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, anorexia 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. Her family and friends knew her struggle with her stomach and sent her to see the doctor often.
Unfortunately, the doctors did not recognize her symptoms. 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.
“I felt a tumor move in my stomach.”
In April of 2017, Lizzy felt pain in her back. She knew something was wrong, so she went to the doctor. The doctor ordered a CT scan without contrast and didn’t find anything unusual. 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 move in [her] stomach.” Jane told her to go see her doctor immediately. Lizzy went to her doctor the next day. The doctor felt where Lizzy pointed to and stated, “That’s your sternum,” and to let them know if the “lump” returned. The doctors ordered and ultrasound, but found nothing.
Move to Georgia
In February of 2018, Widge, SassE’s beloved cat and costar passed away. In April, Lizzy went to Gerogia to visit her sister, Jane, who had moved there in 2016. SassE loved it there and wanted to be closer to Jane so that they could travel more often. Fortunately, her company had an office in Georgia, about two hours away from where Jane lived.
In August of 2018, Lizzy sold her California condo and moved into her Georgia home. She bought a charming single story home in a pleasant, treelined neighborhood that she loved. Jane flew to Los Angeles, jumped into Lizzy’s car, and they drove across the country in 3.5 days. On the trip, Lizzy spoke about how her back had been hurting for a few weeks. She thought that maybe it was the stress of moving, or that she may just be sore. They spoke about their plans to travel more overseas and along the east coast now that they were going to live closer together. Finally, Lizzy was getting the life she wanted.
Lizzy started working her day job, but still needed to buy furnishings for her home. Jane came down to visit to help her with the shopping. Lizzy’s back pain was becoming inceasingly worse. By October of 2018, she was losing so much sleep and was in so much pain, she asked her boss if she could work from home until she felt better.
Even though she felt terrible, Lizzy managed to make 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, her 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 more time. 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 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. Lizzy explained her years of digestive proglems, stomach pain and then back pain. 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. They also said that the CT scan she had in April of 2017 would have found the cancer then, had they put the contrast in and that finding the cancer earlier would have extended her life significantly.
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 the bile stint surgery and finally getting the pain meds to work, she was able to start a clinical trial drug for pancreatic cancer 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. It took 8 hours to get pumped into her body, 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.
Lizzy was hospitalized for a week with jaundice until they were able to get a dcotor to replace the bile duct stint. Again, delays due to holidays. After the surgery, the doctor who replaced the bile duct told Jane that Lizzy did not have long to live. Jane was devastated. She cried alone in the waiting room until she could join Lizzy in her hospital room.
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. So, Jane decided to take 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 days 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. And just like that, Lizzy lost her ability to speak. Something that Jane and her mother weren’t prepared for.
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 older brother. She is survived by her mother, two sisters, six nephews and her beloved miniature dachshund, Mr. Darcy.
SassEsnacks ASMR fans around the world lost “a friend” that they could count on to help them through dark times and sleepless nights.
Visit her YouTube Channels at SassEsnacks ASMR and SassEkrafts ASMR.
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