The Scariest Diagnosis

[A Damage Report Post]

I don’t really know how to start this update, because the weight of this particular diagnosis is quite heavy and there’s no real way to be honest about it and yet not sound like I’m being extreme at the same time. I’m not being extreme. I never am when it comes to my health, because I don’t want to scare people…and because I’m not sure people would listen to the entirety of the truth even if I did try to tell it all, since in my experience people tend to tune my words out the moment they get overwhelmed…and I know the reality of the state of my body is overwhelming.

But there really isn’t any other way to share this update except to just be totally honest and say it as it is, so here goes…the scariest and most serious of all my current diagnosis is that my brain is dying, and unless we can reverse it I will die very, very young from brain and heart failure.

Walker and I already knew that I had a lot of brain damage because I had a brain scan a couple months ago that showed that the majority of my brain was, quite literally, broken. We didn’t understand just how critical the situation was, because when I got the scan my doctor gave me the “nice” version of things…only I didn’t know that. She told me that I needed to start a specific treatment program as soon as possible to try and reverse some of the brain damage, and she told me that I would start feeling a lot better once I completed treatment. Everything sounded great except that the treatment was quite expensive and there was a big chance that my insurance wouldn’t cover it. So since we couldn’t currently afford it, we had to put it on the backburner for a few months until we got all of that worked out.

Well fast-forward to last month when I ended up at the doctor’s office after a near-death experience during the crazy firestorms and my doctor told me the real status of my brain damage. Not the previously mentioned “nice” version that they tell you when they don’t want to scare you, but the blunt truth that they tell you when they do want to scare you because your life is at serious risk.

She told me that my brain was failing, and as a result heart failure was beginning to follow. If I didn’t start treatment immediately, I would either die soon or end up brain dead, which to me would be even worse than dying. And get this, the parts of my brain that are the most damaged are the parts that control my body’s ability to heal itself…which explains a whole stinkin lot about my body and why it never seems to get healthy, but only more sick, over time. NO WONDER I seem to develop new diagnoses with every month or with every time I have a new health setback!

Well, my doctor knew I couldn’t afford the brain treatment yet, but told me that my life was more important than being able to pay her anytime soon for it. I could start right away and pay off my bills in the future whenever I could, with no deadlines or pressure…which is incredibly amazing. A huge gift from God. It blows my mind that I have a doctor to who genuinely cares about people as much as she does…who cares about me as much as she does. She told me once that she sees me as more of her daughter than her patient, and her love and care has brought so much healing to my heart and life over the last few years…I am so, so thankful.

There’s a lot more to say about my brain damage/failure, but this is enough for now because, as I shared earlier, I’m trying to share these updates in more bite-sized portions…which means I have to leave a lot of information unsaid and a lot of questions unanswered. For example, I’m sure some of you are wondering how I got all this brain damage in the first place!

I’m hoping to answer that question in my next post, but even if I end up unable to do so the answer is coming. I just need a lot of time. I’m sure you can imagine how difficult it is to put words together in a clear way when you have multiple chronic illnesses as well as loads & loads of brain damage…it takes a lot of effort and time, so I really appreciate your patience, prayers, and kindness as I continue to fight for healing as well as try to share some of my heart with the world.

Love you all,

Yours Truly,
~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

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

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! 🙂