In 2011, Candice made the trip to Canada to live with her father and brother who had immigrated just a few years earlier. She would say goodbye to her mother, sister and all of her family, with the hopes that she would one day see them again. But as you’ve guessed it, this would be the last time she would see everyone together, happy and healthy.
In 2013, Candice had learned that her mother was diagnosed with early onset frontal temporal dementia, a disease that affected people at least 20 years older than her young mother. Over the next couple of years, her disease would progress aggressively and Candice would have to prepare for the worst.
This is a story about hope. It’s about getting Candice home to see her mother one last time. And why would we as her friends reach out? Because she is without a doubt the best person we know. She puts a smile on your face every single time you see her, and gives you the kind of care and advice only a friend of decades can give you, but within the first few moments of meeting her.
But first, let’s start at the beginning. When dementia is diagnosed among younger people, it tends to be ruthless and aggressive. The disease progresses faster and begins with disorientation and memory loss. However, near the end stage, which is where this family is at, the brain is stripped of its cognitive abilities and it presents as loss of bodily functions, almost complete memory, identity, lastly and sadly, it shuts down the body’s organs and ability to breath.
In 2013, and shortly after her mother’s diagnosis, Candice began to feel mild (at first), but consistent pain in her hips. With her focus on the health and wellbeing of her mom, she didn’t think much of it as she was a healthy 20 something year old athlete. Ranking within top 15 in the world in Softball, she was used to the ups and downs of sport related injuries and the pain that came with it. However, as the persistence of pain carried on, she sought the opinion of a doctor only to find that she had formed ovarian cysts. What came next was the surgery and down time to recover. Over the next 5 years, she would have one tumour, multiple surgeries, diagnosis and misdiagnosis, treatments and mistreatments to all but find out that her increasing and chronic pain, was due to acetabular hip dysplasia.
Acetabular Hip dysplasia occurs when the hip socket or acetabulum, is shallow and does not provide sufficient coverage of the femoral head, which causes instability of the hip joint, and in this case, pain. At the highest point of her pain level, Candice was taking 1000mg a day of morphine alone, which was only part of a daily cocktail of medication to manage and counteract the side affects of her diagnosis. As a result, she had to take a break from her professional softball career and move to part time work. However, it wasn’t long until Candice wasn’t able to work at all, and the reality of the high expense of living set in heavy and hard.
In March 2017, Candice would have the first set of surgeries that would help her walk better and give her a chance to live without pain. Her hip was broken within 3 different places and she would spend the next year learning how to walk and move all over again.
Fast forward a year into the future and recovery has been tough, but she made it! Candice’s future with hip dysplasia has only just become manageable, but it depleted her funds on the road to recovery. It’s now March 2018 and we need to move fast. We as her friends will get her there as much as we can, but we need the support of our community.
If you would like to help, reach out, or spread the word, please share her story. Share over Facebook, Instagram, tell your friends, your family, anything helps. There will be a donation box set up at SOL OPTIX 628b 17th S.W., Calgary, AB. Our goal is $6,500.
$6,500to cover her flight expenses to South Africa, to cover her bills while she is away, pay for her personal medication , and most importantly, to make her mom’s passing transition as comfortable as possible. As she has the power of attorney for her mom, it is imperative that she is there during her passing. If she is not there, the institution makes the decision for her. The goal is to keep her there for up to 1 month, to take care of her family in the ways that she needs to.
Thank you for listening.
- Irena Feldshtein
- Gero Theel
- Juliana Forero
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