About Lanie

Health and Wellness Investigator and Advocate

About Me

I was 32 years old when I was diagnosed with asthma

I’m still baffled as to why the doctors and nurses weren’t at all curious about why someone that age would suddenly develop breathing problems.  

Had they asked, I could have told them I’d recently moved into a new apartment.

That was in 2001. Now, looking back, I realize the apartment probably had mold. I lived there for four years.

Infertility: My first sign of long-term problems

I left the (probably) moldy apartment in 2005 and got married. I was 36 years old at the time, and we tried to conceive a child right away. 

No luck. 

After a year of trying on our own, we sought the help of a fertility doctor. 

Success! I became pregnant in May 2009. 

It was a challenging pregnancy, though, and I found out I wasn’t as healthy as I’d thought. 

During my second trimester, I developed high blood pressure and gestational diabetes. These complications resulted in the need for an emergency C-section at 37 weeks.

Fortunately, my beautiful and healthy daughter was born in January 2010. 

What really opened my eyes…

My difficult pregnancy made me realize my health needed more attention. However, I was a busy working mom, and my health quickly took the backseat again.

That changed in September 2010.

I remember sitting in my living room, watching the Dr. Oz show. The topic was “obesogens,” which I learned were chemicals added to our food and environment that can make us fat and unhealthy.

I had never heard that word, but I had some baby weight to lose, adding to my long-term struggle with excess body fat. So I was intrigued.

According to the show’s guests, harmful chemicals like bisphenol A (BPA), pesticides, and herbicides are often added to our food supply to help with mass production, processing and manufacturing.

These chemicals have unwanted side effects. They disrupt our hormones and hijack our health.

I was shocked.

And why was no one (well, except Dr. Oz) talking about this?

I started learning everything I could about the toxins that are commonly added to our food, air, and water supply for the benefit of big corporations. And I became determined to raise my daughter in a safer environment.

I then began to reflect on my own health problems. The ones revealed during my pregnancy.

Why had my health turned so poor as soon as my body was under stress?  

My blood pressure and blood sugar both recovered after my pregnancy, but not for long.  

By 2012, I had developed a more permanent state of hypertension, and I’ve had it ever since.

In 2015, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

In 2017, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune condition called lichen sclerosus.

And in 2021, I was diagnosed with sleep apnea.

But through all of this, my worst health problems were actually depression and anxiety. My mental health made life extremely difficult, and my relationships paid the price.

Depression and anxiety were not new to me. They had been my unfortunate companions since I was about 14 years old. 

Looking back, the house I grew up in probably had mold too.

Why was my health getting worse?

After watching that eye-opening episode of the Dr. Oz Show, I began eating a Paleo diet, cutting out fast food and switching to organic produce and grass-fed meats. 

I stopped eating refined sugar and started shopping at farmers’ markets. I quit diet coke and drank purified water all day instead.

But I wasn’t getting the results I expected. I still struggled with my mood and my weight, and blood testing revealed high inflammatory markers that weren’t dropping.

I figured I must be doing it wrong.

Since then I’ve tried all kinds of diets.

I ate a plant-based diet for several months. But I developed breast pain and bad cramps from eating soy. I started to hurt from joint pain, depression, and gut problems.

Even though I ate well, I was developing food sensitivities that made it hard for me to eat nightshades, oxalates, salicylates, or the fiber in most fruits and vegetables.

Eventually, meat was the only food I could eat without experiencing any side effects. (Sorry, vegans. I tried.)

I joined gyms and exercised faithfully during these years. But despite all the diets and exercise, I couldn’t seem to lose weight without immediately regaining it, and my blood sugars stayed high.

By 2021, I was taking 5 prescription medications, and my diagnosis list was getting longer, not shorter. I was definitely missing a piece of the puzzle.

The Final Straw

In May of 2021, my parents moved into an assisted living home. Both of them had developed dementia. 

While cleaning out the home they had lived in for 30 years, I encountered thick layers of dust covering their thousands of books and other possessions.

Over the next several weeks of working on their house, I developed trouble breathing. It felt exactly like the asthma I’d experienced 20 years earlier in my Chicago apartment.

And I started rapidly gaining weight.

Out of nowhere, my appetite had increased significantly, and I gained 30 pounds within about 3 months, which was unprecedented for me. 

And it wasn’t cute fat either. It was the dangerous kind – around my belly.

Breathing problems. Weight gain. And the ever-looming depression and anxiety.

I went to see a functional medicine doctor

I’d already learned that conventional doctors were little help with chronic health issues. I knew a functional medicine doctor would cost more but would actually help me identify the root cause.

I found Dr. Evan Hirsch, a medical doctor working as a health coach with people with all kinds of chronic health problems, including mold illness, Lyme disease, heavy metal toxicity, and more.

We ran tests, including a Great Plains Mycotoxin Profile, a urine test that checks your body for mold.

My counts were very high for several different species of mold. And I learned that mold can remain in the body long after you leave a moldy environment.

I realized I’d been carrying mold around for at least 20 years.

I started taking binders and detoxification support supplements. I also started learning everything I could about mold illness.

I found out that I probably have Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS), a genetic predisposition to mold illness.

I joined Facebook groups for people with mold or biotoxin illnesses. I learned that mold can weaken the immune system, which lets Lyme, parasites, and other pathogens grow, and causes food intolerances.

And all of this is made worse by contaminants and chemicals in our food, air, and water, which further impact the immune system.

How it’s going now

I’m still detoxifying from mold under the care of a professional. It’s not an easy road, but there’s hope now that things can get better.

I’ve taken steps to reduce the contaminants in my environment. It didn’t happen all at once. Just small steps, adding up over time.

In 2018, I started working as an administrative assistant for a health coaching company, where I was able to learn even more about what it takes to be healthy. Many of the recommendations you’ll find on my site reflect things I learned from these health coaches.

Fortunately, there are many steps and choices we can make to live longer, healthier lives, even if we’ve been poisoned by contaminants, mold, or infections.

I dedicate this blog to people battling these often-hidden health assailants.

With knowledge comes power.

Elaine Lee

Let’s Do It Together

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