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Aeon Magazine: "The Camping Cure"


Senior Member
Jill Neimark is a sufferer of toxic mold illness, MCS and chronic Lyme disease; an extreme mold avoider who learned directly from Erik Johnson and me; and a former resident of the Upper West Side in NYC.

In this new lead article in the online literary journal Aeon, she reflects on how her years of living outdoors in order to recover from her illness have changed her.

A thoughtful, beautifully written and inspiring piece. Very highly recommended.



>In 1996, I stepped into a New York writer’s dream: a rent-stabilised two-bedroom in a pre-war doorman building overlooking the Hudson River. Built in 1931, the great behemoth of a building contained nearly 300 apartments and a respectable smattering of famous musicians and artists. To the north, a curving boulevard dotted with gorgeous 19th-century row houses. To the west, a ribbon of green that ran many miles along the river. And the Upper West Side itself was foodie heaven. I thought, as any New Yorker dumbstruck by her luck would have: ‘I will live hereforever. Yup, they will have to carry me out feet first on a stretcher before I ever leave.’

>By late 2009, that moment had arrived. First, in the summer of 2000, came a tick bite that seemed to slash and burn me to the ground. I never recovered, in spite of antibiotic treatment. Then in 2005, a developer bought my building and for two years his team demolished and renovated 150 apartments, selling them as luxury condominiums. Swarms of demolition workers brought brick dust, mice pouring forth out of the walls, bursting pipes and multi-floor floods. My ceiling fell in from a torrent of water, my bedroom wall slid off like putty, my oak floors warped from erupting wastewater.

>By the time the renovation was complete, my sanctuary was infested with mold and probably strange bacteria; back in the 1930s, they insulated between floors with rock wool, which holds an astounding amount of moisture and can grow mold and bacteria after flooding. I was bedridden, too ill to ride the elevator down one floor and walk across the lobby to get my mail....

>I had to leave, but it was like leaving my self.