Resilence: Another Family's Story
This afternoon, Mr. Benny and I had to make a visit to our veterinarian. Our remaining Aussie Shepherd, Sydney, was low in spirits, would not eat, and had trouble getting up. Her symptoms appeared similar to her sister, Mattie, who went to Rainbow Bridge on October 30, 2008.
We had thought the worst and had expected to help transition Syd as we did with her sister to Rainbow Bridge. However, Syd rebounded yesterday afternoon. She ate some dog food out of a can and she was able to walk a bit better last night. Her spirits and face looked less sad. It was as though Syd knew we weren't ready for her to go; she didn't wish to disappoint us as she knew how much we love her.
While I wish the latter were true, we had some tests run on Syd. Her blood platelet count was exceedingly low, but the rest of the blood levels were fine. However, the x-rays revealed some mitochondrial looking cells around her spleen, lungs, and near her main artery. Her lungs looked compromised. I don't recall what the technical terms are called, but to simplify for BW readers, she likely has two forms of cancer, one benign, the other probably malignant. She has arthritis too in her back, but luckily, we had already started giving her vitamin supplements for it, and it's not quite as bad as it was for Mattie last year.
BW readers remember all too painfully about Elizabeth when her cancer returned with a vengence; this time, there would be no cure. She would have to take meds on a regular basis. We know from interviews and other sources (such as the book Resilence) that Elizabeth gets transfusions in addition to her daily tablet.
And if that weren't enough, her family suffered some other set backs. I read another story in the LA Times this evening about the awkward moments in a restaurant recently. Must be hard on the children, although Elizabeth is still considered popular in the area.
Benny's real world outside of this blog has experienced some setbacks as well. We lost Mattie 50 weeks ago. My momma died 6 months ago. Mr. Benny is now unemployed and while he gets some interviews, more places in his field are pulling the positions, or the HR departments are so sloppy in their "no thanks" responses. Some places haven't offered to pay for his mileage or for a meal in return for driving many hours for the one hour interview. Times have been tough for him. It's demoralizing at times.
Yours truly has taken on extra interim work where I am employed. I receive a stipend for it, albeit I've not seen it yet in my paycheck. Our work place is so stretched that it's hard to get all of the administrative tasks done in a timely manner. I don't make it a habit to talk about my work here, so I won't tell you what I'm doing. But I will say that I'm hoping the experience will pay off on my long term plans of moving ahead in my career. The stipend, when I see it, will be helpful in supporting my family.
I think it would not be wise to put myself in Elizabeth's and JRE's shoes because our situation is very different. Elizabeth and John live a relatively comfortable life. She gets the best health care money can buy (although she wishes for a Medicare option for anyone as I do). Mr. Benny is now on my health insurance, but we have to watch very carefully how it is used. Mr. Benny has make 5 contacts a week to earn his unemployment check. No one in the Edwards family has have to work, although Elizabeth chose to open a part-time furniture store just to leave a legacy for her children to remember. But what Elizabeth's family and my family have in common is that we will continue in the long term to be resilient. We will have more valleys than peaks for the months to come, but we welcome the peaks when they arise.
And in living with Syd's cancer, we were given two options: we could get an ultrasound to confirm, but we also were told that even if Syd would be operated on, she is at high risk for expiring on the operating table in problems with anesthesia. Her tests today were $405. We know we can't afford surgery for her, but even if we could, her survival rate wouldn't be much more than she has in just living with the condition.
Sydney was resilient today. She was happy, went for a short walk, and she had a good appetite this evening. She will continue to have collapses as she did last weekend where she may rebound but each time, the recovery time will take longer--or she may just finally go in her sleep. The vet said she may live a few more weeks or even months, or she may have another relapse in the next days. However, Mr. Benny and I decided not to go forward on other procedures for Syd. We will live each day with her (and for that matter, Elmora, who is afflicted with feline hyperthyroidism, but holding her own at the moment) as though it is another gift from the universe.
We thank all of the BW readers for their positive thoughts and prayers, and ask that you continue to send them as Syd moves through the last days of her earth journey. You are welcome to submit your thoughts in the comments section, even it is a struggle you are experiencing and would like prayers from us.
Update: Let it Be: