to, perpetuating a vicious circle. Recovery from ME/CFS may involve projections from the medial prefrontal cortex to the amygdala, to control the amygdala’s expressions.”
Bottom line: Inside the subconscious mind is the limbic system, which houses the amygdala. The amygdala has the role of releasing an appropriate response of protection when something is threatening us. This triggers the fight or flight response, and trains the amygdala to be concerned and fearful of things – sometimes things we don’t even want to be afraid of.
Learn more about this process in this short video:
Your Body’s Protective Mechanism
If you walk outside to the street and almost get hit by a bus, your fight-or-flight mechanism kicks in and tells you that the bus is dangerous as you jump out of the way. Guess what happens in your brain the next time you’re standing on the street corner and a bus comes roaring down the road? That bus is seen as danger on wheels barreling toward you.
Certainly you have experienced this association between stimuli and your amygdala’s response in your own life!
I’m sure you can imagine scenarios, but for a simplistic example, maybe you were upset one time during a meal. Someone was mad at you for something and made you sad. The emotion and the way that you felt, and how this stress affected you, is remembered and stored in your brain.
And then you ate that same food again sometime later, but didn’t feel so well. You don’t really know why and can’t really pinpoint a reason that things seem a bit “off” in your body, but your body knows. Your brain is much more intelligent than it’s often given credit.
To give a positive example, maybe when you were younger there was a certain song that you liked during that specific summer you were in love. One evening you are on the beach with friends, feeling carefree and happy. You are around a fire eating s’mores, smelling bonfire smoke and beauty of the sun setting on the horizon. There is laughter all around, and you were truly, in your innermost being, happy – and that song? It was playing on the radio that was in the background of your joyful party.
To this day, when you hear that song (whether it’s 80’s oldies, 90’s pop, or 60’s rock and roll ?), you can’t help but taste the ooey-gooey marshmallows and chocolate from that evening years ago. You can smell the bonfire smoke, and inside you feel the same light, carefree, and joyful feeling that you did that evening. Your body is suddenly flooded with happy memories, tastes, sounds, and feelings.
All of this happens because of that one song. It was the “trigger,” so to speak, that brings you back to a specific situation from years ago.
Working on this premise of association, both Dr. Gupta and Annie Hopper’s programs are specific methods of brain re-training that help to unravel where neurons have “fired and wired” together.
The issue is that the more a thought or symptom pattern goes “un-checked” in your mind, the more the brain solidifies that way of thinking and continues to operate in the same patterns.
Microorganism and Toxin Contribution
Gupta says that studies show that around 70% of people with CFS and related health conditions can remember a particular viral/bacterial/toxic trigger at the beginning of their illness, and they never seemed to quite recover from that exposure.
Because of this, the method of brain retraining encapsulated in Gupta and Hopper’s programs is not just one of positive thinking. Although positive thinking is helpful to our heath and overall well-being, real health problems, involving the immune system and various autoimmune stress responses, are what need to be addressed.
The symptoms related to these conditions are vast and varied, but some of them that Gupta highlights in his program include:
Muscular fatigue, pain and aching joints, muscular “freeze” response
Fatigue from sleep problems
Adverse reaction to exercise
Immune system symptoms
Latent virus reactivation
New symptoms that arise
Headaches and “foggy” head
Inability to concentrate
Problems with memory
Emotional lability, anxiety, and depression
Susceptibility to stress
Inability to feel enjoyment
Personally, I started out with DNRS because it’s what was readily available to me when I was in crisis. I’d heard amazing testimonials of people who had gotten better through this brain re-training technique who had also dealt with hyper-sensitization. One of my local friends had a copy of the DNRS DVDs that she let me borrow, which was a very welcome gesture, because the programs aren’t cheap.
After doing DNRS for about 2 months, I felt like I needed more. Gupta has more to offer since his program goes into some of the specific thinking patterns that can become “limbic loops,” and he teaches how to stop them.
I plan to write a comparison article of the two programs soon, but for now you may be interested in checking out this YouTube video series for a more in-depth overview of what brain re-training is and what the Gupta program has to offer.
Those of us in the CFS community are always suspect of these brain retraining programs whenever Ashok Gupta is referred to as a “doctor”. Where is the proof of this? As long as he continues to mislead others that he is a doctor, we will always consider brain retraining programs nothing more than junk science. “Doctor” Gupta has recently been slammed by the British advertising council for his misleading website. http://www.meassociation.org.uk/2018/04/advertising-standards-uphold-complaint-against-gupta-programme-for-me-cfs-and-fibromyalgia-11-april-2018/ Our Me association supports this ruling
Wow this is like a movie all the things you went through and all of the things you overcame. You fought hard and I hope everything works out for you. I will be praying for you and your family
I started doing the NDRS but only did it for a few weeks. I just found it hard to spend an hour doing it each day. Is that what you did? An hour each day with the retraining exercises and visualizations? I have lyme and have been exposed to mold and am hypersensitve to fabrics that touch my skin. I would really love to be free of this.
Hi Shannon! Yes, I was very faithful with the exercises and visualizations for an hour every day for about 8 weeks. Then I really had a hard time staying committed and began to integrate Gupta into my DNRS. He advocates for meditation and has a meditation app (The Meaning of Life Experiment) that I really like and have been including in the exercises. Now I will do about 30-40 minutes of “rounds” and then do a meditation of Gupta’s or one of Joe Dispenza’s. Hope this helps! 🙂
I found your site today and I’m enjoying it. We brought our daughter on a Mold Avoidance journey over a year ago. She had been bedridden, wholly, for five years. Very terrible in every way. After five locations & homes, we found a rental in the desert and she started healing. It was absolutely miraculous! After five years she started walking again! Avoidance helped improve everything! But now we are wondering about the Brain Re-training. We have the choice of doing extreme avoidance with tent or trailer and moving around, but it’s quite challenging! I’ve also been looking for those who know of avoidance and have done the practice, and then had gains with the BR. Since it has been months since this post of yours…could you give me an update on how much you feel it’s helped now over time? Thanks! ? Nanette
I am Starting the DNRS program now. My question is about the mold. I’m assuming the program cannot actually detox the mold out of your system so even though it decreases reactions to it, did you take supplements and go through a detox protocol?
Hi Angela! I have used various binders. There are a variety of methods to capture toxins and bind them, but they don’t necessarily work for actual mold spores. Systemic Formulas BIND and CytoDetox are two products that I have used. I have seen a measure success from them, but did not take them at the same time as brain retraining. Dr. Neil Nathan’s TOXIC book has some guidance on binders, but it’s not really a book that you want to be reading while doing DNRS, most likely. 🙂 It may be a future reference if you feel you need it down the road. https://amzn.to/2OjfrnZ