Our Lizzy, aka SassEsnacks, was born on January 16, 1970 and was the youngest of four children. She grew up in Southern California with her mother and siblings.
The Wonder Years
Lizzy and Jane, her sister closest in age, spent a lot of time together as they grew up. They were normal girls of the 70s, playing with dolls and making mud pies in the back yard. Lizzy was a good student, a fast learner and also very creative.
After high school, Lizzy earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Child Development. She obtained her California Teaching Credential and began teaching elementary school. After a year of teaching, Lizzy decided that it wasn’t for her.
Soon afterward, Lizzy began working for a shipping company where she did clerical work. Lizzy then decided she wanted something else from her career, so she obtained a Paralegal Certificate and began working in the field of law.
Balancing Work and Travel
Although Lizzy did very well at her 9-5 job, she also wanted to enjoy her life. She relished spending time with her mother and siblings, painting, gardening and baking. One of her favorite things to do outside of work was to travel.
She went on many adventures with her friends and with her sister, Jane. Lizzy and Jane had a few great adventures to China, Austria and Scotland. She had also visited Ireland and Costa Rica with her friends. Lizzy didn’t have money for lavish holidays, so she was very frugal at home as well as when she traveled.
At a young age, Lizzy decided she didn’t want to have any children. She dated for years, but in her late 30s, she decided that marriage wasn’t on her list of priorities. Lizzy bought a condo and got herself a lovely kitten and named him Widget, Widge for short. She lived only 2 blocks from Jane, and enjoyed spending weekends and holidays with her and Jane’s family, as well as with her friends. However, Lizzy wanted something more from her life; she wanted to make a difference in the world.
One day, Lizzy and one of her friends started watching ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response – sounds that cause a tingling on the scalp and spine) videos (on YoutTube) and they found them relaxing. Soon afterward, another friend sent her a treat to try from the east coast. For fun, Lizzy made her own ASMR video of herself eating the treat and posted it on YouTube as a joke (Mallowmars link, here). Then, she ate something else and posted it as well. Before she knew it, she had 30,000 subscribers and a part-time job to make money for traveling. This was the beginning of Lizzy’s ASMR career as Old Lady ASMR.
When the show “Outlander” began, Lizzy decided that she liked the term “Sassenach.” She then changed the name of her ASMR channel from Old Lady ASMR to SassEsnacks. Over then next few years, “SassE” would make over 100 cooking, eating and other videos, for her ASMR channel. Before she knew it, she had over 100,000 subscribers to her YouTube channel and 12,000 followers on Instagram. People from around the world would contact her and tell her how her videos helped the with anxiety, PTSD, pregnancy and more.
Dealing with Gastrointestinal Issues
Through the years of filming her show, Lizzy would sometimes complain about stomach issues. Quite a few times she mentioned cramps, eating problems, food and drink aversions that prevented her from making videos and eating the foods she wanted. But Lizzy was a very private person and preferred to keep most of her health issues off of the camera. Her family and friends knew her struggle with her stomach and sent her to see the doctor often.
Unfortunately, the doctors did very little to help her and misdiagnosed her on several occasions. Her stomach issues became so much of a problem for her that she began another YouTube channel called SassEkrafts ASMR. She wanted to continue to make ASMR videos, but she wasn’t certain she could continue to make eating videos. SassEkrafts did very well and Lizzy immediately had 20k subscribers.
In May of 2017, Lizzy once again felt back pain and went to the doctor thinking it was a kidney stone. They did a CT scan without contrast and didn’t see a stone. The pain subsided and Lizzy went on vacation to Scotland with Jane.
Then, in the summer of 2017, Lizzy told Jane that she felt a tumor in her stomach. Jane told her to go see her doctor immediately. Lizzy did, and was told by the doctor that there was no “lump,” and to let them know if the “lump” returned. The doctors ordered and ultrasound and later an endoscopy, but found nothing.
Move to Georgia
In August of 2018, Lizzy moved to Georgia to be closer to her sister, Jane. Her beloved cat, Widge had passed away in February, so she was free to do the things she wanted to do and not have to worry about pet care. Now that they would live in the same state again, Lizzy and Jane made plans to travel the east coast and around the world over the next 30 years. They would spend weekends together along the east coast and just enjoy the rest of their lives.
Sadly, those plans never came to pass. After moving to Georgia, Lizzy’s stomach pains became worse and began radiating to her back. She made one “final video” for her subscribers from her new home in Georgia:
SassEsnacks’ Final Video
In this video, Lizzy mentions that she had an endoscopy that found nothing and that she is having stomach cramps while filming. Doctors prescribed her anti-anxiety and acid reflux medications as well as muscle relaxers. The pain became so bad that she was unable to sleep, so she began working from home. In late October, Lizzy and Jane’s older brother passed away from complications of diabetes. Lizzy, Jane and their older sister were devastated. Meanwhile, Lizzy’s pain became worse; so bad that she told Jane that she wanted to die.
Finally, in mid-November, Lizzy went to the emergency medical facility for pain. The doctor sent her home with muscle relaxers and told her to make an appointment with her Primary Care Physician. Fortunately, the PCP had the day off and Lizzy saw a NEW doctor.
Lizzy described her pain and history with the doctor and asked if she was imagining things or if something was really wrong? This doctor told her that she had specific symptoms and that she was going to “get to the bottom of it.”
The Right Test is Finally Ordered
The doctor ordered a CT Scan with Oral and IV Contrast. Jane drove to Lizzy’s house and took her to her CT scan on November 18, 2018. Lizzy had to wait for the results of the CT scan for 2-3 days. Meanwhile, Lizzy received the results of her latest bloodwork, which showed an issue in her liver.
Up until this date, all of her bloodwork had come back normal. Lizzy began to panic, but all she could do was wait for the results of the CT scan to know for sure if they found a serious problem.
A Tragic Diagnosis
On November 20, 2018, Lizzy was driving to Jane’s home for the Thanksgiving Day weekend when Lizzy’s regular physician called her and told her to pull over to the side of the road. She explained that the CT scan revealed that Lizzy had pancreatic cancer and that it had metastasized to her liver. She then told Lizzy to drive to the nearest emergency room because she had blood clots in her stomach due to the cancer. Lizzy texted the news to Jane. Jane then packed her bags and drove 2 hours to be by Lizzy’s side.
Lizzy was 48 years old when she was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
In short, it was too late to save her. There was nothing any doctor could do but give her chemotherapy and pray for a miracle. The tumor was in a place that could not be operated on and because the cancer had already metastasized to her liver, her chances of survival were reduced significantly.
Jane and Lizzy’s mother moved in with Lizzy to care for her. Lizzy’s pain could not be controlled with the normal pain medication any longer. She was constantly in and out of the hospital for IV pain medications because that was the only thing that worked until the methadone kicked in. Yes, I said methadone.
Lizzy could no longer drive because of the pain medication, so Jane took her to every appointment, to the emergency room and often stayed overnight with her in the hospital. During these hospital stays, doctors would ask Lizzy what her symptoms had been. They all concluded that her symptoms were common for pancreatic cancer and could not explain why she hadn’t been tested for the cancer sooner.
Lizzy and Jane were angry beyond words, but there was nothing that they could do, except fight the cancer. Sadly, due to the Christmas and New Year Holidays, everything was delayed, including the start of her chemotherapy. The doctor visits had to be moved back over and over again because she had to keep being hospitalized for pain and because her bile duct failed and she had to have a temporary stint put in.
After recovering from that and finally getting the pain meds to work, she finally started a clinical trial in January of 2019. By this time, Lizzy had lost weight and weighed less than 100 lbs.
The Clinical Trial
Lizzy had the trial chemo one time, and it took 8 hours, plus two more days of a take home pack. After the chemo she had constant diarrhea, her blood pressure came down so far that she was collapsing without warning. To make matters worse, she got pneumonia and her bile duct got clogged, again.
She was hospitalized for a week with jaundice until they were able to get the bile duct replaced. At that time, the doctor who replaced the bile duct told Jane that Lizzy did not have long to live. Jane was devastated and heartbroken.
One Last Vacation
In March, Jane had a pre-planned trip to Prague with a friend. Lizzy insisted that Jane go on the trip, but Jane knew Lizzy’s time was short. Jane took Lizzy on a trip to the ocean, knowing this could be their last adventure together. Although Lizzy’s legs were swollen and heavy from blood clots, she was able to gather the energy to search for sea shells as Lizzy and Jane did when they were kids. It was a wonderful trip despite Lizzy being ill.
Two after they returned, Jane went to Prague and left Lizzy in the care of her friend and mother. When Jane returned from Prague two weeks later, Lizzy’s organs had begun to fail. Less than a week later, Jane placed Lizzy in a hospice care facility. Like that, Lizzy lost her ability to speak.
“I don’t want to die.”
In the days preceding her death, Lizzy began to cry while speaking to her friend. She said that she wasn’t ready to die. She would never get to see more of the east coast of the U.S. with Jane as she had desired. She and Jane would never see more of Europe as they had dreamed.
A Sad Goodbye
Less that five months from the day she was diagnosed, our beloved Lizzy, was gone. Lizzy, our SassEsnacks, passed away on April 10, 2019 at the age of 49. She was preceded in death by her brother. She is survived by her mother, two sisters, six nephews and her beloved miniature dachshund, Mr. Darcy.
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