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Monday, January 2, 2012

From Wedding Bliss to Suicide


My sweet little angel, Marissa, entered this crazy world on September 14th, 2009, which happened to be my mother’s birthday as well. Since our first girl was named after her maternal grandmother. We thought it was appropriate to name Marissa after her paternal grandmother. I love keeping names within the family. It’s a wonderful tradition. Our boy’s first name was from Brent’s uncle and his middle name is the same as Brent’s. Anyway, Marissa was born with a heart condition known as Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) which is basically a defect of the heart. When Tommy was a baby he was diagnosed with it as well. Apparently, it’s fairly common. His closed up after a year and hasn’t had any problems. [Marissa is now two years old and it has not closed.]

I wouldn’t say things were going great, but maybe just ok. Or at least I thought, until late October, 2009 (roughly a month after Marissa’s birth). One of my parent’s was sick, so I stayed at their house most of the day and planned on staying the night to help out. Both of my parents have been diagnosed with Cancer and each have a lot of other medical conditions. About 9:30pm, Tommy wasn’t feeling well so I ran home, which was located about 10 minutes away, to grab some medicine. My mom went with me so that I wouldn’t have to drag the kids out – I would just be able to run in, get what I needed, and go. I tried using the garage door opener, but it was locked. I called Brent to open the door. He started acting very strange. His eyes were comparable to looking straight at the devil, he was sweating, and making it very obvious that he didn’t want me inside the home. So, I pushed open the door and started looking around. The house was filled with smoke that once again resembled the burnt plastic odor, black garbage bags and laundry baskets filled my living and dining room. A hockey game was on and the TV was blasting. My bed covers had been replaced with red satin sheets. I ran all over the house yelling for whoever was there to come out, but no one did. It was happening so fast at that point; I don’t even know what Brent was doing. Eventually, I ran out to the garage and opened the door. There was a very older model, beat up looking Explorer parked in there. I looked inside and saw some of my belongings in the back. When I tried to open the doors, they were locked. I turned around to Brent who was standing in the doorway and shouted “Whose car is this?” He told me that he bought it for real cheap today and that he was going to fix it up and resell it to make a profit. We went back into the home shouting at each other about who knows what, I grabbed what I needed, and started to leave out the front door. My mom rolled the window down; Marissa started to cry, so she got in the back with her and didn’t realize the child locks were on so she wasn’t able to get out, and she started saying “CC, there’s a woman behind that Explorer in the garage!” I took off running into the house and found this ….. Well, let’s call it what it is, a crack whore in my house. Inside my head, I was ready to stomp both her and his ass but I knew my children were in the car and could see everything. I didn’t want to scare them, and I sure as hell wasn’t going to jail and be a way from them over these nasty people, so I called 9-1-1. I remember the operator asking me what they were both wearing – he was in a Michigan t-shirt and his underwear and she was in a pink UK sweatshirt and jeans. She looked like a typical crack whore too. Her hair was long, fried, and greasy. Her cheeks in her face were sunken in and her teeth looked rotten. It seemed like forever until the police arrived. At one point, she was like “Get out of HIS house – you’re crazy.” I told her “Bitch, you haven’t seen crazy! And we’ll see whose house this is when the police get here!” Then, I remember her picking up a Welch’s Grape soda that I purchased earlier that day and took a drink. At that point, I had no self-control – I knocked it out of her hand and it went everywhere. She stepped behind Brent and I pushed him so hard that he almost knocked her over. THEN, I noticed he had his wedding ring on. I was like “Wow! Really?!? You’re wearing your wedding ring while you are f—king that! Classy dude!” The police arrived and my mom was still child locked in the back seat. She managed to get a hold of my siblings to get out there right away. Elizabeth’s boyfriend pulled up at the same time the police did. They yelled at Brent to stand on the front porch, told the crack whore to stand in the garage, and they started questioning me. My mouth was running a mile a minute and the police officer cut me off saying “You are telling me two different things!” I remember saying “Dude, I just caught my husband with another woman in MY house – I’m a little scattered brain right now!” Then, Brent came running towards us yelling that I assaulted his girlfriend and he and that he had marks to prove it. The one police officer took out after him and something was said for me to think I was getting ready to get arrested. My mom heard it as well and called my oldest sister and said “Janelle, get out here – they are taking CC to jail! We need help! I’ve got these kids somebody has to get.” Casie knew what was going on, she saw everything and was crying!

Basically, the police ended up telling us that they couldn’t make anybody leave but suggested to the crack whore that it would be a good idea to get out. I walked by her and said under my breath “Walk inside and I will kill your ass!” [I know it’s crazy now, but what can I say … I said it and probably would have beat the shit out of her if she went back in.] She started screaming for the police and once again, they told her it was not a good situation and it would be best for her to leave. No report was taken and the police left. My family started showing up – Janelle, her two oldest kids and one of their friend’s, my sister-in-law, Suzie, my estranged sister, Elizabeth, and my best friend Jazmine and her husband. My brother was out of town and when Suzie told him what was going on, he was ready to drive back right then! I was going to wait Brent out – it was his turn to leave. Even during all this turmoil around me, I was so thankful that Elizabeth was there and from that point on we were estranged no longer! She ended up getting the kids out of there and took them home with her and put them to bed. While the rest of us stayed there, we discovered in the basement the crack! Inside all of the black bags was everything I ever owned, all the way down to my tampons. When push came to shove, he wasn’t leaving, and I had to … everyone packed all my stuff in their cars and we left. After seeing Brent’s behavior, I was scared. He was walking around breaking stuff. At one point, he took a mag light and looked at me and said “I’m going to start f—king shit up!” So, I went downtown and filed an Emergency Protective Order (EPO) against him. It was granted and we had a court date two weeks from that day. Brent would be forced to leave the marital residence and to stay 500 feet from the children and myself.
The next day I received an email from Brent basically going into detail about how he was going to kill his self and for me not to walk into our house because he didn’t want me to be the one to find his body. Since he wasn’t served at that point, I called the police and read them the letter and explained the whole situation in detail. Two police officers showed up at the house and no one answered the door. They called my cell phone and told me to get there immediately, then they told me they were going to record me giving them permission to kick in the door. Words can not even explain what I was feeling. Mandy, my awesome friend, showed up at my parents house and took me out to the marital residence. I was crying my eyes out. I hated the guy, but I didn’t want to see him dead. What would I tell the children? My dogs are in that house? Not knowing what was happening was killing me. Jazmine and Robby made it to my house to meet the police before I could, so it was very comforting to walk around to my backyard and see them. Robby gave me a hug and I whispered “Is he dead?” and he said “No sweetie, but prepare yourself – it’s not a pretty sight. Brent is not there.” My back door was kicked in, my poor little puppies were hiding under my bed and ran towards me as soon as they heard my voice, and the house was a disaster. One of the police officers approached me to sign some disclosures and then asked me to come downstairs. He showed me foil, Brillo pads, spoons, and lighters and told me that what I was dealing with was very serious. If he had to guess, it was crack and that I needed to be extremely careful. I explained to him that I had filed an EPO and that Brent wasn’t served yet and wanted to know if I could be in trouble for being in that house. He assured me that I wouldn’t, but cautioned me over and over to be careful with this situation. In fact, his words were “Don’t contact any more numbers on his phone, if it’s a dealer, it won’t be a domestic call that I will be reporting to, it will be a homicide case! Got it?” Later that night, the sheriffs deputy called me and said he was there to serve Brent, but no one answered the door. And basically, just wanted to know if I could give him any insight of his where abouts. I told him what I knew and once again shared details of the story. He was finally served the following morning.
My brother was back in town and took me out to get in the house. The locks were changed and I had to call a locksmith to even get into the home. Apparently, after the sheriffs escorted Brent off of the property and took his keys, he came back in – changed the locks and then proceeded to break every piece of glass inside the house, including china, picture frames, old family heirlooms, vases, my grand-mother’s pearl necklace, you name it, it was broken. My good friend, Bob, who is actually friends with Brent as well, and his wife came out to help clean up. We met my neighbors and explained everything that was going on to them. One of them, Josie, was so sweet. We exchanged numbers and she said she would look out for me. Kevin and Bob went to the local sporting goods store and bought some deer cameras and mounted them around the house. We knew that Brent would be back and we were going to catch him. The whole situation was crazy and for safety reasons, I continued to stay at my parents’ house.
About 7am, I received a call from Josie telling me that she already notified the police but Brent was inside the home. They weren’t able to catch him inside the house, but since they had an eye witness, they were able to make an arrest for violating an EPO when they caught him 2 blocks from the home. After he was taken away, I met with the arresting officer and was able to retrieve Brent’s Explorer and invited them back to my house to see the deer camera footage. When we arrived, there was a letter from Brent – it was taped to a picture of the two of us and said “We can work this out!” They walked around the house and took lots of pictures. Now that he was behind bars, I knew it was ok for my children to come back home. Thank goodness to some really good friends and family who came over and helped clean the place from top to bottom to make sure it was safe for the children and that no drugs were overlooked. After that, I called a cleaning service and had them to do another cleaning just to make sure.
I hired a private investigator to get me every bit of information on this girl that was inside my home and on Brent. I started researching crack in the mean time because I didn’t know a thing about it. For those of you that don’t know either, I found the following information from a website (http://www.drugrehab.co.uk/FAQ-crack.htm) that I found useful:
FAQ About Crack
Crack addiction is one of society's greatest problems today. Individuals addicted to crack will do almost anything to get the drug. It has penetrated all levels of our society; rich, poor, and everyone in between. Family members connected to individuals with a crack addiction live in chaos and confusion, not understanding the underlying mechanics of crack addiction. At Narconon we do understand crack addiction. Narconon United Kingdom is a leader in the field of crack addiction treatment since 1966. If you have a loved one addicted to crack, we can help.
Q.) What is crack?
A.) The chemical cocaine hydrochloride is commonly known as crack. Some users chemically process cocaine in order to remove the hydrochloride. This process is called "freebasing" and makes the drug more potent. "Crack" is a solid form of freebased cocaine. It is called "crack" because it snaps and cracks when heated and smoked.
Since crack is a prepared form of freebased cocaine, the user does not have to buy the equipment or be exposed to the explosive chemicals associated with freebasing. Crack is most often packaged in vials or plastic bags and sold in small quantities, usually 300-500mg or enough for two to three inhalations.
In the 1970s cocaine was expensive and considered a "status" drug. The introduction of inexpensive crack increased the accessibility of this substance, and crack has become the drug of choice for many drug users, especially for inner-city disadvantaged youth. Crack's convenience, ease of concealment, wide availability, and low cost has increased its use. The fact that crack is smoked rather than snorted or injected (ingestion methods associated with the stigma of being a "junkie") has contributed to its popularity.
One gram of pure powder cocaine will convert to approximately 0.89 grams of crack. The Drug Enforcement Administration estimates that crack rocks are between 75 and 90 percent pure cocaine.
Q.) What is the difference between crack and cocaine?
A.) Crack is made from cocaine in a process called freebasing, in which cocaine powder is cooked with ammonia or sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) to create rocks, chips, or chunks that can be smoked. The term crack refers to the crackling sound that is heard when the mixture is smoked. Crack is usually smoked in a pipe. Because it's smoked, crack cocaine effects are felt more quickly and they are more intense than those of powder cocaine. However, the effects of smoked crack are shorter lived than the effects of snorted powder cocaine.

Cocaine is produced as a white chunky powder. It is sold most often in aluminium foil, plastic or paper packets, or small vials. Cocaine is usually chopped into a fine powder with a razor blade on a small mirror or some other hard surface, arranged into small rows called "lines," then quickly inhaled (or "snorted") through the nose with a short straw or rolled up paper money. It can also be injected into the blood stream.
Q.) How is crack used?
A.) The same way that freebase is used, namely, by placing the substance in a glass pipe (or hash pipe) with a fine mesh screen under it, then heating it and inhaling the vapours. The vapours of the crack are absorbed through the lungs, into the bloodstream, and transported to the brain within 10-15 seconds. One inhalation will produce a degree of intoxication usually lasting 10-15 minutes.
Q.) Why is crack such a dangerous drug?
A.) Crack is inhaled and rapidly absorbed through the lungs, into the blood, and carried swiftly to the brain. The chances of overdosing and poisoning leading to coma, convulsions, and death are greatly increased. Crack's rapid rush - 5 to 7 minutes of intense pleasure - quickly subsides, leading to depression that needs to be relieved by more crack. This cycle enhances the chances of addiction and dependency. Because of the brief high, users are constantly thinking about, and devising ways to get more crack. Psychologically, the drug reduces concentration, ambition, drive, and increases confusion and irritability, wreaking havoc on users' professional and personal lives. Habitual use may lead to cocaine psychosis causing, paranoia, hallucinations, and a condition known as formication, in which insects or snakes are perceived to be crawling under the skin. The paranoia and depression can instigate violent and suicidal behaviour. The side effects of adulterants increase cocaine's risks. The drug is often cut with one or more of any number of other substances, such as the cheaper drugs procaine, lidocaine, and benzocaine, and substances that pose no serious risks, such as sugars (mannitol and sucrose), or starches. However, when quinine or amphetamines are added, the potential for serious side effects increases dramatically.
Q) What is crack addiction?
A) Once an individual has tried crack, they may be unable to predict or control the extent to which they will continue to use. Crack is probably the most addictive substance that has been devised so far. Crack addicts must have more and more crack to sustain their high and avoid the intense "crash" or depression that follows their binges. They become physically and psychologically dependent on crack, which is often a result of only few doses of the drug taken within a few days. This dependence can lead to addiction.

All to often, the process of crack addiction goes something like this: The "soon to be addict" takes their first hit. Upon inhalation of this powerful drug, the users body instantly begins the addiction process. The individual's mental and emotional being is soon to follow, but for now just their body suffers from the initial stages of crack addiction. After the first few times using the drug, their mind slowly starts the addiction process. This grows stronger and stronger until, mentally, the addict believes that they cannot live without the drug. They now are entangled in a full fledged crack addiction. Shortly after this occurs, crack takes complete control over their emotions.

Once the individual's emotions have been overridden by cocaine, they no longer feel normal without being intoxicated. When this occurs they feel the need to use more crack just to feel normal. In order to get high they have to take an immense amount of the drug. Their crack addiction has infiltrated all areas of their life. They can no longer function physically, emotionally, or mentally without crack. This cycle of addiction continues until the individual either quits using or dies.

The above process of crack addiction demonstrates the potential power of this insidious drug. Even though death lurks around the corner, individuals with an addiction to crack continue to use with no regard for their life or anyone else's.
Q) How does crack produce its effects?
A) Crack works on the automatic nervous system. The automatic nervous system controls the sympathetic system which speeds everything up such as heart rate and breathing. The autonomic nervous system also controls the para-sympathetic system which does the exact opposite (slows things down). This explains why people become hyper when the smoke crack. Crack works by causing the brains neuro transmitters to release all the dopamine at once (dopamine is a chemical in the brain which releases feelings of pleasure). When we laugh, a slight amount of dopamine is released and this makes you feel good. After this dopamine has been released, crack can block the re-uptake of the dopamine in some cases. If this happens, the person will now make it a mission to get any sort of pleasure.
Q) How does crack effect the brain?
A) The use of crack alters the processes of the brain by causing a change in the way neurons in the brain communicate. Nerve cells, called neurons, communicate with each other by supplying the brain with chemicals called neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters allow information in the form of electrical impulses to be passed through the body. This process works by neurotransmitters attaching themselves to certain areas in the brain. One of the neurotransmitters affected by crack is called dopamine. Dopamine is released by neurons in the part of the brain that controls feelings of pleasure and well-being. This area is in the limbic system of the brain. Normally, once dopamine has transferred to a nerve cell's receptors and caused a reaction in a cell, it is transferred back to the neuron that released it.
Crack cocaine causes damage to this system and blocks the process of transfer. Dopamine then builds up in the gap synapse between neurons. As a result, for crack cocaine users, dopamine keeps affecting a nerve cell after it should have stopped. That's why someone who uses crack cocaine feels an extra sense of euphoria and pleasure. Although crack cocaine may bring on intense feelings of pleasure while it is being used, crack cocaine can damage the ability to feel pleasure in the long run. Research suggests that long-term crack cocaine use may reduce the amount of dopamine or the number of dopamine receptors in the brain. When this happens, nerve cells must have crack cocaine to communicate properly. Without crack cocaine, the brain can't send enough dopamine to the receptors to create a feeling of pleasure.
Q) When are the effects felt from smoking crack?
A) Facilitated by the large surface area of the lungs' air sacs, cocaine administered by inhalation is absorbed almost immediately into the bloodstream. It takes only 19 seconds to reach the brain. However, only 30 to 60 percent of the available dose is absorbed due to incomplete inhalation of the cocaine-laden fumes and variations in the heating temperature.
Crack smokers achieve maximum physiological effects approximately two minutes after inhalation. Maximum psychotropic effects are attained approximately one minute after inhalation. Similar to intravenous administration, the physiological and psychotropic effects of inhaled cocaine are sustained for approximately 30 minutes after peak effects are attained.
Q) What are the short term effects of crack?
A) The short term effects of crack can be felt upon the users initial hit. The individual begins to feel the effects of crack immediately. The user experiences an increase in energy, body temperature, mental alertness, heart rate, constricted blood vessels, as well as a decrease in appetite. These temporary effects of crack are as short lived as the users high. Because crack is smoked, causing it to travel through the blood up to the brain much faster than cocaine which is snorted, the user experiences these short term effects more intensely. The duration and intensity of these short term effects of crack are based on the amount of crack that is used.
The short term effects of crack include but are not limited to:
  • Magnification of pleasure, euphoria
  • Alertness and in some cases - hyper-alertness
  • Increased and sometimes a grandiose sense of well being
  • Decreased anxiety
  • Lower social inhibitions: more sociable and talkative
  • Heightened energy, self-esteem, sexuality and emotions aroused by interpersonal experiences
  • Appetite loss; weight loss
Q) What are the long term effects of crack?
A) The long term effects of crack affect the user physically, mentally, and emotionally. An individual's long term effects from crack vary from person to person depending on their length and intensity of abuse. In general, the long term effects of crack include restlessness, mood change, irritability, auditory hallucinations, extreme paranoia, and eventually and rather quickly, addiction.
The long term effects of crack include but are not limited to:
  • Extreme euphoria - "mental orgasm"
  • Uninhibited
  • Impaired judgment
  • Grandiosity
  • Impulsivity
  • Hyper sexuality
  • Hyper vigilance
  • Compulsivity
  • Extreme psychomotor activation/agitation
  • Anxiety; irritability; argumentative
  • Transient panic
  • Paranoia
  • Terror of impending death
  • Poor reality testing; delusions
  • Extreme weight loss
  • Chronic sore throat
  • Hoarseness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Bronchitis
  • Lung cancer
  • Emphysema and other lung damage
  • Respiratory problems such as congestion of the lungs, wheezing, and spitting up black phlegm
  • Burning of the lips, tongue, and throat
  • Slowed digestion
  • Weight loss
  • High incidence of dependence
  • Blood vessel constriction
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Brain seizures that can result in suffocation
  • Dilated pupils
  • Sweating
  • Rise in blood sugar levels and body temperature
  • Disability from drug-induced health problems
  • Suppressed desire for food, sex, friends, family, and social contacts
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Death
Q.) What are the side effects of crack?
A.) Below is a list of side effects due to crack addiction:
  • Changes in blood pressure, heart rates, and breathing rates
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Anxiety
  • Convulsions
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite leading to malnutrition and weight loss
  • Cold sweats
  • Swelling and bleeding of mucous membranes
  • Restlessness and anxiety
  • Damage to nasal cavities
  • Damage to lungs
  • Possible heart attacks, strokes, or convulsions
Q.) What are the dangers of mixing other drugs while using crack?
A.) When people mix crack and alcohol consumption, they are compounding the danger each drug poses, and unknowingly forming a complex chemical experiment within their bodies. NIDA-funded researchers have found that the human liver combines crack and alcohol to manufacture a third substance called cocaethylene that intensifies crack's euphoric effects, while possibly increasing the risk of sudden death. Sudden death takes place when the users' body chemistry is imbalanced to the slightest degree. This releases toxic chemicals into their body creating a reaction within the individual resulting in cardiac arrest. This negative reaction to crack's toxic chemicals is the cause of "sudden death".
Q.) What are the symptoms of crack withdrawal?
A.) Crack withdrawal symptoms include but are not limited to:
  • agitation
  • depression
  • intense craving for the drug
  • extreme fatigue
  • anxiety
  • angry outbursts
  • lack of motivation
  • nausea/vomiting
  • shaking
  • irritability
  • muscle pain
  • disturbed sleep
Q) What are the symptoms of a crack overdose?
A) Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of crack usage is the high risk of overdose. Since crack is more potent than street cocaine, it enters the bloodstream more quickly and in higher concentrations. This is particularly risky since smoking the drug makes it difficult to estimate dosage. The most frequent overdose that people experience from smoking crack cocaine is mild and is felt as a very rapid heart beat and hyperventilation. These reactions are often accompanied by a feeling of impending death. Although most people survive, several thousand are killed by overdosing on crack every year. All forms of cocaine and crack cocaine use have been linked with heart failure in users. This also includes otherwise healthy users.
I called the children’s Pediatrician on her cell crying my eyes out asking if Marissa was a “crack baby”. Thank God, she told me no that it had to be the mother to be the user for that to be the case. However, it could be possible that the second hand smoke was the reason that I went into preterm labor with all of my pregnancies. I felt relieved when I hung up from that conversation, but inside my head – the flood gates opened. How could I have been so na├»ve? This was happening way before I even thought drugs were an issue. For example, the day Casie and I were released from the hospital following her birth, I had to take Brent to the hospital because we thought he had a stroke. The doctor asked me to leave the room and I could hear him tell that his drug screen showed usage of illicit drugs. When I questioned him about it at the time, he told me it was pot. His buddy came in town and they smoked a joint. He told me that he did it in college and they did it for old time sake and that he didn’t like it and would never do it again. And honestly, I really never thought about it again. I thought about how when we would visit his friends in Michigan, they would call him in the back room to show them some “guy stuff”. There were many other signs that I was too blind to see. It was disgusting to even think about.


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