Friday, May 25, 2012

Renal Failure

No, not me, but instead my older furbaby.

Initially, I was actually happy about it. We have been through a lot with her over the last few months - chronic infections, vet drama and practically a complete breakdown in house training... it was nice to have an answer from a vet who actually sounded like they knew what they were talking about. Let me back up.

In January, she got a UTI. I had the choice of going to the non-recommended vet in town, or driving 40 miles to the vet that is recommended. I chose the one in town. $1000, six weeks and two courses of antibiotics later, the vet tells me I need to spend a ridiculous amount of antibiotics for 60 days of treatment and in the same breath tells me that the infection has damaged her kidneys. He also tells me that she has a mass in her bladder and instead of letting me give the cheaper Piroxicam that has been shown to reduce bladder tumors, he wants me to get the anti-inflammatory that costs four times as much. I asked if I could order the drugs online to save approximately $300, and the vet flipped out on me, refused to call me back, and stalled on the prescription approval. I consulted with the vet 40 miles away and they said that she didn't need to be on the antibiotics for 60 days, so I kept the extra pills for the just in case.

Since then, she's had a couple of accidents, and when she does, I put her on the antibiotics for two more weeks. This time, she had an accident the day after I finished the course. Either the infection is resistant (crap) or it's not an infection. So I truck her down the road to see the better vet, especially since the one in town won't even see us anymore.

What a different experience. She noticed immediately that my pup's urine wasn't concentrated, a sure sign of renal failure. She is doing a culture to make sure there is no infection, and can prescribe Proin, a muscle tightener that will help with incontinence and keeping her bladder safer from infection. We also got a renal prescription food, that my pup SCARFS down. It initially felt like we finally had answers, which was comforting. I am still angry at the other vet for his incompetence, and I wonder if the strong antibiotic that he wanted me to give her for two whole months damaged her kidneys more. Thank goodness I didn't give those antibiotics for the full two months. Hopefully we caught this in time.

But the reality is this is the beginning of the end. She's 16 years old. Every year for years I have wondered how much longer she can live. She's been blind half her life, she's been deaf for a few years, and her back and hips have seen better days. I did some research online and it only made me cry. I am still waiting for answers and test results, but I just hope that this will help to arrest the progression of her disease. And I hope that I will recognize the right time when it comes.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

For the Runners

I've been wokring really hard at getting my butt out to exercise and lose some weight. Sometimes I don't feel like it, and sometimes I feel really discouraged - like I feel excessively tired, slow, like my lungs are going to explode, etc. But I can still do it.

A friend of mine named Rebecca commented on an auto-tweet that my Nike+ does for me, announcing to the world that I have been on a run for so and so distance. She said "Wow! Good for you" which is the type of supportive response she would normally give and I expect from her. She's always been really supportive of me, and I try to be supportive to her as well, although I often fall short.

She's been in a lot of pain lately, rupturing ovarian cysts is the post prevalent issue right now, and I wish there was something I could do to make it better. Rebecca can't run right now. She can't walk, can't sleep much of the time, can't do anything really, so I should be happy that I can run. That is what I must do - run and be happy I can. Someday, I won't be able to run any longer. But today is not that day.

Rebecca, I really hope you start to feel better soon. Sending you lots of love.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Comfort to the Childless

I was going to call this post "Happy Mothers Day to the Mothers without children" or some similarly inadequate title. But this post isn't for the Mothers. This post isn't for the mothers who struggled. This post isn't even for the Mothers to be. It's for those who will never become mothers of living, breathing children.

I don't harbor any ill will towards those who have children, I am happy for them, especially for those who struggled, because I know how scary and painful that journey is.

But not all of us become mothers. I hate to sound like a broken record, but lately I have had a hard time facing other people's parenthood. I want to be supportive, I really do. But right now, especially on Mother's Day, I am unable to read about pregnancies and births and first Mother's Days and weaning and teething and the like. I just can't. When I had hope, I was much more supportive. I would get really excited when someone found success from IVF, when they had a surprise pregnancy after struggling with infertility, when they gave birth. But a place without hope is a dark place indeed.

So I dedicate today's post to the women who are in that dark, hopeless world. Those who, for one reason or another, will remain childless. Those who have lost their babies. Those whose babies were never conceieved. Those whose babies were never brought to them through adoption. I hope you can find enough support and comfort to get through this day. The good news is that we won't see a Mother's Day again for a year. To those who are enduring this pain with a male partner, you may have to be extra supportive of him for the next month until we can get Father's Day under our belts too.

We can do it. If nothing else, infertility develops our tough side.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

101 Things Update - WWYD?

I'm currently reading (okay, listening to) "Eat, Pray, Love." Never mind that I am only reading free Kindle books on my phone and listening to books on my runs. There is a reasonable explanation for that - I haven't gotten a library card in my new town, but because I have one in my old town, I can download books from there quite easily!

Back to the topic. While I know some people felt her book was preachy and didn't enjoy it, I am actually finding it to be very insightful with lessons that I can take to heart. Maybe it sounds better in the author's voice, which is the benefit of an audio book. Who knows, but I find these lessons to be important for healing my heart. The lessons presented in her book are lovely, and it has nothing to do with religion. One of the lessons I think is extremely valuable is forgiving yourself.

Which brings me now to the real topic: my 101 things list. I am 23 days away from the deadline and only about 1/3 through the list. The biggest thing that kept me from finishing my list was the personal recession in my household.  My husband hasn't spent much of these last three years working. I was laid off and spent money to move to a new town for a new job. We put money we didn't have into IVF, maybe against our better judgement. Maybe my list was too ambitious. I ran out of time.

So now I need to make a decision. I forgive myself for not finishing the list. I'm not going to beat myself up about it. I feel like I accomplished so many other things that weren't on this list, like learning to knit, surviving so much turmoil in my life, seeing and enjoying beautiful things, putting myself first, and more. These things weren't on my list, but I think they were just as important to my growth.

So now, I have to make a choice. I could absolve all of this by donating $350 to charity, but I don't have $350 laying around. I could also give myself a one-year grace period. I still won't get all the way through the list, but maybe in a year I will be in a better financial position to pay the charity cop out. ;)  I could make another list of 101 things I want to do, since as my life has evolved, so have my goals. Maybe I do an IOU for the $350, or maybe I up the ante and do double or nothing - $10 per goal I don't accomplish! Or maybe I make shorter term goals - what do I want to do this summer? What do I want to accomplish by the end of next winter?

What would you do?