Why "71º & Sunny?"

I consider 71º to be the perfect temperature. Not too cold and not too hot. I also love perfect sunny days. The vast majority of days are not 71º & Sunny and yet, all days were created by God's hand and they are still gifts, even if they don't fit my ridiculous definition of perfection. My struggle with OCD has at times imprisoned me in an impossible attempt to achieve perfection. I'm now learning to love all kinds of days that don't even come close to 71º & Sunny.

Please leave me a comment below. I really want to know what you are thinking!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

And The Back Story

Sorry guys. This is a bit of a long one.

Phew! I'm tired. What an autumn it has been. A little of it has been good, unfortunately, a lot of it not so good. I spent 5 hours in the Emergency Room two days ago, suffering from vomiting and severe nausea that just would not stop. It was awful. I'm very thankful to the nurses and doctors that helped me to feel better. I'm definitely better today, but still have some weakness and a lingering headache that I wish would go away.

I've also had a few other things going on that I've been struggling with, but I won't bore you with all of those details. I'm not going to sugar coat it though, it's been painful.

One big positive is that Jim's doctor believes he is in "deep-remission." That is huge and I'm so thankful. Because of that, the doctor suggested that Jim could stop taking his bi-monthly infusions if he chooses. But then, that means that there is nothing preventing Jim from getting another life threatening flare of Crohn's. Of course, I want him to stay on the meds, and Jim wants off. I'm terrified. Sigh.

Another good thing is that I got a part-time retail job (just for the holidays). It's my first paying job in over 16 years. I'm really thrilled about it, because it is a definite victory over the OCD. There were times when I thought I would never, ever be able to work again. Of course, the job brings up new obsessions and more things to be anxious about, but I'm trying to use my CBT/ERP skills, and overall, things are going very well.

But the big story in my life has been my baby, Fender. We first brought him home at the end of August. And 10 days later, we almost lost him. Yep, you read that right. I woke up on a Wednesday morning to find that he had a little blood in his stool, so I called the veterinarian and scheduled an appointment for later that day. While at the vet's office, she noticed that he had little bruises all over his body. She got concerned and decided to take some blood work. Imagine my shock when she came back to tell me that he had literally no platelets in his blood! Those little bruises? They were the result of internal bleeding caused by the fact that he had no ability to clot his blood. The vet told me that she had never seen a blood test result like that before. She then had me take him over to another animal hospital that had more sophisticated equipment. Thankfully, the medication they gave him kicked in and he was able to come home two days later with just the tiniest bit of platelets starting to form in his blood again. I'm very happy to say that all of his subsequent blood test results show a very normal and healthy puppy. However . . .

There are complications, of course. After taking every possible blood test known to man, the best conclusion that the 5 (count 'em, FIVE) vets that saw him can come to, is that he had an immune reaction to a vaccination that he received at 8 weeks of age. Which means: he can never receive another immunization again, or it might kill him. Which also means: he can never be kenneled or boarded, he can never have puppy playdates with another dog, just going to the vet for a checkup puts him at risk, and he will most likely die at a relatively young age from some (normally preventable) disease. I can never have him groomed, so we will have to do all of the grooming ourselves. I can't have friends watch him if we go out of town, if they own a dog. Let's face it, who will watch your dog but only someone else with a dog of their own? Yep. Definite life complications. Thank goodness for my parents. They have been literal life savers. This past weekend they watched Fender so that we could go to a wedding. More than that, they have just been overall super helpful during this most stressful period.

One of the biggest complications, though, was that I noticed in early September that, gulp, Fender had fleas! I thought I would die. Literally. If you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you will know that I have an absolute terrifying fear of bug/rodent infestations. This was beyond my worst nightmare. I did some research on treating/eliminating fleas, and the news was not good. I could not put any flea treatment on Fender because he was still recovering from his near death, and he was also on immune suppressing medications (ironically, just like my husband). We did not know what his reaction would be to the flea meds, so my vet told me not to use them. She also told me not to flea bomb the house for the same reason. In fact, she told me that the only thing we could do was to vacuum our entire house, every day, for the life cycle of the flea which is, 90 days. Seriously?! It takes me 2 hours to vacuum the entire house. 90 days???!! I did it for the first 7 out of 9 days. We just could not keep up. Jim and I were both physically and emotionally exhausted. I was worried sick about Fender's health, but I was also worried about Jim's health too. Because of Jim's own ill health, being exposed to flea bites (and any subsequent diseases they might carry) is just out of the question. But I'm deathly afraid of pesticides too, so a flea bomb was out of the question as well. I was also mortified about the possibility that I might pass fleas on to someone else and then they would have the same problem. It was the perfect OCD storm, and it is why I truly thought I was having a relapse.

About a week and a half later, I was able to bring Fender to a holistic vet, and after speaking with her about it, she agreed to help me find a flea treatment that was not as strong as most on the market. I put the treatment on him, and thankfully, he did not have a reaction. Oh I felt so much guilt about using that treatment! I thought for sure that I was killing him. Then she told me that since it had been a few weeks since I first noticed the fleas, and that because I had not seen another flea since that first day, the odds were good that I caught them early, and that I should just really give the house a super good cleaning once a week. Ok. Now that I could live with.

December 5th will be 90 days. But I'm pretty sure at this point that we do not have fleas. I've literally not seen one since that very first day I noticed them. We washed Fender with Dawn dish soap and literally tore through the house like crazy to wash everything down right away, so it looks like we did indeed get them early. I also had tons of friends praying for me (thank you!) and I'm certain that the Lord carried me through this terrible, terrible time.

And so . . . we try to move forward. With all the uncertainty that life continues to throw our way. Honestly, the only thing I am certain of, is God's love for me. And for you.

15 comments:

  1. Wow Sunny, boring is not in your vocabulary, is it? I'm sorry you have been through so much, but you made it through! I will continue to keep you and your whole family (human and animal) in my thoughts and prayers. Sending lots of hugs........

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    1. Thanks so much, Janet! Your hugs are some of the best!

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  2. Oh wow, you have been through it haven't you? I'm sorry you were sick. I've had to deal with fleas before myself. No fun! And having your puppy sick was no fun either, I'm sure. But good for you for getting a job!

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    1. Oh I LOVE my job, Kristina. And the OCD is not nearly as much of a problem as I thought it would be.

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  3. My goodness, Sunny, you have been through the wringer! I am so sorry about all of these things, but I know that you have the strength to get through. I hope you are feeling better and that Jim has reached this good place in his health. I'll pray for you both as you decide the next step with his infusion. And bless little Fender! I know that must have been so scary when you learned about his platelets. I'm glad the holistic vet was able to provide you with something that helped him. We are going through some concerns with Chase Bird--possibly allergies and/or autoimmune. Right now we have him on a hypoallergenic diet that he's not crazy about. But we just have to take it a step at a time, don't we? Hugs to you, dear Sunny, and you and your family--which includes Fender!--will be in my prayers. :-)

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  4. *I meant to say I was glad that Jim has reached this place in his health.

    And I wished I lived close by--I could watch Fender when you needed to go out of town! :-)

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    1. Ha ha ha, I'm sure Fender would just love you, Tina! I know I do. : )

      Funny, we had to put Anna on special allergy food as well. It actually seems quite common, from what I can tell.

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  5. Monique, bless your heart, you have been through so much! I can relate to being sick, so I understand, as I had C Difficile (a horrible bacterial infection) and was sick with it for the entire month of July. I am glad that Jim is doing better.

    Congratulations on your job!!! It sounds as if you are enjoying it, and this is even better! Please know that you, Jim and Fender are in my prayers. Sending you warm hugs and much love.

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    1. Oh yes, I remember how sick you were, Linda. I had a friend with C Diff and I know how terrible it can be.

      I really appreciate the prayers!

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  6. Poor you. I am so sorry you have been going through all this. Hugs.

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    1. Aw, thanks, Elizabeth! Life just seems to have a lot of obstacles, doesn't it?

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  7. My goodness...what a Fall you've had! Keeping you (and Jim and dear little Fender) in prayer. Hang in there!

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    1. Thanks, Jean! We are indeed hanging in there. Continuing with the theme of our Fall, Thanksgiving weekend was a disaster and now I'm sick again - bad head cold. Ha! But I am well aware that it could always be MUCH worse.

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  8. Wow, just now catching up on blog posts from the fall. My niece has just been diagnosed with Crohn's, which means I finally get just what big deal this has been for you and your husband. I hope his remission lasts for a long long long time!

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    1. Oh no! I'm so sorry about your niece. Yes, Ulcerative Colitis/Crohn's is a terrible disease and I think it's hard to grasp just how destructive it can be to someone's life unless you have it yourself or love someone who does. Hmmm. Kind of like OCD in that way, isn't it? I hope she can find helpful treatment soon. Thank you, I hope Jim is in remission for a long time too!

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