If you have been following along with my instagram feed, you may have noticed that we have a new (bald) addition to our family! After years of wanting a Sphynx kitten, our dreams came true when I surprised my husband with a special early Christmas gift: a hairless pink and gray kitten. I hadn’t planned on getting a Sphynx kitten so soon, but the opportunity arose and I jumped on it. It was so hard not telling my husband about her, but so worth seeing the shock on his face when he first lay eyes on our little girl.
Nimbus Tonks is a harlequin sphynx and she is beautiful and so sweet. I’ve never have had a cat that was so friendly and “dog-like” in nature. I made sure to film the magic moment when I secretly picked her up from Cedar Park, drove her to our home in Austin and plopped her into my unsuspecting husband’s arms. I included the video below and I have to say, I am so in love with my hubby’s priceless reaction.
Nimbus has been adjusting wonderfully to our little family. Our pugs were a little hesitant at first about inviting a little strange-looking creature into our home, but now they are cuddle buddies and it’s like she has been here all along. Having a Sphynx cat, however desired and awesome they are, requires a lot of T.L.C. They are not a low maintenance breed and I definitely suggest thoroughly researching the breed before investing your interest in adding one to your family.
Just some of the care we provide to Nimbs, which goes out side of ‘normal’ cat care include: weekly baths, daily use of grooming wipes, biweekly ear cleanings, daily eye cleanings, weekly gunk removal from nails and nail trimmings, as-needed moisturizing, and my absolute favorite; wiping her hiney hole after she drops a bomb… Ah. Yes the joys of being a Sphynx mama. For us, going the extra mile to make sure Nimbs is healthy is worth it for us. We also take special care in making sure he body temperature is regulated with self-heating beds, plug-in small animal heaters, blankets, and sweaters too.
Nimby’s personality has blossomed since she has adjusted to her new home and family. She LOVES food with wet food being her absolute favorite. She enjoys cat milk as a treat, but has a sensitive stomach to any human foods (that Griff may or may not have tried to feed her on a couple of occasions). She loves playing with her sisters, especially Eleven, who will chase back and forth in a wild game of tag usually taking place in the late nights when everyone should be in bed. Nimbus is a hunter when it comes to any uninvited insects and lets not forget Christmas ornaments that have managed to stay trapped underneath our bed: aka her lair.
We’ve had a few potty hiccups here and there, but Nimbs is a great addition to our home and we have greatly enjoyed her company. I plan on adding a more detailed post on Sphynx care and the products we use in the near future, so be keeping an eye out if you want to see more our our “little alien”. We have added a new member to our Robinson family every year since 2016, so I can only wonder as to what 2020 will bring.
Hi guys. I know it’s been a good while. I have been horrible about staying on top of writing; juggling my free time with being a mama and work has been hard. Yes, that’s right you read correctly. I have a job! I finally have the career I have been desperately searching for. I can even use my biology degree! I work as a clinical research coordinator here in Austin, Texas and I am absolutely loving my position thus far.
So you’re probably wondering what being a coordinator entails. I work on recruiting new participants for studies and making sure that they match the inclusion/exclusion criteria. I am also in charge of screening them to make sure that no medications, health conditions, or allergies interfere with the study. Clinical research is all about data collected in that moment, so I have to take extra precautions to make sure that all data is taken down in real time, which requires the utmost attention to detail. I check in panelists when they arrive, band them, and screen them appropriately as required, as well as make cold calls in the back office.
Life has been up and down. Griffin turned one, Caleb and I celebrated our third year wedding anniversary, I opened a side business: Griff ‘n Co, and we added a new family member! I plan on doing late posts on these events, so stay tuned. I also have been focusing on taking care of my skin and using some amazing products to rejuvenate it and get a beautiful complexion. I am eager to share my routine! I just wanted to briefly check in with you all and let you know that I am still here and trucking on. As far as health, I finally got a diagnosis. Years of suffering have led me to the answer I had been seeking! What are your guesses? You’ll find out soon.
I never expected my pregnancy, a seemingly healthy one with minimal complications, to come to the abrupt end that it did. My entire pregnancy had been wonderful: low blood pressure, great bloodwork, and despite some hip pain, no other issues. I was considered high risk because I have Chiari Malformation which can cause complications when delivering, but I experienced nothing out of the normal for nine months.
At 35 weeks I went in for a check up: my blood pressure was slightly elevated and I discovered I was anemic. I was given an iron supplement, but this was the first sign that my blood pressure was out of my normal range. At 37 weeks I woke up with a bloody nose two nights in a row, but on the second night I had a horrible headache. Using Dr. Google’s advice, I went to the nearest Walgreens when Caleb got off school to have my blood pressure taken. 146/110. I immediately called the labor and delivery (L&D) triage line and the nurse told us to come in. Luckily at this point I had my hospital bag packed and everything lined up for my pugs to be taken care of.
Caleb and I ran home grabbed the bags and packed our dogs bag for their sitter. We were on the road shortly after as we made our one hour drive to Darnall Army Hospital. Upon arriving at L&D, I checked in and told them I had elevated blood pressure. The wait to get in a room was agonizing. I could feel something was off. I felt anxious and on edge from the blood pressure. I was called to a room finally where I had to yet again wait for the longest 10-15 minutes. The nurse came in and took my blood pressure; that’s when everything changed. She immediately paged for several doctors. The tiny room filled up with as many staff as it could fit and my husband went outside to update our families. I was being admitted for preeclampsia, a condition that occurs only during pregnancy that is marked by high blood pressure and protein in the urine. Preeclampsia occurs in pregnancies that are over twenty weeks and effects 5-8% of all pregnancies (americanpregnancy.org).
I had a feeling. The Sunday before while at church, I had this gut feeling that the upcoming week would be the week I would meet our baby. We had maternity photos the Friday before and I had felt slight cramping, but otherwise felt great. I usually would lazily wait to take my weekly photos on Wednesdays, but I told my husband I wanted to take it earlier this week just in case. We got our 37 week “bumpie” taken just in time, the night before I was admitted.
Once admitted many calls were made to our families. I was told that my dream of mobile laboring was no longer possible. They needed to get me started on magnesium as soon as possible to combat my blood pressure. Magnesium unfortunately has some horrible side effects. I was now a fall risk because of it and needed a catheter. I would not be able to get out of bed as the medication made me feel hot, flushed, and irritated. I’d frequently get headaches and feel as my chest were heavy and painful. I also dealt with persistent nausea. My nurse compared the effects of magnesium to chemotherapy. A good way to start my labor no?
I didn’t realize how many times I could be induced. I received the foley catheter, a catheter that blows up in hopes of widening your cervix, cytotec (a pill that is used to cause abortions in early pregnancy) right against my cervix (the most painful causing contractions), cytotec taken orally that I was given several times, pitocin, and I had my water broken. Nothing helped me dilate. It was the slowest progressing labor of all time. I was determined to go all natural so I labored for 18 hours with no assistance, but once they put the cytotec next to my cervix, I contracted for 3-4 hours straight with no breaks. This whole time I screamed in agony. I checked out a few times when the pain became too much. It got to the point where I was silent screaming and I was just going to a state of delirium. I finally asked for an epidural.
It took the anesthesiologist about 3 hours to come in to finally proceed. They had me on a horrible uncomfortable position and I was in so much pain. My husband and mother were not allowed in the room. I made the mistake of allowing a student do the epidural. She had a tough time advancing it and I ended up with a hot spot on my left side meaning I could still fill contractions on that side. I don’t think she necessarily did a bad job, but I would have preferred someone who has done them numerous times for numerous years. One of the reasons I wanted to labor naturally is because of my Chiari. The risk of accidentally puncturing something could mess up with my cerebral spinal fluid. I just prayed the entire time as she gave me the epidural. I then got so entirely sick that I began vomiting everywhere because my blood pressure dropped so fast.
Once my husband and mom returned the laboring continued. I felt some relief with the epidural. They started me on pitocin and oral meds to “kickstart” contractions. I could feel my abdomen tightening with contractions but the pain was almost gone with the exception of the left side on occasion. Every shift change I’d have a new OBGYN come in and check on me. I was not dilating. At this point I was beginning to feel hopeless. I had a labor and delivery soundtrack of Lauren Daigle and other soft tunes played on an endless loop in order to breathe through it.
Through this all I was told an OB asked me what I wanted to do at this point and I apparently said I wanted to push. I do not remember this conversation as I was incoherent from the analgesic I had requested. Had I been coherent perhaps I would have requested the c-section I needed much earlier in this process. On night number two they broke my water. I had more cytotec orally and that when I begin hearing of my secondary problem: hyponatremia: A condition that occurs when the level of sodium in the blood is too low.
The doctors noticed that my sodium level began to drop rapidly as I was urinating it all out. Let me just state that this is a very rare situation; so rare, fact, two different teams (one from OB and one from internal medicine) asked to do a case study on me, which I happily obliged. They believed that the cause of the drop in sodium was due to the preeclampsia, but the issue is both conditions can cause seizures and they wouldn’t be able to know or treat which one. I was on strict fluid restriction (down to 400 mL a day in the ICU). My mouth craved water, but they didn’t want the water to interfere with my sodium levels so I went like this for over 48 hours.
On October 5th, 2018 I had a doctor from internal medicine who was a pulmonary doctor come in and tell me the problem with my sodium levels. Immediately after my obstetricians came in to update me on the seriousness of my situation. They told me an emergency c-section was needed to prevent me from having seizures. At this point I had been in labor for 46 hours and my baby’s head was in my birth canal. All this waiting only to have a c-section was a bit disappointing, but I was so ready to have my baby, I immediately said let’s do this. I had to have my epidural redone because it had failed and a spinal would take too long.
Before I knew it the epidural was done (it went so much better than before: I had a pro at epidurals put it in) and I was being wheeled to the operating room. I was terrified. I began praying and crying. I had the difficult discussion with Caleb that if it had to come down to my life or the baby’s to choose the baby. It was incredibly difficult. They discussed all the risks and stated I was at higher risk for bleeding out, but they’d have blood standing by. They told me I’d go to ICU afterwards because of my sodium levels. I knew their was a chance I wouldn’t make it. I was at risk for losing my life. I couldn’t stop crying.
The anesthesiologist was trying to make sure I was completely numb, but she was asking if I could feel her pricking so quickly that my brain was overloaded. I told them no on a spot I could feel and then immediately told her I did feel the left side after they were getting prepared to start. Luckily she listened to me and went in an adjusted the amount of medicine in my epidural because sure enough I had sensation still. They finally agreed I was numb and my husband joined me in the OR. He sat by my head holding my hand as tears streamed from my face. They started and it went so quickly. I could feel the pressure of tearing and pulling and it made me instantly sick. I began vomiting which throughout this whole ordeal from admittance to this point was a recurring theme. I just prayed the entire time. The OR team let me pick the music, so I went ahead with Lauren Daigle again because her voice soothes me and I needed to hear the message she sings in her songs.
The delivery was so fast. I heard a cry and they told Caleb to announce the gender: “It’s a Boy!” I couldn’t stop crying. Caleb went over to cut the cord and take photos of the baby in what seemed like an eternity. I just wanted to see him. The team shifted their focus on me. Making sure I was okay and that all the bleeding was under control. They finally brought my baby boy to my side. The first time I saw him. He’s so perfect. I gave him kisses and held his little hand. Griffin. Our sweet baby was finally here after a devilish ordeal. I was happy he was here but sad I would have to be away from him. I attempted to get him to latch on for breastfeeding but the side effects from the magnesium made him too tired. I cherished those brief few minutes. I could not hold him for obvious reasons, but I gave him kisses and told him how much I loved him. He is the most beautiful baby I’ve ever seen and he looks so much like me, which was a surprise as I thought Caleb’s genes were much stronger.
Saying goodbye to my husband and baby was the hardest thing I had to do. I was transferred to the ICU while my husband went up to the mother and baby unit to bond with our little man. I had requested donor breastmilk, but they would not let him since he wasn’t a NICU baby. So he had to be fed formula via syringe. Caleb got to do skin to skin and couldn’t leave him at all to come see me because only his guardians (mom and dad) could be with him in the room. In the NICU I felt isolated and it felt like a dream. It didn’t really hit me I had my baby because I didn’t get to bond with him after birth.
The night in ICU was horrible. I had a male nurse that didn’t want to massage my uterus (something’s that incredibly painful but has to be done to ensure that mom doesn’t bleed out). I was at higher risk because I couldn’t be give pitocin (due to my sodium issue) after birth which helps the uterus contract to help blood vessels from bleeding. He told me I could do it myself; like I would know where to massage let alone be able to put that much pressure on it. He didn’t want to do essential thing for post partum care. He said I’ll get a female nurse to do this. I requested someone from L&D to come down so I could express my concerns but no one came. On top of that he brought me a pump and said “you know how to do this.” How the hell would I know how to pump when this is my first baby. He tried to lazily show me and put the pump somewhere I couldn’t reach. I began crying out of frustration and texted my dad what was going on.
Luckily my dad was an officer in the Navy and retired with a high rank so he called up the ICU and asked to speak with the head nurse. He basically told them it was unsatisfactory what they were doing and that if my nurse was incapable of doing what was needed of a post-partum patient that they would be reported. I could tell my nurse’s tune changed. He came in acting all rude and then eventually cooled off and said he would do what he was supposed to do. I was still in fluid restriction, still had my catheter in, bed ridden, and on magnesium so I was utterly miserable. I just wanted to see my family. In the morning all my doctors came by to check on me. I was asked if I could be part of case studies and my labs were redrawn every 2-4 hours around the clock. I was exhausted.
The day I was supposed to be transferred to be reunited went on way too long. I was told one hour after lunch I would have my lab results and be able to go to mother & baby if they were good, yet the doctor who was in charge of transferring me over got called in to an emergency and I had to wait and wait. It’s ironic because he was part of a medical team of about six doctors yet it had to be him to put in the orders. I cried in desperation. I finally was reunited after twenty-six hours of being apart. I finally could hold my son and bond with him. It was an overflow of emotions. All this pain, suffering, and trauma was worth it to have my little Griffin. I was so happy to be reunited with my hubby and baby boy.
After staying in the hospital for five days in total I was discharged. I suffered a few set backs battling my blood pressure, which sent me to the emergency room three days after being discharged and suffering from delirium. I finally made it home and am working on my recovery. Griffin is healthy and we are truly blessed for this. I had been struggling with my health since being discharged: pain, medication side effects, and my blood pressure kept me from doing normal mommy things after arriving home, but I’m learning to cope with these things until I’m back on my feet.
I have set up a Venmo (@CassandraShea) and Paypal, just in case anyone would like to make donations towards my uncovered emergency visit and baby necessities for Griffin. We’re at a tough spot right now financially and asking for help has always been a hard thing for us, but we’d greatly appreciate it if you have the means to donate just a small amount or share. Your love and support means the world to us especially as we go through this tough transition. If you have any questions about my delivery or situation please feel free to ask. I thank God so much for getting me through this difficult time as well as the love and support of my family and friends who have generously given their time to aid us. We are so blessed to have people who truly love us and want the best for us.
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.
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.
Wedding Dress: Lace Sheath Wedding Dress with Plunging V-Neckline
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.
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!
Gemma Correll has inspired me to talk about something that is a heavy topic for most people: mental health (how amazing are these images she drew up for Mental Health America?). Just this morning I had a panic attack which includes an endless cycle of “I have so much to do” and “why even bother, nothing I do is good enough.” I often have these all-or-nothing thoughts and it’s extremely difficult to break this repeating cycle. In planning my upcoming wedding, I have been overwhelmed with self-loathing thoughts: “no one will want to come” and “no one cares enough about me to be by my side,” but the truth is I do have wonderful people on my side. It may not be one-hundred, fifty, or even twenty people there to support me, but the people who are there, are the ones I WANT there. Those who love me unconditionally and understand my struggle with physical and mental illness and YET (yes, yet) still WANT to be involved in my crazy life; Those who are in my court through not only my ups, but my overwhelming lows.
I have struggled with major depressive disorder, anxiety, social phobia, and PTSD for years now and so many times I have felt ashamed, that I must hide these mental illnesses from society. [I think that] They will judge me, thinking “that girl is crazy”, “I don’t want to be around her”, or “she may snap at any moment”. The fact is: loads of people suffer with these issues of feeling inadequate at what they do. We are told not to express these emotions because we will appear weak and vulnerable, but holding on to them is what makes us weak and vulnerable in the first place!
I will honestly say that my anxiety is becoming unmanageable. I have tried so many different medications in order to feel more relaxed, but the ones that work are too sedative and/or they don’t last long enough; because of this, it is time for me to go to the next measure: a service dog. It was suggested to me in 2015 that I should obtain a dog for support (whether it be a service dog or a ESA) by my psychologist; I have always responded well to animals and grew up with a full house of five main animals (and some of them had various litters!). My pets have always gotten me through the struggles through the years: I grew up in not so favorable situations. I was abused as a child and the victim of severe bullying (this went on for over six years). I often spent my days hiding inside when I wasn’t forced (I begged to be homeschooled) to go to a school (and take the bus which was just as horrible if not worse) where I was constantly harassed. My only safe place was in the comfort of my own bedroom with my furry friends and dolls; even then I was tormented by my older brother and cyber stalked (even after I moved away from the hell of Newport, North Carolina) by the same cruel people I went to school with. These cruel girls thought it would be so “cool” for them to go to my social media platforms and save my photos so that they could go back and forth on Photobucket saying how ugly I was and that I was just a fat poser. I never understood the cruelty I received. I was brought up in a Christian household and taught to treat people like you want to be treated. I truly believe I have upheld this moral and proceeded through life with honest and compassionate intentions. I never bullied anyone, not even those who bullied me. I put my faith that God would lead me to a successful life, rich in love, which I have now obtained.
I got Mavis in March of 2016. After years of wanting a pug and a dog of my own, I finally received the gift of a lifetime in the form of this spunky, curly-tailed girl. I began training her at 3 months as a service dog, but with the stress of finishing my last semester and my first hard break-up, I took a [much too long] hiatus from the weekly training. Now that I somehow managed to graduate from Texas Tech and my heart is mended and found love, I am ready to get back on track! I want to use Service Dog Express to train Mave and get her into tip-top shape for her aiding in my life and the public access test (the test Service Dogs must pass before being deemed certified). I know anxiety will continue to play a big role in my life (although I wish it wouldn’t) and I’m tired of being afraid to go into public alone. I truly believe that I may have a shot of living a healthier life with her by my side. If you would like to get involved with our campaign, YouCaring is donating $500 to a fundraiser: It’s completely free, quick, and easy to do:
Here is an example done by the wonderful Caleb (aka my fiancé) and my darling girl, Mave. This took five minutes to draw and take, so it’s super easy and affective. #SignedwithLove & @youcaring is all you need to include on your post! The opportunity to help will pass soon as it ends on JUNE 14TH.
or if pictures aren’t your style…
You can purchase one of the many cute clothing options available featuring “Mave Saves” on our Bonfire. The sales remain until JUNE 29TH.
Don’t want a hoodie or tee?…
The last option is to make a donation! You can do this through our Youcaring with a no end date or through our Paypal!