Shemane Nugent, Guest
Shemane shares her journey with mold to chronic fatigue and back to wellness!
My journey from wellness to illness back to wellness again began in 2002, when I thought I was dying. I have been teaching group fitness classes since 1980 and was once named “Detroit’s Most Physical Female.” I should have been the poster child for health and fitness, but instead, I was plagued almost daily with debilitating migraines and chronic fatigue. Ten minutes into the exercise classes I was instructing, it felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest. I couldn’t get enough air, and I was scared. I knew something was terribly wrong, but I couldn’t figure out what. My son, Rocco, was sick with constant allergies, anemia, and severe asthma. My husband had symptoms similar to mine; neither of us could sleep. Doctors told us we were just too busy—which was true—so we ignored the blatant message our bodies were sending and chalked it up to being overworked.
The lightbulb moment for me came when we traveled to London. We slept like babies, and for once, we felt great! When we got home, however, sleep never came night after night. It felt as though our bodies were shaking and being slowly electrified. We would watch the minutes on our digital clock roll by, painfully wondering why we couldn’t rest.
Eventually, my best friend’s brother, an attorney who specializes in mold cases, got us the help we needed. After testing our house (which was once featured on MTV Cribs) for mold, we discovered it was making us sick. Although we never saw it, toxic mold had been growing between the walls. The air circulating through the house became a slow killer. A toxicologist concluded that Ted and I had four types of mold in our blood and diagnosed me with pre-emphysema. My shortness of breath, chronic fatigue, inability to exercise and the fact that I tired easily, were evidently another clue that something was definitely wrong. Immediately, he took out his little prescription pad and wrote these words: “Get out of the house!” We did.
We left our beloved home, a beautiful, five-thousand-square-foot house that stood majestically overlooking a lake with ducks and geese, the place we had so many fond memories of. We walked right out with only the clothes on our backs, and then we got rid of those. One mold spore is one one-hundredth the size of human hair, and its natural defense mechanism is to propagate a million times. By that time, mold spores had accumulated all throughout the house, on furniture, in clothes, and sadly, on my son’s baby pictures.
It doesn’t matter if you live in Antarctica or Florida, if you have a porous substance, lack of ventilation, and water infiltration, you will have deadly, toxic mold contamination.
Even the Bible references mold and its pernicious consequence (Leviticus 14:33).
While a majority of the public understands mold contamination is a real, life-threatening scenario, there are still a few skeptics, which is why I’m telling my story. Twelve years ago, I. Was. Dying. I couldn’t walk up a flight of stairs if my life depended on it. All I wanted to do was cry. My days of teaching group fitness classes were over, I was certain, but worse, I wondered what this meant for my family.
- How would I take care of my son?
- How would I get to his basketball games, track meets, and parent-teacher conferences?
- Would my husband be able to continue playing music and tour?
- Would I ever feel as healthy as I was before this disaster?
Testosterone is a male hormone that builds bones and muscles. Since men have more testosterone than women do, their bodies are stronger and better protected. I was in the house more than Ted and Rocco, my son were, so I had been hit the hardest. Rocco was able to attend school while being treated for asthma, and Ted was still able to tour with some considerations for chemical sensitivity (see chapter 41, “Eliminate Toxins”). I could barely function. How could I get back to the level of wellness I was at, again?
Rather than go to a traditional hospital that would surely advocate prescription drugs to cover the problem, I researched facilities that could detoxify my body. For nearly a month, I was treated at the Environmental Health Center in Dallas by Dr. William Rea, who recommended alternative remedies such as an infrared sauna that can penetrate the body on a cellular level for quicker detoxification. For nearly two hours each day, an IV filled with essential vitamins including C, B, and magnesium flowed into my veins while I breathed pure oxygen. Dr. Rea tested me for nearly every potential allergen, including camel meat, since I had traveled to Africa many times. To better detect food allergies, I was on the Rotation Diet. Shockingly, I discovered I was allergic to vinegar, which is in almost all condiments.
About a year after I began my healing journey, I started traveling and exercising again. I missed teaching fitness classes, but I wasn’t quite ready, or so I thought. Curious about new trends in the exercise industry, I picked up a class schedule at a gym when I was in Las Vegas. It was the first time I saw Zumba®, a Latin-based dance/fitness program. I had been a cheerleader in high school and college and loved the dance routines we performed at games, so I thought I’d give the class a try. That day changed my life! I smiled the entire sixty minutes, felt great, and had a blast! I knew I had to come out of retirement and start teaching group fitness classes again.
After returning home to Texas, I took the class to become a licensed Zumba® instructor and began teaching again. I never felt better, and sharing my passion for healthy living with others was a rush! Hundreds of people attended my classes each week. For the first time, I saw entire families—wives, husbands, and kids taking classes together. It made me so happy to have my health back and to see that this experience was changing people’s lives, too.
I understand what it’s like to lose your health. Many people are affected by thyroid diseases, whether it is you, your family members or friends. It is constantly misdiagnosed and misunderstood. I encourage each one of you to become your own investigative sleuth for health. Don’t stop until you get the answers you need and until you find a doctor who is open to functional medicine with protocols like vitamin IVs, oxygen therapy, infrared saunas, acupuncture, herbs, supplements, healing your gut and detoxifying.
Searching for a doctor that had my best interest at heart and was willing to think outside the box, saved my life. It might just save yours, too.