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."