The Anxious Cat and the Miracle Van

The tent was my last stop, a last resort (and no, I don’t mean Hilton Head). I wasn’t the first, and certainly wouldn’t be the last to end up in a tent. Approximately 20%-25% of us are genetically susceptible to CIRS (Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome). CIRS is triggered by exposure to a biotoxin, such as a tick bite (Lyme disease), red algae, mold exposure from a water damaged building, a brown recluse spider bite, etc. Why is it that most skate by, not affected by these exposures? In simple terms – they pee out the toxins.

The ‘lucky’ 25% don’t. Their body holds on to the toxin and it circulates in a continuous loop, causing all kinds of damage along the way (especially the brain). Until they get a miracle or proper treatment (difficult to find), these toxins stick around, creating a life of frustrating and debilitating symptoms, misdiagnosed by the mainstream medical profession, and often falsely labeled Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, IBS, Fibromyalgia, MS, Dementia, Lupus, “Anxiety,” (ohhhh yes, that’s a big one), etc.

The doctor I am starting with next month, Dr. Andrew Heyman, who is internationally known for treating CIRS, has determined that 80% of his patients come from a water damaged building and exposure to mold. This makes sense, considering that indoor environmental professionals report that well over 50% of buildings in our country are water damaged due to shoddy building practices and poor maintenance.

Water damage leads to mold colonies. Mold colonies often lead to mycotoxins (toxic chemicals that the mold colony will launch to defeat competing mold colonies). Looks kinda like this:


Yep, we get in the way: collateral damage. Indoors, in our tightly sealed houses, these concentrations are high: much too high compared to outdoors. We breathe in these concentrations of mycotoxins and they enter our bloodstream – all different types of toxic chemicals, depending on the species of mold growing in the building, and if you can’t pee them out — the fun begins! WooHoo! Who knew glamping could be such a good time? šŸ˜€ (Actually I am an outdoors girl and always wanted to try it – it’s not so bad! …. until 95 degrees and 95% humidity hits, anyway).

In the case of CIRS patients where mold is the cause, many become hypersensitive to spaces harboring mold – we are the canaries in the coal mine. You got mold? We know!

If you suspect anything with your house, just have one of us moldies over for coffee, no need to hire an overpriced inspector! (Pardon my dark sense of humor, it has served me well to get through these last few years, though.)

So – there is your science lesson for the day. Sorry, I can’t help myself, I am a teacher. šŸ™‚ Also, I am concerned for friends and family who may be breathing unhealthy air. Since we breathe in 2000 gallons of the stuff a day, it is good to be aware. I hope this may help you, or someone you know.

Now, about that cat.

We live on my son’s property in a small, new mobile home. I reacted pretty severely after living there awhile – we had it inspected and though it looks perfect, it came back alarmingly high in the highly toxic species Chaetomium, aka “the other black mold.” Nope, not going back in there. I also react in my son’s house, who had discovered and cleaned up a couple of ongoing leaks in the past couple of years.

Thus the tent.

Both my ENT doc and Dr. Heyman tell their patients that in order for treatment to stick, they can’t continue in mold exposure. It’s like going for a 5K run every morning on a broken leg trying to heal. I was desperate to get to that safe place until we could find the right spot to build a little healthy house.

One evening, the all-knowing You Tube offered some camper van videos in my feed.

It knows I have a thing for camper vans, but since RV’s are nothing but mold traps waiting to happen, it wasn’t an option. HOWEVER….

One particular video title said something about “mold free” and “no wood.” Yeah, right. Even so, I checked it out. It was impressive. They showed the build process from naked van to completion. This Embassy Camper Van was an engineering marvel. Not one inch of material that could grow mold, and not one thing missed in terms of the health of the unit.

This could be our ticket. The beginning of the healing process. We could drive it to the beach and stay for days, breathing in pure ocean breeze (no spores, and salt air is anti-fungal). We could go west in August, when even outdoor spore counts here are astronomical after relentless summer rains. Thankfully we both work remotely, too. This was perfect! I got online and searched the country for a used one. I’d fly anywhere to get one.

Not one? How could this be? I called Embassy the next day and asked. I should have known the answer: No one gets rid of their Embassy Van… they don’t leak. Or break down. I didn’t know how I would afford a new one, but I asked about them. Oh….only a year on the waiting list to get a van?

I was deflated. But determined. There must be some way. I watched a few more videos about the vans, and was impressed by the VP of the company, Terry Minix, who was as determined to build the perfect van as I was to own one of them. I called Embassy back and asked to speak with Terry. Long shot, I know. They put me right through. Nicest guy ever! We chatted for a bit, I told him my story, then asked the million dollar question:

“Terry, does anyone ever turn in one of these vans? Do you know of ANY way to purchase an existing van?”

“Well, in my 22 years in the industry, I have never seen this, but….yesterday one of our customers, whose van we had just delivered in August, called me.” Terry chuckled. “So I guess his cat doesn’t like road trips. He wants to turn it in.”

Mind blown. The owner had taken one trip to Yellowstone and the Tetons but the anxiety ridden cat nearly drove him crazy. There were others who wanted that van, but Terry saved it for me.

This was my van. I knew it. God wanted me to have it. I knew that too. It was time to step out of the boat and walk on water. Terry sent me specifics – pricing, warranty info etc. Woah. I was wayyy out of my league. There is no way lil’ ol me could get financing on that amount, even in the wonderful world of RV financing where you basically just need to fog a mirror. But I applied anyway. I did, at least, have a pretty incredible credit score. Then I waited. And prayed, and felt this assurance that it was a done deal. This didn’t make sense to my brain, but it did to my heart.

My heart was right. They approved me, without one shred of documentation of income, anything. I couldn’t figure it out, and knew better than to ask why.

Next hurdle: $15K down and 10K for taxes. Where in the world do I come up with that? I had no clue, I just knew it would work out. I had a few ideas simmering and was starting to move on those, when Anna called and told me to hold off, and give her a few days. Well, I knew she had all kinds of wealthy friends in LA, so I thought she was going to see if they would loan me the money.

This next part makes me smile. She calls me a couple of days later and says, “when you and Dad can sit down together and call me, please do.” So we did. She sends me a link and asks me to open it.


It was Go Fund Me, and there was already enough raised to make the down payment! Then not much later, it was enough to cover the tax bill!!. And it still kept going up!!!

Mind Blown, and forever grateful to Anna and all of the good-hearted people who also wanted me to have that van. I will never forget. Every time I drive that rig down the road I will think of them and pray God’s blessing on each one.

Next hurdle: To figure out how to get the van to Florida. They deliver these vans to Seattle, California, Maine – it could be anywhere. And it could get spendy. Except, turns out the owner lived in the next town over from my daughter’s family in Atlanta….

Mind blown, take 3! We drove up there, saw the van, had dinner with our fam, and drove back. One other huge plus about this deal – there is a long line of wannabe van owners in line for this rig, and if for any reason this didn’t work out, I don’t lose a penny. The next in line would buy it from me.

We will take possession of the van in two weeks, once the loan processing and paperwork are completed, and life will start anew. With a safe place to live, the best doc in the U.S. in my corner, and the most loving, gracious God to provide for and heal me, this will be THE year of healing and restoration – in so many ways.

One thing – through all of this, in the worst of it all, the feeling of wonder for having been rescued by Jesus from a life of darkness, sadness and disillusion never escapes me. That 100 mph drive through the sunflower field is imprinted. šŸ™‚ It still brings me to tears, and the realness of God, the power of His love, and the depths of His mercy will forever keep me.

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