Good morning. Where do I start? The last few days have been a roller coaster ride with my emotions all over the place. I guess, I fit all the studies of how humans respond to the grief of being shot in the heart. First I was shocked and devastated and thought this can't be happening. How can this happen to my baby girl, the joy of my life?
Then I was in denial and decided this must be a mistake. She was just running and playing a few days ago. This is my lifeline. My only hope of hanging on in such a cold and cruel world. She is my ray of hope and my sunshine on a cloudy day. This is a mistake.
Then the fear. The absolute fear that grips you around the neck and chokes you so hard you can't breathe ....or eat or sleep or function as a human being. You are frozen and can do little else but stare into space. You stay still and quiet and pray it will subside just long enough for you to go on for a few more minutes at a time.
Next came the anger and frustration. How could 11 veterinarians over the last 8 years fail to pick up on this? Why did they constantly reassure me that I had nothing to worry about when I talked about checking on her heart murmur to see if it was getting worse or better. And then anger at yourself for not being more forceful.
And then the worst emotion comes to visit. Guilt. The guilt at not taking charge myself and allowing my baby girl to suffer all these years with something that could have been treated long ago had I known. Guilt in not picking up any signs or changing doctors when I left feeling that I was not sure she was getting the best treatment for any ailment she might have had over the years.
But then it starts to turn. Next came hope. And oh how powerful that emotion is. It came from reading so many comments and emails and messages from others who have gone through the same thing and were able to spend more years with their fur babies with the right medicines, diet, supplements, a great doctor and lots of prayer. They did whatever it took to prolong life and it worked. The majority reminded me that Veterinarians are humans and do the best they can but God is the almighty that makes all the final decisions.
Through those messages of hope my survival instinct set in. It came on quite suddenly yesterday morning when I woke up and saw my sweet baby Kate laying there looking back at me with her sparkly eyes and her wagging little stump of a tail. She was back and she was ready to fight if I was. And I held her and I prayed to God to give me the energy and the stamina to fight and travel this long road ahead. I thanked him for listening to all the prayers coming from people out there that don't even know me. People who believe in him so strongly and and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he can change the course of life in a heartbeat.
I thanked him for giving me Katie, my constant reminder of his own love for me. An everlasting and faithful love that never changes. An unconditional love that is strong and loyal beyond all reason. She is a reminder that I am loved in spite of my short comings and all my flaws. She is there to remind me that I have comfort whenever I need a friend. Her love for me reminds me that God's love will never change and will be with me until the end.
And then it happened. The mission....
I have been told that I have determination and drive like no other. When I set my mind to accomplish something there is nothing that can block me. Add in that unusually high dose of tenacity that God happened to mix into the equation when he created me and you have a powerful woman who doesn't give up.
My friends say I am the equivalent to a stampede of wild elephants coming at you at about 100 miles per hour. I am a steam roller, a human bulldozer and there is nothing, short of death, that can stop me when I am on a mission. So yesterday, I rolled up my sleeves and began my fight for Katie. Out came the notebooks, calendars, schedules and books on dog health. Up came the internet to educate myself on diet and medicines that can beat the odds. Calls were made to dog food companies to try and find a low sodium food.....there is none. Then searches for how to make my own healthy dog food that can fight heart disease in dogs. Next came getting other opinions and calling some other veterinarians in the area to ask questions I needed answered. And then the big one....the task of "finding Dr. Ho." Sounds like a movie title, doesn't it?
Dr. Ho was Katie's doctor for the first 3 years of her life. She adored Katie and said many times that she was unlike any other patient she had. For some reason she was drawn to her and loved when she came in for her visits. But there was a falling out at the hospital where she worked and she left for good. We were so sad to hear that she had moved out of town and eventually we lost track of her. Then came the years of going to vet after vet and never finding anyone like Dr. Ho for Katie.
But yesterday I came to realize God's hand is in this! He led me right to her. There she was at another hospital out of town but still reachable for us to get to. I called the busy hospital where she practices and left a message telling her who I was and hoping she remembered Katie. The message told of our new challenge and I asked if she could call me back because I am in need of a primary care veterinarian that can work with the cardiologist and get this game plan started. Less than an hour later the phone rang and that familiar voice said, "Do I remember my Katie? How can anyone ever forget Katie?"
We went on to talk for over an hour and set up a game plan for Katie's treatment. We will meet in two weeks, once the medicines have really kicked in and we will fight and do whatever it takes to prolong Katie's life and keep her happy. We will put her on the right diet and adjust the medicines and give her supplements that have proven to reverse some of the damage. We will do this. We will fight for Katie she said.
Katie is a high spirited little dog with so much spunk. She is a fighter. Dr. Ho, after looking at the report and films, said she has been uncomfortable for a long time with this much damage and she hides it from you. It finally got to her after all these years and right now she is just tired and a little weak. But she added, she is a fighter and any other dog couldn't have made it this far without so many horrible symptoms.
Dr. Ho said the fact that Katie has a hearty appetite and is showing no symptoms other than heavy breathing says a lot about her own drive and tenacity. She is not about to leave her Mom right now and needs every bit of strength we all have just to help her get her energy back through this treatment. She said Katie and I are both warriors and we can fight this thing and win.
We have had to make a few adjustments over the last few days but she is such an intelligent little girl that she has made it easy every step of the way. She fully understands that we are working together to get her better. For example, it's very hard for me to make it up and down the steps with my injured knee and so carrying a 22 pound dog in my arms was painful and scary. I had to come up with a plan. I found a bag that she fits in perfectly. I keep it on the floor and from day one, when she needs to go out she will walk, she will go over and crawl inside the bag and sit there waiting for me to come and pick up the handles and carry her downstairs. When she is finished doing what she needs to do outside, she walks back to the bag and crawls in and waits for me to pick up the handles and carry her back in again. Amazing instinct and it has made things so much better for both of us.
This morning, Katie is up and in her toy box looking for her talkie ball. She just ate every bit of her breakfast and her favorite turkey treat. She is laying on her favorite pillow and looking out the window at the birds around the feeder. She is getting back to the happy little girl she has always been. She is gaining strength and it seems the meds are working as she is breathing so much better today. She is spunky and wants to play a little but we still have to keep her as still as we can. She is allowed to walk around a little but no playing or running or going up and down the stairs on her own for a while.
Cooper cannot visit for two weeks or longer because he causes her great stress. He steals her things and taunts her and that is the last thing we need right now. So to keep her calm he has to stay away.....not sure how long. And that will be near impossible as he loves her so much and is doing whatever he can to get to her and all her belongings!
So we are on our way......and I mentioned some things it will take on my part with drive and determination and tenacity and a ton of strength to get this done. What I failed to mention is the most important and most powerful thing of all. Prayer. God is listening my friends. He is hearing all your prayers come in loud and clear and he is answering them every minute. He has given me the strength and hope and faith I need to get through this so far. But fear is powerful and it can engulf you at any second without warning and make you have doubt that can weaken you. I beg you all to keep praying for me and Katie.
We can't do this without your prayers.