How Mold Saved My Life: Ben’s Personal Story

Mold Saved My Life: Ben's Story

“How mold saved my life” seems like a far-fetched statement filled with outrageous and untrue statements. However, I can take it further. Mold saved my life and it probably has saved yours or someone you love. Let’s see how.   

Ben’s Recent Personal Life Story

Most of us consider mold is only toxic. As a mold removal company, we have spent the last 10 years seeing firsthand the toxic side of the mold. It is gross!!! The havoc mold can cause to the human body is incredible. Especially when inhaled, is startling. The medical community’s understanding of the effects of mold has significantly increased even in the last 5 years. We now know that many common health concerns can originate from mold exposure. The standards for mold removal and indoor air quality only increase as we learn about mold’s toxicity.

A Sudden Battle with Staph/MRSA Infection

The symptoms continued to progress. After 5 days with no improvement, my wife insisted I go back to the ER a second time.  I am so glad that we did! Normal antibiotics were no longer an option. Emergency surgery was now a welcome event!

Recently, I spent 5 days in the hospital for a Staph/MRSA infection in my knee. Thankfully, we caught it early and the infection didn’t go into the bone or bloodstream. Due to this process, I have appreciated the life-saving benefits of modern medical practices. It all started with an unexplained swelling in my knee that turned red and started increasing in size. Also, the next morning, I woke up with fever, nausea and severe fatigue.  A visit to the ER determined cellulitis, a skin infection, was the cause. Several antibiotics were prescribed and I was sent home.

Thankful for Modern Mercy & the Mercy of God

Thankfully, my body created an abscess around the infection and prevented it from spreading. The infection went to the bone, but thankfully it was contained. The doctor said if we had been one day later our story would have been much different. Even with my surgical procedure, the Center for Disease control doctor recommended aggressive antibiotic treatment.   Since my surgery, I have heard of two examples of people under the age of 40 losing their life to this aggressive infection. I am struck with a new and greater appreciation for modern medicine and antibiotics. Probably more than once, the majority of us have had our lives spared by simply taking an antibiotic to get rid of an infection. 

My recovery has been 100% dependent on newly developed and aggressive antibiotics. One of the antibiotics, I have received is over $5,000 per dose. Even though my hospital stay was only 5 days, I was sent home with a pic line in my arm and I received IV antibiotics twice per day for 4 weeks. The infection was so aggressive it would have ended my life if it wasn’t for the life-saving power of antibiotics.  

So What Do Antibiotics Have to Do With Mold?

The word “antibiotic” is from the Greek word “anti bios”, which literally means against life!  Ironically using one form of life to destroy another is how antibiotics work, an everyday modern miracle with ancient origins! 

The Pre-Modern History of Antibiotics and How Mold Saved the Day

  • 150 BC: Sri Lanka as army soldiers prepare for war. Because the men saved “oil cakes”, soft warm molding bread, to heal wounds. This practice was passed down from ancient Greeks to Egypt, China, and Central America.  But in these ancient days, no one understood why it worked. Or had a fully take advantage of its mysterious healing power.  
  • 1350 AD: humanity begin to get closer to the answers and physicians think they discovered a link.  
  • 1640 AD: Polish physicians try to find a better way to treat the wounded. In an experiment, wet, moldy bread is mixed with spider webs with surprisingly effective results. The physicians believed that spores in the spider’s web work with the antibacterial properties of the moldy bread.  This was as far as the research took them until 1897.

A Medical Breakthrough

  • 1897 AD: A French medical student Ernest Duschesne is preparing his dissertation.  Also, his dissertation is built upon a discovery he made by Arab stable boys. They would store their horse’s saddles in a dark, damp room and the saddles developed mold. When they used the saddles,  they noticed the moldy residue was helping to heal their horse’s saddle sores. Duschesne is inspired and intrigued. What if other animals and elements could be cured by mold.   So, he begins experimenting by injecting a sick guinea pig with a mold, Penicillium Glaucum.  The result is world-changing.  Typhoid is completely wiped out.  Duschesne, only 23 at the time reports the discovery in his dissertation.  He hopes others in the medical field will also study the fungus. Unfortunately, his paper is not acknowledge. Probably because of his young age. Less then 15 years later Duschesne ironically dies from tuberculosis, a disease his own discovery could have cured.  It would be 17 years before another scientist will make similar discoveries.  

Continued Perfection of the Science

  • 1929 AD: In London, England, Sir Alexander Fleming is a young bacteriologist at St Mary’s Hospital. Because Fleming has just completed serving in the first world war and has seen countless wounded. He has witnessed firsthand the destruction of bacteria. This drives Fleming to find a solution to stop the deadly infections.  But this breakthrough does not come easily, nor quickly.   Fleming feels exhausted and defeated. The one day while cleaning some Petri dishes and something catches his eye. How mold had grown on one of the discarded dishes. Even more profound the staph infection is dead.  Right away he takes a sample of the mold saved from the dish and identifies it as a form of Penicillium.  This further inspires Fleming and he works many more years to grow and refine the mold for widespread medical use.  Fleming ultimately grows weary and turns his findings of penicillium mold over to an Oxford chemist, Howard Florey.  

Antibiotics Are Massed Produced for the First Time in History

  • 1941 AD: Florey jumps right in and begins to inject the penicillium into mice.  Frustrated with the lack of progress. Because budget cuts to meet the emergence of the second world war takes precedence. Knowing what a powerful breakthrough penicillium is, he decides to turn to America. Forey ends up in Moline, Illinois and continues his studies. He assembles a new team of researchers. They also have many resources and a cutting-edge research facility, which is an agricultural research facility with great fermentation equipment and methods.  To grow Penicillin.  They continue to find more aggressive strands of mold as well.  One of the best comes from rotting Illinois cantaloupe.  Finally, the new miracle of penicillin is borne!
  • 1945 AD: Penicillin is mass-produced and distributed throughout Ally forces as the first antibiotic treatment.