Epstein Barr virus

Epstein Barr Virus - Could You Have It? With Dr. Kasia Kines

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Dr. Kasia Kines is a Doctor of Clinical Nutrition and the CEO of EBV Educational Institute who specializes in the Epstein Barr virus (EBV). Her new ground breaking book on EBV combines medical research with practical applications, written both for the medical community and the lay person in mind. The book will be released in late spring/summer 2018. In this episode we talk about the EBV, Mononucleosis, testing, childhood infections & recovery.



Here's what you'll hear:

Min 02:35 Introducing Dr. Kasia Kines

Min 04:48 How Dr. Kines got into EBV specialization

Min 06:35 Testing for EBV & seeking treatment

Min 10:00 The connection between EBV & other conditions

Min 11:50 How many people have EBV?

Min 15:00 Mononucleosis (mono)

Min 19:05 Childhood infections & lab testing for EBV

Min 27:30 Botanicals & superfoods for helping with EBV

Min 35:00 Flipping your health script

Min 36:50 Olive-leaf extract

Min 40:35 Dr. Kines newsletter & freebies

Min 46:35 EBV recovery

To learn more about Dr. Kasia Kines, visit her website here and follow her on social media:



Here's a video version of the interview with Dr. Kasia Kines:

5 Easy Detox Swaps for Women’s Health

Are you doing all the ‘right things’ but still feeling blah?

Get my list of 5 Easy Detox Swaps for Women’s Health to start clearing out the toxins and reset your system to feel better today!

My Problem with Functional Medicine

How Coaching Makes Functional Medicine More Effective

My early career in medicine began as an acupuncturist. I went to school in a converted old house in New Mexico, with chickens in the parking lot and burritos at break time.

My teachers were mostly from China, and very smart, interesting people. I learned to read the signs of the body. Puffy tongue means dampness. Frequent sighing shows liver stagnation.

Bridgit Danner, LAc, FDNP

Bridgit Danner, LAc, FDNP

As I entered practice, I gave generously to my clients. I used essential oils and did massage. I counseled them on dating and workplace drama.

But when I got sick, I didn’t know enough to help myself. As I looked for solutions, I found functional medicine.

I didn’t know it by that name at the time, but I studied the body systems in a new way, and I studied a new body of therapeutic foods and supplements.


I was fascinated with this new world and reaped some benefits in my own health. I went on to study functional medicine in a more formal way, completing the Functional Diagnostic Nutrition program.

But then one very rainy winter in Oregon, I got really sick. And again my knowledge was not enough. I turned to lab testing and found mold and Epstein Barr. I found some great insight from functional practitioners but also fell into some serious gaps:

  • There was a rush to give supplements.

  • There was a ‘this should be working’ attitude.

  • There was an overlooking of me as a whole person.


One of the most disappointing things for me was the lack of empathy I felt from the functional practitioners that I saw. While I’m sure that they did care, I didn’t hear it in their communication.


I was really sick. I’m talking bone-tired, twitching eyelids, can’t hold a thought for two seconds sick. Beyond expensive supplements, I needed to feel heard and loved. I needed advice on how to make it through the day.


I’m not saying that one functional doc is meant to be an answer to all of life’s issues! When you are seriously ill, it’s going to take a village, persistence, & a good mindset. Eventually, I found a counselor who helped me address the stress of chronic illness and the displacement caused by mold.

As I struggled to figure out my illness, I had to re-calibrate my view of functional medicine. Was it not at all what I thought it was? Was it a waste of time and money?

I am very thankful for my roots in Chinese Medicine and life coaching that gave me a roadmap for how things could, indeed, be better.


My current practice is very progressive. It’s all online, and we run tests from mold to parasites. We have clients all over the world and use video chat and electronic intake forms.


But I have embraced wholeheartedly the old-fashioned values of listening to my client carefully, of reading between the lines and seeing what’s really stressing them and letting them have a voice in how their protocols proceed.


We remember to say, “you’re doing a great job,” and remind you that things will get easier. We help you deal with skeptical family members and birthday cake in the break room. 

We are coaches, and we help you navigate the hard parts of life.


The term ‘functional medicine’ was coined by Dr. Jeffrey Bland in 1991 as he and his wife established the Institute of Functional Medicine. Dr. Bland is a nutritional biochemist and we can really credit him for establishing and advancing this field.


Functional medicine excels at testing. It looks at how to best support the body’s systems without doing harm. But here’s the thing...

You are not a group of symptoms or test results.

You are person with a story of how you got sick, and the story of how you get well is still being written. Having a coach who truly listens and lifts you up will be an important a part of your healing journey.

Are you ready for the next level of holistic functional care?

Work With Us!

We would be honored to work with you as a private client. We provide testing and coaching options to women in most every state and country. Come check out our coaching options to see if it’s a fit. 





Bridgit Danner, LAc, FDNP, is trained in functional health coaching and has worked with thousands of women over her career since 2004. She is the founder of Women’s Wellness Collaborative llc and HormoneDetoxShop.com.

Nutrition for Thyroid Recovery with Caroline Stahlschmidt

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Caroline Stahlschmidt is a Certified Functional Nutrition and Lifestyle Practitioner (FNLP) and is a practicing functional nutritionist at the Functional Nutrition Alliance (FxNA) Clinic. She was diagnosed with Hashimoto's but has learned to thrive with her autoimmunity through diet and lifestyle modifications. In this episode we talk about thyroid, nutrition and advanced issues about thyroid markers.

Here's what you'll hear:

Min 00:40 Results of our podcast survey
Min 06:05 Introduction to Caroline Stahlschmidt & her Hashimoto's diagnosis
Min 08:15 Factors that contributed to Caroline's Hashimoto's
Min 10:00 Unhealthy guts & your poop
Min 13:30 High TSH levels
Min 19:00 The Epstein Barr virus
Min 22:00 Caroline's evolution of symptoms
Min 26:40 Getting enough sleep & rest
Min 31:55 Nutrition & diet for good health
Min 41:05 Yoga & Caroline's healing journey
Min 47:05 Caroline's resources & work

To learn more about Caroline Stahlschmidt and the Functional Nutrition Alliance (FxNA) Clinic, visit their website here and follow them on social media:


Free ebook (Food/Mood/Poop) 
Beautycounter - non-toxic line of beauty products

Here's the video version of the interview with Caroline:

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

If you have not yet joined our community, be sure take our "Is a Gut Infection Causing Your Hormonal Imbalance" quiz here, and come on board!

We have lots of valuable, free resources for women's health we share weekly.

Bridgit Danner,

Founder of Women's Wellness Collaborative

Get Your Brain Working Better with Dr. Steven Masley

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Dr. Steven Masley, MD is a physician, nutritionist, trained-chef, and author. In this episode we talk about brain health and his new book "The Better Brain Solution" coming out Jan 2, 2018.

Here’s what you’ll hear:

Min 01:55 The fear of aging & brain health
Min 02:55 Introduction to Dr. Steven Masley
Min 03:25 Motivation behind the book "The Better Brain Solution"
Min 05:55 The 5 pillars to better brain health
Min 06:45 The odds of cognitive dysfunction for men & women
Min 08:35 Why women's brains rewire during menopause
Min 10:50 Other factors affecting brain health
Min 15:50 Exercise for improved brain health & insulin control
Min 19:30 Ketogenic diets, memory loss and interminent fasting
Min 22:10 Avoiding meat & grains when fasting
Min 25:00 Nutrients & supplements for a better brain
Min 30:10 Toxins (BPA, Phthaletes, Mercury), paleo eating & preservatives
Min 36:55 Dr. Steven Masley's brain quiz

To learn more about Dr. Masley, visit his website here and follow him on social media:


  1. Dr. Steven Masley's brain quiz

  2. Enroll for the 30-Day Better Brain Challenge

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

If you have not yet joined our community, be sure take our "Is a Gut Infection Causing Your Hormonal Imbalance" quiz here, and come on board!

We have lots of valuable, free resources for women's health we share weekly.

Bridgit Danner

Epstein Barr Virus and Wildatarian Eating with Teri Cochrane

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Teri Cochrane is a certified Nutritionist and a thought leader in epigenetics and nutrigenomics who specializes in autoimmune conditions. Teri  will be sharing her groundbreaking findings as to why the Epstein Barr Virus has become an epidemic, how it can be reactivated in our bodies, how to test & treat it, its connection with other diseases and wildatarian eating.

Here's what you'll hear:

Min 01:55 Introduction to Dr. Teri Cochrane
Min 04:50 Teri's introduction to Epstein Barr virus (EBV)
Min 10:00 Lyme disease and encapsulation
Min 12:30 What is Epstein Barr virus / Mononucleosis
Min 16:20 Wildatarian eating
Min 17:50 False positives for Lyme test
Min 20:10 Reactivating EBV
Min 27:15 Other diseases that can be connected to EBV
Min 31:15 Patterns in EBV
Min 33:30 Testing for EBV
Min 37:00 Why you have low cholesterol
Min 39:30 Treating EBV

To learn more about Teri Cochrane, visit her website here and follow her on social media:


Teri Cochrane's free gift - FAB FIVE

Private Coaching with Bridgit

Women's Wellness Collaborative is now offering more flexible options for private coaching. If you are interested in learning more, please fill out this form and we will get right back to you.

Apply Here.

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

If you have not yet joined our community, be sure to grab our hidden Hormone stressors quiz here, and come on board!

Thanks for listening,

Bridgit Danner,

Founder of Women's Wellness Collaborative

Take Down Your Hashimoto's Thyroiditis

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Hashimoto's Thyroiditis involves the body’s immune system breaking down the tissue of the thyroid gland. The possible symptoms are numerous and may include:

  • Hair loss

  • Cold hands and feet

  • Frequent colds and flu

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome

  • Fatigue

  • Depression

  • Weight gain

I believe our modern environment has created the perfect storm for Hashimoto’s. Many, many women have a leaky gut due to growing up on processed foods and now Genetically Modified Foods. Most women would report they are chronically stressed, which thins the protective layer of the gut. And we are all exposed to a slew of chemicals from chlorine in water (a thyroid disrupter), to xeno-estrogens in plastics (makes for an increased need for thyroid hormone), to heavy metals in our make-up (linked to irregular thyroid function).

Many of our clients and women in our online community tell me they had gotten a Hashimoto’s diagnosis but have not had any improvement in symptoms as yet. 

Some of them are on thyroid medication and have experimented a bit with dietary changes, but didn’t stick to it.

Thyroid medication can, in some cases, relieve symptoms because more thyroid hormone is made available to the body’s cells and systems.  However, it does not address the inflammatory nature of a disease based on immune dysregulation, with a background of leaky gut.  These things will never be addressed by thyroid medication!

Others have gone full tilt with major, long-term diet changes and supplements but are still not fully improved. While this will make an impact for most women and may be enough to send some women into remission, there are causes that a blanket approach to diet and supplements are not addressing. 

Here are some things to consider if you aren't improving:

  • Do you have heavy metal toxicity from frequent trips to the sushi bar?

  • How about parasite shared with you by your sweet toddler?

  • Or is your stressful job causing a flare-up of once dormant Epstein Barr infection?

Unfortunately unraveling your own root causes of Hashimoto’s can be a long and winding road. So why bother?  Here are three good reasons:

  1. If you have one autoimmune disease, you are likely to add another autoimmune disease to your list every 10 years (reference: The Autoimmune Fix by Dr. Tom O'Bryan)

  2. If you continue to live with a leaky gut your micronutrient levels are likely to decrease, leaving you even more fatigued

  3. Those unaddressed symptoms are limiting you every day, preventing you from reaching goals, affecting your relationships and generally keeping you from a full experience of what life has to offer.

Getting to the root of a chronic illness, any chronic illness, takes tenacity and an investment of your time and money.  Depending on your circumstances, you may have more time or money, but, frankly, it’s going to take a combination of both.

Luckily learning in the internet age is mostly free. Lately, I am trying to listen to about an hour of audio material a day and to read a health book at least once a month (I want to increase that and speed read one per week!)  There are lots of ways to learn:

  • Podcasts

  • Audiobooks

  • Library books

  • Kindle books

  • Online summits

  • Group programs

  • Directly from a practitioner

  • By observing your own body, journaling, and experimenting.

I really want to stress the importance of persistence. As Dr. Izabella Wentz states in her book, Hashimoto’s Protocol: A 90-Day Plan for Reversing Thyroid Symptoms and Getting Your Life Back, you need to “DIG-AT-IT.” Here’s what her acronym stands for:  

Depletions, Digestion

Iodine, Inflammation, Infection, Immune Imbalance

Gut, Gluten

Adrenals, Alkaline Phosphatase




Each of these categories entails quite a bit!  I really recommend my friend Izabella’s New York Times bestselling book, Hashimoto’s Protocol: A 90-Day Plan for Reversing Thyroid Symptoms and Getting Your Life Back.

You can also hear Dr. Wentz speak if you purchase the online Healing Hashimoto's Summit.  She’s a wealth of information, as is Dr. Datis Kharrazian, a functional neurology physician who is an amazing researcher and medical innovator. A new friend, Dr. Natasha Fallahi, DC, is co-host of the summit spoke about a more nurturing, intuitive approach to healing. (As much as I want you educated, please don't beat yourself and take an overly aggressive approach to your healing!) 


Check out my free guide on simple hacks for thyroid support!

You want help for your thyroid symptoms ASAP! Cut to the chase with this straight-forward guide, outlining the exact techniques I use to help keep my Hashimoto’s in remission.

Let me help you start addressing your symptoms now!

Questions? Please post below.


Bridgit Danner, LAc, FDNP, is trained in functional health coaching and has worked with thousands of women over her career since 2004. She is the founder of Women’s Wellness Collaborative llc and HormoneDetoxShop.com.

Chronic Viral Infections with Dr. Tim Jackson

Dr. Tim Jackson works virtually with clients all over the world and is on the show today to talk about chronic viral infections and mold.

Click here to download a mp3 of "Chronic Viral Infections with Dr. Tim Jackson".

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

If you have not yet joined our community, be sure to grab our hidden Hormone stressors quiz here, and come on board!

Here's what you'll hear: 

Min 01:55 Introduction to Dr. Tim Jackson

Min 04:20 How often Dr. Jackson sees chronic viral infections in patients

Min 06:05 Immunoglobulins (IgA, IgD, IgE, IgG & IgM)

Min 09:30 Other pathogens - systemic candida, Brucella, mycoplasma bacteria

Min 11:20 How viruses become chronic

Min 14:50 Testing for viruses

Min 16:25 Causes and signs of chronic virus infection

Min 19:45 Dr. Jackson's approach to new clients & his treatment approach

Min 26:35 Percentage of patients' cases with high viral load

Min 32:30 Tests Dr. Jackson recommends for mold toxicity -

To learn more about Dr. Tim Jackson, you can find him on his website and follow him on Facebook .


Dr. Jackson’s Resources: 

Free eBook “Beyond Green Allopathy”

Mycometrics - a microbiology services laboratory

Thanks for listening,

Bridgit Danner, Founder of Women's Wellness Collaborative

Parasites: A Hidden Root Cause with Dr. Todd Watts

Dr. Todd Watts is a functional medicine chiropractor from Idaho and in this guest we’re talking about parasitic infections. 

Click here to download an mp3 of "Parasites: A Hidden Root Cause with Dr. Todd Watts."

Here's what you'll hear: 

Min 01:20 Introduction to Dr. Todd Watts

Min 03:40 Dr. Watts working on his own case

Min 05:10 Why most of Dr. Todd's patients are women

Min 06:45 How often female patients have parasitic infection

Min 10:50 Testing for parasites

Min 15:25 The connection between Epstein barr and Lyme

Min 19:25 Responses to parasite treatments

Min 22:40 Stress, exposure to chemicals & electromagnetic frequency

Min 25:30 Dr. Todd Watt's healing process & the 5R's of cellular healing

Min 33:00 Parasitic infection and systemic inflammation

To learn more about Dr. Todd Watts and his practice, visit his website here and follow him on social media:




5 Easy Detox Swaps for Women’s Health

Are you doing all the ‘right things’ but still feeling blah?

Get my list of 5 Easy Detox Swaps for Women’s Health to start clearing out the toxins and reset your system to feel better today!

Click here for more information on private coaching.

My Best Worst Year: My Journey with Mold

2016 was a hard year for a lot of people, and I was no exception. I'd like to share my health journey with you, in the hopes that you will find a gem of knowledge or wisdom that helps.

This story actually starts the day after Thanksgiving 2015. I had just returned from traveling, and woke up hacking green phlegm. I was surprised and a little frustrated because this was my third cold that Fall. 

This cold quickly progressed to a raging sore throat, severe enough to send me to urgent care. I shared with nurse practitioner that I felt like I had Epstein Barr again, something I had dealt with about 4 years earlier.  She swabbed my throat and assured me that I did not have a throat infection, and that I'd likely be better within a week.  She also said that there are a couple strains of Epstein Barr virus, and once we get them we don't get them again (I'd also had Epstein Barr at 17).

In a week I was not better, despite swallowing and spraying several expensive herbal remedies.  I went this time to another urgent care, and the physician there could visibly see the infection happily thriving in my throat. I left with my first course of antibiotics in over 20 years.

This all was poor timing as I had just hired a new acupuncturist to take my place at the clinic I own, Blue Sky Wellness Studio in Portland, Oregon.  I hired her so that I could focus on my online business, especially to prepare for a big online event I was hosting in April 2016, Hormones: A Women's Wellness Summit.

I was embarrassed that I was too sick to finish training the new acupuncturist, but I was determined to get well for this new exciting phase of my career.  The antibiotics had worked for my throat but done a number on my gut. And I was tired all the time.

I returned to a therapy I had used with success when I last had Epstein Barr: intravenous vitamins. This treatment can be get for supporting the immune system, energizing the body, and getting nutrients to your cells directly. I got these treatments at the National University of Natural Medicine clinic in Portland, OR. 

The IV clinic is mainly for administration of treatment and not for diagnosis. But after 2-3 treatments and no improvement, I asked the physician (and her interns, as it’s a teaching clinic) if they could help figure out what was going on with me.

I had recently gotten my first positive antibodies for Hashimoto's, which freaked me out but they did not seem too concerned. If you have autoimmune antibodies out of range, that is always significant, so don’t listen if it’s dismissed. They also ran some new tests of autoimmunity, a test for cat allergies (I had a new cat) and an Epstein Barr screening.

They had to run a second type of test for Epstein Barr, and the physician said it was inconclusive. For some reason I never saw the test, and that was a mistake.  When you have a test run, always get a copy. If you don't know how to interpret it, get online and research, or find a functional medicine doctor who specializes in that area and get help.

One thing the physician asked about that proved very helpful and also life-changing was about our house. I can't recall all her questions, but I recall answering, “yes, I had a musty basement that had recently gotten a new wet area due to heavy rains last month.”  I was also visiting the basement more often, as our new cat's things were down there.  She suggested we could test for mold.  

I shared this with my husband and he was keen to test.  He had felt this was a strong possibility, and he wondered if this had contributed to illnesses in both of us.  I was less keen to test, knowing there would be major implications if we found mold.  We tested, there was mold, and that was the beginning of the end.

Oh the things that lurk behind our walls.

Oh the things that lurk behind our walls.

Our inspector, Garrett Dayfield from Mold Testing Services of Oregon, was great.  He searched all over and found lots of stuff we didn't know about.  Our front gutters were on wrong, and that caused the new wet spot in the basement.  We had mold in a basement closet we didn't know about, and the source of that leak was still unknown. We also had moisture under the siding of our house, and he suggested we look into that at some point.  Per test results, we had three types of toxic mold in our home:  aspergillus, penicillum, and stachybotrys.  

We hired a mold remediator to begin to remove the damaged carpet and drywall in the basement. He told us he would section off the area in plastic and use an air scrubber so that the toxic mold spores would not get into the rest of the house. We now know this doesn't really work. It may contain most of the spores, but the spores release toxins- which are really what makes you sick- and these release in droves when the mold is disturbed.

We also didn't know to move out of the house during this process, so we were still living there.  Once the mold remediator was done in the basement, he took me downstairs to show me his work.  My throat immediately closed up.  He assured me all the mold was gone and he seemed genuinely confused by my reaction.  

After all this, and busy with my event planning, I was not interested in removing our siding.  But my husband was, and he took out a huge loan so we can afford to do this. I was now working full-time in our home, our toxic home, and my symptom list was growing.

I was more tired than ever, my eye twitched, and I could barely think straight. I would look for the eggs in the dishes cabinet, realize they weren't there, and then do it all over again. One day I had an important phone call and couldn't find my phone.  I circled the house like a maniac for 25 minutes before finding it tucked away in the tea drawer.

Amazingly I still hosted a successful event in this state. It was based on sheer willpower, financial necessity, and adapting to the way my brain worked under the influence of mold. Once the siding work started, it was noisy and not ideal for recording videos for my event.  But still I didn't want to move. I know have learned this is common when a person is under the influence of toxic mold.  We are too sick, tired and unmotivated to want to make the effort.

My husband was again more motivated than I was, and we moved into my parents' home about 30 minutes away.  This initially was good for our health- to be away from the mold. But we still did not really understand mold toxins then, and made the mistake of bringing too many of our toxic belongings into a clean environment.

These hazmat suits don't protect you 100%, but at least they look cool.

These hazmat suits don't protect you 100%, but at least they look cool.

By May 2016, my event was over and I had a bit more time to learn about mold.  My husband had been saying that his clothes made him sick, that his car made him sick.  To be honest I thought he was being paranoid. He started making us take off our clothes at the door, and other new habits that were completely annoying.

It turns out he was right. I finally started to learn about the toxins that are released from mold, and how these toxins contaminate everything.  My husband was very sensitive to his clothes. I was very sensitive to papers. These toxins can't be washed or scrubbed out.  They can be reduced a bit, and I bought some special cleaning products to wash our clothes and clean my parents' houseIt would help our symptoms temporarily to clean the house with these products, but then the feelings of confusion and fatigue would return.

Beyond confusion and fatigue, I had a few suicidal thoughts. This is called "suicidal ideation", which I think would be great name for a band. All jokes aside, it's pretty scary to have thoughts of ending your life. For me, I think I was just so exhausted to the core that there was a part of me that wanted to sleep forever.  

I never actually tried to execute these fleeting ideas, thankfully. I think I spent January - May being in my first true state of depression. I was emotionless despite the fact that I was going through a very stressful time. I was usually quite emotional, so it was a weird feeling!

I finally admitted these suicidal ideas to my husband, crying as I did so.  I figured he would be shocked and scared.  Turns out that he'd been seeing things that weren't there, so he wasn't too surprised by my suicidal ideation.

My husband and I had a good number of arguments about what to do with the house and our health. But I am thankful, in a way, that he was sick too, because at least we could relate to each other. 

I think we were both getting sick slowly for many years in that home.  I had had Esptein Barr, insomnia and mood swings.  He had had a gut infection and extreme fatigue. The symptoms would ebb and flow, and I regret beating myself up for not being "healthy enough", when really I had these unknown or poorly understood sources of illness.

With my new study of mold toxins, I was able to learn of a mold toxic test for the body.  My husband, who kept having strong instincts about what to do about this mold, wanted us to get away for the summer to a dry climate. So we ran a urine test from Real Time Laboratories to see if we could document his mold illness and get him a medical leave from work.

He did have gliotoxins per his urine test (a mycotoxin produced by Aspergillus fumigatus), and we scheduled with a new naturopathic physician that had experience treating mold. To my surprise, she was very focused on treating mold through treating Epstein Barr virus. She said that when you have mold, you often have chronic Epstein Barr virus taxing your system and not allowing your body to clear the mold toxins. She confirmed that I was indeed having an acute Epstein Barr episode.

My husband was able to get a medical leave pretty easily, and we probably didn’t even need the $700 urine test after all!  With his new found freedom, he was able to work on overseeing the remodeling of our house.  Our house had lovely new siding now, but needed new gutters, a new deck and a new carpet to get ready to sell it.  Yes, we had decided it wasn’t worth risking moving back into it.

My entrpenrenourial skills were in swing at the ongoing yard sale.

My entrpenrenourial skills were in swing at the ongoing yard sale.

We also had decided to get rid of most of our belongings. Every time we were back at the house we could feel the toxic effects.  We ordered a huge dumpster and used it dispose of many of our things. We also gave books to the library and items to Goodwill.  We sold things on Craig’s List and had many yard sales. We became yard sale experts.

You might be thinking, “why did you sell that moldy stuff?” To other people, these items were fine and caused no reaction.  It was just for us that it was so bad.

This was a childhood toy of my husband's that was in a dank chest in the basement. Iccckkk.

This was a childhood toy of my husband's that was in a dank chest in the basement. Iccckkk.

It was difficult to part with so many of our things. For our 7 year old son, it was hard too.  We really could not keep his stuffed animals, which were like magnets for toxins.  We also had found a motherhood of a mold colony literally under the floorboards where his bed was.  So we were not too interested in keeping items from his room. But we did keep two small storage units of our prized possessions, in the hopes that we could have them again.

I am very thankful that my son displayed no symptoms, and believed and had true concern for his mom and dad.

By now we were really in debt, and my husband was on a reduced salary.  I wasn’t able to work much because of the house ordeal and my brain fog. We were also preparing to go away for the summer, so I didn’t see how I could take on new work projects.  

I would estimate that, at the time of writing this, we spent $60,000 on the house, lost $15,000 in value of our belongings, lost $5,000 in having to trade in two cars that had been exposed to mold, and spent $8,000 on our health.  $88,000 and counting.  

It’s a lot of money, and it was stressful, but at least we can be grateful that we able to manage it and take out loans.  We were lucky to have my parents’ house to stay in, even though it made for a horrible commute for us.

Our house went on the market on July 6, 2016. We were counting on our house selling for a good profit and quickly, and luckily it did. We didn’t get the money for another two months, but it was a load off our shoulders.

My son was in heaven in the back of the van.

My son was in heaven in the back of the van.

We were already out of town when our house went up for sale. We had bought a used mini-van and hit the road.  Our first stop was Bend, Oregon.  We have some family there, but they were out of town. That was probably for the best, because we had a big detox reaction in Bend and were having ‘mold rage’ and headaches.  

We had spent the last few weeks of June with a lot of time in our old house.  That was not our ideal plan, but we really didn’t have the resources to hire someone to clean out our entire house. So we got up close and personal with the mold toxins all over again. I’ve since learned that altitude change is a trigger for toxins dislodging, and we had plenty of that coming over the Cascade mountains.  

Our first visit to the Grand Canyon!

Our first visit to the Grand Canyon!

After this we spent a month in Phoenix, and then another month traveling. I had some stresses dealing with my clinic back in Portland, and it was hard to keep on with my online business while on the road. But looking back now, these two months were a true gift.  Our little family was together nearly all the time, seeing new places, visiting old friends and sharing laughs.

Our health definitely improved while we were gone. We took some supplements for Epstein Barr and mold, but really we didn’t have our recovery too dialed in yet, as we would soon learn.

In early August I had to come back to Portland to take care of my clinic affairs for a few days. I immediately got a urinary tract infection, my first ever.  My husband theorized it was because I was back at my parents’ house.  At the time I disagreed, but I think he may have been right.  The mold re-exposure weakened my immunity, and I couldn’t kick the infection with herbs and supplements. I was back on antibiotics, and the first course I took didn’t work, and I had to get on a stronger second course.  

This nagging issue left me feeling fatigued, but we were still having fun exploring the Western states in our family van.  When we got back to Portland in late August, the sh*t hit the fan all over again.

Back in Portland, our plan was to live at my parents’ until we could find a mold-free rental home.  But my husband soon felt that their house was making him sick again, and he insisted on moving out.  

The day this move went down happened to be my birthday.  My parents had some friends over, and they were in full entertainment mode. The friends, who knew me since I was a baby, wanted to hear that we were now all better.  That’s basically what everyone wanted to hear after witnessing our ordeal over the last 9 months.  

But instead we were looking for a cheap hotel that could take pets and awkwardly making our exit. I was extremely embarrassed. The next day was the first day of school for our son.  I was balling my eyes out at Target as I tried to buy him school supplies and snacks at the last minute. We ate my birthday dinner at a nearby Ikea store and it was the start of a rough couple weeks.

My husband started back to work and felt that his work building, and especially his computer lab, were making him sick.  Meanwhile I was driving around in our old car we had gotten out of storage, and it was making me sick.  

A rare happy moment in the hotel.

A rare happy moment in the hotel.

My son did not like living in a hotel (nor did I), and my parents took over his care. I was house-hunting and not finding many options in a city full of old houses that we no longer found charming. It was expensive to stay in a hotel day after day, and my husband was changing his opinion on a daily basis on whether we should stay or go.  

Emotionally it was an extremely hard time. Over the summer we had escaped the hardship of the mold, and now we were right back in it. My husband, who was always had a better nose for mold, was not happy. His friends and family suggested he had PTSD. We probably both did.

We spent our anniversary arguing about which rental to choose and whether or not to buy furniture. I said I needed nice furniture to feel grounded and at home again.  He didn’t want to invest in nice furniture in case we’d have to move, or get rid of all our belongings again.

We had a small miracle in finding a beautiful new townhouse to rent in the 11th hour. We moved in, but did not commit to much furniture.

I started therapy to help process all that had happened.  I had basically been absent from my life in Portland as I dealt with sickness, a water-damaged house, a big event, living far out of town, and then traveling all summer.  I had disappeared from the people in my life and felt that asking to be let back in again was too hard.  

The subject of buying a couch or not came up a lot in therapy, and one day I had a severe panic attack about couch issue. The couch was a symbol of commitment to a new life here, and it was so hard to make that commitment after all we had gone through.

My husband and I struggled with the ‘stay or go’ question. He started to work in a new building, but still had some doubts and bad days.  We traded in the car I was driving, but I was sicker than I had been in months.  My glands were swollen, I had a sore throat and chills most of the time. I felt like I could barely leave the house because I was so overwhelmed and ill.

The therapy really helped me, though my health was still off.  I made a breakthrough though, when I read this article, The Mysteries of the Thyroid, by Anthony William. The article described how Epstein Barr virus lives in the body and goes through different stages of dormancy and activity, and affects different organs. It sounded just like me.  

I was taking some supplements and herbs for Epstein Barr but was still sick all the time.  I remembered that over the summer our doctor had prescribed me some medication to take for the virus. I tried it then and it made me wired, so I figured I’d stick with the herbs.  But after reading this article, I wanted to try again.

After the first week on the Valacyclovir, the side effects minimized and I started to feel better- better than I had in a long, long time. I wasn't having those constant flu-like symptoms and my energy was way better. My brain wasn’t working fully yet, but I was thrilled to have found this medication.  I was finally able to get out a bit more, and even go to yoga class for the first time in a year.

Meanwhile my husband started therapy, and started avoiding me. I knew something was up, and he finally admitted that he hadn’t been happy in our marriage ‘in years’ and that he thought that a trial separation might help.

I was floored. I was just starting to get some grounding in ‘our new life’, even if it wasn’t complete.  We were spending more time with friends, and I was able to think and work better. The thought of losing my family now was too much. I had suicidal thoughts again, and this time for a different reason.

But I also knew that, despite his deep wounds and our arguments, we weren’t a bad couple. It was painful at times to discuss this with him, but I kept at it. I felt like I needed to be a champion for our family and our relationship. This is hardest thing to share of this whole story, but I know that many people struggle in marriage; it’s a challenging thing to have two lives so intertwined, especially with careers and kids and sickness.

The story of 2016, of our health and home and marriage, is not over.  We may move to the desert next summer.  We found out we have a MARCONS infection in our noses and we have to treat for that. Our marriage is feeling better, but it still feels scary at times.

So why in the world am I calling this my ‘best’ worst year?

As I write this I am filled with gratitude for this year.  It was a year that I was completely pulled out of my imperfect comfort zone, and forced to consider what I really valued. 

This year my husband and I had to make many hard decisions and to re-evaluate how we interact, but we did it together and I am proud of us. I think we have the chance to make something much better of our lives together.

This year I had a lot of tough experiences with my businesses (some I did not share here) and these made me stronger and more self-reliant. But I did not give up on collaborating and identifying the people that will support me in my next chapter. I am slowly getting better at forgiving and moving on from perceived hurts.

I also was forced to spend a lot of time away from my businesses, and it made me less obsessed and more balanced.  Now when I have a snow day with my kid, I know it’s not the end of the world.

As a health care practitioner, I took a whole year away from treating clients.  I honestly did not know if I could ever go back, since I was so exhausted from it all. But as I start to have energy again, I find I have a fresh perspective thanks to my time away. I put less pressure on myself to ‘fix everything’ and instead appreciate my healing presence.

I also learned a lot about the ‘weird’ causes of disease that I did not know about. I am learning about genetics, heavy metals, mold toxins, Lyme disease and Epstein Barr virus. I am anxious to know as much as I can to help clients and teach practitioners.

Having been through a hard-to-diagnosis disease, I have a lot of sympathy for those going through it. I know that not everything is an easy fix.  I know it takes time to learn and find the right solutions. I know you have to thankful for the good days and endure the bad days as best you can. I know that having community and people to help and listen in really important.

I know that having hard times is when you find best yourself. I am encouraged to take more risks now because, hey, I made it through all this alright. I have found a quiet, true confidence I had been looking for for years. 

Bring it, 2017.

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Bridgit Danner, LAc, FDNP, is trained in functional health coaching and toxic mold recovery and has worked with thousands of women over her career since 2004. She is the founder of Women’s Wellness Collaborative llc and HormoneDetoxShop.com.