Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Our Lab Rescue Story ~ Shadow

During my morning commute, I was feeling good about my run yesterday.  I thought about how I was going to make my blog be all about my great "comeback."  Five weeks to go until my first half marathon for 2013 and I've only ran two 5K's this month/year. 


And then, this afternoon, about 1:07pm, the phone rang and those thoughts went to the curbside.  The words spoken by the vet made me want to crawl inside my desk and become invisible. 

Adopting a puppy was not my first choice but the kids talked about it constantly.  I took a leap of faith and secretly filled out the Lab Rescue application, one late December evening, when taking a break from wrapping presents.  I remember how perfectly everything came together.  We hadn't even been "in the system" for a month and our adoption coordinator called to say she had found not one, but two puppies, to choose from.  They were brothers.  Both Mom and Dad were Black Labs and the breeder had given the puppies to Lab Rescue.  We were never were told "why" the puppies were given to Lab Rescue and I honestly do not think Lab Rescue knew "why" either.  Nevertheless, we went into puppy mode and frantically ordered from Amazon prime, and the next day, we received a crate, dog bowls, dog toys, a collar, and a puppy training book.

On January 19th, we had an appointment to see the two puppies.  One of the puppies, "Rudy," immediately took to the kids and chased them around the driveway.  This was the same puppy who was healing from his hernia surgery.  His brother stayed close to the Foster Mom.  When we had to make a choice, it was a mutual decision.  That afternoon, our lives changed, and we adopted "Rudy" (appropriately re-named "Shadow" by the kids) and instantly fell in love with him.  He was a very special puppy.  He was the twins "surprise" birthday present!

We noticed Shadow "snored" during the car ride home and thought it was cute.  We didn't think much of it. 

We continue to fall in love with him everyday.  I love how he follows us around the house or lies at our feet when we sit down or lets us pick him up and carry him like a baby.  He has become a permanent fixture in our bed.  Shadow is one of the sweetest dogs that I've ever met.

At his first check up, our vet was concerned about possible hip dysplasia because Shadow had a tendency to hop like a bunny when running.  He wanted us to follow up with an x-ray.  Less than a week later, Shadow's snoring turned into wheezing.  Off to the vet he went and he was prescribed antibiotics.  Meanwhile, Shadow was driving us crazy with house training, for it was not going so well.  He was also starting to nip more and would chase the kids around the house.  The couches quickly became a "safe" base. 

The course of antibiotics was completed but the wheezing only seemed to increase.  We took him to the Lab Rescue vet earlier this week and there was concern.  She ruled out an infection and believed the cause to be congenital.  She also agreed with me that one eye was smaller than the other.  The Rescue vet confirmed what our vet had said "usually when there is one congenital defect found, there will be others."  I asked for my prayer warrior friends to please pray for our puppy and tried my best to not worry.  Usually it all works out somehow, someway.  Unfortunately, I am not certain this Lab Rescue story will have a happy ending.

It will be a month this Saturday that Shadow has been with our family and he has been such a blessing.  Shadow makes us slow down and appreciate the love he freely gives, he lets me snuggle with him (unlike the kids), and most of all, he enjoys life, loves to play, and has never met a stranger!  We don't even think he is aware that he is sick. 

Today my fears were confirmed.  Shadow was sedated and had x-rays done.  The x-ray of his skull and mouth/throat are being read by a radiologist.  The vet recommends that he be scoped.  The biggest punch to the gut was delivered when the vet confided to me that Shadow's brother was also seen by her colleague.  The vet confirmed that Shadow has the same eye defect and had been seen for a similar wheezing noise.  Shadow's brother has already been scoped and it was confirmed that he has an underdeveloped trachea.  The vet recommended to the family, that if they weren't attached, to give the puppy back to Lab Rescue.

It seems so cruel.  Shadow is only three months old.  I keep wondering "why" our family was placed in this emotional situation.  I am sick to my stomach and my tears are endless.  How are we supposed to say goodbye to this sweet, furry little guy, if it turns out he has the same diagnosis, as his brother??

It is such a difficult situation to be faced with, especially after having to make the decision to put your 14 year old yellow lab down less than a year ago.  I'm not sure I can let go of Shadow that easily but is that fair to the kids?  His quality of life is uncertain.  His airway may be collapsing.  His activity will be restricted.  More than likely, he will need to go to the emergency vet, to get oxygen, probably when my husband is traveling and I'm home alone with three kids.  Do we want to spend thousands of dollars on a surgery that "might" be able to fix the problem when we have three kids and paying for college tuition is on the horizon?

However, I have learned that no matter how difficult of a situation you are placed in, it is absolutely essential you do not lose H-O-P-E.  This week, we will find out more information from the radiologist and hopefully, we will be able to make an appointment this week to get him scoped.  I am a big believer in prayer and will continue to pray.  I know I am not in control and have to believe there is a Higher Power who has a plan for Shadow and our family.  I am amazed how much this sweet puppy has already transformed our lives. 

*Lab Rescue has been wonderful during this whole process, authorizing medical treatment for Shadow and paying for it with their funds.  I am continually impressed with this organization and how much compassion they have for the Lab's that they rescue.  For 2013, our family joined Project 52: Focus on Kindness.  One of our service projects is to collect items for Lab Rescue.  We have a bin at the kids school and I have asked family, friends and neighbors, for donations.  The organization is very appreciative of all donations and they especially need new leashes, collars, dog approved toys, and beds.  Please let me know if you would like to donate any dog items to this wonderful organization or you may contact Lab Rescue directly!  I am working with a Lab Rescue volunteer who is going to pick up the donated items from my house.  Thank you for considering making a donation to Lab Rescue!

Lab Rescue of Lrcp
(301) 299-6756

Monday, February 11, 2013

Bounce Up

I wish I was more consistent with my blog.  I have BIG dreams on what I want to do.  I just need to Focus, Energize, and Bounce Up from the negativity.  Tonight I felt a calling to write.  Here I am in the second month of 2013 and wonder where my motivation has disappeared to?  It has been tough.  I took almost two full months off of running due to foot tendonitis.  I had a stomach virus for three weeks in January.  I was a lost runner girl.

The past two months, I've focused on strength training thinking that would make me feel STRONG.  Instead I feel like jelly.  Everything I had worked so hard for has gone out the window.  Sometimes I wonder if I dreamed about crossing all those finish lines last was insanity.

My race schedule knocked me out.  I conquered each race like I had normal energy levels.  And then I would feel it the next morning like a freight train, as the fatigue would settle in and not necessarily the pain.  I believe that when I run, I am conquering the pain that I experienced so long ago.  My mind travels back in time when I was 25 and woke up one day and couldn't get my legs to move.  Flashbacks to when I hobbled on crutches for an ENTIRE six months!!!  Finally, the diagnosis of chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia was pinned on me.  I was told to take arthritis medicine and that I'd never run again.

Yeah, OK....WHATEVER!!!!

I decided I was going to Bounce Up!  Not fall down...

This is the story of my life.  A life that on the outside that seems pretty good and fabulously fun and that I live in a bubble shielded from all the really BAD STUFF. 

I can't even begin to go into the detail, after detail, of each struggle I've encountered.  It began when my birth mother couldn't even hold me to say good-bye.  I was a lost newborn.  Two months later, I was found by my adoptive parents.

The resilience to survive, to succeed, to accomplish the Impossible has always been pulsing through my blood.

Often when I meet other bloggers, I tell them I blog but a part of me feels like I am a phony.  I can't be light and fluffy and write about my everyday musings.  Instead, I want to formulate my nitty gritty, raw emotions and translate my experiences into words that dance on the page.  It has been this way since I was 12 and began writing everyday.  Taylor Swift sings about her break ups.  During my teen years and college, I spilled my emotions to my journal and minored in creative writing.  After graduation, life became more difficult in the real world and my writing subsided but the passion has remained.

As for this blog, I usually don't sit down and let the words tumble unless there is some sort of message that I want to deliver.  This is why, I absolutely must finish one of my three novels.  There are too many stories to tell.  I want to somehow change the ending.  If anything I've learned while being silent and watching the world being changed by ordinary people, like you and me, is that ONE person can make a Difference.  It is all about being able to Bounce Up and Make Things Happen.

This past weekend was difficult. Memories of anguish flooded my mind.  I fell down hard on Feb 10, 2005.  This was the day that I lost my third unborn child at 16 weeks.  Tremendous pain and heartache followed.  The doctor could not find the baby's heartbeat and made me go to a different room and repeat the ultrasound, only to confirm the horrific truth.  I was shoved into a doctors office and told there was absolutely nothing they could do for me because I was 16 weeks along in the pregnancy.  I was too far along to have a D&C and not far along enough to deliver.  I was in limbo.

They made me feel like I was trying to have a late term abortion but my baby was already deceased.  I also learned my baby was supposed to be a twin but never developed.  I still weep when I think about that day.  They had no idea what to do with me.  I was an inconvenience to their busy high risk pregnancy practice.  Empathy dissipated into the air.

I was informed to contact a doctor who was on vacation and ask if he could perform a D&E procedure on me.  I didn't even know what I was asking for.  I was told to just follow orders, after they left me alone in the doctor's office. There wasn't a nurse with me or a social worker, just me alone in that sterile doctors office with the fancy diploma's hanging on the wall.

The doctor who agreed to perform the procedure, cut his vacation short to help a lost soul.  He was quite a character.  I swear that when we met him at the hospital, he was still enjoying the buzz of his vacation martini's.  But as crazy as he was, he appeared in the darkness and helped me return to a world of light.  After the procedure, he told me he was fairly certain it was a girl.  Like my birth mother, I never got to say goodbye to my baby girl.  I remember being wheeled out of the hospital and as my husband got the car, I stared into the Heavens and decided to name my baby girl, Faith.  And then I went home to grieve.

Baby Faith is one of the reasons why our family team, The Fabulous Five Fitzgerald Family, participates in the March of Dimes walk, March for Babies every year...for our Angel babies and for our Earth babies.  We cannot choose our circumstances but we can choose how we will react to the situation.

I am not sure why I am feeling compelled to share my story but it is important to sit quietly in moments of pain and anguish and absorb it so that it can be transformed into goodness and healing.  When the weight of the world is on your shoulders, you have to Bounce Up.  For this is the only way you can begin to truly heal and go back out into the world again. 

                                                           ~ Peace and Love ~