Every person experiences health issues at some point in their life, but it’s up to the doctors to diagnose them properly and find a cure as soon as possible. Sadly, there are cases out there where medical professionals fail to detect the cause of the discomfort some people feel, and that leads to more serious issues.
In December, 2021, then 21-year-old Chandler Plante contracted COVID-19. However, her symptoms were mild and she recovered in just a week time. Sadly, that’s when her struggles started taking place.
Around three months after contracting the virus, Plante noticed numbness in her hands and forearms. She got concerned and visited the emergency room but was told that the numbness was a result of anxiety.
“I was told to move along, so I left,” she recalled.
Sadly, her symptoms only got worse as time passed by.
“But it kept happening – and on June 28, a brain scan showed the symptoms I thought were panic attacks were actually big ischemic strokes. I had so much inflammation in my head that it was cutting off the oxygen to my arteries – while they’re supposed to measure at 4mm, mine were as narrow as 0.5mm,” she explained.
An ischemic stroke is when a blood clot blocks the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain, a condition that is often fatal.
Plante was forced to undergo a procedure during which coronary stents were fit to widen the arteries in her brain so she would not suffer from strokes anymore. Then, in October 2021, she had more stents placed inside her. At the same time, she was prescribed aspirin and was placed on steroid treatment. This helped the stokes stop, but that didn’t last long.
Just a month later, her stents migrated to the back of her eye. The stents ‘chocked out’ her optic nerve and she lost the sight on that eye.
“Doctors were stumped, they had no idea what could’ve caused it. They questioned whether it could be a brain tumor, but all my scans showed up clear.
“It’s just really bizarre,” she recalled.
In an attempt to learn what was causing all these issues and the pain she felt, doctors ran a bunch of tests, but they were still unaware of what could be going on with this young woman.
On December 6, she had a craniotomy keyhole surgery on her brain and was referred for a lumbar puncture later that month.
Eventually, Plante was put on an immunosuppressant called methotrexate, and in November 2021, she started a 10-day course of radiation therapy.
“Each treatment made me feel horrible.
“I was experiencing horrific headaches and inflammation of my facial nerves thanks to my anti-seizure medication. It was excruciatingly painful,” she said.
Finally, in April 2023, she received a treatment that helped her improve. She had her first infusion of a chemodrug called rituximab, which brought “some semblance of a normal life.”
“For the first time, I genuinely feel like my treatment is helping me. This is the least amount of side effects I’ve ever had, which is fabulous. I’m on a combination of rituximab and methotrexate – another chemotherapy drug. I experience some hair loss and thinning, but I balance this out with folic acid. It’s pretty normal for me at this point.”
Plante is now sharing her story in order to spread positivity and teach people that they should never give up fighting, even when it feels like their world is falling apart.
“My page is about healing and positivity – and dealing with an absurd situation. Many people believe positive humans are just born this way – but I think it’s something I’ve had to practice. I was tired of suffering.”
“Some days, those jokes I was making with my Starbucks baristas and nurses were the highlight of my day – because everything else was so horrible. It was a defense mechanism – I needed that positivity to lift me out of a really dark time. It helped me to heal in the most authentic way possible,” she said.
“I’ve made so many friends within the disabled community – I was so impressed by the kindness and humanity of the people around me while I was going through something that genuinely made me question whether I wanted to be here. You’ve got to look on the bright side – it’s the only one you’ve got,” this 23-year-old woman added.
She still doesn’t have an official diagnosis of her health struggles, but she chooses to stay positive and be optimistic about her future.
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Love and Peace