My Ground Zero Of All Ground Zeroes

Last month Walker and I (and countless others) were stuck in the middle of a horrible fire-storm, and while we were incredibly lucky to have lost neither home nor workplace, my health was not so fortunate. :/ A week into the fires I found myself weaker and more physically taxed than I thought possible. I had reached the ground-zero of all my ground-zero’s that I’ve experienced in the past…and I have experienced quite a few.

When I use the term “ground zero” I mean that I have to completely start over with any and all exercises, weight gain, muscle building, and any other kind of physical progress that I had preciously achieved. It means I’m back to only weighing 70lbs, back to not being strong enough to do even a single one of my necessary exercises, and back to needing help with even standing up.

In other words, “Ground Zero” means something really hard, really painful, and really, really discouraging…especially when it happens for the 4th time in year. 😦

But this is life for me right now, and even if I don’t like it I’m still responsible for how I choose to respond to it. I’ve had to decide, again, to try to make the most out of, and see the best in, everything. And I’ve also had to make difficult-but-necessary decisions regarding where I currently can and cannot afford to invest my energy…

And that is the reason for this blog post. I just wanted to let everyone know that until my health allows otherwise, I no longer have the strength to give personal or individual updates to people regarding my life or my health, whether through email, Facebook, Facebook messages, phone calls, or texts, but will have to direct everyone here, to my blog, for updates instead.

For the last couple months I’ve been trying to juggle both blogging and communicating with people through other means, but it simply has not been working for me…Not. At. All. I have so little energy each day and so much to try and remember to do with just medications, doctor’s visits, and treatments alone…and I’ve found that I literally cannot juggle anything else currently. If I focus on everyone else, I’m unable to take care of my health, but if I take care of my health, I will be unable to invest energy elsewhere, and unfortunately I don’t have the luxury of in-between’s or happy-medium’s right now. Instead, I have to make a choice…It’s either my health, husband, and home, or it’s everything else.

Soo…that is why all of my keeping-in-touch-with-people energy will be going here from now on. Whenever I have a little bit of extra energy to spare, I’ll write up updates and prayer requests, and hopefully I’ll sometimes even be able to blog on other things that have been on my heart and mind as well!

One thing I want to say, though, is please do leave comments here on the blog if you have a question you would like me to answer in future posts, or if you have questions/comments from a particular post that I’ve already written, because I will be checking and replying to those! 🙂

I also want to say that I love snail-mail ❤ Receiving something in the mail is one of the most encouraging things for someone who is stuck at home nearly 24/7/365 from chronic illnesses, and if questions are asked in snail mail, I will send short replies, though it often will take me some time to do so.

Annnnd of course, for those who have my husband’s number, texting Walker is the best way to reach us for any kind of time-sensitive stuff 🙂

And that is everything that I needed to say today, my dear friends. I am so thankful for everyone who follows my blog or who has taken the time to read this update and special request of mine…it means the world to be remembered, thought of, prayed for, and loved ❤

Yours Truly,
~Cassia Dee

Even When You Lose

There are few people in the world whose music has encouraged me as often as JJ Heller’s has. I can’t say how many times her words and sweet melodies have brought comfort and hope to my heart, as well as cheerful songs to my lips.

WELL, last Friday she released a new song that I think is just so beautiful and sweet…

From the first time that I heard this song, the words “even when you lose, don’t lose heart” really struck me. Lately I had been feeling, more than ever, that a life of severe chronic illness is in many ways a life where the reality of each day is that you will lose over and over and over again…and sometimes that can be really hard. It’s hard to try so hard and accomplish so little. To fight so hard and yet still lose.

Every. single. day.

But this song reminded me not to take my daily, frustrating, and discouraging physical losses and failures so seriously. Losing is a huge part of chronic illness, and losing is a part of life. And that’s okay. I just had to pick myself up and keep on trying.

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I used to do handlettering on the regular, but eventually my “losing,” shakey hands discouraged me from the endeavor. But, for some reason, after a day of JJ Heller’s song being stuck in my head I knew I just had to handletter that quote and send it to her as a small thank-you for her wonderful music.

So I started the project the next day with excitement and high hopes. A few hours later I had sketched the design out, painted a watercolor heart, and had almost finished inking the whole quote…when I totally messed up the words “even when you lose” beyond repair. There was no way to fix my mistake and I was so discouraged! I had basically just wasted the majority of my day on nothing. And when you’re so sick that you have almost no strength to begin with, it’s pretty awful to find that you’ve spent it on a failed project that was supposed to be for someone special.

I was super bummed and frustrated, concluding that all I could do now was throw in the towel and call it quits because I had failed. And then suddenly I laughed. How ironic was it that I was losing heart over a failed attempt to handletter a quote about not losing heart even when you fail?

So with a change of perspective I went back to work.

It took me the rest of the day to fix what I ruined, but in the end I completed my little piece of art with a thankful heart for people like JJ Heller who remind us not to lose heart.

Yours Truly,
~Cassia Dee

The Damage Report

Allrighties everybody, here it is…my long-overdue health update! Or, I guess I should say, here is part one of it. If I would’ve written this post 2 months ago, the list of my new diagnoses would have been much shorter. Buuuut….since then I’ve undergone more medical testing that has revealed over half-a-dozen new diagnoses. O_O

As I wrote last week, the long-story of these new diagnoses, treatments, and what they mean for me and my body, will come in future posts. But for now, the short story is this: I don’t just have one major disease that explains all my health issues, or one main line of treatment that is expected to help. I have, instead, multiple problems and diseases requiring multiple different treatments that often conflict with and exasperate each other. This makes treatment difficult and healing even more difficult, so if you would pray for doctor’s wisdom, and protection, strength, and healing for my body, I would really appreciate that. ❤


Old/Ongoing Diagnoses:

  • 1 1/2 years+ of mold poisoning
  • Cracked jaw & severe TMJ
  • Endometriosis (a hormone disease)
  • Adrenal Fatigue
  • Chronic migraines & headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Trigeminal Neuralgia
  • Chronic pain all over body, but especially jaw, face, head, neck, and upper back

New Diagnoses:

  • Destroyed and infected gut– SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth), IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), & chronic Candida infections (from mold poisoning)
  • Dysautonomia
  • Complex-PTSD (from child abuse)
  • Critical cortisol (hormone) deficiency
  • Chronic ear infections and sinus infections (from mold poisoning)
  • Lead & copper poisoning (probably from India)
  • Severe brain damage (from abuse/trauma and chronic illness)
  • Post-concussion syndrome
  • Severe chromium deficiency
  • Intense chemical sensitivity (from being all tox’d out!)
  • Hypoglycemia

PHEW, I think that’s everything!

As I share more about my diagnoses in future posts, I will link each post to its related diagnosis above. Thank you so much for your love and prayers…they mean the world. ❤

Yours Truly,
~Cassia Dee

Coming Up: The Damage Report

I’ve learned from experience that if someone asks about my health and I try to share more than one diagnosis with them, 90% of the time their eyes glaze over and they either change the subject or walk away. And it’s not because they don’t care about me or the state of my body…they just get overwhelmed and their brains switch gears on them without them realizing or meaning to, and then they move on.

And I get it. Even I can’t remember everything that’s wrong with my body without the help of medical logs and treatment checklists. It really is a huge, confusing, mess! But I’ve found that if I share too little, people think I’m basically healthy…which I totally am not. And if I share too much, people get overwhelmed and they end up retaining very little of our conversation.

Both options are pretty discouraging for me, but what’s the most discouraging is that there usually isn’t a “happy medium” that I can share in between the two. When “too little” is me sharing 1 diagnosis, and “too much” is me trying to share 2, that doesn’t leave much of a space for a middle ground…So what’s a sick girl to do??

Well, I’ve been doing some thinking and I came up with something to try! It may not be effective for everyone, but all I’m looking for right now is something more effective than usual. Hehe. And if I can manage that, then it’s a huge success 😉

So here’s what I’m going to try: Since too little isn’t a great route, and since too much isn’t either, I decided that this time around I’ll try doing both. First, I’ll write a blog post sharing a list of all my health updates and new diagnoses all in one place, and that’s it. I won’t be talking details or treatment or any of that stuff until future posts where I’ll try to write more bite-sized updates about each diagnosis individually. Hopefully that will allow me to share a more accurate health update than I’m normally able to, while making the information easy for everyone to swallow at the same time.

So let’s give this a shot and see how it goes, shall we? 🙂

Yours Truly, 
~Cassia Dee

 

 

 

A Healing Step

Writing used to be a kind of therapy for me. I wrote to survive, almost. It was like a lifeline that connected me to reality amidst all the trauma and abuse and confusion that was my daily life…

I used to fill up a journal every 3 months. I needed to process each day’s events on paper in order to feel sane. Writing helped keep me connected to what was real and true. It helped give me strength to stay strong and to not give in to lies, temptation, and manipulation.

I’ve been journaling since I was 6, I believe, although I’ve since lost my earliest journals. When I was 10 I started journalling more seriously, and by the time I was 15 I was completing around 4 journals a year.

Writing was comforting. Helpful. Hopeful. Strengthening. Healing.

But somewhere along the way it became pain. Lots and lots of pain. And it wasn’t because of my words…it was because of the words of others. The written words of others.

It started 6 years ago. I received a 3-page letter from a woman who abused me my whole life, and in it she told me over and over that I deserved to die and be killed. She never would talk to me about it in person or explain what she believed I did that caused her to write such hateful words, but she did use the written word to flood me with verbal abuses of many different kinds…with words that cut me to the heart and nearly broke my spirit entirely. After that the letters became emails, Facebook messages, texts, and cards every now and then…all with messages filled of lies and hate.

In the beginning it was only this one particular woman who sent me hate in the form of writing, but over time her friends and family, who were Christians and non-Christians alike, began contacting me on her behalf, accusing me of terrible things I had never done but that they were convinced, by her words, that I had. I was called terrible names, betrayed, shunned, abandoned by old friends, and even disowned.

Finally, I was wounded to my core. And finally, the association that “writing” had to hate, hurt, lies, cruelty, and terrible things was complete. Finally, what used to be therapeutic and life-giving for me was now nothing but pain. And my life already had so much pain the way it was…how could I willingly let myself endure more?

So I started writing less. And less. And less.

I still made myself write, though. I thought if I forced myself to write and to push through my pain long enough, I’d overcome my desire to never write another word again. But the more I tried…the more I pushed myself…the more I tried to overcome the negative association that writing had become…the more writing hurt me, not less. It was just too associated with terrible things.

I almost gave up writing, and therefore blogging, a dozen times over the last 2 or 3 years. Almost. But God is a healing God, and He didn’t give up on the broken state of my heart. He used His Word, years of prayers, Walker, my friend Annelise, my dear Miss Foskett, and a long visit from a sweet soul named Leah to heal my heart and spirit in big ways, and to heal me from the fear I had of writing. Of making new friends. Of vulnerability and condemnation from others. Of verbal attacks and cruelty and lies.

And now I’m finally ready to start over again with writing. For the first time in a long, long time I’m ready to start blogging with new eyes…eyes without the taint of the pain of yesterday.

I know I have a long road of healing still ahead of me, but this is a start. A really, really good start. ❤

Yours Truly,
~Cassia Dee

Welcome Back To The Blog!

Hey friends!

Welcome to the re-launch of my blog!

It’s been a long road of tweaking and brainstorming and trial and error (not to mention prayers, soul-searching, and healing), and I thank you all so much for your patience! “Yours Truly, Cassia Dee” is starting afresh, and I’m so thankful that amidst chronic illness, pain, trauma, injuries, & being stuck at home I am still able to write and share a little bit of my heart with the world. ❤

 I’ll write more in the future about the direction that my blog will be heading in over the next few years, as well as share some long-overdue health updates, but for now, here’s a big welcome for you! Thank you for stopping by, and I’ll write more soon!

Yours Truly,
~Cassia Dee

All Tox’d Out

“I feel like I’m being poisoned…”

I don’t know how many times I made that statement over the last year, but I know I said it a lot. I received many new diagnoses in 2016 and started many new treatments, but something still felt wrong. Really wrong. I felt like I was being poisoned. Like something that I was breathing was killing me slowly, a little bit at a time, piling up, one on top of each other, and breaking my body down…

Little did I know just how right I was. It turned out that we had a mold problem and that mold makes me really, really, really sick. My body is currently on toxin overload to the extent that it’s hard for me to even move my inflamed and spasmed muscles. I’ve been bedridden for 5 days straight, and I’m pretty sure that my daily epsom salts baths are what’s keeping me out of the ER. As my Dr. said, “Cassia, you’re all tox’d out.”

When it comes to mold problems, I’ve heard of quite a few friends who had mold in their homes and were able to fix the problem quickly enough. But the mold problem we’ve been dealing with has been a nightmare.

First there was the flooding, then there was the mold destroying some of our favorite things, then there was moving into a mold-free place only to discover that the minor rain exposure that got on our belongings during the move made mold start sprouting EVERYWHERE. We assumed that the mold was only in certain places in our old house, like under the carpets and behind some of the walls…but it turned out that the mold spores had thickly coated everything that had been exposed to the air…which, in other words, means practically everythingAnd there they were, patiently waiting for a few innocent drops of water to activate them and turn them into vicious beasts. >_<

Sooo…long story short, after only a few days in our new home we realized that mold was on the majority of our belongings and we literally ended up having to throw away half of what we own, if not more. Almost all our furniture got destroyed, as well as almost all my stationary and crafting supplies (*insert little cry here*), some blankets and clothing, some electronics, most of our home decor stuff, and some books and old journals. Now we’re hard-core sanitizing everything that is left and praying that this whole mold thing doesn’t EVER happen again.

PHEW. I’m exhausted just writing about it! Haha.

Obviously circumstances are decently miserable over here at the moment, but for some reason my spirits are still really high…and I know that “some reason” is the faithfulness of God. When I think about everything that is going on, I almost feel like I’m supposed to be freaking out or something right now…worrying about going broke…or worrying about the current critical state of my health…etc. But I’m not. And neither is Walker. We get exhausted and overwhelmed by the physical aspect of all this stress, definitely, but while outside of us things are crazy and very far from peaceful, our souls have still been at peace. God carries the brunt of our burden, and He’s carrying us. And with all that we don’t know, we do know that we can trust Him amidst all the craziness…and that is wonderful.

There’s still a few more days of lots of hard work left ahead of us this week, but after that, Lord willing, we’ll be out of the woods of this awful trial and able to settle into our new home, poison-free. It can’t come soon enough! 🙂

Healing For The Holidays

There is so much brokenness in the world…so much pain. I’ve seen it in so many faces recently…heard it in so many voices…and today it is breaking my heart. The holiday season is the greatest time of year for so many people, but for others it is the painful, almost unbearable reminder of loss, brokenness, or pain.

If you are one of those people, I want you to know that today I am writing for you.

I am praying for you, and have been praying for you for months. I might not know your name or your sorrows, but I’m praying for you…for every single person needing healing this holiday season more than anything else.

For every person who has lost a loved one to sickness, accident, suicide, or old age.

For every person who is lonely or feeling abandoned.

For every person who has been betrayed and feels like their heart has been ripped out of their chest.

For every person who desperately needs hope.

For every person who feels like giving up.

For every person who feels like they’re carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders.

For every person who is trying so hard to be brave for the people they love, but who are running out of strength.

For every person who has cried out to God for help but hasn’t seen Him answer.

For all the brokenhearted.

For you…wherever you are.

Don’t give up, you dear soul. Don’t despair.

I wish I could hold your hand while you poured out your heart to me, and give you a shoulder to cry on. I wish I could hug you, and prove to you that you are more loved than you know.

Because you are loved.

And even though I can’t personally reach you, and befriend you, and show you pieces of the love of God who dearly loves you…I can at least write this, and hope that somehow it will find you.

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted; he saves those whose spirits are crushed.”

-Psalm 34:18

You have not been forgotten this holiday season, and you are not forgotten now. And I am praying, so, so much, that the God who made, knows, and loves you will meet you right where you are this Christmas and begin the beautiful work of healing that your life and heart needs most  ❤

Yours Truly,
~Cassia Dee

Rain & Beauty

It’s a cold, rainy, November day. I sip from a mug of tea while I try to read, but mostly I just stare out the window, deep in thought. I know that lots of people find this kind of weather depressing, but it’s never been that way for me. I love the rain, and I find so much solace and companionship in nature. In birds chirping. In a hummingbird’s flight. In trees. In ocean waves. In flowers. And especially, for reasons I’ve never known, in the steady falling of rain.

When I was a little girl I loved rainy weather. I was a bookworm before I even should’ve learned to read, so for me the rain meant curling up somewhere with a good picture book, preferably with a doll or stuffed animal on my lap. As I got older, rainy days meant other things like tea, umbrellas, and crazy drivers on the freeway. It also meant getting wet against your will and having bad hair days. But even with its inconveniences, the rain never did seem to lose its magic.

I’m twenty-four now, and although I’m sick, often bedridden, and stuck in a body plagued with terrible pain, I still find comfort and wonder in a rainy day. I look out my window and see life. The earth is being watered, life is being sustained, and it is beautiful. The love of our Creator is seen so strongly in nature, and I start to think about who He is and all that He’s promised. I remember that He is with me, I remember that I am loved, and I am thankful. So thankful.

Then the rain stops. I look out the window and see the soft golden glow of a setting sun leaking through breaks in the dark clouds. I hear a bird chirp and I can’t help but peel myself from the warm, dry confines of the house to go outside. I tiptoe barefoot across wet cement, looking up into the sky. Rain droplets still caught on trees fall on my face, and soon I’m too cold to remain outdoors. But I drink in the sights and smells of this seemingly-insignificant moment of wonder, and I hold them close as I retreat indoors.

And I remember something that I haven’t really, truly remembered in a while. I remember that life is beautiful. And not just the life “out there” that I am too sick to enjoy, but life in the very capacity that I have been given. Even life in a pain-wracked, sick body that often seems impossible to endure. It’s still a gift. But it’s also a really hard fight, and God used this rainy day to help me see that no matter how hard this fight gets, it doesn’t change the Maker of all life. It doesn’t change the beauty He put in this world for us to enjoy and cultivate. It doesn’t change the beauty of His love for His created ones, or the beauty of His promises and faithfulness. It also doesn’t change the beauty of his everyday mercies and sufficient grace…But the beauty of all of these unchanging things will change me.

Yours Truly,
~Cassia Dee