Casey Ryan Fero died in his sleep in
the early morning hours of July 4th, 2005. He was 23 years
old. I explained his Chronic Fatigue Syndrome history to the coroner,
but she said it “wouldn’t make any difference.” She collected a bag of
supplements and assumed that Casey’s death was from steroid use. Casey
did not use steroids. Samples sent to a toxicology lab specializing in
substance and steroid abuse, showed all negative results.
In September, a Madison
forensic pathologist determined that Casey had Viral Myocarditis, that
is, viral infection of the heart muscle. His heart tissue showed
fibrosis indicating past infection.
I want people to know that
life was good for Casey when he died. He was proud of his recently
awarded Associate degree. So typically Casey, he had no idea if he
graduated, was afraid that he did not and only called the school
counselor because we insisted. Yes, he graduated with one credit to
spare! In addition, the last semester, he made the Dean’s list. Casey
burst out of the chair and in a joy filled rant; he talked about getting
his Bachelors degree and maybe even a Masters. (He planned to major in
history, his great love and sports science, a second love.) Then he
said, “Let’s order Chinese,” A third love…
Casey was diagnosed
with CFS at age 9 and again at age 15. It caused him to feel weak,
unable to think, and exhausted. He was plagued with headaches, stomach
problems, and had major sleep disorder among a list of daily symptoms.
Casey persevered and did not want people to know his condition. Early
on, he knew that medical help was unavailable and furthermore, he was
met with disbelief in the school and in the doctor’s office.
diary – mom’s journal of Casey’s day is a testament to loss of
childhood. As parents, we created every opportunity we could for Casey.
We loved him unconditionally and worked for years at helping him
maintain self esteem though this illness. However, when a child’s
basic needs are not met ,parents are powerless.
CFS is a brutal
illness for children.
was a remarkable child and a wonderful young man.