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This Old House

It’s not what you think. There is no Bob Vila, nor will there be a guided how to of remodeling, maintenance or restoration.

A house, like your body is a complex system. In order for the house to be healthy, all aspects of the structure must be considered.

A healthy house is a safe one.

When a house is in need of repair, very rarely is there only one issue at hand. Take for instance water intrusion. Obviously, one must correct the cause of the water damage -- roof leaks, plumbing issues, high humidity, poor air circulation, cracks in the foundation, backups in the septic, clogged gutters, sweating pipes, elevated water table -- list goes on.

But it doesn’t stop at fixing the water intrusion. One then has to deal with the downstream effects of possible mold and bacterial growth, which in turn can create potentially dangerous volatile organic compounds. Plus, damage to support beams, dry wall, and flooring must be corrected. And then of course, there is addressing the cleaning or disposal of contaminated items such as clothing, furniture, soft goods, electronics and appliances.

Next up, consider the final touches post remediation, such as re-finishing, installing insulation, purchasing new furniture & appliances, etc.

With all that being said, and all that work being done, maintenance is just as important. Prevention of mold growth equates to keeping the house clean, climate controlled, and in good repair.

And mind you, this is all just because of a water intrusion; just one of potentially many issues in the house. But what if it’s an older house and the wiring isn’t up to par? Well of course that must be fixed. And the chimney? Perhaps too much soot in the chimney is causing a heating inefficiency, or worse, a carbon monoxide issue. That’ll have to be fixed too.

And let’s venture one step further, and let’s talk about all the extra stuff you have in boxes sitting in the attic. The stuff you’ve been meaning to donate, or even sell. Stuff you believe has value, but is no longer serving you at this time.

And then, let’s just say, what about the people in your house. Are they helping you toward your goal of keeping your house tidy? Are they serving you in your efforts to maintain a healthy, happy, safe house?

Perhaps this metaphor is a little to on the nose.

What I’m getting at here is that more than one thing can be happening in your house to make it unhealthy. The same goes for your body.

Illness is not a one -to-one ratio. It does not occur in a vacuum.

Let that sink in.

There can be more than one thing going on in your body leading to chronic illness. I see this all too often in my practice, and especially in those with CIRS.

CIRS- or Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome is a multi-symptom, multi-system illness- meaning it presents as a knotted mess of complaints, seemingly lacking rhyme or reason. It can be caused by a host of different things. The long story short is that your body becomes overwhelmed with the amount of threats it encounters on a day to day basis. The immune system ramps up in response to these threats, as it should, —but never ramps down. Instead, you live your life in an exaggerated state of inflammation.

Sometimes, CIRS can be the result of long term exposure to mold and mycotoxins. Other times it can be the result of a chronic Lyme infection. And other times, it can be the result of biotoxins from many different long term chronic infections or even exposure to certain reef fish. And sometimes it’s all of the above. A jeopardized body does not discriminate against illnesses. I would like to say “the more the merrier”, but the reality is that “misery loves company”; a vulnerable body only becomes more vulnerable.

It’s not that your Lyme was misdiagnosed, or that your heavy metal exposure isn’t an issue, or that your reactivated EBV isn’t a threat, or that you’re not gluten or dairy intolerant, or that the stress of your relationship is a non-factor, or even that it’s impossible to have parasites in a developed country. The reality is—it’s all of it. And it ALL needs to be addressed.

So, when I ask clients to undergo testing besides the typical CIRS panel, it’s because I want to make sure that there is not more than one issue going on in “this old house”.

As a Naturopathic Physician, I promised that I would uphold the tents of the medicine I practice. Of course, I vowed to first do no harm- like every other physician. But then I also vowed to treat the whole person and to identify the root cause of illness—which as mentioned, isn’t necessarily limited to just one thing.

So with this thought, we return to the metaphor of “this old house”. Since it’s the only one you have in this lifetime, please make sure you are broadening your gaze when it comes your current illness—as there may be more than one thing going on.

I encourage you to stay positive, and find a physicianwho can help you navigate your multi factorial recovery.

Dr. Tessier


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