Sara's healing from mycotoxin poisoning and severe M.E.

For: Sara Tamames
Portugal
Organizer: Sara Tamames
Sara's healing from mycotoxin poisoning and severe M.E. (Sara Tamames)
€3,052
of €10,000 goal
30% Complete
Raised by 56 donors

The Story

Hello! 
My name is Sara Tamames. I am full of dreams. I dream of a happy fulfilling life. I dream of raising my daughter with love, respect and kindness. I want to work with children to make the world a better place. Start a democratic school. Dance in joy. Garden in nature. 

But my ability to live a full life was cut short 12 years ago when I became very ill.  Over the years I developed increasingly severe M.E. symptoms, as well as Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and symptoms of Mast Cell Activation Syndrome.

My worst symptoms include muscle paralysis, extreme muscle weakness, difficulty walking, convulsions, severe gastroparesis and inability to digest food, exercise intolerance to the point of not being able to move at all, POTS, unbearable pain in my muscles, digestive system and brain and extreme cognitive impairment that makes it impossible for me to think clearly and do simple tasks.

These symptoms occur after exposure to certain triggers which can be mycotoxins (the greatest factor) but also toxic chemicals or foods that I react to and they can last for weeks or even months at a time. If I can avoid the triggers, then my health can recover over time and stabilize at a good level. 

Exposure to toxic mold destroyed my health. I lost practically everything I ever owned. But I didn't let it destroy my life.

I have been using my scientific mind and knowledge to study as much as I can and I have also been learning through my own experience and experiments how best to deal with mycotoxins and heal from biotoxin illness.

And I have been sharing what I am learning with others who are ill in my blog "Beyond Mold: Thriving"  (http://beyond-mold-thriving.mozello.com/).

For the past two years, I have been doing all that is in my power to heal, enduring great hardship. The only thing that kept me going at times was looking forward to the day when I will be well enough to take care of my baby again.

I have made incredible progress in healing, but it has been a very hard struggle with not enough funds.

I have been alone and I have been hungry due to not having money to buy food and I have been too cold for not having enough clothes... But I managed to survive and I will never give up on getting my life back.


Due to the fact that mycotoxin poisoning is an unknown illness in my country, I have no medical or financial support from authorities in this overwhelming endeavour of trying to heal from it. That's why I need your help.

Your donations have bought me food and clothes so that I could endure the harsh Winter in the mountains. 


Your kindness has kept me alive and words can never be enough to express my gratitude.

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on June 1, 2018

Posted on June 1, 2018

Last Monday I had a court hearing to determine custody and visitation rights for my daughter between me and her father. 

I still haven't been able to keep my health stable enough to find a way to provide for myself, so I had no choice but to concede custody to Adrian.

I was fortunate enough that I didn't have to travel to Coimbra where the Family Court is located to testify, they provided me with the option to do it by video conference from the courthouse in Arganil where I live. Still, the court building was moldy and the time I spent in there was enough to knock down my health significantly. 


It is impossible to have a stable recovery when I am constantly being forced to expose myself to substances (in particular mycotoxins) that damage my health for days or weeks at a time. It is quite disheartening and it makes it harder to keep on fighting for a better future.


I saw my daughter in person in the beginning of April. It was a beautiful meeting. She was so sweet with me. She still knew me, she still felt safe with me, and it touched me deeply that she still felt so close to me even though we have been separated for most of her short life. 


The bond between us is so strong. I know as a mother I will always feel it, it will always be there no matter what. But I feared this might not be the same for my daughter because she was only 1 year old when we were separated, she is not likely to even have any conscious memories of the time we spent together when I was the one taking care of her.


The way that she interacted with me when we met showed me that she still remembers me - I believe that deep within herself she knows I am her mother and she knows how I love her unconditionally and that I took good care of her for as long as I could. This was more than I ever hoped for for this meeting. I was expecting her to feel more distant from me. It touched my heart deeply to feel the love between us still so strong.


Yet, her father took no precautions to protect me from exposure to the mycotoxins present in his house which were the cause of my health catastrophe and which contaminated all of his possessions. 


I talked to him extensively about this before the meeting. I asked him and Sílvia to have a shower and change into new clothes and shoes before coming to see me and not to bring any object that had been used in the house to my proximity. He said he would do this but when the time came he did none of it.


My immune reaction to the contaminated clothes Sílvia and her father were wearing was not too debilitating at first. My throat swelled up and I felt faint and weak in my muscles. 


Yet I was so happy that I was with my daughter that I didn't care. I just wanted to spend as much time with her as I could and give it my all. I wanted to believe that I would be ok. That everything would be ok and I would be able to see my daughter in person again, even if her father refused to cooperate with me in regards to protecting my health.


So we spent the whole afternoon together. We played together in the playground at the park. I read her a book I gave her several times over. It was a beautiful time and it filled my heart with love and joy.


Yet, the joy and love I felt could to stop the mycotoxins damaging my body. The next day I woke up feeling very tired and in pain and two days after I was experiencing excruciating pain and symptoms that made it impossible for me to function. It seems to be the way it works for me - the second day after exposure tends to be the worst - the toxins damage me as my body tries to process them and get rid of them.


I had the same symptoms I used to have when I was living with these toxins - intense pain in my kidneys, feeling my brain swollen with excess fluid and extremely inflamed impairing cognitive function extensively, intense pain in my muscles and weakness, bruises appearing in my body for no reason, among other things. If I pushed my body beyond its limits then I would get convulsions. And even just heating up a simple meal could be pushing my body too much. 


Using my muscles in any way - doing the dishes, cutting vegetables, having a shower - all of that would cause me intense pain at the site of the exertion and could potentially send me into convulsions and into a worsening of my symptoms. It is hard to even imagine what it is like to try to survive all by yourself like this if you have never experienced something similar.


I was barely able to move and I was in excruciating pain for about three weeks. I had taken measures to have food ready cooked and plenty of food and water in my house before my meeting with Adrian and Sílvia because I knew I might not be able to go out for a long time after. But I didn't expect that things could get so bad.


After three weeks the pain finally started to subside a bit and I was able to move a bit more again. But recovery was extremely slow even after that. It took me almost two months to get back to a level of health similar to what I was experiencing before being exposed to these bad mycotoxins.


And this brings us to today. Now my physical health is suffering again after exposure to the moldy courhouse, yet it is nothing compared to the crash I suffered from the mycotoxins present in Adrian's belongings. I hope it won't take me too long to recover. I'm tired of living with so much physical pain.


Yet it is the emotional pain in my heart right now that is overwhelming. Adrian put the custody case in court because he wants to move to England with Sílvia. Lawyers I spoke to told me that the only way to prevent him from taking her away would be for me to take her custody. And I can't do that.


If Adrian had cooperated with me to avoid exposing me to mycotoxins I could have been seeing my daughter in person all this time. His extreme position and refusal to accept the reality of my health situation meant the only hope I had to see my daughter would be to recover enough that the mycotoxins would stop affecting me.


And that's what I have been trying to do all this time, but I'm not there yet. I'm clearly not there yet after what happened when I tried to be with my daughter.


But now my time has run out. He is taking her to live in England in September and I will only be able to meet her when they visit Portugal. I wanted to live with my daughter. I wanted to take care of her. Now it feels like it might be impossible for that to ever happen again and I am completely devastated.


The pain hits me in waves and I try to let it flow through me, to accept that I have lost all my dreams because I have an illness very few understand and I have no support system. To accept that my life has been reduced to just trying to stay alive depending on the help of people who do understand but are too far away to provide practical help or the comfort of a hug.


I'm trying to get my health stable enough to be able to work online as a Portuguese/English translator and to try to make enough money to pay my bills. But how can I commit to any job with a deadline when an unintended mycotoxin exposure could leave me incapacitated for weeks at a time? I hope I can make it. I'll keep trying. 


One good thing that came out of the court hearing is that Adrian agreed (under pressure from the court) to do daily skype calls for me to see Sílvia. He had previously shouted with me when I wanted to increase the frequency of our skype calls to more than twice a week.


He also agreed to try to find a third person to bring Sílvia to me and let me bathe her and change her clothes when she is with me, things he was completely opposed to before. I have hope that doing this will reduce the exposure to the bad mycotoxins enough that I will be able to not get ill when I see my daughter in person.


Now I am waiting to recover my health enough to try this. A have a few precious months to try to reconnect with my daughter before Adrian takes her away. I will give it my all to make it work.

Posted on March 30, 2018

Posted on March 30, 2018

After the big fires that burned the campground where I was living, I stayed at a friend's house that she rents for tourism for about 2 months. This place was located in a small village and the air there was very good. The house was of very good construction and mold-free. I spent as much time as I could outside and I was able to recover a lot while I was there.

But my friend needed her house back for her income, so I had to find another place to live. I felt recovered enough that I might try renting another house with good construction and no mold, and hope my symptoms of exposure to construction chemicals present in regular buildings would not be too bad.


After searching a lot we finally found a house in a small town that seemed ok and I moved there in mid-December. I struggled a lot at first and my health got a lot worse due to pollution from cars and woodsmoke from chimneys in the town air, as well as perfume and detergent residues present in the house from previous residents. But as time went by the chemical residues evaporated more and more and things got better.


In January and February, I spent a lot of time studying functional medicine summits and other information that brought me to try new supplements that have a made a tremendous difference to my body's ability to detox, allowing me to endure exposure to the pollutants and chemicals that I can't avoid and feel much healthier than I did previously.


I feel I have made a major breakthrough with taking these supplements and my health is finally recovering to a level where I am a lot more functional and able to be more physically active during the day and take care of my basic needs like cooking and laundry properly.


However, I still don't have any stable income and continue to depend on donations alone to survive. Living outdoors and off-grid like I did before I had no bills to pay, even though I suffered a lot of cold and discomfort which brought my health down. Now being warm and dry during the Winter in this house has allowed me much improvement, but now I need to pay 230€ for rent, 150€ for electricity, 65€ for gas and 5€ for water - a total of 450€ a month - before I buy any food or supplements to sustain me.


I'm still fighting to get my illness and disability recognized by the government and last week I visited yet another doctor for this purpose. She said she will try to gather a medical team to study this and work with me. I hope I get somewhere this time.


But she told me it will be very hard for the Government in my country to approve my disability in order for me to receive any support for it because they are refusing many many people, even those with cancer. Even if they did grant me disability status I would receive only about 280€/month for disability benefits plus 180€/month for other benefits called RSI. So, the maximum amount of help I could ever get from the Government is 460€/month, which is only enough to pay for the house and bills. How I am supposed to pay for my food?

So even if I did get help from the government I still need more help in order to continue surviving until I am well enough to work. I need your help.


If I can't pay my rent, I will soon be homeless again, and this time I have no place to go back to because the outdoor places I used to live in where burned to the ground in the October fires.


But there is good news! I fell well enough now to try to see my daughter in person again. I hope that I won't react to the mycotoxins on her clothes and her father's clothes as badly as I did in the past and I will be able to have a real-life relationship with my baby again.


I have been doing regular videocalls with my Sílvia since she was old enough to engage with it and re-establishing my connection with her. It makes me so happy to imagine finally being able to hold her again...

I will try it next week. My heart is full of hope that I won't have convulsions or paralysis like I was having before and I will just be able to enjoy seeing my daughter and nurturing her. 


Please help me if you can. I want to continue on this journey to heal my body and mother my little Sílvia the way I was always meant to, the way that my heart yearns for.

And I don't want to be homeless again.

Posted on October 29, 2017

Posted on October 29, 2017

Dear friends, the past 15th of October was a catastrophic day in Portugal.

Unusual weather conditions, with high heat, low humidity and cyclonic winds and possibly criminal action caused the emergence of forest fires all across the interior and North of the country which spread with unprecedented speed, burning through forests and surrounding villages and towns in a matter of minutes.

There were not enough firemen and other help for all the places that were burning and many villagers were left to fend for themselves.

This is what happened in the village where I was living. In the night of the 15th first came the smoke, then the electricity went out, then a couple of hours later the mobile phone network signal disappeared and I was left with no communication, alone in the middle of the night, in the campground where I was living.

After a couple hours, I could finally see the fire advancing in our direction. It was a surreal sight, the mountains were burning all around me, in a deathly half-circle. I had never seen anything like it. I was mesmerized. It was still many kilometres away, but the size of the flames was daunting and the speed at which it was coming was terrifying.

I spent the night awake watching the fire advance, hoping that someone would remember to come and get me when it was time to run. Finally, I was too exhausted to stay awake anymore and I fell asleep, thinking I would sleep for a couple of hours and wake up again to continue watching the fire. I set up an alarm on my phone. But I didn't wake up when it rang.

I woke up suddenly in the morning with my friend Susana calling me, telling me the fire was very near and I had to come with her immediately. I only had enough time to get my clothes and my computer and go with her. She drove me to the village where she lives, where the fire had come just the week before and burnt the forest all around. Fortunately, no houses were lost. So it was as safe as we could get, not much left to burn there.

Fires blazed in many different villages at the same time. It was coming from all sides and people barely had time to escape and find a safe place. Many houses were lost. 44 people died in the fires.

92% of the forest in the municipality where we live burnt. The future of this region and of thousands of people is unknown.

My daughter's father was able to run for safety in time. His house didn't burn, though others in the same valley did. Several of his neighbours lost everything they had.

For several days we didn't have any phone signal and I did not know where my daughter and her father were. It was a great relief when someone told me they had seen them when they ran and they were safe and also a few days later when I finally got a text message from my ex-partner.

Now there is a very low mobile phone signal and no landline in the village where I am staying. My internet access uses the mobile network, so at the moment my internet connection is so slow that I haven't been able to do much on-line. Even opening my e-mail is an ordeal most of the time. That's why it took me so long to make this update.

My heart goes out to all those who lost their loved ones, their houses or their livelihood to the fires. May we pray for a path forwards and strength in our hearts to face the times ahead.

As for myself, I have to find a new place to live now, I can't go back to the campground where I was staying, which burnt quickly after I left. I already had very few possessions due to financial difficulties and now I have lost some of them in this fire. I need to buy new things in order to survive the winter cold.

I try to focus on the fact that I survived, my baby survived, my friends are still alive and somehow I will find a way to survive another harsh winter in the mountains and continue healing from toxic mold poisoning so that one day I might have a full and vibrant life again and raise my daughter again.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-41642925

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