It’s about 9:00 AM PT on February 23, 2021.
I wanted to share an update on my life. This post is geared to friends and family but may help others as I share my perspective on leaving everything behind so my wife can heal from her illness.
She has Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS). It’s more aptly known as a biotoxin illness caused by mold. After conducting numerous tests on our home, and data from her extensive blood panel work, it’s unanimous that mold has been causing her to get sick. It’s been challenging for both of us, but more so for her, because she’s battling for her life. We love Oregon, but the extensive moisture makes it a breeding ground for mold.
As a man that’s made a vow to be with her through sickness in health, I am determined at whatever cost to ensure she gets back to where she can not only enjoy life but also thrive in it. She has something special to share with the world and I intend on helping her share her light so as to inspire and heal others.
We’ve made the difficult decision to say goodbye to Oregon and will be selling our home towards the end of the year. It’s been tough, to say the least. I have close family here. We’ve made great friends in our community and the Pacific Northwest has by in large treated us very well, but circumstances are pushing us somewhere.
That somewhere is unknown at the moment.
For the next few months, we will be on a mold sabbatical. This is when people with CIRS, go to extreme lengths to rid their bodies of mold and begin to heal.
There is a certain sad excitement with this new chapter in our lives. We are letting go of the majority of our belongings. We will take with us only what is necessary and our journey will be a mix of staying in hotels and camping in nature.
Today I’ll share:
- What is CIRS
- Our Journey
- Lessons in Leaving Everything Behind
- Coming to Grips with Mortality
- Importance of Meditation
What is CIRS
Every human is born with an innate immune system and an adaptive immune system. The adaptive immune system gets smarter as we age. It’s able to see foreign invaders that come into our body and has the intelligence to create antibodies and form memory.
When foreign invaders come into the body, like mold (a biotoxin), for example, the innate immune system releases inflammatory molecules. These molecules are a way for the innate immune system to tell the adaptive one, “Hey, something is fucked up, and you need to create antibodies so we can keep this machine running.”
CIRS is a condition where the innate immune system and adaptive system aren’t communicating. The innate immune system creates inflammatory molecules but isn’t able to create antibodies against foreign invaders which the adaptive immune system makes. Basically, the body’s alarm system is working at 50% capacity.
This does two things in parallel.
- The body is flooded with high levels of inflammatory molecules. Basically, they are molecules running berserk and trying to help but are lost. This creates high levels of inflammation in the body and creates deregulation in multiple systems.
- Biotoxins remain in the body, and the adaptive immune system isn’t able to create the antibodies that are desperately needed for the proper function of a human.
If you want more information, please see this PDF and key in CTRL + F, and type in “HLA” (1/7) to read more.
There are many things Alicia and I are currently doing to make her immune system stronger, and they include:
Vitamin D — This is a reason why we are heading to warmer and dryer climates. We also take cod-liver oil pills for the days where the sun is blanketed by the clouds, which in Oregon is the norm.
Curcumin — It’s the active ingredient in Turmeric and something we use in our food. Turmeric was in almost every dish I consumed as a child and is potentially why I have a strong immune system.
B vitamins — Our diet has changed drastically to one that is rich in B vitamins because it supports protecting the body against foreign invaders (germs and bugs) and keeps our energy levels up. This includes supplementation and also eating grass-fed, red meat. Despite popular belief, and what I grew up believing, meat has many health benefits that often time go overlooked because of mainstream news and socially constructed religious views.
Alicia and I will be embarking on a mold sabbatical in the coming weeks. Where we will go is unknown at the moment, but we will seek dryer climates and cleaner air to continue with her healing. Sedona is one of our top destinations and is known for its healing powers. Alicia has told me on countless occasions that she feels drawn there, in hopes of seeking a Native American healer that can help her spiritually.
If you have any recommendations, please comment and let us know.
Alicia has been vlogging her entire journey on YouTube. Subscribe to her channel, Homesick. I’ll make a cameo now and again. Warning, it is very intense.
At 36, I am leaving everything that gave me comfort and heading to somewhere unknown.
Although all of life is unknown, it’s the familiar which I am forced to deviate from.
Is it scary? Absolutely.
Will I embrace it? I must.
Through mindful practices, I have learned to be extremely discerning of thoughts.
Every thought is like a venomous snake. The good ones make you build a tolerance to them and an unhealthy attachment. The bad ones make you feel worse than you really should.
All thoughts are in some capacity, self-inflicted torture.
It may not be possible to get rid of all thoughts, but the acknowledgment to discern them is vital.
Clearing the mind of as many of these thoughts through meditation is like raking the leaves. In my life, it’s always served a purpose and even more so now to clear the noise.
There is a certain beauty in this struggle to find clarity.
For me, life is transitioning into the monotonous lifestyle that I felt a strong comfort to, and into something open-ended.
I am giving up control and will let the universe conspire on my behalf.
Whether there is a lesson or not is of little concern now.
I’ll embrace what is to come and have trust in a power greater than I, that something of value can come of it.
Lessons in Leaving
I choose to look at all of life’s moments, whether good or bad as a lesson. It helps to not be too attached to the good and not too disheartened by the bad.
Although tough, it’s making this transition not so bad. Below are a few things I have learned conceptually in the past, and that I am putting into real practice.
You don’t own anything — Everything is rented, including this body. It will all one day go back to the ground it sprung up from. It’s helped me to not be attached to things, because like my cousin Neil would say, “they are just things, and things can always be replaced.”
Minimalism = More Energy — With our minds, the less junk we have in our noggin, the more clarity we have. The same goes for material items. Growing up, I was on a constant mission to get rid of things as my loving parents would accumulate and not use. As we are getting rid of most of our things, we feel lighter. We are embracing the idea of just packing up and living wherever. As long as we are together, we are home.
We are not attached to things, but memories — For many people, the things they hold onto are because of the beautiful memories it represents. Even though I am giving away items that hold intrinsic value, I know they will be locked in my heart. As long as I have it there, it’s alive. I carry my mother, father, family, and friends everywhere I go.
Coming To Grips With Mortality
I can’t count the number of times Alicia has told me that she thinks she will die. I can’t count the number of times I have rushed her to the ER. The sleepless nights. The onslaught of agonizing days seeing her go through so much pain. The stress I have had to endure.
Her pain and chronic illness have shown me how precious life is. My conversations with family and friends are deeper. Every conversation is more meaningful. The fillers and fluff of meaningless subjects are going away. I tell people how much I love them and why they mean so much to me all the time. I share a good cry with loved ones more often.
People need to know how important they are.
Coming to grips with mortality has shown me how truly blessed I am. If I was to die today, I am confident that I lived a life that I am proud of and those that have danced in the chapters of my life have forever merged their hearts with mine.
For me, contemplating death gives me meaning and reason to live. It’s ending, and that’s why contemplating mortality every now and then is freeing. In the face of death, little matters except for love. The things that matter to us only matter because we can share them.
One of the greatest gifts that I have been given has been Vipassana, a meditation technique I learned about 4 years ago.
Meditation has not brought me closer to some spiritual, esoteric idea of what life is and its creation (if there is one).
Instead, it’s made me accept each moment for what it is, and has brought peace to the fact, that the only place I can be is where I am because I can’t be anywhere else.
It’s helped me to stop running from myself and stay in situations however good or bad, and see them as temporary waves that come and go. It’s as if meditation is when you are in the deep ocean, and whatever happens on the surface, although important, can be of less concern because like all waves, they come and go.
I wrote a poem, so please keep reading. I
Departing from that I love
I ask you not to worry
As I write my untold story
I will go far, to which I know not
Similar to my first open eyes, and life’s temporary knot
I will camp in the Valley of the Dead
Trek through the Canvases of Red Rock
Climb the ridges of Zion
I will let the silence between the mountains
paint the filaments of imagination
With ink dipped deep in the ocean
I am a vessel ready to be filled
Hold me in your thoughts
I’ll carry you in every gaze
Hold me in your heart
and I will carry you in mine
I don’t have anywhere to be
or anyone to see
My soul is a broken compass
still being pulled magnanimously by the stars
The course will be corrected
At which time is yet to be determined
I leave, as I came
To give you everything, and take nothing
To tell life I am here, and for it to tell me the same