Cass was diagnosed with Chiari Malformation in the summer of 2015. Before her diagnosis and onset of symptoms she lived an active life balancing twenty hour work weeks as a vet receptionist and assistant and going to school full time as a Biology student at Texas Tech University at Waco. She loved hiking with her best friend and putting in work at the gym, which lead her to lose one hundred pounds with a healthy lifestyle change.
2014 was the year that everything changed for Cass. Cass had gotten very ill with what she thought was food poisoning or a parasite. She lost weight and was pale most days. One day she stood up and collapsed clutching her chest. Cass had an episode of atrial fibrillation and had to be cardioverted back into rhythm. This was the start of an array of crazy symptoms. Mast Cell Activation Disorder came first. Cass had to be treated for anaphylaxis three times and her mast cells would not react appropriately. This causes Cass to have multiple allergic reactions weekly varying in all over hives, intestinal upset, and breathing difficulties.
In the Summer of 2015, Cass had indescrible muscle weakness, horrible back and neck pain, and began having memory problems. She began slurring her words and the pain was increasing everyday to the point of tears. Cass's limbs (feet & hands) were often numb and couldn't adjust to temperatures. After numerous doctor visits, MRIs, cat scans, and test after test. Cass was told everything was normal. It was until she got a hold of her own MRI report that it read "6mm herniation of cerebellar tonsils." (Her cerebellum is falling through the foramen magnum) According to Cass's doctor at the time, this should not cause problems with the flow of her cerebral spinal fluid, but she was wrong.
With the help of her father and his persistance, Dr. Parrish, a neurosurgeon and Chiari "expert" saw Cass and immediately confirmed flow was blocked within three minutes. Three months later she underwent a posterior fossa decompression and a leg graft - a brain surgery that help make room for the cerebral spinal fluid to flow better. Cass endured a painful recovery for a couple of months.
Cass had to withdraw from school Spring of 2016 due to the pain and associated symptoms. Till this day she suffers from chronic pain in her neck and back every day. She has trouble with memory recall and temperature intolerance. She enrolled back in school and successfully finished with her Bachelor's in May 2017, after having to take a total of one year off for medical issues.
Cass currently is seeing a pain management specialist for chronic neck and back pain and undergoes blocks & will have nerve ablation done in the future.
In addition to the pain, Cass has severe intestinal issues which has thought to be IBS or Ulcerative Colitis. She has a protein indicating she has inflammation in her intestines and colon. She is currently on a waiting list to see a gastroenterologist.
Cass's heart is also in trouble as she has had some type of episodes where her head feels like it isn't getting enough blood flow and she has palpitations. She was ordered to wear a heart monitor for the fourth time and is waiting results:
Cass is also continuing to have allergic reactions for no reason. She is schedule to have a bone marrow biopsy in June 2016 to see if she has a condition called Mastocytosis and to also check how the blood cells check out.
Not a day goes by without her having pain. Because of this, Cass has been out of work since July 2016. In May of 2017, she began having POTS-like attacks where she loses feeling in her limbs and her feet and hands turn blue. She has fainted and continues to seek medical help.
One thing Cass wants to work on is getting her dog, Mavis, trained to be a service dog. Cass has horrible anxiety that include panic attacks. Mavis can be trained to alert Cass when she has an allergy attack coming on, her heart is out of rhythm, calm her during panic attacks, and help her to remember important tasks like medicine taking! Funding will not only help pay off bills acquired from unemployment due to her chronic illnesses, but also aid in finding the best trainer to work with Mave in order to help Cass be more comfortable in public and with life saving tasks!
According to Service Dog Express,
$25 for the e-manual.
$55 ($66 for MD, NJ, PA, & National Capital Region residents, $80 for NY residents) per hour/session.
With your donation you will receive a handmade glass beaded bracelet made by Cass.
Thank you for your love and support.