Avoid mold at all costs!  I am now out of the "sick building" where I was teaching.  I am happy to report that I feel 500% better after just 2-3 weeks!  I sent the letter below to my fibro friends when I finally realized what was making me so sick and unable to get well. - Dominie P.S. See my mold updates at the end of this page.

On December 4, 2005, I got sick with a horrible virus that lasted several weeks.  A lot of my students were also sick with this same illness.  Most recovered in a matter of days or couple of weeks.  I recovered eventually, but then in January I went down with what appeared to be a lung infection.  Breathing was difficult and painful.  Coughing was excruciating.  My doctor thought I had fluid trapped in my chest and there was some talk about using a BIG needle (yipes!) to drain it.  Turned out, the X-ray came back showing my lungs were clear.  I attributed my newly acquired weird lung illness to taking the (bad) advice of a chiropractor to fill an ice bag with ice cubes and strap it to my back with an elastic wrap for up to 6 hours a day to treat sciatica.  I had ice on my back for 3-4 hours a day for several days.  That's when the lung problem started. 

Well, it is now mid-May and there is still something wrong with my lungs. The pain has lessened, but I still have chest tightness, shortness of breath and pain when coughing, sneezing or breathing deeply.  I have been to a very famous doctor and also to a pulmonologist (lung specialist).  Nothing they have prescribed or done for me has helped.  I have been on a dozen prescriptions since January - antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, inhalers, prednisone, etc.  My voice is weak when speaking or singing, especially when I'm tired, which is most of the time now.  My day consists of teaching, then I come home and collapse.  I can't go anywhere on weekends - just no stamina.

I got online this week and began studying MOLD.  I think I have been working in a "sick building" and that has a lot to do with the lung problem and my inability to recover despite tons of supplements and even my wonderful immune powder.  Has anyone else had this condition?  Do you know of any medicine (maybe an anti-fungal?) that could heal my lungs?  I think my immune system has become totally overloaded.  What do you think?

Below is some info I found about mold.  It may be useful to you and your family too!!!!

Faithfully yours,

Dominie Soo Bush

P.S.  BTW, today was my last day of teaching there since I can't afford the medical bills I'm generating as a self-pay patient.  My husband is now wondering if I should file for disability.  I can barely function.  It's hard enough having FMS/CFIDS without this new lung illness too.   I'm all ears to any suggestions you may have!

 What I found about mold - I emphasize some words in RED....


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website: 

Biological contaminants: Bacteria, molds, pollen, and viruses are types of biological contaminants. These contaminants may breed in stagnant water [slimy baptistry water?] that has accumulated in ducts, humidifiers and drain pans, or where water has collected on ceiling tiles, carpeting, or insulation.....Physical symptoms related to biological contamination include cough, chest tightness, fever, chills, muscle aches, and allergic responses such as mucous membrane irritation and upper respiratory congestion. One indoor bacterium, Legionella, has caused both Legionnaire's Disease and Pontiac Fever.  For more information, see Biologicals and Mold.

Concern about indoor exposure to mold has been increasing as the public becomes aware that exposure to mold can cause a variety of health effects and symptoms, including allergic reactions. This document presents guidelines for the remediation/cleanup of mold and moisture problems in schools and commercial buildings; these guidelines include measures designed to protect the health of building occupants and remediators. It has been designed primarily for building managers, custodians, and others who are responsible for commercial building and school maintenance. It should serve as a reference for potential mold and moisture remediators. Using this document, individuals with little or no experience with mold remediation should be able to make a reasonable judgment as to whether the situation can be handled in-house. It will help those in charge of maintenance to evaluate an in-house remediation plan or a remediation plan submitted by an outside contractor.1 Contractors and other professionals who respond to mold and moisture situations in commercial buildings and schools may also want to refer to these guidelines.

Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any organic substance, as long as moisture and oxygen are present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, foods, and insulation. When excessive moisture accumulates in buildings or on building materials, mold growth will often occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or unaddressed. It is impossible to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment. However, mold growth can be controlled indoors by controlling moisture indoors.

Molds reproduce by making spores that usually cannot be seen without magnification. Mold spores waft through the indoor and outdoor air continually. When mold spores land on a damp spot indoors, they may begin growing and digesting whatever they are growing on in order to survive. Molds gradually destroy the things they grow on.

Many types of molds exist. All molds have the potential to cause health effects. Molds can produce allergens that can trigger allergic reactions or even asthma attacks in people allergic to mold. Others are known to produce potent toxins and/or irritants. Potential health concerns are an important reason to prevent mold growth and to remediate/clean up any existing indoor mold growth.

Since mold requires water to grow, it is important to prevent moisture problems in buildings. Moisture problems can have many causes, including uncontrolled humidity. Some moisture problems in buildings have been linked to changes in building construction practices during the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. Some of these changes have resulted in buildings that are tightly sealed, but may lack adequate ventilation, potentially leading to moisture buildup. Building materials, such as drywall, may not allow moisture to escape easily. Moisture problems may include roof leaks, landscaping or gutters that direct water into or under the building, and unvented combustion appliances. Delayed maintenance or insufficient maintenance are also associated with moisture problems in schools and large buildings. Moisture problems in portable classrooms and other temporary structures have frequently been associated with mold problems.

When mold growth occurs in buildings, adverse health problems may be reported by some building occupants, particularly those with allergies or respiratory problems. Remediators should avoid exposing themselves and others to mold-laden dusts as they conduct their cleanup activities. Caution should be used to prevent mold and mold spores from being dispersed throughout the air where they can be inhaled by building occupants.


Some buildings can actually be hazardous to your health.

You can develop life threatening diseases by continuing to work in a building where you may be sensitive to chemical substances, toxic mold, fungi, and other airborne pathogens. MORE INFO.
What do you do? Quit? Complain? What can be done?
Depending upon your individual reaction to the workplace conditions, it may be necessary to either leave and find a new job, go on Workman's Compensation or Disability if it has made you ill, or try to get others in the workplace to have the building checked and made to comply with EPA standards of clean air. YOUR OPTIONS.

Sick building problems may arise because of poorly designed or maintained heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, office equipment, furniture and supplies and operations in the building.


[Answer to a question about mold:]  Attending church religious services or participating in other church activities [including Sunday school for young children and youth fellowship meetings, as well as marriage ceremonies, baptisms, and funerals] in a church building with mold-infestation can adversely affect the church members, visitors and guests, their minister or priest or rabbi, and church staff. Inhaling of elevated levels airborne mold spores for even an hour during religious church services can sometimes be enough to initiate mold colony growth in one's sinus cavities and lungs. Because your son already has serious health problems, he is much more at risk for mold health damage than most people. Your first step should be to offer to pay for do it yourself mold test kits to determine the possible presence of elevated levels of airborne mold spores in the air of church sanctuary and other church rooms and in the outward airflow from heating/cooling duct registers, in comparison to an outdoor mold control test. As to the visible mold, you can collect a sample from each mold growth location using the Scotch tape lift sampling technique which is explained and mold test kits available at a large hardware, home improvement or safety store.  If you cannot afford the mold test kits and mold lab analysis, ask the church to pay for it or suggest that the pastor or priest or rabbi take up a special collection to pay for environmental and mold testing of the church building. Learn how to do safe and effective mold remediation by visiting: Mold Removal.


Spring 2007 - I quit working at the "sick building" church in May 2006. It had been hurricane damaged and the wet areas were never cleaned. The A/C filter was completely clogged and had not been changed in perhaps a year. The A/C ran constantly, unable to pull the moisture out of the air. The used baptistry water was left to stagnate and develop fungus and not drained for months at a time. I worked in the sanctuary about 25 hours a week, so I got 20 times more exposure to this room than the general congregation. This spring, the building was renovated and mold was found everywhere - under the carpet, in the ductwork, etc. I feel vindicated! It was not my imagination!

March 1, 2007 - A kind newsletter reader sent me the book MOLD WARRIORS by Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker.  In December, I decided to ask my doctor for a prescription for cholestyramine (CSM), which is what Dr. Shoemaker advises.  CSM absorbs mold, toxins and cholesterol.  Since my cholesterol is high, I thought this powder might make sense to use because it could take care of two problems at once.   I began using CSM in Dec. 2006 and within a month, I felt so much better.  It is now March 1, 2007, and I am doing better than ever.  My breathing and fatigue is much improved.  Not 100%, but definitely better.  See for info about Dr. Shoemaker's protocol for dealing with toxic mold exposure.  See for info about his book.

April 23, 2007 - I developed an upper respiratory infection several weeks ago (fever, chest congestion, weakness, swollen glands, sore throat, laryngitis). I'm on a ton of meds again. Sadly, it seems that this lung weakness from the mold exposure in 2005 may be a permanent feature of my life. I was never able to take the recommended 3-4 scoops of CSM (cholestyramine) daily. I only took one scoop, because I couldn't figure out how to get the dosing schedule done in 24 hours. You take CSM one hour after eating (or medications) and then wait 4-6 hours. I am now starting back on the immune powder which worked well for many years prior to the mold exposure. [Write me at for information about the powder.] I have to work and cannot afford to be sick. When I get fatigued or stressed, the chest tightness and lung thing develops again. My new plan is to take both CSM and the immune powder each day. Maybe that will help. I'll post another update in a few months.

July 22, 2007 - I have been feeling well since June 5, 2007! My husband suggested some things for me to try, and they relieved the awful debilitating fatigue and brain fog that I had for so long. If you want info about these 2 products, please write me at I still occasionally have chest tightness, but not nearly as bad as before. I have the stamina now to get through the day and my mind is functioning again, so I am able to tackle my daily tasks and work with energy. Read my HAPPY update at I am just soooo glad to feel almost normal again.

December 30, 2011 - One lingering side effect of the mold exposure in 2004-2005 that I still have is the inability to travel. I can't ride in a car for more than an hour without neurological distress that feels like brain over-stimulation which causes extreme fatigue and almost seizure-like sensations. I have to ride with the seat back and wear ear plugs and a black eye mask just to get from "here to there" if it's more than about 45 minutes. (My husband jokes that it looks like I'm being abducted!) I also have to pace myself to not become overly-stressed, but that could be because of the FMS/CFIDS, which I have had for almost 30 years. You can find a lot of information about mold on my site and in my newsletters by using the Google search box at the end of this page. One very interesting thing that Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker said recently is that if your measurement from fingertip to fingertip is greater than your height, then you probably have the dreaded genome for mold illness. My husband measured me, and my "wingspan" is 2 inches longer than my height of 5'2"! Just to test this theory, I took my husband's measurements and they are "normal." (No surprise here...he is not "sickly" like me.) I am about to do a survey of my readers to see if those who become sick from mold have a longer "wingspan" than their height. As science learns more about genetics, this may be an easy (no cost $$) way to determine if one is susceptible to mold or not. If you would like to report your results for this survey, please write I will report any significant statistics (anonymously, of course) in my upcoming newsletters. (For those who need more explicit instructions: Stand with your back to a wall with fingers of one hand touching a corner. Have spouse or friend put a pencil mark on the wall where your opposite fingers end. Then walk away and measure that distance. Then, with your shoes off, have someone measure your height - making a mark on the wall with a pencil flat with the top of your head. Then step away and measure that distance. You can use a measuring tape or a yardstick.)

DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical doctor. I am a fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue syndrome survivor. The purpose of this website is not to diagnose or cure any disease or malady, but is presented as food for thought.  This information cannot take the place of professional medical advice. Any attempt to diagnose and treat an illness should come under the direction of a physician. No guarantees are made regarding any of the information in this website.

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DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical doctor. I am a fibromyalgia / chronic fatigue syndrome survivor. The purpose of this website is not to diagnose or cure any disease or malady, but is presented as food for thought.  This information cannot take the place of professional medical advice. Any attempt to diagnose and treat an illness should come under the direction of a physician. No guarantees are made regarding any of the information in this website.