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Today’s Mold Talks Heroes guest is Taylor Hogan, a college student and mold survivor. Her unfortunate experience with mold happened after she moved into her dorm at Arizona State University. The experience completely upended her life, causing significant mental and physical illness. Two years later, she’s still dealing with the repercussions of the two months she spent in the contaminated dorm.
Taylor bravely describes her experience of living in a dorm with mold while trying to start her college career. Instead of excelling in school, meeting new people, and creating lasting memories, she began feeling increasingly unwell. As a naturally talented student, she knew that something was incredibly wrong when she suddenly developed mental issues such as memory loss that led to her failing school.
While she tried to work with her school, they pushed back and told her that nothing was wrong. Combined with the lack of assistance she received from the doctors, it quickly became one of the worst experiences of her life. With the encouragement and support of her mother, she eventually medically withdrew from school and began her journey to healing. Now she is working to rebuild her life, find a new major, and create greater awareness about this worldwide health epidemic. Otherwise, the future generation will continue to suffer from exposure to toxic living spaces.
in today's episode:
0:45: Taylor shares how her story began with experiencing mold exposure. She had just graduated high school and was beginning her college journey. Within a month, her entire life changed. After two months, she and her mother decided she had to leave for her own safety. "School was everything to me. I went to Arizona State with almost a full ride. And then I got put into a dorm with mold."
3:45: Taylor begins to describe the symptoms she experienced after her exposure, ranging from respiratory infections, reactivation of EVV, sinus infections, and more. "About two weeks after moving out, the physical symptoms started subsiding. That’s when I started realizing the internal symptoms that were still there. Even to this day, I still struggle with memory."
7:15: Taylor details her experience working with doctors and the struggle she had finding individuals who would listen and work with her instead of just putting her on antibiotics. "I didn’t want to take them, but I just wanted to feel better. Doctors just are not very aware of this issue."
8:30: Taylor shares how difficult the mental health aspect of the entire experience is. On top of feeling unwell, she was also struggling with depression, suicide ideation, memory loss, fatigue, and more. "I felt like I was going crazy, and I didn’t know what was wrong with me."
12:15: Taylor further explains her personal experience with the mental health struggles she faced as a result of exposure. Looking back, she mourns the college experience she missed out on and the drastic impact it had on her life. As a naturally talented student, the exposure impacted her brain so much that she was failing classes, forcing her to medically withdraw from college. "I want there to be more awareness because people don’t address it. It hurts me to know that people are still going through what I went through… It’s not just a cough or a fever. It affects you in a lot of ways you don’t even know."
18:00: Taylor opens up about her thoughts of not wanting to be here anymore and the suicide ideation she faced. But she details how she continued to fight and work to feel better, and she’s so glad that she did because she’s happier than she’s ever been, even though she’s still working on healing. "There was a great period of time where I didn’t want to be here, but it was hard to pull the plug. I still want to pursue all the dreams in my life, but I didn’t think I could do it when I felt as bad as I felt."
20:00: Taylor describes how greatly this event upended her life. Instead of becoming a cardiothoracic surgeon thanks to her grades during the two months she was in college, she’s now working to find a new path. She also shares how difficult it was working with her college after alerting them to the mold issue, to the point that she considered getting a lawyer. "They came to me and pushed me down and said you’re wrong, you’re crazy, there’s no mold in our dorms. They were just making it harder on me instead of just switching my dorm."
27:00: Taylor explains how important it is that we raise awareness about mold in dorms and the impact it’s having on the future generation.
33:30: Taylor shares how upset she is about the conditions of the dorm she lived in. "No university is trying to make the change needed for safer living situations. I really hope that at some point this will change. "It makes me so sad because I know that even though I’m out of it, other people are going through it.
38:00: Taylor offers one piece of advice she would give to anyone suffering from a similar situation. "Just stay strong, even though it’s hard. There is a light at the end of the tunnel."
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