This entry has been a long time coming and I was unfortunately delayed in writing it for reasons that seem to beggar belief in terms of believability. Those reasons have made it hard for me to write this and have made it harder for me to write this with anything approaching neutrality. But that’s how it goes sometimes. I need to warn delicate readers that I will be cursing in this entry because I just can’t not curse. I’m tired and this entry is bound to make me very angry. And if at times I make this entry all about me, please forgive me. It’s been a bad time lately. Once this isn’t so raw, I may remove some of this. But I may not because I think, in some way, this will show so clearly why Chris’ transgressions cannot be summed up solely by the money she stole via lies.
For those who follow me on Facebook, none of this will be new, but I need to tell the rest of you what is happening. As I was sorting through all the entries wherein Chris spoke in depth about her many illnesses and health crises – many of which were vastly exaggerated or created from whole cloth – I received the news that my mother has six months to a year to live. My mother has an autoimmune illness called sarcoidosis. If you’ve heard of sarcoidosis it’s likely because that is what killed comic actor Bernie Mac. She received the diagnosis in 1999 but exhibited symptoms for at least a decade before it. She was accused of being a hypochondriac by some doctors, of being hysterical, of trying to exaggerate what doctors deemed asthma.
It wasn’t asthma. It was the sarcoid affecting her lungs. Almost all of her organs are filled with granulomas (sarcoidosis leeches calcium from the bones and redistributes it throughout the body) – her heart and brain are clear, I think. She also has a secondary diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. Her skin is permanently scarred and she is in unrelenting pain. Some days are better than others, but she is in continual pain nonetheless. The sarcoid and the RA ensure that even the best days would seem like misery to someone not accustomed to such pain.
But that’s not what’s killing her. What’s killing her is that her condition largely responded to prednisone. She’s undergone various chemo protocols but her condition responded best to steroids. Her doctors did their best to balance treating her sarcoidosis with an eye to the eventual side effects the treatment would cause but eventually this was going to happen. Long-term use of prednisone causes liver failure.
She’s in end stage cirrhosis due to the prednisone. She recently had to take large doses of Lasix to get rid of the ascites that are part and parcel with many who have liver failure. I think she lost between 30-50 pounds of fluid that made her abdomen swell out painfully. Her kidneys are not doing well, either. She bruises so easily, her joints cause her constant pain and her bones are brittle. She underwent a year and a half of bone drug therapy and one of its side effects is liver damage, so in trying to keep her from breaking all her bones, her liver was further burdened.
For most people as ill as my mother, they face organ failure due to treatment. There’s no way around it. If the disease doesn’t kill them, the drugs to treat them do. My mom has beaten the odds before but this time I think the doctors are right. You can look at her and see that her body is tired, that she is winding down. When we last went up to see her before I myself got sick with whatever I had, the entire right side of her face was bruised. Like bright red and purple livid bruises. She had fallen and hit a side table on the way down and what would have been a small knot or bruise for most of us covered her face from forehead to chin. We are trying to make her use her walker all the time but even that doesn’t prevent her from falling. She is very stubborn in this regard but before long she will be permanently in her wheelchair. I struggle between wanting her to just accept her debilitation and understanding why she refuses to give in entirely to the notion that she is now so very fragile.
Her failing liver and bad kidneys have permitted her blood ammonia levels to get too high. I don’t fully understand what is happening in this regard but she spent four or five days in the hospital to get her blood ammonia sorted. She went home Monday before Thanksgiving. The ammonia prevented oxygen from reaching her brain and was in part responsible for her being unstable on her feet. Hopefully the docs can keep on top of it and she won’t have to worry about falling. We were worried she would have to be released to a rehabilitation facility to regain some strength but the blood ammonia removal seems to have done the trick. Even so, she still has moments when she makes strange mental connections because her mind just isn’t working the way it once did.
My mom sometimes permits herself to feel too much pain. Her own mother struggled with a prescription pill addiction and it had an impact on my mother. My grandmother had Crohn’s disease and had a colostomy – she was prescribed Valium and became addicted. I suspect it is a family predisposition to be addicted to such drugs as I myself had a similar addiction. My mother fears being an addict because her mother and daughter both became addicts. She understands intuitively that she really can’t look at it that way, but like I said – she is very stubborn. She says she is taking more painkillers now and I want to believe her but I suspect she is telling me this so I won’t worry.
My mom is aware of this site. I think she reads it from time to time and I asked her if it was okay for me to share this and she said she had no problem with it. I asked her a second time during a long phone conversation wherein she was especially animated and lucid and she agreed again and even offered advice on how to introduce her as a subject. She has no patience for people like Chris, who have squandered their health and their time in such godless endeavors. Of course Chris specifically is not responsible for the medical disbelief my mother encountered, the accusations of faking, but people like Chris are. People who suffer from Munchausen or who engage in malingering or drug seeking behaviors often fake the very conditions Chris claimed to have, especially autoimmune illnesses because they are so hard to diagnose. There are still doctors who don’t believe certain autoimmune illnesses actually exist. People like Chris make it hard for people like my mother.
It’s moments like this wherein I realize that what Chris has done and I have no doubt is continuing to do goes far beyond monetary theft. She preyed on people’s sympathy and left some unwilling ever again to give time, money or good will to a suffering person for fear they would be dealing with another Chris. She hijacked attention away from the genuinely ill – there are threads on SCS that will turn your stomach when you realize that women with genuine disease including breast cancer and actual lupus were comforting Chris as she lied for attention. Effort that could have gone to a person actually suffering was wasted on Chris. The chronically ill struggle to maintain support networks in real life and there Chris was, stealing attention from others who may have needed it. Chris pissed in the pool of people who are fighting to get their diseases and syndromes recognized by doctors.
It is moments like this that I despise Chris. I do my best to be neutral and often fail but in this entry I will be failing neutrality all over the place. I am telling you all about my mother so that my vitriol and anger make sense and also because I cannot help but think of her as I write this entry. I don’t want head pats – I just want people to understand that what Chris does really is horrible because people like her suck up time, resources and good will, they muddy the medical waters for the genuinely ill and they eat human emotion like candy, unable to ever be sated.
That’s why it may be hard for me to write calmly, why this entry is such a big deal for me. My mother is dying and Chris is still out there scamming and I hope she prays to the god she doesn’t believe in that she never, ever gets as ill as my mom. She best fall to her knees and hope against hope that Mother Nature doesn’t have a very sick sense of humor. I tend to think she does have at the very least an interesting sense of humor because the author and owner of a site about a woman who malingered mainly via faking dire autoimmune illness is facing the death of her own mother because of the effects of treating dire autoimmune illness. The world is funny that way sometimes.
With that out of the way, let’s look at Chris’ health scams on Splitcoaststampers. Let’s see how low this woman was willing to go. Since she was willing to go very low, this will be a very long entry. Continue reading