charlie's song

From the Eye of the Rain Storm


Dear Friends,

There is so much to say…so I’m just going to cut right to the chase.

Seventeen days ago, we found out that we had toxic stachybotrys black mold growing in our house.  And so…exactly sixteen days ago, we moved.

There was literally less than 24 hours from the time we bought the moving boxes, to the time that every box was completely moved out and into a new house.  If any of you have moved recently, you know how stressful a month long move can be. I can’t even begin to articulate what it was like to have to move in a day.  And to make matters worse…after talking with my mold doctor, we knew there was potential that if we moved our things into a new home, the microscopic mycotoxins that mold creates, would cross-contaminate any new place.

We decided that because of my rapidly declining health, the first priority was to immediately get out of the toxic place, so we just hoped for the best and moved. Honestly, it was like moving…with lice.  Every single thing we moved had to be wiped down with clorox wipes, and every single piece of clothing had to be washed in ammonia twice before moving.  And we moved knowing that we still may not get to keep any of our things.  Live mold is one thing.  It’s easy to see. Easy to wipe down.  And that would have been great.  But there wasn’t really any clearly visible live mold growing in our old place.  And the only way to know the extent of the mold poisoning, was to get an $800 mycotoxin urine test done.

So we tested my body. And then we moved, we wiped, we washed, we cleaned, we waited, and we prayed.

And then, on Valentine’s day, the test came back. A test that will forever change our lives.

The doctor who is treating me is the President of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine and one of the top mold doctors in the country. Her assessment of my test results, combined with my extremely serious symptoms, is that I have endured extended exposure to the highly toxic stachybotrys chartarum which is in the trichothecene group of mycotoxins. One would commonly know this as toxic black mold, typically found in water-damaged buildings, like those found in Hurricane Katrina. It is also the same mycotoxins used in biological warfare.

Basically, mold creates mycotoxins which are infinitesimally small toxic particles that destroy immune function. I was tested for all mycotoxins, and the results indicated that I have double the detectable limit of the mycotoxins produced by stachybotrys. There are many side effects and symptoms related to these mycotoxins – neurological and reproductive problems, thyroid and respiratory problems, and sadly even cancer.

Because mycotoxins are virtually indestructible, too small to remove, and still can be toxic for years, our doctor has assured us that the only way I will improve is to literally eliminate all of our porous material possessions because those contaminated possessions cannot be sufficiently cleaned and will cross-contaminate a new environment. This means, yes, everything. Every love letter. Every book. Every picture. Every single lovey and stuffed toy. Every car. Everything.

I can’t tell you what it feels like to get this news. I haven’t even begun to process what it means that I went to fourteen doctors in the last twelve months, and every one of them looked at me like I was a mental case and just told me “babies die” and “keep trying” and “I don’t know what’s wrong with you.” Fourteen. And meanwhile, I would come home to a toxic house where every one of the babies died, and we would eat and sleep and grieve and play and love and live in a home that was making every single one of us sicker and sicker by the day.

I don’t know if I’m going to be ok. I am not “allergic” to mold…I have been poisoned by a dangerously highly dose of deadly mycotoxins and my body is literally shutting down on me. I’ve had an ear infection for the last six months. I have an upper respiratory infection and bruised a rib from the painful hacking. I cannot remember things, eventhough I used to have an incredible memory. My nose is the “dirtiest nose” my doctor has ever seen. And I’ve seen two doctors who now believe I may have developed thyroid cancer from this.

And three babies died in my body.

We are not ok. And we are not going to be ok. I can barely function physically and my parents are flying in tonight just to help me get through the day. We have spent thousands of dollars on medical bills and are completely financially decimated. Every sock, every sheet, every towel, every toy, every envelope still needs to be replaced if we have a fighting chance of making it through this thing.

And it may all be too little, too late.

We take the kids in for mold testing next week and are praying desperately that their exposure to these deadly mycotoxins was lower than mine. I ache thinking that our precious Sophie spent almost every breathing moment of her life…in a place that could take her life. We live in the shadow of cancer every day, and we would so appreciate your prayers for our family during this time.

And where is God? I honestly don’t know. I know He’s still somewhere deep inside the whirlwind and the storm. But we feel deeply defeated and are struggling to believe that He really sees our endless, catastrophic suffering.

Ultimately….I know God made our bodies and ordained and numbered all eight of our lives.

God provided the house.

God sent the rain.

God let the roof leak.

God grew the mold.

God led me to the right doctor who finally ordered the right $800 test.

And God took us out of that death hole and finally brought us to a house that was safe. The first house we could find…and a house we actually like, that happens to miraculously be two blocks from the beach.

God gave, and God took away.

And took away, and gave.

It feels so good to take our deeply weary kids to the beach. It feels so good to breath air that’s safe. If feels good to wear socks that are no longer poisoning me. It feels good to find Ikea beds on sale for $60 and that our kids finally got to sleep in real beds last night.

And I see Gods relentless love in these simple things.

But like Hagar in the desert, at the point of death and watching her child on the brink of death…I am struggling to see.

Please pray. Pray that we would see.

Pray for sight during our upcoming appointment with our mold doctor, Dr. Hope. Yes, if you can believe it…HOPE is actually her last name. And she’s amazing.

And she will be treating every single one of us, until we die of liver cancer from mycotoxins…or miraculously live to see days beyond this dark valley.

I don’t know which one it will be. I just know that we are completely decimated financially, emotionally, and physically and we beg you to pray.

A few months after Charlie died, as this storm of suffering raged on in the form of hurtful and lost friendships, financial difficulties, my failing health, and more baby graves I remember driving away from the house one day and thinking, “I fully believe that one day, we’re going to come home and find this house burned to the ground.” I fully believed that eventually, we would lose literally everything.

And we have. Our babies, our health, all of our worldly possessions and all of the money left to our name. And we now live in the shadow of the threat of cancer…which would literally take the very last things on this earth that are precious to me.

I am very, very sick. I lost fourteen pounds in January alone, and I did not have fourteen pounds to lose at this point. I am waiting for the oncologist to call me back today. And my precious Sophie layed with me on the bathroom floor this morning while I coughed and cried and said, “Mommy, mommy, are you ok?”


I. Am. So. Not. Ok.

But as I was reading Job 5:8-11 this morning I felt God giving me just enough strength to breath in and out for one more day…

“As for me, I would seek God, and to God would I commit my cause, who does great things and unsearchable, marvelous things without number: he gives rain on the earth and sends waters on the fields; he sets on high those who are lowly, and those who mourn are lifted to safety.”


Rain that grows mold.

And rain that maybe just maybe, will restore our broken lives.

Grateful for your prayers on this endless journey,

Misty for the Zeller family


70 thoughts on “From the Eye of the Rain Storm

  1. I am so very sorry to hear your story. I have been through a very similar one. The house we were renting also had mold. It was tested, and landlord was told about it but refused the test results. We waited purely out of not having any other choices, but a few months later after many illnesses by myself and my girls, we has the test done again and black mold was found. We moved within one week. Lived there a total of 8 months. I was wondering if you are local to the central coast because after we moved out, they rented the house out immediately with no disclosure of mold. The previous tenants before us left the area because their son was always sick and felt it was because they lived near the ocean. It would be crazy if it was the same house. My doctors are wondering why a 40 year old woman has had pneumonia twice in one year, as well as other illnesses. I’m praying for you and your family. I hope you respond.

  2. i simply have no words. i am reading your blog and crying silently because i don’t want to wake my three babies. yet at the same time, i want to go in and cover them with my kisses. i cannot begin to imagine how you are feeling and what you must be going through. as a sister in Christ, know that i will be covering you and your family in prayer. your faith is an inspiration to me.

  3. Do you know of Andrea Fabry? She has a similar story. She has nine children, and they went through a major poisoning from toxic mold.

  4. Pingback: This Week’s Miscellany: Vol. 3 | The Ervin Family

  5. What test did you take to find out you had mycotoxins?

    • Hi Matt, it’s a full mycotoxin test from real time labs in tx. I think you may have to have a drs order but you may not. I’d just give them a call they’re very helpful.

  6. I’m so sorry to hear of the pain and tragedy your family has faced and is facing. I will keep you in my prayers. But I also want to say thank you for your honesty in your writing – for writing as David the Psalmist did, and wrestling as Job did. Too often in the Christian world we water down our pain; it doesn’t feel safe to share as it is because we are told to keep our eyes on Jesus, stay positive, and remember our redemptive ending. But you’re right, sometimes we’re not okay. Thanks for being brave and honest in sharing your story.

    I lost nearly everything in Hurricane Sandy a few years ago, and am currently fighting for my health, not knowing what is wrong with my body, and not knowing if I will get better. In a recent blog post titled “I see…” I wrote the following:

    “With so many unknowns to my future and my body still fighting to get better, the sight of the green ivy amidst this harsh winter often reminds me, as difficult as this season may be, you will get through it. And even if I don’t – if I never return to full health – it’s better to believe that I will than to give up on a maybe.”

    I pray you never give up on the maybe. Keep fighting. Keep resting in Him.

  7. Came across your blog last night through a Cru staff member’s facebook page. I stayed up late into the night reading your posts and went to sleep with a heart burdened for your family. I didn’t know what to pray for exactly, but I prayed nonetheless and I know that the Lord is hearing all of our prayers. And what a comfort to know the Holy Spirit–and Jesus Himself–is interceding for you even now, because I know my words are imperfect and inadequate. But I do pray for comfort that only He can give. I pray for healing. I pray for provision. And above all, I pray that His Kingdom will come and His will will be done in and through all of this heartache. I don’t know you, but I love you and will continue to pray for you. Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for fighting the good fight of the faith. I’m sure you don’t always feel like you’re fighting well, but be encouraged that the fact that you are fighting at all–that you are holding fast to Christ, even if it feels like you’re sinking–this is fighting well. This is faithfulness. He is pleased. And you–simply by sharing your story honestly before others are still having an impact, still “telling people about Jesus.” You are the real thing, and so beautiful.

  8. Misty….My name is Jill and I live in Spain. Ana Arias Shcrader shared the link to this entry. As I read, I felt heavier and heavier….so hard, incredibly amazing loss you have and still are experiencing. I wish i had words….but there really are none. I am praying for you….to see Jesus’ face, to literally experience His physical, emotional, spiritual presence before you and surrounding you….comforting, carrying, strengthening, galvenizing……today and for many, many weeks and months to come. Thank you so much for sharing.

  9. Hi there! I was sent this article by a patient of mine because I too am on the other side of this horrible situation. We are in the beginning phases of trying to manage flare ups, more testing and dealing with a landlord who refuses the truth. We are approaching working with a group of docs under Dr. Shoemaker, does that name ring a bell?
    April 12th, 2014 we where a couple of young professionals making a difference within our Sports practice. April 13th. 2014 we where homeless and trying to figure out the severity of our illness. Many visits and tests later we are still homeless, financially burdened and disgusted at the negligence of our landlord, who still is doing everything in his power to rid me of turning stones. He made a mistake thinking I would roll over on this one.. oops. We are very active in getting t the bottom of this. I hope you and your family are on the upswing and I hope we can collaborate somehow and make a difference in this battle.
    Bryan -San Luis Obispo, Ca

  10. Hello, I don’t know what your situation is now, but after reading your story I can’t not share mine. I myself have survived mold poisoning, and what I’m doing now may be of benefit to you as well. Please read my blog.

  11. In 2012, I was exposed to mold my apartment. I wound up losing everything my furniture and clothing, but did get out of my lease. I moved in with my son and started looking for help. I went through the Shoemaker protocol with the Cholestyramine, and did not get better. In 2013, I flew to Kansas City Mo to see Dr. Joseph Brewer, recommended by Dr. Jack Thrasher. He also seemed to do some parts of the Shoemaker protocol and I was disappointed with the results. In mid-2013 I went to the Florida Wellness center and saw Dr. Rick Sponaugle, they did an IV drip and on the fifth day I couldn’t take anymore. On one of the blogs I found someone who said they got results from the National Treatment Centers for Environmental Disease. I called them and to my surprise they actually took insurance. So in October 2013 I flew to Atlanta. It’s been about 90 days and my fatigue is completely gone, my memory loss has improved 100%, my bowels are back to normal, it was a great experience. The place and the Dr’s were amazing. If you’re sick from mold this is the right place! They also have a free eBook with information I have never seen about mold as well it’s on their webite and it’s a free book

    Good luck to all. HB

  12. I feel for any and everyone who has been affected by mycotoxins and felt the rerucussions of living in an environment with black mold.

  13. Hi. My family is going through a very similar situation with a couple of types of mold, including black mold. We’ve had it for four years and my mother has had numerous health problems, as well as everyone else in my household. It’s a very long story with many different facets. We’ve recently moved out and have gotten rid of nearly everything, except licenses, phones, contacts, and a few other small plastic things that we could try to decontaminate. We have left all clothing and other electronics. We had to give up our dog. My mother has been hurt the most physically and both my parents are completely finished financially. There’s been more, that my story isn’t the point of this. My mother has been struggling because, beside our family, no one knows what it’s like to lose everything, including her health. Even as a mother she has lost a son, but not to miscarriage, but rather to sin. She is really struggling and I am sure that you are as well. She recently made a comment about needing to talk to someone who understands, beside us in her family who are also going through it as well. If you would like to contact her and share your stories and support one another, it would be greatly appreciated. God always has a plan. God bless!

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