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Jun 29, 2010

Finally, Something to Keep Us Busy

From Michelle:

Because Abby’s fevers have been going on for almost 8 weeks, we've started suspect mold and fungus as possible reasons. Since Abby has so little immunity, she is not able to fight off the kind of stuff that the rest of us might not notice except for some “allergy” symptoms. Abby’s doctors has also begun to suspect fungus too and they are conducting a battery of tests.

Leukemia and fungal infections are a VERY bad combination. To treat the cancer, they need to suppress Abby's immune system to close to rock bottom. Their intention is to leave a little bit of her immune system functioning but there have been many times where they have missed and completely wiped out her white blood cell production. On a normal day that is scary. If you have an active infection, it is dangerous.

IF Abby has a fungal infection, it will take a long time to cure. So, we will most likely be walking the tightrope between the two diseases until she is finished taking chemo this November.

How is Abby doing? Well, her fevers have continued, buying us mandatory trips to ER/clinic every 24 hours. Abby spent today being poked with needles and having multiple samples of fluids taken. You can hear a lot of fluid moving around as she breaths. And she is wiped out.
She just wants someone to hold her and we are happy to oblige.

Please pray Abby doesn't have a fungal infection. In the meantime, we'll proceed as if she does because you can't mess around with this stuff. I have many cancer-mom friends who have lost their son or daughter to it. When the doctors talk about the possibility Abby has something fungal going on, it is the faces of their precious children whom I see.

From Brent:

A fungal sampling of our bathroom (the room with obvious signs) came back today and sure enough, there is “abundant quantities” of mold and fungus in the walls of our 40 year old powder room. The bad "junk" is isolated to the one bathroom and only stripping it down to the studs will get rid of it.

As if we needed some big project to give us something to do during all our free time, we are going to have to completely rip the main bathroom down to the bare wood and completely reinstall it. We’ve cut some holes in the main bath walls (around the tub, shower and sink) and looked back behind the plumbing. It’s obvious there have been some “water events” (leaks) over the decades. That bathroom is going to have to be completely torn out because the drywall, the shower tile, the cabinet backs and floor are all water stained and “dark” (code word for mold and fungus). Not exactly surprising or abnormal for a 40 year old bath.

I’ve done a lot of building but have not stripped out and remodeled a bathroom. There are so many smart and resourceful folks full of great advice and ideas. I wanted to toss out some questions for you:
  • Any tips, tricks, advice or experience for making sure the mold/fungus is really taken care of once we strip down the bathroom to the studs?
  • Any suggestions on saving money? We’ll have to buy a shower/bath unit, cabinets, sinks, flooring, green board, etc.

  • Anyone have any local connections (we live near Norman, Oklahoma) who could help us get the materials or labor (discounts, contractor pricing, materials left over from another job, etc) at better prices? Obviously it’s going to cost several thousand dollars and we want to plan well and keep the costs down as much as possible.

  • Any general advice or experience about this whole fungus/mold thing?
It’s really amazing timing because just today I was sitting around, bored, wishing I had some big project to keep me occupied… JACKPOT!*

- - - - - - -
*For the benefit of our new blog friends, the talk about needing something to do and being bored is HIGHLY tongue-n-cheek. After factoring in 7 kids, 70+ hospital trips, work and whatever else, the LAST thing I wanted right now was some big project.

32 comments:

Mom to 9 Blessings! said...

I'm so sorry Brent and Michelle! I am really hoping someone close comes through to HELP you get this resolved quickly!

Once it is all torn out the best thing to do is have it sprayed down with a mold killer - I forget if you can use bleach or not.

Love you all and our prayers remain!
Jill

Kelli said...

Ugh...sorry Mr. B. We on the coast had to do this after Hurricane Katrina. Not fun. We had to tear everything out all the way to the studs, but thankfully the studs were in good shape...very surprising for a 55 year old house! If you haven't already, get the word out to your church family...hopefully some folks can come lend you a hand. Thanks for keeping us posted.

Anonymous said...

Will be praying for Abby, of course. I'm glad that a fungal infection would not cause God to lose any strength. Abby is in His hands, infection or not. Still, of course, you do everything humanly possible to help her.

Sorry to hear about a huge project taking out time and money, which I know aren't exactly lying around in your house.

I hope the laughter still lives there. I will pray that you can continue to laugh in spite of such difficulties.

Anonymous said...

So sorry you're going through this. Please be careful when exposing mold. I've heard that once you open up walls then you need a mold company to come out and seal it all and then remove all of the toxic stuff. I wouldn't want that to intensify her symptoms. Praying for you all.

Anonymous said...

My dad used to say "It's alway something." I never say that because if it was just one thing, we'd be fine. But it's so many things!
Praying, as always, for Abby. And also, now, for your success with this project of yours. You and Michelle are amazing the way you hold on to your gratitude and sense of humor through it all.

whenpigsfly said...

OH my!! Let me pass your post arounda bit to some contractor type friends and see what if anything we can come up with.
We're continuing to pray with you for Abby.
Linda and crew

Sweet Joni said...

Had my suspicions about that aweful stuff for ppl like us with low immune!

Looked up "Restore" real quick & you're in luck:
http://www.habitat.org/cd/env/restore_detail.aspx?place=90

Cleveland County Restore 1835 Industrial Blvd
Norman, OK 73069-8507 Phone: (405) 360-7868 (There's 4 other ones in OK also)

Will write more later... "it" has got me wiped out today! Praying for Abby tho & you all. Good Night

Nora S. said...

I have no idea how to redo a bathroom but since we also have bathroom in need of repair from 1966 I'd love to read any of the answers to the questions you asked about redoing the bathroom--inexpensively.

Sorry to hear the news about Abby. I'll be pray it's not the mold causing the problem and that the problem will be treatable.

Nora

Steve said...

My wife told me that you need mold advice. :) We had this problem at an old house a few years ago and my cousin (who lives with us) has CF. And couldn't go near the bathroom. The best suggestion I have for mold removal is use the professionals.

I am a DIY person and we just finished "remodeling" (aka gutting the house) our current house. As much as it pained me to have to pay for a professional, it was worth it!!! He gutted the bathroom for us and did mold removal. Then we did the rest.

Use KILZ (or Zinser Perma-White) paint. Once the bathroom is stripped and mold/fungus is removed paint ALL the studs, the floor and possibly the ceiling with KILZ.

Also use concrete backer board around the shower (even if its a 1 piece plastic shower) instead of green drywall. The green drywall is not waterproof and cannot be used where it will be subjected to water. You should use the green drywall for the rest of the bathroom though.

Angie said...

Just wondering if tearing out the walls will stir up the mold more and get it into the air. We had a pipe leaking in the wall once at our former house that created some mold...the contractor taped sheets of plastic from ceiling to floor all around his work area so that nothing could transfer to other areas of the house. I guess since you live there you would need to find a way to get yourself and your clothing clean after working before anything gets transferred to other areas in the house. I believe that after replacing/repairing the pipe the contractor sprayed the area with bleach a few times and then after that dried he sprayed it with spray paint to prohibit any further mold growth.

Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear about something "new" you have to deal with...but having similar experiences with mold I quietly wondered the same thing.. Abby was such a ball full of energy during your "Make a Child Wish" trip. I kept hoping it would remain. My family calls me the human mold detector, because well...I can detect mold within 24hrs by the symptoms I experience.

I agree with the previous commenter, be extremely careful about traveling spores throughout the house and keeping the toxins/spores contained! My husband ripped the drywall of off every single wall that framed our house and built it up again. Insulation in all the walls showed some black stuff - and I am just too sensitive.

Your struggles are not for vain. God is being glorified. I strive to have God known in my own struggles.
liz

Glendive Prayer Group said...

There is a mold killer that you can purchase and use. And then there is also a mold blocker primer (Killz) that you can put on top - just in case you missed something. Hard, solid surfaces of course are better to prevent future mold/fungus...

Good luck. Wish we were closer, but I'm praying you'll get some great assistance! Give a call to an expert in this area and use him to get as much information as possible - let their knowledge benefit you - I'm sure they'd be happy to provide some educational assistance at the very least!

Anonymous said...

Lived through a flood and a bathroom with mold remodeled.

Mask are a MUST when removing everything from the bath. Clean the stud - not sure what was used after the flood, the bathroom studs were replaced (100 year old house). Replace the floors, walls, and ceiling with cement board. Please install a high quality exhaust fan to take out moisture.

Praying that Abby does not have fungus infecton.

sg KS

JessicaW said...

Brent, I strongly suggest you reach out to a local Master Builder's Association or chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors, or Rebuilding Together. They may have volunteers willing to help out, especially considering the circumstances. I used to work for a chapter of the Associated Builders and we regularly helped with projects like this. Good luck and hugs/prayers for your whole family!

Mama D.'s Dozen said...

Oh so sorry! So NOT what you needed right now!

We will keep praying.


Laurel :)

Jennifer Kramer said...

Good morning-
I am sorry to hear about your having to remodel. I don't know anyone in your area to help and I am not sure if this is helpful or not but figured I would throw it out there. If there is a Habitat for Humanity for Humanity Restore near you, you might be able to get a lot of those bathroom furnishing there for a good deal. They sell donated stuff as well as excess they have left over from house building. I have gotten doors and cabinetry from them at a decent price and I know the money I give is going back into a good cause.
Good luck and I hope the remodel goes well and that Abby gets some reprieve from the headaches soon.

Jo's Corner said...

I left a comment yesterday, with my battle with a deadly fungal infection. In most situations, a fungus in the bathroom would likely NOT cause her high fevers. If her blood tests positive for a fungal infection, it would be a "Yeast" fungus. And, that would be due to antibiotic use. I really don't believe that the bathroom fungi is the culprit as far as the high fevers. STILL...it can and does cause breathing/lung problems for anyone, sick or healthy!
I am SO Praying for you ALL! Jo

julie said...

I wish we lived closer to you...we are in Georgia. My husband is a cabinet builder/construction....and I would gladly volunteer him:) I have a habit of doing that:) You may want to contact habitat for humanity...they may be interested in helping sweet Abby in this way!

Otter Mom said...

We are DIY people, but this might be the one you need to get the pros on. It's a big job for anyone, we've done a couple of bathroom remodels and they can be very big, time consuming and messy. If you do decide to do this yourself, ask for help from anybody you can think of. They'll be glad to help you. You might check with your homeowners insurance and see if there are any benefits that might help with the cost. Good luck and we'll keep praying.

Precious 3 said...

Sounds like you have some good suggestions, and I agree with the need of a professional. I will be praying specifically for that-someone to donate their services to help you out. Praying for healing and protection for Abby. Praying for wisdom, strength, peace, rest, and God's joy for all of you.

Sabrina said...

We did our bathroom about 1 year and a half ago because the "water events" had started leaking through the ceiling in the kitchen underneath. We stripped everything down to the studs and even had to remove the entire floor. It was really bad in there. We found out that the overflow was never connected to any drain, so when you showered (Which we didn't do in there a lot because we have a master bath with shower and only used the big bath for the kids baths and company's showers) the water would run down the wall into the overflow plate and right down onto the kitchen ceiling. My best advice is to have a wonderful handyman or plumber that does that stuff all the time do your plumbing. My Dad and I did the bathroom and he did the plumbing first...then he filled the tub...and when he drained it - You guessed it, kitchen ceiling. UGH. I had to call someone to remove the section of soggy destroyed drywall in the kitchen ceiling (as well as spray some sort of mold-inhibitor) and a handyman to do the drain correctly. $500 mistake. If you have menards nearby, check their sale papers, we got our wonderful 4 piece tub and surround there for about $275 on sale!

nmassie218 said...

Praying for Abbey.

Becky said...

I'm sorry, I know nothing about bathrooms... but I am praying for Abby, that this is not a fungal infection. I hope the doctors get to the bottom of it soon. Get well soon Abby!

The McCammons said...

I am so desperately praying for you all and Abby. I am so sorry to hear that amongst all that is giong on now you are going to have to do a complete remodel on your bathroom.
As for what someone else said, Habitat is a great place to get items, and at great prices. They also hav epeople that if you tell them your situation they might be able to at least find contractors willing to give you great pointers. Here is the info on the one in Norman.

Habitat For Humanity
www.habitat.org
1835 Industrial Boulevard
Norman, OK 73069-8507
(405) 360-7868

As for the mold, make sure you use all the mold resistant drywall (yes its way more expesive but way worth it for Abbies health) and the other suggestion would be to call contractors and tell them your story, there are many people who might be willing to help and least iwth a couple of steps. I know I would. God bless and godd luck!!!

Anonymous said...

I've sent your blog on to the Magnificant Carpenter (cc you) so will forward when he replys :) In the mean time here's a site that will help you out also. Explains LOTS more than I'd be able to type in a day...lol...

http://www.doityourself.com/stry/blackmold9

Hugs to Abby & Michelle - course the rest too! :)

Heather said...

Hi Brent. We are in the area and redid our bathroom down to the studs about 2 years ago. Our total bathroom wasn't that expensive but we didn't have to get mold removed.

I suggest getting a professional to come and remove the mold. We did a 3 piece tub from Lowe's that was about $500. The cabinets were ones we stained ourselves and the counter top was a kitchen countertop that already had a nice surface on it.

You can get really expensive if you want. I think out whole bathroom with fixtures and decorative items was around $2000 or so. It can be done, you just have to be real frugal and look for sales.

Praying for Abby that her fevers get under control and the cause of them is discovered soon.

emsres said...

When looking for new fixtures etc. check our your local Habitat for Humanity REstore. 1835 Industrial Boulevard Norman, OK 73069-8507
(405) 360-7868

So sorry you have to deal with this on top of everything else. But how great that you've found out about it and there is something you can do to fix it.

Anonymous said...

Good Luck. I wish I had advice. I do not. We need to do this too. We're a bit hesitant for fear of exposing more mold or maybe even lead from old paint. (30 year old house). So I'll be reading with interest what you do.

Sure glad you have something to keep you busy. Wouldn't want you getting any sleep or becoming lazy!

Jan

Kay said...

Some great ideas have been offered here and I do agree with what has been said. One concern is if other areas of the house also have mold which could well be because it could travel so easily from room to room and through the furnace and a/c system as well.

Contact Oklahoma Hi-Tech in OKC and ask for Brent Welborn, he is the estimator that came out when I had my house fire. Their # is 405-528-6000. Once all the initial cleaning was done here, they came in with a huge Ozone Machine, had me and pets leave for 24 hrs while they ran the thing. Chances are this is what you will need to have done once all the mold is out in order to remove it entirely from your home. The company does all types of home restorations, and they do mold removal as well. I have called them and told them of your situation.

Melissa, Multi-Tasking Mama said...

All I can offer is prayer..however, my hubby had this advice:

1. to save money, go to (or have a knowledgable local friend go for you) an auction. You can often find cabinets, flooring, etc. at those auctions way below retail.
2. other people have recommended it but Kilz is the only way to go. That is definitely what you want to paint with in the bathroom after the reno, particularly to keep this from occuring again.

Anonymous said...

Talk to an infectious disease doc before you undertake this bathroom renovation. Fungus is everywhere - updating the bathroom may not help much. Plus, sending all those spores airborne as the walls are ripped down may do more harm than good.

Anonymous said...

i hear in your blog that money and time are real issues for you. while waiting for the most humane way for your family to tackle this mold, (such as waiting a bit for help to be offered, or till money and time feel a bit more available), is there a short-term solution of shutting off that bathroom from the rest of the house, temporarily, so that abbey can be safely in your home? do you have another bathroom? i so pray that an army of love will arrive to help with this problem. i admire your loving and devoted parenting, i am grateful that abbey has you. thank you.