It's 3 am-ish last Sunday morning, when I fumble towards the bed. I've been in and out of the bathroom, gosh, how many times already? I tumble in, burrowing down under the covers, groggy with sleep meds.
Its the crashing sound outside our room that jolts me awake at 530 am. What was that? Rick, having driven 4 hours to the cities and then back again, is deeply asleep.
He stumbles out of bed, throwing on the overhead light and we see in the hallway, its Crosby. He is in the midst of a seizure, drool pooling outside of his mouth, his legs thrashing. His eyes are dazed, his paws clawing, and he is far away in another world, trying like crazy to get out.
I wish I could say its the first time. But, it was last summer when the first glimmers of something wrong with him began to crop up. Despite having chemo the day before, I had to take Crosby in to the Animal ER.
The doctor, upon entering the room, got right down along the wall, where Cros and I were sitting. He simply starting cajoling Crosby, whispering to him, scratching his belly, and Crosby melted on the spot. Fairly certain, I did too.
We ran all kinds of blood tests and ruled out all kinds of things. But the big thing remaining? Epilepsy- which essentially means seizure disorder, and its not uncommon in Golden Retrievers.
Plus this Veterinarian? This God send of a doctor? Looks at me, and looks at Crosby, and says- "he is so in tune with you. He senses how sick you are. And he can't keep it at bay, any more than you can."
Apparently, my dog is as surrendered as I am.
So we started him on Phenobarbital, last July. Shortly after I started my 3 chemo cocktail. And he slowly got better.
But this Saturday morning? Was one of the worst seizures we've witnessed. His dose of meds is clearly not within the therapeutic range for him any more, and we need to increase it.
The seconds stretch out before us as Crosby continues to writhe in front of us. Then he loses control of both his bladder and his bowels, as we sit trying to soothe him, and yet steer clear of the mess.
Then suddenly? His eyes clear, and he is back with us!! And his tail thumps a time or two, and we start breathing in... and instantly we're gagging, because its putrid and clearly we're mired in mess. We spend the day cleaning, resting, and regrouping for the big week ahead.
Because each day His mercies wash anew, and I start each day, with the gift of renewed hope.
I'm fine until early evening, Monday, as we prepare to go to the parent hockey meeting for Nolan. My stomach is churning and I'm downing more Immodium, hoping to settle it, in time.
But half way through the meeting, I'm feeling faint, lightheaded, and just downright sick. And my stomach is now cramping.
I grab Rick's arm, and push him over to the sign-up sheets, scribbling our names down once, or twice, before I finally plead to go.
As I go to swing my leg up into the back seat of the car, my stomach doubles me over, and pain shoots through my abdomen. I'm shocked by the intensity of it.
Tears spring to my eyes, as I rock back and forth. Instantly we start talking about going to the ER. I'm running scenarios through my head. What could be causing this?
My stomach is distended and tender and I'm the one now writhing in the back seat, trying to bite my cheeks so Nolan can focus on driving.
No mother ever wants to see their young son, have to witness her in pain, let alone drive her to the ER. He asks repeatedly if he should just take me to the ER, the concern and the worry flooding his voice. But we're closer to home, and I know if I go to the ER, it'll be an all night affair, and I may not even get to go home.
So I ask for a reprieve in my own bed. I swallow all kinds of pills, and tell them to let me rest, and if its not better soon, we'll go. But really? I'm finally able to just let the tears fall, because sometimes its all I have left to offer.
I eventually manage to fall deep into sleep and awake Tuesday to the cramping subsided.
But then the day and its meaning pops into my head and I'm sickened all over again.
It's chemo day... and how on earth am I going to do infusion... when I'm feeling too weak to crawl out of bed?
I think sometimes we know, before we know.
Tuesday was going to be a hard, and then an even harder day.
I was too sick for chemo.
My stomach was a tender, roiling mess, and it took the Nurse Practitioner two seconds to check, and when I winced as she lightly touched my abdomen, she shook her head side to side, then hurried off to page Dr. Panwalkar. "No Taxol."
I'll see him in two weeks... and lord only knows what, if anything is left for treatment. Plus, I'm still waiting to hear about scheduling the scans we talked about doing. So is all the stomach turmoil side effects? Or is something new taking over my stomach, yet again?
And how is it when, you don't think you can sink any lower? The hardest blow hasn't even landed yet. With that, I simply decide by the end of the day, I'm done on Tuesday. With the tears, and the heavy, and the hard.
Late that night, its just me, kneeling on the laundry room floor, covered with shreds of whispered prayers and piles of mismatched socks. I've left it with Him.
"Empty to fill, again."
It's then, that I turn to Jesus Calling in search of words to balm my aching heart and soul... and there it is... Sarah Young brings it home for me yet again...
"Thankfulness takes the sting out of adversity. That is why I have instructed you to give Me thanks for everything... This is a spiritual act of obedience- blind obedience... it can seem irrational and even impossible to thank me for heartrending hardships.
"Thankfulness opens your heart to My presence and your mind to My thoughts. You may still be in the same place... but it is as if a light has been switched on, enabling you to see from My perspective. It is this Light of My Presence that removes the sting of adversity."
Vicky....I am too far away to hug you physically. But I hug you. From here... I hug you.ReplyDelete
Please know that I pray for you, your sweet family....(and that includes Crosby)....and I hug you some more.
You are enduring so much. And through it all, you give thanks.
You are truly His. I love you, my friend.
You leave me with such a smile in my heart and soul, friend- truly touching me with your tender and loving words. Hugging you right back and giving thanks for the treasure that is you!!Delete
thinking of you as i do so very often, and wishing and praying and hoping for miracles….xxxReplyDelete
Thankful for those sweet prayers, hopes and thoughts- Beth- so thankful!Delete
I'm praying for you. And if I'm learning anything right now, it's to be okay with letting the tears out and letting God catch them. Praying you will feel Him holding you close.ReplyDelete
The imagery of letting God catch them is beautiful- thank you for sharing that with me~ and for your beautiful prayers~Delete
I'm so sorry...I can't stand that you're going through so very much dear friend. I picture you on the floor there in your laundry room with the Spirit of God hovering over you...He is close to you...I know it. I pray though, that somehow He'll show you how close He is. Show you in a way that you absolutely know it's Him...'speak to Vicky's heart Oh Lord-hide her in the shadow of your wings...keep her safe-fight the battle for her Father.' Sending you so much love . (and praying for Crosby too..Ollie was having terrible seizures and for some reason hasn't had one in 6 months. xo)ReplyDelete
Oh goodness, how we've prayer for your pups- and maybe Crosby will be okay too, in the near future? Am so thankful for your presence in my life- we go so far back- friend and it does my heart and spirit well to see you taking the time to drop in here and offer hope-filled words. Love you, friend, deep and wide.Delete
Just tears and prayers.ReplyDelete
Lynda in Michigan
Thankful always, for the prayers and the sharing of tears, too- just helps me know others are standing by me and its helps. Love to you~Delete
As I read this now, I have hindsight for why God brought you to mind. I find it to be no coincidence that you were back on the laundry room floor, 4.5 years after you were diagnosed. I picture it as your prayer closet. I know He met you there then and He met you there again. Holding you close in prayer and thoughts. Even though it is hard to say, i say with eucharisteo--all shall be well.ReplyDelete
Yes- its like my prayers closet indeed. I loved that movie- and that image fits well. Its also a place where few others in my family will venture- :)Delete
I too wish I could just hug you Vicky....you are the bravest woman I know. You will be in my prayers tonight sweetie. Love you........ReplyDelete
Thankful for your prayers, Lisa, always- and feel the warmth in your words always, too.Delete
Prayers, Vicky, for you and Crosby.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Amanda, so great to see you here~Delete
God love you, Vicky. God love you and bring you comfort and take your pain away. I am so, so sorry. My mom's dog had epilepsy and it was so challenging. Minky had a seizure during her recent tooth procedure and I wanted to burst out crying and she was asleep. But finding something - anything - to be thankful for is so like you.ReplyDelete
Praying for relief and I know that with Thanksgiving visiting all of us tomorrow, I am thankful for you and your spirit and your rich words feeding us wisdom and gratitude no matter what. May all your love and depth return to you to encourage YOU. May you and your dear family have a very special day tomorrow. Happy Thanksgiving, dear heart. You are loved and treasured. Please, Lord. Touch Vicky's body, heal her, help her, relieve her, and give her options, hope, sleep, peace, and bountiful comfort. We thank you. Amen.
Such a beautiful prayer you've left me with- and I have to say so much of that is what I've experienced. Each day I've felt a little better- my stomach has calmed a bit and I've been resting and regaining some strength and energy- slow but sure. Thankful for your friendship and love, friend- so thankful~Delete
Dear Vicky, you are in my prayers as you bravely face each day. Thanks for sharing your story with us.ReplyDelete
So touched to see you here, and thankful, too! Much love to you and your precious family- your in our hearts and prayers too!Delete
Prayers every night. Happy Thanksgiving.ReplyDelete
Hope your Thanksgiving was good, like ours~ thankful for your prayers, always~Delete
Love to you, friend... prayers and healing for you and Crosby.ReplyDelete
Love right back to you, Karen and thankful for those prayers~Delete
Stunned by the magnitude of all you experience in your days. And your commitment to blind obedience...to seeking and surrendering. As always I feel 'tongue tied' in finding the words to acknowledge you. My heart holds you in gentle thoughts....you and your Steeler loving boys and gorgeous dog and your Superman.ReplyDelete
Some days, Arie, indeed some days it all feels like it pile up, and I know I am not the only one experiences this. You always find the right words- the most perfect words, Arie- because they're from YOU and you take the time to share them, and they always touch me so. Thankful for your friendship, Arie- always~Delete
Sometimes I am in the midst of my own often unpleasant reality, when the headaches come day after day, and I wake with them, and it seems that there is no answer and no relief. I struggle, and just when I am feeling the sorriest for myself, you bring me to my knees. God, how I hurt for you, so much more than I hurt for myself. My plight seems pale compared to what you are going through. And it doesn't matter, really, the ending. It's the journey. How we manage the journey. I send you love, Vicky, and know that we will meet some day some where and we will look back, and be thankful that we had it. The journey.ReplyDelete
Such wise, and true words Hilary- oh my- big yes to what you have said. Your journey has been equally hard and heavy- mine doesn't diminish yours- ever. And I so strongly believe we will look back, and be thankful for what we've had- so true! Love to you, friend~Delete
My WiFi has been on the fritz here in Anchorage, so taking a moment to quickly say I love you, you are in my heart and prayers. Big hug from up north xxxReplyDelete
Big hugs all the way up north to you, Susan~Delete
I love this Sarah Young quote and just spent some time on the internet looking for her book.ReplyDelete
I am so sorry for what you are going through. On this day, I am especially grateful for your presence in my life.
Kass- I love the "Jesus Calling" devotional- I pray you ordered one and will find comfort in it as well! I so love having YOU present in my life just as much~Delete
God's blessings on you and your family today and every day.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Francis- God's blessings to you and yours~Delete
I can't find words that I think will comfort you. You love and you are loved and you hold your faith deep in your soul. I don't know many who have your kind of strength. My best to you and your family and your sweet dog.ReplyDelete
Denise, thankful for your words, always. I truly don't feel strong, but I do feel a deep desire to just keep going :) Thanks for going along with me~Delete
Oh My, Beautiful! There are moments in life, when it all seem more then we can bare. To much all at once. We have a right to feel that overwhelmed at time's..... it's what we do in the aftermath that shows the strength we fight for...and your strength is a showcase for us all!!! Tears sprang to my eyes as you spoke of Nolan and the look in his eyes as he is driving. I know only to well a mothers love and heart. We never want our children to see us in situations that bring them any anxiousness or fear. And Crosby....oh he is so LOVED! the beautiful therapy dog! How I wish I could take all this away from you. Truly! On the night, you had enough and the tears fell, you were not alone. On this night, I too had enough and the tears fell.... and for some reason as I read this and realized it was the same night... I thought 'Oh my, the lord had double duty that night..but then I thought...OH MY! who else had enough on that day and the tears finally fell??? In my mind I saw a picture, you on the laundry room floor, the lord kneeling beside you, touching you... his hand on your back and on your head that holds no hair...but stroking you as if you had hair, soothing...because just like you your mothers heart is with your boys...so is our fathers heart with you! You are his and your pain he feels...he was there! Vicky, may this week bring you more comfort and less pain, now that they took you off Taxol. Leave the rest in our fathers hands. So love you and you so inspire me... you are a true beautiful soul! xoxoxReplyDelete
Such a wonderful perspective beautiful friend- and such a great way to think of things- yes- we weren't alone on that Tuesday night, pouring it all out and feeling as though we can't take much more. Praying that piece by piece you will be put back together again- along with me. Love you, sweet one!Delete
My golden has seizures and my default we took her off all grains/gluten and her siezures stopped immendiatly. She will eat rice and sweet potatoes etc.ReplyDelete
Thanks for sharing that info with me- we've had him eating a dry blend that our vet recommended, but maybe we need to switch to something else. Thankful you took the time to share with us!Delete
Tears are streaming down my face as I read this. We have been without power for eight days and just moments ago my computer began to work. Your blog was the first place I went.
As we have been the the dark,with only a gas fireplace to keep us warm, I read that same verse from Jesus Calling...candle in hand to see the words. It brought tears as I read it then and more tears as I reread it now on your post. That line, "Give Me thanks for everything," has held me up the past few weeks. When hard becomes harder, I am surrendering all, like you...leaving it with Him.
This Thanksgiving, when we went around and listed those gifts we were most thankful for, I said your name, dear friend. You have recently been on my mind and heart, almost minute by minute. Now I know why. And your dear Crosby, in sinc with you and struggling as well.
What I know for sure, in these hard, hard moments, is that He never leaves us. Our Lord God Almighty is right there in the midst of it all.
I love you to the moon and back, my dear soul-sis. Always praying...
How hard to have gone through so many days without power!! Oh my, until it happens to us, we simply become so used to the convenience of having everything right at our fingertips, and then when its gone, it puts us in a tailspin of sorts. So my heart is with you as you recover from the mess of it all! I love that you still were able to do your devotional- where would I be without those spirit and faith-filled words? Have been thinking of you- so very much! Am coming to read your blog soon, friend. Sending so much love to you!Delete
You come to my heart so often, Vicky. And this post--this beautifully honest writing--thank you. You always write straight from your heart, never watering down your emotions.ReplyDelete
I'm so grateful for the way He prompts you to write.
Oh, and sweet Crosby...Wish I could bend down and give him a hug. Our Lab had a few seizures--never exactly sure why. He was hit by a car a couple of months earlier. I did some research, and we switched him to glutenfree food. He's been seizure free ever since, about 2 years.
So thankful for your grace-filled words, Julie, they touch me so. We are definitely looking into Crosby's dog food and figuring out if we need to switch him to something else that might help him. Thank you for sharing about your Lab with us! Blessings to you!Delete
I came back....because I wanted to leave another virtual hug for you.ReplyDelete
Praying for you, my friend.....
So thankful to see you here, Jackie- hugging you right back! Such a lovely surprise to receive such a lovely card, too, with a wonderful verse on it! Love to you~Delete
Just checking back. Saw on your Facebook page that you headed to New York and you continue to amaze and inspire with how you push through and forge ahead through the muck and mire. You ARE a force to be reckoned with, dear Vicky, and you stand at the front of the line leading the charge. You have given me bravery today when I want to fall apart and melt into a puddle of "I CAN'T!" Looking forward to hearing about YOU, about those who are being touched by you and the message you have been sent with, and praying that each day you are buoyed and kept close tight to the source of all strength, life, and beauty. May everything you give out be poured back in to overflowing. Loving you, thinking of you, picturing you in NYC. (((((squishy hugs)))))ReplyDelete
Oh, poor poor Crosby. That sounds so hard and sad. You were on my mind last week because I just knew that Thanksgiving has to be your holiday since you try to embody Thanksgiving all year round. Praying that you are recovering and well on your way to NY!ReplyDelete
Also, November has typically been a crazy month for me in terms of chemo and dire news (but not this year thankfully!), and I have read that exact Jesus Calling devotion multiple years.
My sweet friend,ReplyDelete
It's my last day with students at the college so I have been up very early grading and took some prayer time.You, dear one, came to my mind and heart. I so hope your New York trip is filled with JOY and WONDER as you share your precious story with others. I am praying that God gives you extra strength and helps you to feel so much better while you are there. May you live and enjoy every moment!
Know that we, your prayer warriors, are holding you up in prayer. You are surrounded by love, hugs and prayers and we are praying for Rick, Nolan and Colton too!!
Love you to the moon and back again, Vicky!