CLICK HERE FOR BLOGGER TEMPLATES AND MYSPACE LAYOUTS »

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Making a difference...

It is now almost two whole months since Heidi's diagnosis. I never thought we would be where we are now...back to just about normal. It is just mind blowing to me; that in two short months, 8 fleeting weeks, we go from indescribable terror and fear about hearing the word "cancer", to constant worry about kidney values and skin flaps, to the dread of having to walk into NEVOG for an appointment where we would be told our fate. But all along this bumpy road, we never lost hope. We have had great support to remind us when times got really tough that things would go back to "normal" someday and hopefully, in the long run, Heidi would be OK. We all would. And now it seems like we're almost there. Looking back, I cant believe how fast that time went by...

It is truly amazing to me not only how fast the body can heal (Heidi grew a 2 inch by 6 inch strip of skin in about 3 weeks!) but how well the spirit holds up. I mean, I know I should be surprised. Look at me. I went from being a blue baby to having two open heart surgeries that completely altered the way my circulatory system works, to surviving a blood clot, almost bleeding to death and then having a stent placed to allow me to be able to breath and live. And I'm only 27! Yes, looking at that all compacted in a short sentence looks impressive, but living through it and having all of that time pass in between incidents makes you forget a little bit of the fear and anxiety you're living with. But with Heidi, her whole illness has been so compact; almost like the sentence used to describe it. And although I have been an obvious part of it, it hasn't been MY BODY going through it...although I now know and have a new respect for how my mom feels when I am sick! But I also now know how she must feel when she sees me get better...

Heidi is totally back to her old self...in fact, she might even be (if possible) more energetic! She wants to play almost non stop (even to the point of bringing her toys to bed with us) and she is getting into more mischief: she barks and herds us through the house during our daily routines even more than usual, and the other day I came home from work to find my bedroom trash was picked through and then spread all over my floor! There was nothing in it but papers and dryer sheets, but...why is my 7 1/2 year old dog doing this to me?!?! I think just because she can...and because she wants to remind me that she is NOT SICK!!!

We try and take daily walks and have already been to the beach several times. Monday the girls made their debut at school-we were doing a palpation lab, so we were able to bring our dogs to locate things we had been learning about; in this instance, bones. They did GREAT! Everyone was impressed at how well behaved they were, and they made friends with the other dogs that had come in. I know that in a few weeks we will even be back to kayaking, which I cant wait for! I'm of course still being diligent about their health, though: I check Heidi's leg and incision site on her side daily, and I have started them both on some new supplements. They go in for their annual visit at the end of May, and at that point will have titers and their 6 month blood work done. I'm also going to go ahead and have chest x-rays and an abdominal ultrasound done then as well...

I am SO GRATEFUL to be so blessed and, lets face it, lucky. I can't believe how well things have turned out. But again, although this fact makes us blessed, it is because we have been lucky. So many of my friends have lost their fur-kids (even just recently) to this dreaded disease called "cancer". But even witnessing my friends pain of fighting their dogs' battle, and seeing dogs that I watched grow up lose that battle and pass over the bridge, I was still detached from the grief. Although I tried hard not to think about it and put myself in their shoes to spare my own feelings and emotions, I cant pretend it didn't obviously affect me...a lot. But like so many other situations in life it takes personal experience to truly know what it feels like and to want to make a change; to make a difference.

And so, with Heidi as my motivator, but Wally the Greyhound, Diesel the Rottie and Forrest the Newfie as my inspiration, we have decided to participate in the "Paws for a Cure" walk: http://www.paws4acure.org/home.html

This walk helps raise money for families in need of help to treat their dogs cancer. It is our honor and privilege to walk for our friends. I initially decided to walk on my own with the two girls, but after talking with my mom (and her request to walk with us) I decided to create a walk team. At this moment, its just us two =0) But we hope there will be more to join us! And if there is anyone out there unable to walk but still looking to help, you can pledge to sponsor us right on Heidi's team page, which is here: http://www.paws4acure.org/teamheidi.html

This is kind of a big deal for us; not only because of the incredible mission and purpose of the walk itself, but it is going to probably be a real challenge for us. I know some people who just finished the Boston Marathon, but for Heidi and I, this is ours. I don't think I have walked 3 miles since I got sick last year...I'm sure I can do it, but I know we wont be the ones setting the pace! And of course with Heidi's leg still healing and arthritis, it will be a challenge for her too. But this is too important for us to pass up...the challenge of facing cancer (and then having to worry about how to pay for its treatment) is a much bigger one than some 3 mile walk...

Thank you all again for your support, your following and your well wishes for my family. If you are able to sponsor us, thank you. If not, that's OK! Maybe there will be something in your area that is looking for support-like volunteering. Please consider helping out a truly worthy cause...we don't want anyone to have to go through what we and our friends have...

2 comments:

  1. So wonderful that the healing bond between human and dog extends both ways. I hope all continues well for you and Heidi!
    - - - - -
    Jack@PDB
    dog beds and more

    ReplyDelete
  2. I just stumbled across a link to your blog when I checked the Acadia website yesterday. I am not normally a blog reader, but yours is truly something special!
    Reading your blog brought back a flood of memories;growing up with my Shelties, battling cancer, sharing love and tears with my mother...
    What is it that these dog have, that is so magical? How can their simply being hold so much power, to heal and fill in all of the missing pockets in our lives?
    I hope that you will post another update soon, and wish you all of the best.What an amazing story you have to tell, thanks for sharing it with us!

    ReplyDelete