Health Updates: Part One

Once upon a time…I stopped sleeping like a normal person. I was around 12 years old. And by the time I was 15, I was hardly sleeping at all. I spent more and more time in bed, trying to get some rest, but I rarely slept.

Fast forward 12 years, and I was still in the same boat. Fast forward to February of this year and I found myself sleeping less and less…and less, until a whole month passed where I had hardly slept a wink. My body had given out some time before, and now it was my brain’s turn. That’s when I ended up hospitalized for a week.

While sleep deprivation has been one the biggest causes of all my health complications this whole time, I got into the habit of not making a big deal about it after years of people calling my sleeping problems a spiritual issue when it was actually a physical one. I was told countless times that if I trusted God better, surrendered to God more, and read the Bible and prayed more, I would sleep. Sometimes the verse “God gives his beloved sleep” was quoted to me as “proof” that if God wasn’t giving me sleep, then I must be in sin. They said that if I wasn’t in sin, I would be his beloved and I would be sleeping…it that was really condemning, hurtful, and untrue. God always did love me, so not talking about my insomnia made the trial a lot easier to bear. But it was a really lonely road filled with so many tears and prayers.

I tried diets, herbs, medicine, and every lifestyle change in the book that people said helped with sleep, but success was never consistent, if there was any success at all. It was exhausting on every level, and super, insanely hard. Especially because the less I slept, the more my body got plagued with head-to-foot chronic pain. And the more pain I was in, the harder it was to sleep. It was a vicious cycle.

When I ended up hospitalized, I was drugged up so that all I did for a couple days was sleep, eat, talk briefly to doctors and nurses, and sleep some more. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life…I had no idea what I was missing all these years!! I couldn’t believe people slept almost every night of their lives and took it for granted…sleep was magic!

After a couple days of sleep I was feeling like myself again. I asked the doctors what happened to make me temporarily lose my mind and they said it was all sleep deprivation. They asked me a bunch of questions, like when did I stop sleeping, was I abused, did I experience trauma, etc., and got to the bottom of everything. They explained that the trauma, abuse, and severe stress throughout my life injured and exhausted my body to the point of depleting some of the critical hormones and chemicals that the human body and brain needs to function, one of which probably ran out when I was as young as 11 years old. How I made it this long without a mind and body collapse actually could be considered a miracle, and I can’t tell you how many doctors, patients, and health professionals have been telling me that I am an anomaly, an inspiration, and the kind of success story that leaves them not even knowing what to say. That’s the power of God for you 🙂

The medicine I received from the doctors in March is a man-made version of a natural chemical that our bodies need to survive and function, and God used that medicine to save my life…And give me sweet, sweet sleep! It is amazing and humbling to wake up each day knowing that I would not still be here if we didn’t have the kind of advanced medical treatment that we have today. I’m just so thankful for Walker’s amazing health insurance, for such a wonderful hospital as John Muir, and for all the doctors who’ve dedicated the last who-knows-how-many-years of their life to helping people. And I’m so thankful for anyone who prayed for me…even once. God has been using your prayers, and while I am not well yet, every day I am getting better ❤ (thanks to this and another HUGE answer to prayer that I’ll write about as soon as I can!)

Love always,
~Cassia Dee

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

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