Sunday, March 20, 2016

Mold: Our Health Timeline, Current Plan of Action and Needs - Part 2

*If you haven't already read part one, click here to see what has led us to this point in our journey*



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If you've hung in there and read our health timeline, you'll see that we've fought this battle long and hard. We have sacrificed a great deal of time, money, energy and life. We feel it's time for real healing and at this point for us, that means being radical. We have been and continue to do an extensive amount of study, research, personal interviews, and so forth. We are actively seeking out medical specialists for treatment and healing. It has been 11 long years of physical illness and it is unlikely that things will get better overnight. We realize we may have quite the journey ahead of us.  They say it may get worse before it gets better.

Many of you are asking us what we are doing with this information, as well as why we are making certain choices. Please know, these have not been easy decisions to make. In many ways, we feel like our hearts have been ripped out of our chests. For various reasons, including the types of mold we have (3 of the most toxic), their spores, fragments, our health issues and potential cross-contamination, we've chosen to leave most of our belongings behind. Yes. You read that right. We have been encouraged by two doctors and multiple other sources that have walked this hard road before us to “treat it as a fire” and not look back. We have minimal items with us at our temporary location but when we begin treatment with our doctor and move to whatever longer term home we plan to stay in, we will have to start 100% new.  We will store especially sentimental and valuable items for a time and later try to reintroduce them into our environment.  We should then know if we can tolerate them with proper cleaning.

What emotions are we currently struggling with? Everything. Overwhelm with all the decisions that need to be made. Fear in finding a safe place for healing. Grief and heartache over the loss of our home and personal items. Sadness over the trials we've faced and the time we've lost that cannot be recovered. Anxiety over how others will receive our story. And yet hope. We have great hope for healing but ultimately, being able to show the beauty of the Gospel in our story.

James and I have been extremely blessed with good family, friendships and community. Right now our cry is for you to be there and listen.  We realize that there are differing views to mold and the problems it can cause.  Again, we have done a great deal of research and continue to do so. What we strongly desire right now are those willing to listen, be sympathetic and support us in our decisions, even if you don't understand or agree with the details. We will likely need shoulders to cry on and ears to hear our trials. We wholeheartedly covet your prayers in discernment, wisdom, and direction.

With all that said, many of you have asked us how you can practically serve us during this transition. If you desire to do that, read on. Some friends set up a fundraiser for us at: www.youcaring.com/santosfamily.  As you can imagine, it's going to be very expensive to start all over. We are a family of seven. Though James has a well paying job, we already have a strained budget because of our medical expenses. We are currently living on more minimal items at our temporary location.  However, when we get somewhere longer (short) term, we will not be able to bring our belongings with us.  We were specifically encouraged not to take used clothing or used household items from others because of the potential of being re-exposed to molds unintentionally. In addition to the YouCaring site, gifts cards/cash could also be ideal for practical needs (think Amazon, Costco, Target, etc). We will need to purchase items like clothes, shoes, air mattresses and bedding, air filters for where we move, kitchen items/appliances, towels, toiletry items, and so on. We will also be incurring even greater medical costs as we seek out the help of specialists. Currently James and I both have appointments with a specialist in California that will cost approximately $1120 each without lab tests and travel expenses.  And this seems to be industry standard from our research.  We will be making decisions about the remediation and the sale of our home.  We will likely need funds for our realtor and potentially a lawyer.  We need to find a temporary place to live and will be likely be paying our mortgage plus rent until we sell our home.  And the list goes on. You can imagine the anxiety that could be prone to come without the peace of God in all of this.

We are clinging to these word of Scripture:
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”-  Philippians 4:4-9

Please be in prayer for us during this difficult time. Pray that we will be anchored in the present with Jesus in all we think and decide. Pray for wisdom and courage as we work with the remediation company, insurance adjusters, realtors, and attorneys. Pray for vulnerability and transparency with those we love with our emotions and exhaustion. Pray for resilience and endurance as we navigate through many decisions and share our story with people.

 If we are slow to respond to a request, it is simply because we are overwhelmed and trying to process everything while being strong for our kids. We are so grateful for you all.

Much love in Christ,
Terra (and James)

If you're interested in reading or learning more about mold illness, check out these links:

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