I am seeking to raise money for a dear friend of mine. Her story is below and is honestly, heartbreaking. As a mother and wife, I could not imagine having to sit by and watch as my children grow and flourish around me while I am unable to participate in their lives. I would hate to not be able to be involved in coaching them and teaching them. I would hurt knowing that my husband has the weight of the world on his shoulder, and I can't help with the financial burden of providing for our family. Please, put yourself in her shoes for a moment as you read her story and consider donating to her cause. I am hoping this GoFundMe account will help assist her family with the medical bills she has incurred and will inevitably incur this year (2018). No amount is too small, so please give only what you feel comfortable giving. We both thank you for taking time out of your day to read her story.
￼Cassandra and her son went to the Houston Astros FanFest this year. She sat snuggled in this chair while he explored the Clubhouse & so much more.
Cassandra Baxter is a 35 year old mother of 2 children, and has been battling numerous life threatening diseases and disorders since 2009. She was diagnosed in March 2009 with SLE, commonly referred to as Lupus, and then diagnosed with Fibromyalgia later that same month.
Both of these diseases cause wide spread chronic pain throughout the body including swollen and painful joints, muscle pain, and intense pain in both feet, both hands, neck, back, ribs, and skin (sensitive to fabrics and human touch). Her co-conditions include suffering from migraines, chronic headaches, restless legs syndrome, peripheral neuropathy, spinal degenerative disease, kidney stones in both kidneys, liver lesions, adrenal fatigue and possible adrenal insufficiency, 2 bouts of Pleurisy due to her auto- immune system attacking her lungs in 2015/2016. She has lesions and minor damage to her cornea in her eyes due to her auto- immune disorder, and all of these physical ailments have led to medical PTSD, depression and anxiety.
She has been on a 2 year treatment plan for Cardiomyopathy (Supraventricular Tachycardia, Global Hypokinesis, and 20% Ejection Fraction initially), abnormally low blood pressure. Fortunately, with lots of testing, monitoring and medicine her heart has improved. But the list of medical problems still seems so long even she has a hard time remembering them all!
Cassandra continued to work full-time as a Real Estate Appraiser as well as donate her spare time to volunteer work over the years since her initial diagnoses back in 2009. She has volunteered at her children's schools, at one of the local theatres, and she loves volunteer teaching ESL to local non-native English speakers. She also facilitated a Support Group for Patients with Fibromyalgia and other Auto-Immune Disorders from 2014-2017.
But, her deteriorating condition in the last year has meant that she had to quit working in June 2017 per her doctor’s recommendation. That loss of income has hit her family hard and subsequently has affected her ability to continue receiving medical care.
As the years have progressed so have her surgeries in an effort to relieve some of the problems. She had 3 surgeries for Endometriosis and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, resulting in the 3rd and final hysterectomy surgery occurring in May 2017. Her EPS (Electro-Physiology Study) for her heart was performed in December 2016. She was diagnosed in 2016 with Spinal Degenerative Disease. As a result, she has had numerous spinal injections over the course of the 2017 year, ending the year with 2 surgical procedures on her Cervical Spine and her Lumbar Spine.
￼Pre-Op meeting with Cassandra's family and her fabulous O.R. nurse.. November 2017. (Surgery #9 out of 10 total)
As of the start of this Go Fund Me page, Cassandra was still dealing with the negative effects of these recent procedures. The Cervical Spine procedure had post-op complications which has adversely affected her ability to drive, use the computer, cook, clean, and do laundry because of her limited mobility.
She now faces a potentially new diagnosis. Cassandra's regular Neurologist referred her to a Neuro-Muscular Neurology Specialist named Dr. Shaibani at The Nerve and Muscle Center at St. Luke's Hospital in Downtown Houston. He performed nerve biopsies on her leg (ankle, above the knee, and upper thigh). It appears that she may now be facing an Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) Dysfunction but the official diagnosis is not finalized because more extensive testing is needed. The range of Autonomic Nervous System Disorders/Diseases include Small Nerve Fiber Neuropathy which is a possibility being explored for her diagnosis given her extensive list of similar symptoms. But each test, each doctor's appointment, each surgical procedure, and each medication costs money that Cassandra's family cannot afford on a single income.
Additionally, Cassandra has had unexplained weight loss of over 30 lbs since October, as well as nausea, vomiting, occasional chest pain, stomach cramps and more. She has double checked with her heart doctor and the most recent tests still show that her heart is doing okay now due to the 2 years of intensive treatment and monitoring, and her lungs are currently clear. The visit to the GI doctor in December resulted in a scope procedure which did not find the cause. As we approach Spring 2018, these particular symptoms have only worsened. She needs to go back to the GI doctor for more testing and also see an Endocrinologist. But again, that requires funds. Any and all of the donation money you provide will allow her to keep working toward resolving this new medical hurdle. If it cannot be resolved in a timely manner, she is unsure of her physical health in the future. The inability to eat and keep down food as had a lot of negative impacts for Cassandra, from unwanted weight loss to malnutrition, hair loss, low blood volume (hypovolemia) and even lower blood pressure (hypotension). Eventually her organs can and will start to shut down.
Cassandra has given up many of her personal goals since 2009, and her involvement in her children’s lives has become limited because battling her illnesses daily leave her exhausted, in intense pain, and fatigued. Cassandra's loving husband and his family, as well as Cassandra's mother have all stepped in to assist in taking care of her children due to her worsening condition; Cassandra is mostly bed-ridden at this time. It saddens her to not be able to provide financially for her family or to even do the dishes. The burden of being chronically ill leaves scars: physically, emotionally and mentally. It can be draining to see the world from a bed when her biggest wish is to get up and go without any pain, just like other Mothers.
Cassandra and her family are asking for your generous help in getting her the medical attention that she needs. Her medical needs include any necessary neurological on-going testing, the regular tests for her heart, regular blood work, MRI and CT scans, GI procedures, Endocrinology testing, etc. for her other organs, as well as travel expenses to Houston from her home town of College Station (approximately a 2 hour drive). Cassandra really doesn’t like asking for help, but sadly she is now in true need of financial aid. Please consider donating to Cassandra's cause. No amount is too small. Each donation is lovingly appreciated. Every penny will be used wisely to pay her medical bills with hopes that her condition improves and she is able to experience a better quality of life, especially with her children, family and friends.
Thank you, Everyone.
Cassandra and her Family
￼This is Cassandra on the daily, just snuggled under covers in bed with her cute dragon to help take some of the pain off her neck (cervical spine).