Casella Not Ready to Give Up
Mario Casella sleeps outside under the stars in Texas, getting through the night in a sleeping bag and doing what he can to survive.
He had a "normal" life until 2008, he said, the year he began having a physical reaction to all kinds of chemicals and also feeling the effects of liver disease brought on by poor lifestyle choices made years earlier.
Back then, he was a muscular sports bar bouncer in Southern California, a bulky 220 pounds. Today, he's 120 pounds, and dying.
As for reactions to chemicals, he first reacted to bleach used in the bar's bathroom. In a telephone interview, 39-year-old Casella said, "When breathing even a little bit, I'd get the most horrible, aching, burning feeling in my liver. Then I began feeling physically ill being around chlorine, perfumes, cologne, car exhaust, and cigarette smoke. Then it got worse."
He soon had to quit work, and became a stay-at-home dad for his son, Anthony. His symptoms worsened yet. His wife wasn't supportive when he became bedridden in 2012 and they divorced. Eventually, physicians diagnosed Casella with liver disease and multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). It reached the point where Casella couldn't live indoors at his father's house because of an acute sensitivity to chemicals of any strength, and couldn't live outdoors because of neighbors venting air laced with dryer sheet fragrances.
Then Casella discovered planetthrive.com, a website for MCS-affected people. He said, "Through it, I reached out to people all over the world. I was going to kill myself. Then a woman (in Arizona) heard my story and took me in."
When that woman became ill, Casella had to leave. A Missouri woman helped him find an environmentally safe community in Texas, where he now lives outdoors to avoid contact with chemicals of any strength. As for MCS, Casella was showing swift, dramatic improvement until November, when his liver disease unexpectedly worsened.
Due to the certainty of physically reacting to hospital chemicals should he see a physician, he hasn't sought medical care. He can barely walk and drinks only distilled water. A woman in the community has become his girlfriend. She is blind and also has MCS.
About MCS, he said, "It's a very real illness. You can't really understand unless you have it. I miss my old life every day. But I'm a fighter and I'm not ready to give up."
Print This Article
LittleGiantFudge.com and Palmer Bus Service make this column possible.
Daniel J. Vance is a licensed professional counselor and national certified counselor from Vernon Center, Minn. His weekly newspaper column Disabilities has been published in more than 260 newspapers.
Daniel J. Vance may be reached at www.danieljvance.com
Placer County News HeadlinesRoseville Financial Advisor Sentenced for Ripping Off ClientsMichelle Lee Kern, 36, who worked as a licensed financial advisor at Ameriprise Financial Services Inc. in Roseville has been sentenced to 46 months in prison.
Roseville, Rocklin among California's Best Cities for Home OwnershipIn a recent Nerd Wallet report, Rocklin, Folsom, and Roseville, rank 11th through 13th (respectively) among California's Best Cities for Homeownership.
Hidden Falls Regional Park Receives GrantPlacer County's "gem of the foothills," Hidden Falls Regional Park, is the recipient of a grant that will fund innovative projects protecting long-term ecological values and economic viability
Roseville Developer Begins Senior Community in Elk GroveUSA Properties Fund will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for Arbor Creek Senior Apartments at 10:30 a.m., Aug. 4, at the project site located at Elk Grove-Florin and Calvine roads
Rep. Tom McClintock Announces August Town Hall MeetingsRoseville, CA -- U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock (CA-04) has announced a series of town hall meetings in August.
Lincoln Man Serving Aboard the Navy's USS SomersetPetty Officer 1st Class Brian West, an aviation boatswain's mate from Lincoln, Calif. and 2003 graduate of Lincoln High School, is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard USS Somerset
California Would Create More Jobs Without Prop 30In his recent piece for The Sacramento Bee, "State's job growth defies predictions after tax increases," David Cay Johnston argues that California's recent job creation numbers prove
Sacramento County Opposes Bay Delta Conservation PlanThis week the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors formally submitted comments challenging the findings of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) state environmental
Roseville to Host Senior Softball Western National ChampionshipsRoseville will play host this August to the Senior Softball Western National Championships
Roseville Crime Report Digest Update (7.29.14)Roseville, CA - The Roseville Police Department weekly crime report digest update for July 29, 2014.
Different Standards From Mortgage LendersJulie Jalone of MagnumOne Realty in Roseville, reports on a recent Fannie Mae survey which indicates there may be a growing difference in credit standards between small and large lenders. Which do you think has the tighter credit standards? Check out Julie's article and find out.
PCWA Comments on Bay Delta Conservation PlanDrought Watch: PCWA expresses concern about future water supply reliability for Placer County and claims EIR fails to consider key issues.