I understand so much more about dogs than I ever did before and there are moments when I wish I was one. I have interacted with packs for years and I have witnessed individual behaviours with both interest and intent. Had I been a dog on July 11th I would have been wary entering the surgeon’s office and sniffed the hand that held my medical file. He was the doctor that had performed my brain surgery and the file contained the pathology report and my prognosis. Had I been a dog, I would have kept a bit of a distance and not put all my faith and trust into a human who had not yet proven himself to be worthy. But I wasn’t a dog so I rushed in, eager to hear and accept anything the wise one had to tell me. I ignored his dismissive nature and apparent lack of interest. I had to ask for the pathology results as they were not forthcoming and I can only assume he referred to some actual report because his glance at the file was quick and his actions seemed like a mock shuffling of papers. Had I been a dog I would have barked as a warning sign that I needed more but instead I silently hoped the tumour was truly benign. When I received the unexpected and surprising news that they wanted to operate again I certainly would have growled had I been a dog. No reason or reassurance was given - I was simply being referred to an optic surgeon. Nothing had prepared me for this so my immediate reaction was to refuse. I knew some of the tumour remained behind my eye but I had been told its growth would be monitored and only if it grew rapidly would surgery be required again. When I explained this to the doctor he looked surprised and reacted as if I had just had a really good idea. No dog would have pretended to accept the falsehood and disillusionment being inflicted, but I did. I stayed longer asking questions and even sought his approval for my decision to refuse further surgery. Had I been a dog I would have squatted or lifted my leg on his lame responses.    When I left through the revolving doors of the tall and mighty medical building I wished for a porch to crawl under.I felt akin to dogs who are harmed or abused and understood their need to take themselves off and hide as I never had before. I thought of the dogs who had been confident and certain one moment then suffered some unexpected and thoughtless blow the next. The ground beneath them was no longer trustworthy and they sought out a dark and private place where they could feel safe and lick their wounds. I too wanted a small space to hide and feel safe in. A place where I could gather myself.  The dogs had taught me well and I better understood who they were in their moments of confusion and fear. They seek solitude because they need to summon courage, healing and balance once again. I would do the same.  I have witnessed dogs raise their heads after severe abuse or injury and marveled at their ability to still believe in goodness. I have held dogs in my arms and promised they will never be harmed again. I have assured dogs that I will love them better and known that I could. I have asked dogs to trust me and they have. Each one of these dogs believed me and found it in themselves to begin again. I am not a dog but I have learned from the best.

UNDER THE PORCH

I understand so much more about dogs than I ever did before and there are moments when I wish I was one. I have interacted with packs for years and I have witnessed individual behaviours with both interest and intent. Had I been a dog on July 11th I would have been wary entering the surgeon’s office and sniffed the hand that held my medical file. He was the doctor that had performed my brain surgery and the file contained the pathology report and my prognosis. Had I been a dog, I would have kept a bit of a distance and not put all my faith and trust into a human who had not yet proven himself to be worthy. But I wasn’t a dog so I rushed in, eager to hear and accept anything the wise one had to tell me. I ignored his dismissive nature and apparent lack of interest.

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Canada Day

Canada Day

Canada Day

I haven’t written for a while but as someone who celebrates each Canada Day with great joy and pride I had to make a simple attempt at well wishes and an update. I hate to distract from the celebrations of 150 years with my grim news though.

Even with seven pups frolicking around me and my six dogs at my side I have gone downhill since my brain surgery. The second week of recovery began with an autoimmune disorder. I ached everywhere, was critically fatigued, annoyingly nauseous and suffered from thrush. Treatment dealt with some of the symptoms but not all. After another few weeks of exhaustion and misery my blood was tested. The results showed that my hemoglobin levels are low which apparently indicates internal bleeding somewhere. I have been referred to yet another doctor and hope her diagnosis and prognosis bring some hope and relief.  

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OBSTACLES OVERCOME

OBSTACLES OVERCOME

OBSTACLES OVERCOME
When I came home from the hospital after brain surgery two weeks ago, roofers were working on the house and four dogs were coughing due to a virus they all shared. My brain throbbed to the beats of thudding, scraping and banging. The anticipation of someone falling through the roof at any given moment heightened all sensations. I actually looked forward to the hum of the compressor to dull some of the more thunderous intrusions. If, in a moment of silence I began to drift into sleep, one of the dogs would hack and retch to clear their throat and I would be startled awake. Still, they were near and that comfort meant more to me than sleep. 

 

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BEING STILL

BEING STILL

Being Still

My headaches worsened in January 2017 and while I saw my doctor on three different occasions he never examined any part of me. I have always suffered from headaches and I was asking for more migraine pills to get me through what I thought was simply a difficult spell that would pass but he argued every step of the way. Prior to seeing him I was stressed and on completion of each visit I was anxious. I felt adrift and rather abandoned.

It was February 2017 when I went for my regular eye appointment and the doctor asked why my right eye was bulging out of my head. I said I had no idea. She found it remarkable that I hadn’t noticed it. I found it remarkable that she didn’t understand that a sixty-six-year-old, greying, rather chubby dog rescuer didn’t spend much time in front of a mirror eyeing herself carefully. I needed new glasses so chose a pair of violet frames with hints of embedded glitter. When better to shine, I thought. I was told then that I had a tumour and the road ahead had never seemed vaster. The journey had begun and learning to accept was the lesson. I emotionally climbed mountains and stumbled into valleys. I announced my fears and hoped beyond hope that I would be strong enough to cope. I hated the worry I was causing so many. Having a brain tumour is daunting.

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WAITING FOR THE MASK

WAITING FOR THE MASK

Several people have inquired as to how I am doing after recently announcing that I had a brain tumour so I felt a quick update was appropriate.

I just spent six days in St. Michaels Hospital awaiting surgery. I fasted twenty hours a day with an IV of saline solution attached to my arm because I had to be ready whenever the doctors were. Tests continued to be conducted and it was determined that the tumour is attached to the bone and muscle at my temple, my brain and right eye. This makes for a complicated surgery with more than one surgeon required. I need a neurosurgeon to operate on my brain and an ophthalmologist to operate on my eye. Because of this, time was needed to form the appropriate surgical team and for all to be available at the same time. 

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MY TURN

MY TURN

I have written many triumphant stories about the dogs we have rescued over the years. How they have overcome hardships yet still hold hope and faith in their hearts. I greatly admire the brilliant spirit of these dogs and their ability to live in the moment regardless of what has come before and what may follow.  I have asked much of these dogs – to trust, to overcome and to believe. Not one of these dogs has ever let me down.

Now it is my turn to do what I have asked of them – to be the person they believe me to be. It has just been confirmed that I have a brain tumour and will need surgery to remove it. The mass is behind my right eye and is attached to my brain. No idea yet whether it is cancerous or not but I will deal with what I know, as I come to know it.

The procedure I require is only performed at Sunnybrook or St. Michaels hospitals in Toronto so I am waiting to hear from the neurosurgeons as to which centre can take me the soonest. Seems to be a sense of urgency amongst the doctors.

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