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By Samantha Hawkins
It’s a heart-warming story of triumph, on a multitude of levels, but the most recent triumph for Casey Gould is his victory over Blastomycosis.
After being diagnosed at age six with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, Casey Gould beat the odds and branched out on his own to Algonquin College where in his third year of Video Game Programming, was living independently and excited about life.
Little did he know that his zest for life and ever-positive attitude would be a key factor in his survival as he beat the odds yet again when Blastomycosis took over his system and filled his entire left lung with toxic spores.
Almost an unknown disease to Ottawa doctors, Casey struggled for weeks with cold and flu like symptoms, all the while his body deteriorated and his family and friends worried day and night.
Casey’s mom Renee ended up in Ottawa on September 27th and immediately began texting back and forth with her sister-in-law, a nurse of 30 plus years in Dryden, and Doctor Patti Vann desperately trying to find out what was essentially killing her son.
“I kept sending them all his vital signs,” recalls Renne, “and they would talk back and forth to try and figure out what was going on and then finally one night Patti Vann woke up in the middle of the night literally at 3 o’clock in the morning and sat up in her bed and said ‘OH, he’s got Blasto!’”
Renee immediately told Casey’s doctors in Ottawa to start testing his mucous for Blastomycosis and she said they looked at her like she was crazy because they don’t get it in Ottawa, but sure enough a few days later Casey’s results came back text-book positive for the dangerous fungal infection.
If Renee had not been in contact with her family friends back in Dryden, it would have been weeks before the doctors in Ottawa would have even thought to begin testing for Blasto, weeks that Casey may not have had. Thanks to the ladies’ quick thinking, Casey was put on a treatment of Sporonex, a very expensive oral antifungal, which he will continue taking for at least another four months, to ensure complete eradication of the spores from his system.
Taking medication is not high on Casey’s list of things he would choose to do and Renee maintains that not putting him on steroids, a common and sometimes sought after treatment for Duchennes, may have contributed to his combating Blasto as well as he did, as Blasto spores love steroids and flourish in a body saturated with them.
“When we made the choice not to do steroids we got some flack from some people, and were constantly having to justify why we weren’t going with them, so when we found this out I was like ‘See! I knew there were more reasons why we didn’t do that bad stuff!’”
You never know how your decisions are going to affect you later on, but Casey doesn’t seem surprised by any of it and though some days are better than others, he has managed to maintain his positive and inspiring outlook.
“There’s been a lot of stuff like that in my life time anyway, a lot of things that I have done that have surprised doctors, its like having to get Blasto but then having a really good recovery kind of through it, it’s just kind of mind boggling. I don’t know what it is, it must be our attitude about it I guess, because the whole time, like my mom says I was almost dying in the beginning, but in my brain I still wasn’t thinking it.”
It helps to have a classroom full of little angels praying for you and sending you Thanksgiving and Christmas cards, and once Casey was safely back home in the Dryden hospital, which he says was way better than the hospital in Ottawa, thanks to the freshly cooked food and friendly, familiar faces, his recovery was much easier on him and his family.
Casey is home for the holidays, for now, (he hopes to branch out again in the future to regain some of his independence) and the Gould’s would like to extend their thanks this Holiday season to everyone for their love, support and warm wishes which all helped to contribute to Casey’s miraculous recovery.