2016 Year in Review


Playing in the rain on my wedding day

2016 was a great year overall for us. We had our ups and downs as anyone does, but we had so many wins this year it made all the crummy stuff worth it.

Some of the things from our family vision board manifested themselves into reality this year. I’m totally into what many refer to as woo woo; I believe in visualization and I look at my vision board every morning before I meditate. In February we traveled to Arizona for a week to check out potential places to live and scope out the local scene. In December we married on Maui next to the ocean underneath the beautiful palm trees, something we had dreamt of for many years. It was such a fun week celebrating with family and friends on one of the most beautiful islands in the world. If you had told me ten years ago all these things I wished for would actually happen, I probably would have told you, “You’re crazy!”. My life was just stumbling along until I discovered and added in some of these success habits and goal setting techniques. I also began writing my future book about my cancer story and how I recovered from treatments, which I can’t wait to share with you!

This year also marked an important milestone for me. 15 years that I have been blessedly cancer free. I feel like that is a reason to celebrate! I have made it this far with no chronic illness besides my hypothyroidism from radiation therapy. It does not mean much to life insurance companies however, they think I will die soon apparently so they refuse to insure me at any cost. It’s quite unfortunate that you get treated like some kind of defective human after cancer. I can’t donate blood either. I’m just going to keep living as healthy a lifestyle as I can so I can live to 100! (My current goal) I’m still thinking about ways I can help and inspire other childhood cancer survivors that being healthy can be accomplished after cancer, I do not like the current statistic that 80% of childhood cancer survivors have a chronic illness by age 40. I want to lower that number.


Myself all puffed up on steroids during treatment in 2001

We’ve also been dealing with the toxic black mold situation that has progressively gotten worse the longer we are living here. It’s such a nightmare to try to get out of if you don’t have a safe place to go and a wedding already planned and paid for with non refundable plane tickets. I have read multiple books on minimalism over the past few years and made it my goal to lose the materialism and stuff that doesn’t bring me joy, but I’ve floundered at it quite honestly. I seriously cut back on buying things, but I felt like I couldn’t ever get rid of enough stuff! Well, now we really don’t have a choice. The universe has brought me a lesson on the importance of minimalism and shedding excess stuff. We can bring what we deem safe and the furniture is all going. A new mattress on the floor in an empty room is better than being ill!

Myself now with my family

Myself now with my family

This next year will be super exciting as more things manifest into our lives from our vision board. Currently we are packing, selling and donating in preparation to move to Arizona. I’m immensely excited about this as I have dreamt of moving to a warm climate for a decade now. It’s finally happening! When you evaluate your life and gain clarity on what you really want it can happen. Years of hard work eventually do pay off. When we looked at the current environment we live in (weather included) it was not conducive to the type of lifestyle we’d like to lead, so we made the decision to move across the country. It’s interesting how it all came together in the past few years, as if it were simply meant to be. The universe works in mysterious ways indeed. Have a happy, healthy, amazing New Year!


The Invisible Enemy

mold“If, however, the mark breaks out again in the house after he has torn out the stones and scraped the house, and after it has been replastered, then the priest shall come in and make an inspection. If he sees that the mark has indeed spread in the house, it is a malignant mark in the house; it is unclean. “He shall therefore tear down the house, its stones, and its timbers, and all the plaster of the house, and he shall take them outside the city to an unclean place.” – New American Standard Bible

I apologize as I haven’t written a post for quite a few weeks. We’ve been dealing with a monster in the closet, so to speak. Actually, the monster is in the walls somewhere. I was very ill through April into May with a raging sinus infection that knocked me down and dragged me around for three weeks. On and off 103 degree fevers, I could not breathe through my nose, and I contemplated buying stock in Kleenex. The otolaryngologist put me on oral and injectable antibiotics for the haemophilus influenzae that came up in my nasal culture. For the first time since I beat cancer 15 years ago, I was actually scared. I thought I might end up in the hospital, but I mustered up the energy to make it through my work day and go home to lay in bed. To attempt to combat the warfare that the multiple antibiotics were going to wreak upon my intestinal flora, I forced myself to eat a yogurt each morning. That was all I had the appetite for, so I started losing weight too. My coworkers were very concerned about my health, every day they would ask me how I was doing. I got by on yogurt and lots of organic herbal teas that month.

The whole experience cost me time, my health, and quite a bit of money in doctor and pharmacy bills. I was barely functional for my son’s birthday in April, so I did not have a party for him this year. He also had a sinus infection, albeit much milder. I usually am dead set against any radiation exposure since my cancer experience, but I conceded and had a sinus CT scan. The report showed just maxillary sinus disease, which is typical of fungal sinusitis. Because I knew how much better I felt when we were in Arizona I decided against sinus surgery. I made the decision then that I was done with this house, with the humidity and wetness in NJ, and the only thing that kept me from leaving everything behind right now and driving to the desert with some clothing in a bag was our upcoming nuptials. Airline tickets were already purchased (non-refundable); plans were already in place, things that weighed heavily on how much more I was willing to take to get past this. I have been through hell before with my health before, so now I’m stressing over this whole situation. We have no family to stay with that have a clean(er) house. There are no guarantees that a nearby apartment will be any cleaner and the rent for a 1 bed in my town is 1500, plus you have to lock yourself into a long term lease. I don’t want to be locked into a lease in a state I don’t want to stay in. We decided it’s only a few months, we can make it right??

Two months after the sinus infection episode, my hair started falling out. Usually this would be an indicator of my thyroid being off, but I felt normal energy wise. My thyroid labs seemed ok to confound this even more. My physician thinks it could be a combination of the stress of the mold illness and the stress it has put on me mentally knowing what caused it. I upped my intake of vitamins and switched to a thinning hair shampoo to try to help my hair grow. It did stop falling out after about a month, but the damage had been done, and right before our wedding!

Four months after the episode with my sinus infection I got the ERMI test done from Mycometrics. It showed all 5 toxic black molds that are of the most concern in the home, along with some other nasty varieties like aspergillus niger.


My Ikea Dresser

This was not a good sign, and meant that we would have to give away or trash most of our porous possessions. This is a hard thing to do, especially for me because I have tons of artwork I created growing up and lots of photographs from before we had digital cameras. I also amassed an extensive book collection over the years which I love, even autographed copies of books for my son. Paper is a big carrier of mycotoxins unfortunately, and impossible to clean. Photos and documents can be scanned at least, but the artwork is too large to scan most of it. Luckily for me, I had bought IKEA furniture for us, and it just so happens they are recalling all the dressers now. One less thing for me to worry about getting rid of! I’m trying to look at the positive side of joyful minimalism and getting rid of everything. (I have learned that over a long time the toxins can dissipate, so I will be saving the most sentimental paper items and things in a plastic tote.)

Five months passed now, I have been taking Cholestyramine powder to help bind the toxins. It causes some GI issues such as cramping, constipation, or diarrhea, but it is better than doing nothing. I started my son on activated charcoal and bentonite clay. Now it’s just a nightmarish waiting game of counting down the days to moving day, of being able to see Dr. Gray or Dr. Ackerley in Arizona to detox after the big move. I am praying for a clean space out there and dream of the nice dry warm air. We removed everything from the dressers to give them back to IKEA and I was horrified to see mold growing on the jewelry compartment that had never had a spill! I was so glad to get rid of those dressers.

These 5 molds are the worst of the worst; even one spore of stachybotrys chartarum could indicate a serious indoor mold problem:

  • Aspergillus penicillioides
  • Aspergillus versicolor
  • Chaetomium globosum
  • Stachybotrys chartarum
  • Wallemia sebi

The ERMI test

Toxic black mold is extremely dangerous for everyone living in the building, even if they do not have the genetic susceptibility to be a canary in the coal mine as I am. I’m not sure if it’s a gift or a curse at times; where we are living there is no mold smell to tip us off. The only way I figured it out was my chronic sinusitis; I refused to listen to the doctors after a while when they would insist it’s not mold. I had a lightbulb moment one day listening to Bulletproof Radio and Dave Asprey discussed how he grew up in a moldy house and it messed him up; he had chronic sinus infections and autoimmune disease. Mold can suppress your immune system, cause inflammation, and damage the myelin sheath. Symptoms can vary so greatly from person to person, from acne or eczema to ulcerative colitis and chronic fatigue syndrome. I also believe that my eye floaters I have acquired more recently are due to the mold exposures, if you research the subject there is a lot to support this theory. I will have to find out if that goes away once I am detoxed, but I am optimistic.


Multiple Sclerosis is a rather common result of long term exposure of Stachybotrys or Chaetomium, according to studies they both can destroy the myelin sheath; the security system to your highway of nerves, which can lead to a host of permanent and severe health problems. When the World Health Organization recently convened, Dr. A.V. Costantini, head of the organization; an internist who modestly claims to be a “just a country doctor,” listed fourteen diseases wherein fungal (mold & Candida Albicans) forms of microorganisms have been found include the following: atherosclerosiscancer, AIDSdiabetes mellitus, rheumatoid arthritisSjogren’s syndromesystemic lupus erythematosusgoutCrohn’s diseasemultiple sclerosishyperactivity syndromeinfertilitypsoriasiscirrhosis of the liverAlzheimer’s disease, sclerodermaRaynaud’s Diseasesarcoidosiskidney stonesamyloidosis, vasculitis, and Cushing’s disease. The government and insurance companies offer little to no protection against this hidden menace, even though it can be just as damaging as a house fire. (Many people lose almost all of their possessions due to microscopic mycotoxin contamination.)

Things I’ve been utilizing to detox myself:

  1. Cholestyramine powder – This is a powdered resin that you have to drink in a liquid. Only available as a prescription, but has minimal side effects and is currently one of the best binders for mycotoxins. (That I know of.)
  2. Activated Charcoal – You can use any variety of activated charcoal, I use a powdered one in liquid for my son and we take the capsule form. Bulletproof offers a great activated charcoal.
  3. Diffusing Rocky Mountain oil’s Purify blend or my own version of Thieves oil. These essential oils help to combat biotoxins and bacteria in the air.
  4. HEPA air purifier – I’m not sure how well the one I currently have works, I plan to upgrade to a better one after we move.
  5. Supplements – I take a slew of supplements to help with inflammation: fish oil, reduced glutathione, turmeric, CoQ10, probiotics, Vitamin C, Vitamin D3 + K2, and a multivitamin. (All of my inflammation marker labs have turned up negative so I guess it is working!)
  6. Neti pot with salt, colloidal silver, oil of oregano, or Manuka honey dissolved in distilled water. I rotate these around as they are all powerful against microbes in their own ways.
  7. Nasal spray with Xylitol or Olive leaf extract. Xylitol helps break down biofilms so that other substances can get to the bacteria in the sinuses and eradicate them. Olive leaf is a great remedy against viruses and bacteria.
  8. Bentonite clay, salt, and essential oils in the bath to pull toxins.

Have you ever experienced mold problems before? I would love to hear from you and how you dealt with it. And please share this if you found it helpful, I fear many people have chronic health issues or children with asthma and they have no idea that it could be their home or work causing their health problems, especially in humid climates.

If you would like more information visit:





http://www.moldymovie.com (This documentary featured more than one person from NJ!)