Feb. 8, 1999~June 28, 2001
Today Feb 8th would have been my
daughter's 4th birthday. I just wanted
to share her story with you all. I have been unable to write about it
until now. I'm sure you all can relate to what we went through. We will
celebrate her birthday by making her special cake, lighting her angel
candle, and releasing balloons with our messages of love to her.
Happy Birthday Angel Valerie
On Thursday, June 21, 2001
Valerie woke complaining of an ear ache and she seemed a little
warm. I gave her Tylenol and she ate a good breakfast. Then we went
outside, to play for the day. She ate a good lunch, but fell asleep
before dinner. I thought she was tired because she'd been out in the
fresh air all day, and I thought she might be getting an ear infection.
She woke at 9:00pm; was tired and didn't want to eat. I gave her some
Tylenol and we went to bed.
Friday~ she woke up at 7:00am throwing up.
Having four kids, I've seen my share of stomach flu, but this seemed
different. I called her pediatrician and scheduled her in at 4:30pm. We
spent the day waiting for the appointment, dozing on the couch, drinking
water and juice and throwing up severely. She was also running a
temperature, but I couldn't give her anything because nothing was
The doctor checked her out. She didn't
have an ear infection. He said there was a flu bug going around right
now. When I asked about her being so sleepy, he said it was normal for
this flu. Her temperature was
101.6. He told me to give her 1/2oz. of water every twenty minutes until
she quit throwing up, give her Tylenol and he needed to see her right
away if she became hard to wake or disoriented, and let her eat anything
she wanted. She stopped throwing up. I gave her Tylenol and she ate some
noodles and a cookie. She still seemed very sleepy but doing better.
Saturday~ Valerie woke up at 6:30am,
throwing up. It was the first time since 4:00pm the day before. She went
back to sleep till 10:00am.,but when she got up she seemed better. She
didn't want to eat but she drank a whole cup of juice. Her temperature
was down. She spent the day dozing on the couch, drinking water or juice
and eating popsicles. She didn't have an appetite all day but I got her
to eat about 5 noodles towards the evening. Her temperature was up again
so we gave her more Tylenol. At bedtime, dad became concerned that she
hadn't eaten, so he made her a milkshake and she drank all of it. I went
to bed with her at 1:30am.
Sunday morning at 2:45am., I woke in a
pool of diarrhea. Valerie was breathing fast and shallow, her eyes were
wide open and her body stiff and distorted. Seeing her I just panicked.
I woke dad up, screaming "we have to take her to the ER right now!" We
jumped in the car and headed for the hospital as I dialed 911 on the
cell phone. That memory haunts me even now. the wide eyed scared look in
my babies eyes, and I couldn't help her. The
ambulance met us, and took her temperature. It was 105. They let me hold
her, while they gave her oxygen and sponged her off with cool water.
At the hospital they gave her medication
to stop the seizures, but it wasn't working. They did a cat-scan and it
showed a little brain swelling. That's when they told me they thought she
might have an infection in her brain. It was decided to transfer her to
a hospital that specializes in pediatric care At the new
hospital they stopped her seizures with medication They did another cat
scan that showed more swelling. They did an EEG that showed she had
brain activity, and a spinal tap that showed just a hint of cloud. They
determined meningitis. Valerie now laid there eyes half open, lifeless,
and iv lines running everywhere. Towards
the end of the evening, Valerie started having a hard time breathing so
they put her on a ventilator and put in a catheter. With every new
machine and tube they put in my baby, I felt another piece of her
slipping away. My mother said it can be redeemed. We prayed. We had the
hospital chaplain pray. We had our church pray. We had all the churches
in our area pray. I kept thinking of that scripture that says "humble
yourself before the Lord and He will lift you up." So I went to the
bathroom, laid my face on the floor, and begged for my daughters life.
Monday She was a little responsive. They
would pinch her toe and she would move her foot. Her pupils would dilate
when they shined a light in them. She would move her head when I played
with her hair. They took her for another cat-scan, and put in a feeding
tube. Her right eye had swollen, so they called in an eye doctor. He
said she would most likely be blind. I didn't care as long as she lived.
Tuesday I hadn't eaten or slept. I refused
to see visitors. I refused to leave Valerie's room. I had so much hope.
I just sat by her side, singing to her, and talking to her, begging her
to hang on and fight. I kept telling her I couldn't live without her. I
put pictures of her up in the room. I wanted the Doctor and the nurses
to see the real Valerie, how beautiful, and how happy she was. They did
another EEG. Her blood pressure dropped, so they gave her a blood
transfusion. My pastor came by, in the evening. He laid hands on her
and we all prayed over her. After he left, her heart rate and blood
pressure stabilized. We thought for sure she would be alright.
Wednesday After Valerie's morning exam,
and after the Doctor read her cat-scan and EEG, They decided to take her
off the ventilator, to see if she could breath on her own. she was
breathing, but with great difficulty. The doctor called my mom and me
into his office. He told us that Valerie's eyes were no longer dilating.
She had no eye reflexes. She wasn't swallowing. She no longer moved when
he pinched her toe. He said these are basic/primal responses. He showed
us her cat-scan. The black areas were dead. Her frontal lopes were
black, and on both sides of her brain. The middle was grey. He said the
EEG showed that she had brain activity, but it wasn't normal. I'm
thinking "So she is going to have brain damage. I can deal with that. I
can take care of her." He said they have done everything medically they
do. It was up to Valerie and God now. It was time for my miracle. I knew
God would heal her. He told me to call my husband, and to bring the kids
to see Valerie. Right before Robert and the kids got there, Valerie quit
breathing. They turned the ventilator back on.
A nurse took the kids to a room and showed
them a doll that had IV's, a ventilator tube, and a feeding tube. She
explained what everything was for. Then she brought them to see Valerie.
They touched her, talked to her, and gave her kisses. The nurse then
took them to draw pictures for Valerie.
Robert was talking to the Doctor during
this and they were looking at her cat-scan. He told Robert that 80% of
her brain was dead. He didn't think Valerie was going to make it. It was
time to think of organ donation. This is the first time I thought she
Robert went to Valerie. He sang the Barney
song over and over. She started to cry, her eyes started blinking. She
squeezed his hand. She swallowed. She crinkled her nose! She started
spontaneous breathing!! We were so excited. We kept singing, and talking
to her. After awhile it all stopped. She never moved or breathed on her
own again. Robert told Valerie that if she needed to go, it was okay.
His grandmother was waiting for her. She was a wonderful lady who would
love her and take good care of her, so it was okay. He released her.
I made Robert go home. My nerves were
shot. I broke out in hives all over my body. My lips swelled. I knew I
also had to release Valerie. How could I tell her it was okay to leave
me? How could I live without her? I closed my eyes and pictured the
wholly spirit as a blanket wrapping around Valerie, lifting her up into
the light, and setting her on Jesus' lap. I prayed, make sure she is
always happy and never scared. Never let her suffer anymore pain. Thank
you for giving her to me. She has blessed my life and given me so much
joy. I release you. Go with God. I love you now and forever. Amen I felt
her spirit leave.
They came and took a lot of blood, to test
for organ donation. Valerie's body started to shut down. Her blood
pressure dropped. She stopped digesting food, and began to pee out. They
were able to control all of this with medication. The doctor came in and
looked at me. I shook my head and he gave me that "I know" look. We both
knew, my baby was dead.
Thursday~ The doctor came to test Valerie for
brain death. I knew she was gone and couldn't stand to see them mess
with her anymore. I waited in the waiting room. I heard the ventilator
alarm go off. When they finished their test, I was told I could hold
her. My mom held her first then me. She was still hooked up to all of
the machines. I held her close, sang to her, rocked her, and stroked her
beautiful soft hair. My mom said she looked like she was sleeping in my
arms. I held her for the longest time. I knew this would be the last
time I ever held my baby, and it would have to last for the rest of my
I didn't get my miracle, but Valerie gave
4 other families their miracle, through organ donation. 2 infants in
California are alive because of Valerie's heart valves. A 3 year old
little girl in California, is alive because of Valerie's liver, and a 48
year old woman in New Jersey, has life because of Valerie's kidneys. My
precious angel has given life and spared other parents from suffering
the loss of a child.
Earth Bound Angel Valerie and Mom
Nothing loved is ever lost
Happy Birthday In Heaven Valerie
Dear Sweet Baby Girl. I know you have your big Angel Brother Ryan. He loves little people. I know Heaven is lit up and celebrating you today. You are very missed little one. We know we will see you all again. Please talk to God for us and ask him to give a vaccine to eradicate meningitis on this earth. Please give Ryan a hug .You guys start adding on to that mansion so the rest of us in the Angels family can move in when God call us home. Love Frankie, Ryan's mom Ryan's Story
Thank you so much for sharing your story of Valerie, I cried all the way through it, it really brought back some memories. I lost my son Grayson when he was one month old to bacterial meningitis. My story is on the angels page. I will light a candle in memory of her birthday and let it burn all day.
HUGS Darla Grayson's Story
Happy Birthday Valerie! I cried as I read Valerie's story.......I loss my son Kyle Jan. 23, 2002. He was 5 days away from being 4 months old. I will light a candle in honor of Valerie's birthday. Hugs, Terri Kyle's Story
Happy Birthday Valerie!!! A birthday in heaven, how
wonderful that must be for her. We send our love and
prayers to her family. Remember, you will see her again.
Kate and Carye (Earthbound Angel) Carye's Story
Birthday Angel girl. Heaven has been a very busy place lately with so many
birthdays. Now you are having yours. What a wonderful place to be having a
grand celebration of life. You are quiet a special little one in the fact that
you gave something very special of yourself so others might live longer on this
earth. I hope you know how much you are missed and loved by so many here. So
much love goes up to you today. Happy Birthday little one. Give all of our
angels a big smootch for us.
Love, Jane Casselman In Memory Of ...Kelly Casselman
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