His & Hers Christmas List

Hello there and happy holidays!
It is the most wonderful time of the year after all and one of my favorite things to do is pick out gifts for all my loved ones. This year we plan on having my parents over to celebrate. This will be the first year we host Christmas. Although it will be small, it will be so worth it! I have included my gift shopping list below; these are the actual gifts I purchased for all the loved ones on my list leaving only a few more dog treats off.
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For the Hubby:

For Mavis + Eleven

For the Parents:

For the Nephews + Nieces

Gift Yo’self (gifts I snuck in for myself)

 

I hope you all have a very merry Christmas and that your holiday shopping is as fun as mine was.

XO,

Cass

 

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October 7th:

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I know I have been failing at keeping up with frequent blog posts so I apologize for not being with it. My life has gone from 0 to 100 miles per hour overnight. I work a full time job (which I never would have thought been possible) which keeps me busy, busy, busy. Caleb and I officially married last month on October 7th in a small ceremony in Belton, Texas.

Surrounded by our friends and family, it was a magical day where we focused on each other and recommitted our everlasting love. My favorite weather, a stormy sky, provided the perfect backdrop behind our ceremony. We included music from our favorite films and our reception had a candy bar, lots of Venezuelan food, and dancing galore.

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Details:

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I hope you loved the insight to our wedding. Please keep an eye out because more photos to come.

Xo,

Cass

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Cassandra + Caleb

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 07/31/2017 – we had our engagement photos taken in 103 degree heat (although you cannot tell!) by the amazingly talented Robin Rogers in Belton, Texas. The bohemian themed shoot includes a vibrant rug (one that we actually own at home), a pastel pink flowy dress, and a gorgeous updo adorned with flowers. I hope you love our romantic shoot as much as we do.


Hair & Makeup: @katyreddellbeauty | Photography: @robinrogersphotography | Location: Overlook Park, Belton, Texas | His Outfit: @gap | Her Outfit: tba | Mavis + Eleven’s Collars: @madebycleo

Pupdates

Pupdates, or updates on my pugs:

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Mavis – So if any of you have been religious followers all the way back to when I first got Mavis, you’ll know that I had been training her once upon a time to be my service dog. Well fast forward a year later and I am once again working on just that, but this time with a trainer from Service Dog Express. I think that it is possible to train your own service animal, but I also think that it can prove quite difficult to stay on track when you are on your own. This month Mavis has met with the trainer twice and we learned how to properly walk her so that she is right at my side and focused on me. We’re working on sit and stay as well as door commands currently and our homework for this week is to play hide-and-seek with her so that it simulates her getting help if I need it. Our biggest challenge is Eleven. Eleven likes to constantly be the focus of attention and additionally loves to harass Mave, which makes it hard for Mavis to concentrate with a jumping bean by her side.

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Mavis also has enjoyed trying out a funky hairstyle: pawfectly pink! She will be attending Pug Prom on Twitter this weekend, so we had to see about trying a new look for her date Dug. Keep an eye out on her instagram and twitter because photos are definitely happening.

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Eleven’s first pawdicure – Baby blue, which lasted all of 2 minutes!

Eleven: This month Eleven turned six-months-old! Six-months already!? Time has flown as my wee little baby is gaining confidence each day and catching up to her sister on size. We are trying to train Eleven to be more controlled in addition to Mavis because at home and when we go out as a family of four, it really will be a group effort. She has lost all of her baby teeth now and we are working on building her confidence as she is insecure around the unfamiliar.

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I’ve been drooling over this Betsey Johnson backpack for awhile now..

Well that’s it for now!

xo

-Cass, Mave & Ele

Makeup & Beauty Routine: WIMB?

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After receiving positive feedback on my last What’s In My Bag post, I decided to do another version: makeup style. I don’t wear makeup everyday, but when I do, I have specific order on which products I use and I always ensure that the products I use are cruelty free. As an animal lover, vegetarian, and advocate for animals, using cruelty free brands is essential to my lifestyle. I hope you enjoy this post as I uncover my beauty secrets.

Note: None of these companies are sponsoring my post

Before applying makeup, I make sure that my face is clean. I am currently using a micellar cleanser, a gentle face wash, and curology (in the evenings) for outbreaks.

Step 1:

  • I use either Exceptionoil or Very Useful Face Cream to hydrate and moisturize my skin. My favorite out of these two products by Go-To Skin Care is the Exceptioil, it smells like roses and is a light non-greasy oil perfect for skin and nails. I usually use the face cream if I feel like I need extra moisture later on in the day.
    • “Smelling approximately 92% better than everything else that exists or ever will, Exceptionoil is a do-it-all, do-it-oil that nourishes, soothes and conditions the skin, nails, heels, cuticles and hair. Saturated with 100% natural oils and butters, including certified Monoi de Tahiti, your skin will very much appreciate the deep nourishment of this balm, proving it by instantly gobbling Exceptionoil up and leaving no greasy residue whatsoever. Exceptionoil is outstanding when traveling, doubles as a lush body fragrance, is a must-have during winter AND summer, and will do a heckload more for dry, thirsty skin and all those ‘rough bits’ than that $4 body lotion you’re using. No offence to that lotion, of course, but we’ve definitely smoked him.” –Go-To Skin Care
    • “An ultra-hydrating and lightweight daily moisturiser that defends your skin against premature ageing, and smells pretty alright, too.This is face cream that is as much about anti-oxidants as it is moisturisation, because anti-oxidants are just as important. They stop free radicals (found in UV rays, smoking, environmental pollutants, toxins) attacking your skin, which is the main cause of ageing in the shape of wrinkles, loss of skin elasticity and suppleness. And since we get 50-80% of our free radical damage before we turn 21, there’s good reason to be incorporating anti-oxidants into your skin care as early as possible, (and for as long as possible.) Very Useful Face Cream boasts powerful anti-oxidants CoQ10 and the dazzling Amla Berry, known to have 30x more anti-oxidants than oranges, as well as many lovely replenishing oils and butters. Your skin is thoroughly hydrated, supple, smooth, soft and most crucially, shielded from those havoc-causing free radical bastards.” –Go-To Skin Care

Step 2:

  • Wet n Wild Photo Focus™ Face Primer – I apply my primer before applying any foundation to smooth my skin out and so that my makeup wear lasts longer. I have been impressed with this formula so far. It’s non greasy and helps application of makeup.
    • “Remember when you were a kid, watching fairy tales, wishing you had a magic potion to transform yourself instantly into a glamorous princess? Well, we’re here to make your dreams come true! This miraculous primer can be used all over your face to minimize the appearance of pores, fill in fine lines and wrinkles, even out skin tone, prevent your foundation from caking, and brighten your complexion for ultra-vibrant color that lasts all day. Magic! How does it do this? Because we basically put diamonds in a bottle! No, really, we did. The key ingredient in this miracle primer is white sapphire, formulated into a smooth, silky cream that glides on effortlessly, leaving behind a crystal complexion. Just think of us as your fairy godmother!” -Wet Wild       

Step 3:

  • Wet n Wild Photo Focus™ Foundation (in Bronze Beige) – Using my Oil & Wind Silicone Beauty Applicator, I apply this newly formulated foundation by Wet Wild. I had previously been using the creme foundation, but stores stopped selling this foundation, so I transitioned to the Photo Focus™ Foundation. I end up using a lot less product because it comes with a built in spatula to apply to your face and goes on smoothly. The silicone applicator has replaced my beauty blender because it doesn’t loose its shape or get torn apart. This applicator is also much easier to clean and it feels more sanitary.
    • “Your skin, only better. Our new high-performing, skin-perfecting foundation underwent major road testing under seven different photo lighting conditions to deliver flawless camera-ready makeup every time. Specially made with a matte, light-diffusing complex to give your skin #nofilter perfection. High-performing, breakthrough formula. Featuring light-adjusting complex to help prevent white cast in photos. Tested under 7 light conditions with and without the use of flash.” –Wet n Wild

Step 4:

  • Wet n Wild Photo Focus™ Concealer (in Light/Medium Beige) – After foundation is applied, this concealer is applied under my eyes and any concerning areas that need just an extra touch. I use my silicon applicator to blend in the formula. Perfect for covering my bags!
    • “Let your natural beauty shine with our selfie-tested creamy and luminous concealer. Tested to be white cast-free under seven different photo lighting conditions, this high coverage concealer allows only your best features to get noticed. Gorgeous skin will be your only look.” -Wet Wild

Step 5:

  • Wet n Wild Photo Focus™ Pressed Powder (in Warm Beige) – After canceler is completely blended in, I use my BH Cosmetics Brush vegan brush to apply the powder for full coverage. Once I have all these steps completed, my face is almost ready to go!
    • “Your smartphone just met its makeup match. Pack this genius pressed powder in your bag for endlessly amazing photos every time. Light-diffusing pigments give your skin a veil of silky natural looking perfection in photos and IRL. Wear it alone, on bare skin or over Photo Focus foundation for a flawless finish. Sets makeup with an unbelievably soft, satin finish. Reduces shine throughout the day. Each shade covers a range of skin tones.” –Wet Wild

Step 6:

  • Dusty Girls Natural Mineral Blush (in Golden Delicious) – I love adding a bit of bronze color into my cheeks. Thanks to Cass and her Be Kind To One Another Boxes, I was gifted this amazing pigmented blush and have used it constantly ever since. Never tested on animals, this mineral blush goes on so smoothly and looks flawless.
    • “Softly contour your cheeks with this versatile shade for a flawless, matte finish. Pressed with a blend of gold and terracotta tones to brighten your smile and enhance your complexion.” –Dusty Girls

Step 7:

  • Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz (in Dark Brown) – I had my eyebrows microbladed back in June by the wonderful Little Linda who runs Koneko Studio. She gave me the perfect shape to fill in and I require a lot less product than before thanks to the procedure. I plan on doing a future post on microblading as it has completely changed my look and given me confidence. I use my Eyebrow Duo Brush from e.l.f. cosmetics to help brush my eyebrows up and smooth them out after applying the brow wiz.
    • “An award-winning ultra-slim, retractable pencil that creates precise, hair-like strokes. Use Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz®‘s fine tip to spot-fill areas where brow hair is sparse, and the custom spooley end to blend for a flawless finish. Mimics natural hair. Long-wearing, smudge-proof formula. Glides on effortlessly. Available in 10 shades.” -Anastasia Beverly Hills
    • “This convenient dual-sided brush includes a dense angled brush on one end to precisely fill in and contour brows while the wand side combs and shapes hair into place. Perfect to use with powder, cream, and gel formulas for a polished look.” –e.l.f. cosmetics     

Step 8:

  • Better Than Sex Waterproof Mascara – This mascara is the perfect addition to make my lashes pop. I, however, wish that I had an everyday use mascara (I have my eyes on this one!) that wasn’t waterproof because it is hard to get off! I love the way my lashes look, but they can get clumpy and the formula is hard to get off off of anything!
    • “Go ahead and cry happy tears, Better Than Sex Mascara is now WATERPROOF! Our iconic hourglass-shaped brush unlocks the volumizing formula that thickens, lengthens and curls for the most extreme, mind-blowing lashes. One coat and lashes are full, defined, and stretched to unbelievable lengths. Two coats and lashes look even more luscious, curled, and dramatic. Three coats and you’ve achieved the most intense, voluminous, waterproof lashes possible!” -Too Faced

Optional Steps for Night Out looks:

  • If I was going out to an event or something a bit more glamorous, I would add in highlight and contouring for a more dramatic look. I use NYX’s Wonder Stick (inWS01 Light/Medium) to achieve a fierce look. This highlight/contour is a bit more sticky than I would like, but it gets the job done.
    • “The Wonder Stick is our ultimate dynamic duo: One side for a brilliant highlight, the other for a sleek contour. Now available in two more highly pigmented color combinations! Each couple is creamy as can be, which allows for beautiful blending. Available in six color-coordinated shade pairings.” -NYX Professional Makeup
  • I would also use Kat Von D’s Tattoo Liner to complete a more dramatic eye. This paired with my Naked 2 Urban Decay Palette (not pictured), which would never fit in my makeup bag, and some false lashes, helps take my daytime look to a hot nighttime look! Depending on the event and time, I can use different shadows to create different looks. I also like to add in some shades (especially Dubai!) in from the Burgundy Palette from Kylie Cosmetics (not pictured) to give my eyes that extra pop they deserve. Last but not least I would apply some liquid lipstick in either Mary Jo K, Leo, or Candy K by Kylie Cosmetics. These lipsticks have been my absolute favorite: they smell like vanilla cupcakes, go on smoothly, and last a long time without smudging. I am planning on getting more in the future!
    • “LINE IT LIKE YOU MEAN IT. Nothin’, we mean nothin’, makes whipping out a killer Kat Eye easier than Tattoo Liner. This brush-tip liquid liner is the magic wand of makeup. Kat uses it every single day, and we really aren’t sure how we would get along without it ; ) Why, you ask? The highly pigmented, 24-hour-wear formula is waterproof and transfer-resistant. That means those lines aren’t goin’ anywhere…Insane days and sleepless nights can’t touch our Kat Eyes! The precision brush tip is the key to super-fine lines. No less than 325 flexible bristles come together in a tight, crisp point, ready to unleash invincible lines. The supple, saturated brush glides across lids in silky, smooth strokes, making Tattoo Liner the ultimate tool for both makeup newbies and beauty pros alike. We often marvel at how amazing it is that a teeny-tiny tip can contain so much possibility—wings, fine lines, detailwork…we could go on all day! Choose from raven-black Trooper or rich, chocolate Mad Max Brown for all your Kat Eye needs! We ❤ seeing all our KVD Beauties killin it in Tattoo Liner! Share your wild & wonderful creations with #kvdlook! #VeganAlert! 100% Cruelty Free Forever!” –Kat Von D Beauty
    •  “You demanded “MORE NAKED!”—and Naked2 delivers. From luminous shades with shimmer and sparkle to the smoothest mattes imaginable, Naked2 is packed with 12 never-boring taupe-hued neutrals (including a gorgeous grayish brown, a glittery copper and our lewdest, blackest black). Expand your Naked range to create even more sultry neutral looks, smoky dramatic looks and everything in between. The case has an art-school inspired look with a hinged lid—taupe metal with embossed chocolate brown artwork. It’s smooth, modern and cool to the touch—a real tactile experience. Naked2 includes a professional-quality, cruelty-free double-ended shadow/blending brush.” –Urban Decay
    • “The #KylieCosmetics Kyshadow pressed powder eye shadow palette is your secret weapon to create the perfect Kylie eye. Each Kyshadow Kit comes with 9 pressed powder eye shadows that can be used together to recreate Kylie’s favorite looks or customize your own.” –Kylie Cosmetics
    • “The Matte Liquid Lipstick has high intensity pigment for an instant bold matte lip. The extremely long wearing lipstick contains moisturizing ingredients for a comfortable, emollient and silky feel that does not dry your lips out. Mary Jo K is a true blue red. Leo is a true deep burgundy. Candy K is a warm pinky nude.” –Kylie Cosmetics                                                                            

That completes my makeup routine and skin care routine! It’s so important to remove your makeup every single night to prevent bacteria build up on your skin! I again use a sensitive face wash after using a micellar cleanser to take off my makeup. If I need spot treatment for break outs, I use acnedote by Alba Botanica (which has a large selection of acne products that are all cruelty free) and this skincare tool by Tweezerman.

I added a short video I put together of my beauty routine to go along with the products described above. I hope you all enjoy my efforts!

 

I hope you enjoyed a look into my routine and beauty product secrets.

Until next time!

xo,

Cass

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The Biopsy

 

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Yesterday I checked into the Metroplex Adventist Hospital for my bone marrow biopsy. I though I would share my experience for those of you that may have one coming up, need to inform a friend of family member, or are just curious as to how it went. Everyone is different when it comes to pain and healing, so please keep that in mind. To begin, a bone marrow biopsy is done to evaluate blood cell abnormalities and other diseases in the patient. I had mine, in particular, to test for mast cell disorders as I have struggled with unexplained allergic reactions with no triggers.

0800 – Caleb and I arrived at the inpatient surgery center and got checked in. I changed into a hospital gown and socks and prepared for the hours to come.

0830 – The nurse came in and attached me to the the monitors. I had an EKG done to evaluate my heart (due to past heart trouble – atrial fibrillation & tachycardia) and the dreaded IV was put in after one painful failure.

1030 – My mom arrived to the hospital to wish me well. I was supposed to have already been taken back, but the doctor had been working on the same patient since 0730, so apparently some complications arose. Waiting is the worst part; the nerves grow, my heart raced, and I kept playing over and over about what was ahead.

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1100 – I finally was taken back. I was explained everything that would happen. I would be sedated, but might feel some pressure and the pain of the numbing sting. I went in to the Cath Lab and the completely took off my gown (that was a surprise to me), but covered me with drapes. I had an oxygen tube in my nose and was hooked up to all the necessary machines. The anesthesiologist told me he would administer the medication. I didn’t feel it immediately and began to worry it wouldn’t make me go to sleep. I told the ladies that were prepping everything that I haven’t felt the medication, they assured me the doctor wouldn’t start the procedure until I was sedated. I was “blind” since my glasses were confiscated, but I could see the outline of the needle for the lidocaine. I was trying my best to stay calm. Then I went to sleep. After that I didn’t remember a thing. Whether I was sleeping or not, I don’t remember feeling a thing until after I was awake in the recovery room.

1215 – I awoke back in my recovery room alongside Caleb and my mom; the first thing I did when I got back to the room was pucker my lips for a kiss from my man. I was a little loopy coming off the sedation leading me to make silly little videos on snapchat and saying I wanted In-N-Out over and over again. I began to feel the pain in my hip. The nurses said I had to stay for 2 more hours and I had to eat before leaving.

1300 – I was give morphine for the pain. I told the nurse it was hurting and they made me lay on my back to compress it, instead of my side (which hurt even more).

1330 – I was given a veggie burger (I told them I didn’t eat meat and they happily got this burger!) and baked crisps for lunch. I really wanted In-N-Out, so I nibbled at it and split my meal with Caleb.

1400 – I was wheeled out to Caleb’s car and discharged!

After being discharged, I went to my much needed In-N-Out; I really wanted to just get it to go, but my mom was going to head out after that, so we just ate at the restaurant. On the way home we stopped by the primary exchange to pick up my headache medication as I left the hospital with throbbing in my temples. The day of the procedure it was very painful to walk and I needed assistance from Caleb to get from place to place. This morning I awoke with a little bit of pain and had sharp stings here and there, but overall the healing seems to be going well. I can’t lift anything for 48 hours after the procedure. I can finally shower tonight and take off the bandage. Some leakage is evident, but that’s normal unless it has a green hue or looks like pus. My results should be in next week, so now I have to make an appointment with my provider to go over them. I am eager to see what the bone marrow reveals. I’ll keep you updated!

Until then,

xo,

Cass

Bachelor’s of Science 

This past May I walked across the stage at Texas Tech University and accepted my diploma after five years of intense work, tears, and way too much stress. My undergraduate started in Fall 2010 when I took a few dual-credit classes to prep me for the years ahead. I entered McLennan Community College (MCC) as a full time student in Fall of 2011 after earning my high school diploma (with honors). I continued to live at home and work part time as a waitress and a babysitter. I was inducted to Phi Theta Kappa after my first semester for my grade point average and hard work.

In Fall of 2012, I moved to Austin to attend The University of Texas at Austin. I was accepted into the school of nursing, but switched (due to the anxiety of the competiveness of the program) to a nutrition major. I worked part time as a nanny and completed a few classes, but I grew too depressed to continue on. This was one of the worst times dealing with my depression. I became suicidal and questioned my life therefore, I returned home after the semester and took the following spring semester off to deal with my mental health. I began seeing a psychologist every week and focused on my health and diet (as I put back all the weight I lost and more due to the extreme mental agony).

Summer 2013, I returned to classes online and went back full time to MCC. I lost the weight I had gained previously to get in the best shape of my life. I got my first long-time job as a Client Service Coordinator at Banfield Pet Hospital and my GPA went back up! In May 2014 I earned two associates with honors (AA & AS).
After attending full time in the summer to get all my prerequisites finished up, I transferred to Texas Tech University as a Biology major and a Chemistry minor. I enjoyed my first year full of exciting science classes and excelled academically, but I began having health issues. I had unexplained faintness, rapid heartbeat, and chronic gastrointestinal problems. In September 2014, my heart went into atrial fibrillation and it had to be cardioverted back into rhythm after IV drugs did not work. I also began having intese allergic reactions and anaphylaxis which lead to my diagnosis of Mast Cell Activation Disorder.

Despite suffering from these issues, I was on a great path until summer of 2015. I quit my job because I was discriminated against for having depression and anxiety that did NOT interfere with my job. I was targeted by the head veterinarian (who was pretentious) along with another girl I worked alongside (she was the only black employee and she also was having a tough time). We were both basically treated unfairly and made to quit. I was told if I didn’t quit, I would be placed on leave without pay. We were thinking about getting lawyers involved for discrimination, but as anxiety goes, we both dropped it. This is when I began getting increasingly ill and I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I started having brain fog and trouble with words and times (which is maybe why they thought my depression interfered with the job, only it wasn’t my depression at all).


That summer I attended classes full time and worked part time as a veterinarian assistant, but this is when I started having extreme problems (hence the archives start here!). Some of the symptoms I began experiencing was muscle weakness, slurred speech, confusion and brain fog, daily headaches, migraines, loss of balance and coordination, and horrible neck and back pain. The pain was so intense I would lay on the floor crying. I started seeing multiple doctors (even at the emergency clinic). I was told that it must just be a muscle sprain over and over again. As my symptoms progressed, I was let go from my job for fear that I may get hurt. I got several images taken: X-ray, CT scan, and MRI. I was told everything was normal. Luckily I had my dad on my side and we would not give up until I had an answer. I got my hands on the actual MRI report which stated: patient has a herniation of the cerebellar tonsils; something my doctor did not think was important to mention to me. I made an appointment to talk to her and she said that shouldn’t affect me at all because “my flow was good.”

Arnold-Chiari Malformation: “structural defects in the cerebellum. That’s the part of the brain that controls balance.”

She insisted that I just needed a psych referral and basically disregarded my physical concerns, needless to say I fired her. I fought hard for a consult with a “Chiari Expert.” My dad actually found a doctor in Houston that specialized in neurology and did posterior fossa decompressions as part of treating Chiari symptoms. I made an appointment with him and had severe issues having my insurance cover it. My dad offered to pay out of pocket for one appointment; we arrived, cash in hand, only to be told that was incorrect and they didn’t take payment from the patient (only insurance companies). My dad begged for them to see me, seeing how badly my symptoms were progressing, but we were turned away. He didn’t stop until he talked to the insurance representatives and they agreed to cover an appointment.

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I finally met Dr. Parish in November and he immediately diagnosed me with Chiari Malformation. My hands and feet were numb due to the lack of proper flow of the spinal fluid cord and he assured me that he could successfully complete the operation with a good chance of aiding or resolving some symptoms. On December 9th, 2015, I under went brain surgery to correct my defect. I had a leg graft taken to be placed in the back of my skull to allow more room for the cerebellar spinal fluid (CSF) to flow. This was an extremely hard time for me as I finished my semester only days before having to be operated on. That semester was truly a grueling one; I had to battle ongoing symptoms of the defect while having to focus on school. The brain fog was immense and it was hard for me to concentrate and memorize. This was the start of working harder than everyone to maintain my grades. In addition to all of this, my grandmother passed away in November only a couple weeks before my operation, but I made it through.

I tried to use my winter break to recover. I signed up for Spring classes foolishly. I was so eager to stay on the path to graduation which was planned for December 2016. After making it all the way through April, it became too much for me to deal with. I wasn’t used to studying after the operation, which is thought to be a Traumatic Brain Injury because of the invasiveness and the aftermath. I couldn’t cope with my confusion. Although my numbness and slurred speech improved, I had much difficult thinking of the right words, staying on a schedule, and had a horrible memory. The pain, which I thought had been resolved (probably masked by the incision pain?), reappeared in March. I made the choice to medically withdraw. My anxiety was incredibly high because I had never had such problems with school as I did that semester.

That summer I had so many life changes. My previous relationship ended and I met Caleb. I questioned my ability to go through another year of school, but I pushed forward. I ran into financial issues as I had to find out the hard way that financial aid is hard. I returned to school in August 2016, determined that it would be my last fall semester. I changed my minor from chemistry to health professions because I would have had to stay an extra semester for one class and I had had enough! I somehow made it through a grueling semester in which I moved and made some serious changes.

January 2017 I started my last semester at Texas Tech, extremely terrified at the course load. I’ll admit that I’m terrible at chemistry and had to buckle down to pass. I somehow managed to make it through despite facing some discrimination along the way (short story: my chemistry teacher blew up on me for forgetting how to set up and apparatus). The months were the slowest of my life. They dragged on and on and I counted the days I had left. I finished my last final on May 12th; that feeling of waking up the day after and coming to the realization I don’t have to endure this repetitive cycle of driving 72 miles back and forth to school and constantly stressing over attendance (that’s what chronic illness does) and proficiency (grades!) is over… it’s liberating, the best feeling in the world! I can’t believe I did it. Over 5 years of hard work with so many challenges and setbacks. I’ve done it! I drove to Lubbock alongside my mom, Caleb, and Dianne to accept my Bachelor’s of Science on May 19th!

So what now? Where will my life take me? I’ve spent this past month applying for jobs left and right, in hope that the perfect one will arise and be interested in my education and experience. I’ve been looking at administration jobs because I know with my chronic pain and conditions, a standing job isn’t ideal. I’ve been working hard this month: exercising, eating healthy, and attending appointments (neurology, allergy, and my PCM to manage my care). I ended up in the ER late May after some terrifying symptoms (numb and blue limbs, confusion/brain fog [worse than usual], feeling faint, & low blood pressure) occurred. It was concluded that I had complex migraine (how can this turn your limbs blue with the blood pooling?) and I got a referral for neurology to see why I am having chronic migraines and neurological issues. The ER doctor said that he saw an old lesion on my cerebellum, which makes me wonder if it is a result of the decompression or something completely different. I fainted a couple weeks later and experienced rapid heart beat upon standing, so a referral to cardiology was put in as well. Praying that I can get these symptoms under control!

Managing my health and upcoming career is stressful to think about, not to mention my endless wedding planning for our upcoming October “I dos.” I often think about my future life and what it will turn out to be. I’ve always wanted to be a mother, but I never thought chronic illness would affect me so much. I just need a steady career and some more answers and/or treatments to manage my defect and diseases. Right now I’m battling my thyroid disease as my medication needs to be adjusted (my synthyroid dose is too low). I just found this out on Friday after my biopsy consult. My doctor that had ordered this test had my results and said nothing (why you have to investigate yourself!). No wonder I’ve been feeling so sluggish, run down, and hungry. Despite working out and eating healthy, I’m not losing any weight! So many times I haven’t been informed of my test results, which is why now I will request a copy!

Here’s to my crazy life ahead (post-undergraduate)! Let’s see where life leads me! Congratulations to the Class of 2017!

Xo,

Cass