Blog

“The POISON was the CURE”: My Struggle with Toxic Mold Poisoning Podcast

Posted by Dr. Lori Arnold

lori-arnold

 

https://goo.gl/TbRvh4

From the Food As Medicine Podcast, led by Dr. Anh, I bring you this informative interview. Here is a dose of what you get in this podcast:

After a lifetime of medical diagnoses and prescription drugs, Lori finally hit her low point in May, 2014. She had recently turned 40, and was severely depressed, had “brain fog,” was in menopause, had severe digestive issues, and had to take a 9-month medical leave from work. She simply could not function. Four months later she discovered black mold in her condo; THIS WAS THE SOURCE OF HER ILLNESS, which 14 doctors could not diagnose.

This toxic black mold (Stachybotrys) is common in desert areas (Lori lived in Palm Springs, CA), and sometimes starts to grow where leaks or floods have occurred. Lori discovered the mold growth where an A/C unit had leaked into the walls and ceilings.

So, what do you do about toxic black mold? Lori TOOK CONTROL AND TOOK ACTION! She recounts the following steps in her SUCCESSFUL detoxification process:

Immediate evacuation!
Professional air quality tests
Candida diet
Colon hydrotherapy
Infrared sauna treatments
Alkaline water
Vegan diet
High doses of supplements
High doses of fish oils
High doses of melatonin
Mindset adjustment
B-complex vitamin injections

Our conversation also covers ways to minimize detox reactions, the importance of healthy eating and quality supplements, and MUCH, MUCH MORE! Even if toxic mold isn’t making you sick, Lori’s advice and insight can help anyone learn to remove toxins and live a healthier lifestyle. Join us to learn more!



HYB Series PART 3: WERE YOU EXPOSED? IDENTIFYING ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS

Posted by Dr. Lori Arnold

hyb-series-part-3

In PART 2, you were given my background and all the insults my little body was exposed to as a child. Now, we begin the functional medicine task of looking at each element to identify areas that are modifiable factors in all of our lives. This segment is going to focus on TOXINS I was exposed to from ages 0-20 years old. Don’t forget to catch PART 4 to identify the MEDICATIONS, giving you a thorough assessment of drug insults, and PART 5 to identify DIETARY FACTORS, giving you many potential food factors that could play part in your child’s health – or even YOUR health. But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves and steer our ship back on course for the first topic: ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS.

 

On a daily basis, I was continuously exposed to a barrage of environmental toxins. I was quite the little puffer! Just kidding — I’ve never smoked a day in my life, or even a second for that matter. I did, however, inhale quite a little secondhand smoke. The smoke came from the ends of cigarettes smoked by my parents, aunts and uncles during family gatherings, and from neighbors and adult family friends that visited our home. “Unlucky Strike” number one, secondhand cigarette smoke filled up my lungs with chemical tar and sludge, taxing already stressed out lungs.

 

Next, my entire childhood was spent living in agricultural communities. Farming utilizes high amounts of pesticides and herbicides and generates massive plumes of chemical pollutant dust. Just mentally visualizing the dusty haze makes me want to sneeze. While working the land during planting and harvesting, this ‘micro-particulate’ dust is continuously kicked up into the air. If that sounds like it may choke your lungs, add in the mixture of pollen and mold spores that are also being released by tilling the dirt and cutting the crops. Living in these remote areas, you are subject to unlimited sources of respiratory distress. A steady stream of dust irritates the sensitive lining of your nose and throat, causing allergies, sinus infections, sinus headaches, coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and upper respiratory infections like bronchitis and pneumonia. “Unlucky Strike” number 2, breathing poison and irritants from the air.

 

As I continued to breath the toxins into my respiratory system on a daily basis, I was also ingesting chemicals seeping into the municipal water supply. By drinking ‘polluted’ tap water, chemicals were allowed to take up residence in my digestive system – wreaking havoc with yet another sensitive and crucial body system. We all consider organic gardening a wonderful way to avoid chemicals and supply our families with healthful food choices. However, as a child in the 1970s, we had no knowledge of the benefits of ‘organics’ or the dangers of chemical toxins we sprayed, sprinkled and doused all over our gardens. By consuming home grown “fresh” garden vegetables and fruit, I was being exposed to another source of pesticides and herbicides, like Round-Up, and many other chemicals utilized to kill the bugs and beetles that could potentially destroy the plants. “Unlucky Strike” number 3, ingesting chemicals from drinking water and fresh produce.

 

Another very unfortunate source of potential toxins and poisons came from consumption of fresh fish caught from local streams and lakes. My favorite family activity was, and still is, fishing. Not to toot my own horn, but I will admit I was quite the little angler! We were never a catch-and-release family, as we actually enjoyed having a beer-battered “fish fry” after a day at the river. For children, the sport of fishing is basically to see how many fish you can successfully land on shore, how fast you can get the fish off the hook, and equally how fast you can cast your line back in the water for a repeat. We never worried about who was going to clean the fish and take care of the dirty work – that would be good ol’ Dad’s job. On many occasions, our catch of the day consisted of fish like catfish and bullhead, because they were easy to catch and always yielded a productive fishing day. These nasty bottom feeding fish have very oily meat with a higher concentration of toxins — as the toxins are naturally attracted to, and concentrate in oily tissues. If we were fishing in North and South Dakota rivers, streams and lakes, where exactly did those toxins found in our fish come from? That is an excellent question and one that many do not take into consideration. Many lakes and streams are situated on land next to crop fields. Irrigation and rainwater runoff from the fields can find its way back into the streams and lakes, polluting these precious bodies of water with poisons. Additionally, many ranchers have built massive cattle feedlots and pig and hog farms near lakes and streams. I know this is extremely disgusting, however, the urine and feces runoff eventually makes its way to the water supply where we are innocently catching the fish – which we take home and EAT. I have never seen signs posted by the Game and Fish Department issuing any warnings of potential increased noxious toxins in the “wild” fish found in these local bodies of water. I have since warned my friends and family back home of the dangers of eating fish caught in tiny lakes that are stagnant with no outlets to keep the water flowing steadily, and also from streams and rivers located on farmed lands or near feedlots. “Unlucky Strike” number 4, ingesting contaminants found in locally caught “wild” fish from polluted waters.

 

This segment should have given you a good overview of just a few environmental toxins you could be exposed to, especially if you or a loved one was raised in rural farming communities. You will not want to miss PART 4, which will take a look at MEDICATION exposures and the dangers found lurking there.


HYB Series PART 2: Are Your Children “Human Petri Dishes?” Consequences of Growing Up Asthmatic

Posted by Dr. Lori Arnold

Heal Yourself Beautiful Human Petri Dishes

HUMAN PETRI DISHES?

I think it is time you got to know me a little better. From the outside, you see a happy and vibrant woman with an infectious, and very toothy smile. I exude the picture of health. If you’ve followed my blogs through my “fitness journey,” you are familiar with some of the health issues that plagued me 2 years ago, prompting me to restore my physical strength and physique. But, that was just a tiny snippet of my story. Through the series I will be posting over the next few weeks you will learn the reason WHY I can personally relate to many of the disheartening stories of illness I hear every day related to medical mishaps and subsequent long-term bodily damage.

 

Like many children, from a very early age I was exposed to an onslaught of pharmaceutical drugs. As most confused, stressed out and fearful parents would do, my parents placed all of their faith and trust in all of the medical diagnoses and treatments I was given – after all, the doctors are the “experts” in medicine. I know my pediatrician was doing his best and with every new prescription written, he hoped he was supplying the “cure” I desperately needed for my symptoms; unfortunately, the treatments piled up. As is the case with many “sickly” young children, I was quickly becoming a HUMAN PETRI DISH for the pharmaceutical industry. Each passing year, drug after drug was prescribed for every new symptom I was experiencing. Maybe it was an oversight, but not once was the safety of these treatments questioned with each new chemical introduction into my frail and tiny body. Was there even a second thought given to the possibility of any long-lasting detrimental side effects that could surface negatively later in life? I don’t have the answers to those questions, and I will never know. Many questions remain unanswered, but in Paul Harvey’s words, “It is time for the Rest Of The Story.”

 

I am a small town North Dakota girl born and raised in very rural farming and ranching communities. When I was 5 years old, my family moved to the southwestern corner of the state to Hettinger, population 1500. If you know North Dakota, at least the way it used to be, farming is THE way of life. Hettinger was, and still is, a one traffic light town with a cautionary flashing signal prompting you to slow your horses down to 25 miles per hour as you are quickly passing through on Highway 12. It was the 1970s, and the cigarette industry did an incredible job of painting a picture that smoking was the “cool and vogue” thing to do. Joe Cool the Camel and the Marlboro Man surfaced, and all the glamorous ads showcased sleek, successful and beautiful young men and women happily puffing on their cigarettes. It sounds so cliché to say it, but it really was the “it-thing” to do. Unfortunately, my parents fell prey to the propaganda and partook in the trend – meaning, they both smoked. During the same time, the dangerous adverse effects from smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke were virtually unknown, and if the tobacco industry was aware of the situation they were covering it up. As a matter of fact, I still remember when smoking was allowed in clinic and hospital waiting rooms. I have a very vivid recollection of waiting for an x-ray, surrounded by many sick patients who were coughing and could barely breath — simultaneously puffing away on their cigarettes, surrounding themselves and others with a hazy smoke plume.

 

The combination of being exposed to a very “allergic” environment and a potential genetic predisposition resulted in a diagnosis of asthma and severe environmental allergies at the age of 6. Soon after diagnosis, my minor shortness of breath quickly morphed into severe bronchial restriction, chest tightening, labored wheezing and excessive coughing. I became a very nervous and anxious child as I was consumed with never-ending fear that I would stop breathing at any moment. Unless you’ve ever experienced an asthma attack, it is difficult comprehend the sensation of your airways slamming shut, and the intense panic, fear and terror you feel as you struggle and gasp for each tiny breath of air. As you would assume, medication is a necessity for this condition. The late 1970s and early 1980s had little to offer in effective medications for severe asthmatics because asthma was not that prevalent; therefore pharmaceutical innovations were not a target in that medical arena. Focus shifted in the late 1980s and early 1990s as we witnessed an unprecedented rise in asthma prevalence. Researchers revealed that asthma was not just a disease that constricted the lungs (bronchoconstriction), but also caused chronic lung inflammation. Basically, asthma is a disease of swelling and tightening of the lungs. Traditional asthma treatment for airway tightening consisted of daily medication like theophylline and albuterol; however, inflammation was only treated with oral steroid bursts to quell acute asthma attacks. The use of inhaled steroids had not become standard practice.

 

My daily regimen included oral theophylline and an albuterol inhaler to treat my airway reactivity and tightening. During hospitalizations, which happened frequently, I would get additional intravenous aminophylline. The medications were atrocious stimulants! My petite body twitched like a Parkinson patient, and my hands shook so intensely I could barely hold a pencil to write. A full night’s sleep was a rare occurrence because of the intense night sweats and terrifying nightmares I suffered. In school, I felt like an outcast and was painfully shy and self-conscious, constantly obsessing that my classmates thought I was a freak. My eyes were bloodshot, I had dark puffy circles around my eyes, and my face was red, irritated and swollen. All of these physical manifestations were just some of the uncomfortable side effects of the drug therapy.

 

Like a credit card ad that recites “Don’t Leave Home Without It,” my albuterol inhaler became my “safety blanket” that I always carried with me. I was completely dependent on, or more accurately addicted to, my “rescue” inhaler. I became the “nerdy weakling kid” with the funny-looking fanny pack of asthma tools — inhaler, spacer and peak-flow meter. I topped the list of absenteeism by missing more days of school than any of my classmates due to the multiple hospitalizations, frequent viral and bacterial sinus and lung infections and sometimes just general sick days caused by the malaise I suffered from countless sleepless nights. I became oblivious to of the number of times I was forced to take high dose steroids, like prednisone and Medrol-Dosepaks, to quell the inflammation in my lungs. Some of these steroid “bursts” lasted longer than 30 days. Steroids are wrought with nasty side effects including “moon face,” water retention, increased stimulation with added difficulty concentrating, and dark and puffy eyes. It was exhausting being sick all of the time, for me, my parents and even my doctors. Maybe it was an act of desperation after using up all other options, or to prevent yet another hospital admission, my defeated docs would pen another prescription for additional rounds of antibiotics – whether warranted or not. I can’t fault any of them, as I really do believe they did the best they could with the knowledge and science they had available to them. Like a leaky water faucet, my nose dripped nonstop. I had annoying sneezing fits, where I would sneeze 8 or more times in a row with such intense force I thought I would blow my eyeball out of its socket! Some classmates carried those cute little tissue packs to classes — I carried the industrial family-sized tissue box. I was even tested for cystic fibrosis at 11 years old, due to the increasing severity of asthma symptoms and frequent (4-6 times a year) hospitalizations.

 

I can’t fathom the heartache, pain, stress and financial burden that I must have inflicted on my parents to have to emotionally cope with a sickly child. It must have broken their hearts and made them feel incredibly helpless because they couldn’t alleviate my suffering and make the illness go away. On top of everything else, after school every Monday, Wednesday and Friday my mother had to haul me to the clinic for multiple allergy shots. Even though they rotated injection sites, my arms would still swell into a goose “egg” as my body reacted with an inflammatory cascade from the allergen insult. I cried continuously, begging my mother, “PLEASE don’t make me go back to the clinic for these horrible shots.”

 

My teens ushered in a new set of ailments with the onset of menarche. I soon developed irregular menstruation cycles coupled with intense and painful cramping. Unfortunately, I was also plagued with severe hormonal cystic acne, accompanied with facial inflammation and irritation. Once more, these new health conditions led to subsequent trips back and forth to the clinic. At 16 years old I was placed on oral contraceptives to stabilize my menstrual patterns. I was prescribed Ortho-Tricyclen for the menstrual issues, and gained the additional bonus of reducing the severity and frequency of acne flare-ups.

 

As you can see, before I turned 20, I was subjected to dozens of chemical drug insults. This bombardment eventually became a “snowball effect” that would eventually crash down on me. Why did I go into so much detail? For those of you who have small children, this is a snapshot of the life your child may lead if they continue on a road of multiple courses of drug treatment. Stay tuned for the next part of the series where you will see what happens in the next decades of my life. You will also be walked through how to apply a holistic approach to YOUR health. Using myself as an example, you may be able to better identify your own issues and pinpoint similar situations in order to learn to correct the problem before it gets out of control. Like a detective, you will put on YOUR investigative hat and analyze trends and patterns that can manifest into harmful situations. While utilizing the holistic approach to healing, we will focus on key elements that increase your risk of negative health issues. These areas of interest we will target from a functional medicine perspective we will include: Toxins, Medications, Diet and Nutrition, and Exercise.

Be sure to come back for Heal Yourself Beautiful: Part 3!


HYB Series PART 1: LISTEN TO YOUR BODY

Posted by Dr. Lori Arnold

LISTEN TO YOUR BODY

Did you know that your body is very intelligent? Every symptom you have is your body’s way of sending a signal to you that something “just isn’t right.” As a whole, we quickly ignore these important signals we are receiving from our body. In our very over-medicated nation, we are programmed to automatically reach for a medication, whether it be prescription or over-the-counter, to suppress our symptoms so we can get on with our day and on our “merry-little-way.” Through bombardment of impressive marketing by pharma industry and the continuous introduction of “new and improved” agents for physical and mental conditions that we didn’t even know existed, an incredible arsenal of “cures” have become available to “treat” every bump, bruise, ache, pain, cough, sneeze, wheeze and even burp. Now, when we are feeling a little “blue”, our physicians and advertisement have convinced us we have a “Prozac deficiency” or a “Zoloft imbalance.” If we have a bout of acid indigestion after consuming over 3000 calories in pizza and nachos dripping with fatty cheese during the Super Bowl, we quickly equate this to “too much acid” that can be fixed with a dose of Tums, Zantac or Prilosec OTC… and some consumers even take all three! If we have a fever, we instantly assume this as a negative reaction that demands immediate attention with Tylenol or Motrin. We think that we can protect ourselves from the flu simply by getting a flu vaccine. How about we take a step back for a just a moment and fully analyze each of these situations? If we did so, we would realize that in each example mentioned, our body is attempting to send an S.O.S. for us to PAY ATTENTION! Instead, we should question WHY these symptoms are occurring and search for the underlying cause instead of simply placing a “Band Aid” on it.

Tap into your imagination and visualize the following. You just purchased a gorgeous Mercedes E-Class sedan (or insert your favorite dream car here) and drove it straight off the showroom floor. The final sale price exceeded $70,000. You slide behind the wheel and are instantly overcome with the “new car” smell of sweet buttery leather. The sales manager hands you the keys and you excitedly drive the car away and start heading down the road. With only five miles on your odometer, the “check engine” light comes on. You look at the flashing caution light on your dashboard and immediately realize you have a dilemma. What do you do? Would you pull over, grab your owner’s manual and see if there is a button that can reset your car’s monitoring system with the hope that this was just a “new car electronic glitch” and that the potential underlying malfunction will go away after the light is turned off? OR, do you immediately turn around and drive back to the dealership so that the mechanics can run a diagnostic test to find out WHY the car detected an issue that signaled the check engine light to come on? I know this seems like a pretty silly question, and of course, you being a very savvy consumer who believes in high quality products, you would immediately take the car back to get it checked out. NOW, if you would investigate the “root cause” of your car’s dysfunction, why would you not do it for your own body’s dysfunction?

Even with all of the advancements of modern medicine, you can’t replace all of your body parts once they are worn out… although orthopedic surgeons and cosmetic surgeons may beg to differ with me. The time is NOW to consider listening more closely to how your body is communicating with you, and to start taking more preventative measures by making healthier choices in the present, so that ultimately we will have a more vital and enjoyable future. NOW is the opportune time to take more responsibility for your body by utilizing a more holistic approach to your own personal healthcare by treating your body as a whole integrated system instead of just segmented parts. Maybe you will start taking a more proactive approach to preventative measures for your health. I truly hope you will at least gain a new perspective on some aspect of YOUR life you need to pay more attention to, so you can begin the process to heal yourself… from within.