Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Mold -Tackle the Bully

Image from Well Theory

Spring cleaning is an excellent time to take note of the health of your home. April showers are prime time to notice areas of water intrusion and mold. Environmental illnesses are well documented; most know of asbestos and the severe health consequences it brings. However, only recently are mold-related illnesses becoming part of the public consciousness.

One of the barriers to fully comprehending mold is that tolerance varies greatly between individuals. I’ve talked to many mold inspectors; all share their inadvertent role of becoming marriage and family counselors. It is not unusual for only one family member to show health issues from mold exposure. Unfortunately, other family members are confounded and may insist it’s all in their head; and it may be due to neuroinflammation. 

Mold is sneaky, it can survive even without a constant water source. I’ll give you a personal example; I would have bet the house (pun intended) there was no way my home had mold. I was living in Arizona and started to suffer unexpected asthma attacks. My doctor suggested I get my home tested for mold. You could have knocked me over!  A tiny shadow in my walk-in closet was the clue to the inspector. The air test and visual inspection confirmed that significant mold was on the other side of my ceiling. I was shocked and confused - we are in the desert? What I learned is it is not uncommon. All mold needs is damp air. At one point there must have been a roof leak that was sealed over. Enough moisture had remained, and this space between the ceiling and roof became a perfect habitat for mold to thrive and then go dormant. Flourishing anytime the humidity rose; there was no smell, no visual red flags, and no active leak. After it was remediated I could finally breathe easy.

The moral of the story is if you are suffering unexplained health issues that have no clear explanation; be mindful of your environment. It is paramount a mold inspecting company does not also do the remediation. Dr. Jill Crista, author of Break the Mold (www.drcrista.com), and Dr. Shoemaker; www.survivingmold.com are one-stop shops for mold education. Both doctors have created professional certifications for practitioners, yet their sites are also patient-friendly and educational.

“Mold is a bully and turns you into a wimp.” Dr. Crista. Don’t let the bully win.

Love thy Lymph

Love thy Lymph 

This once-dismissed vital system is no longer taken for granted. The roots of its importance can be traced back to Elm Grove, more on that later. Now, you can go to any social media platform and find influencers rebounding, stimulating, and dry brushing all with clever ways to encourage the optimal function of the lymphatic system. That wasn’t always the case. The lymphatic system is a network composed of lymph nodes, organs, glands, tissues, and vessels. Unlike blood vessels, lymphatic vessels don’t have a pump. Think of the vessels as a river and the nodes as ponds that then distribute to the organs. If the ponds are blocked, you get stagnation and fluid buildup. What does the lymph do? What doesn’t it do is a better question! The Cleveland Clinic said it bluntly, “Your lymphatic system is a big team!” Like any team, all the players need to be functioning to aid in fluid balance, absorption of fats, and optimal immune function.  

Too many of us have known someone post-cancer who suffered from lymphedema. This occurs when lymph nodes are removed under the armpit, causing a build-up in fluid leading to painful arm swelling and decreased immunity. What you may not know is one of the earliest pioneers in educating and developing lymphatic protocols started here in Elm Grove. Judy Purtell, a long-time Elm Grove resident, and her colleague Jill Price were published in the prestigious American Journal of Nursing in 1997 for their paper Prevention and Treatment of Lymphedema after Breast Cancer. Judy transformed her battle with lymphedema post-breast cancer by delving into her OT background and understanding the lymphatic system. This led to a decade of traveling the country training hundreds of practitioners to help manage and treat lymphedema, and how to obtain financial payment for this necessary treatment. 

The Book of Lymph

Their work was groundbreaking, opening the gates to treat thousands of patients previously left behind. Their lessons now ripple through TikTok and Instagram. The Book of Lymph by Lisa Levitt Gainsley, CLT (Instagram thelymphaticmessage) is an excellent book available at the Elm Grove Library. Dr. Caitlin Czezowski’s Instagram (doc.talks.detox) is also filled with helpful lymph drainage techniques. From post-cancer to feeling sluggish, stimulating one’s lymphatics is an excellent tool accessible to all. I hope this made you curious about this extraordinary body system. 

 In loving memory of Judy Purtell

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