Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My Lulu

I love this girl...and I just want to say thank you, Jesus, for letting her remain with me just a bit longer! Every day is a blessing...yep - even when she stares holes in my head!

Just a few short (long) months ago, we spent a week here, at the Veterinary Emergency Center, where Lulu was ultimately diagnosed with Lyme Disease as well as not one, but two rare complications of the disease: an autoimmune disorder which attacks the joints known as Polyarthritis and Lyme Nephritis which attacks the kidneys. Lyme Nephritis. Those two words have caused me a lot of anguish over the last 3 months. I'll tell you what you won't find if you google it: hope. You won't find hope. And I certainly didn't hear "hope" from the vets at the hospital* during her week-long stay...but I looked in those eyes and I saw hope! And here we are, 3 months later! *But let me codify that statement by saying that I truly believe Lulu is here today because she spent that week at VEC where she had 24/7 around the clock specialist care! They were fabulous in their treatment...it's just that Lyme Nephritis is a very bad diagnosis with a very poor prognosis. sigh...

About a month and a half ago...she was at her lowest weight - 38 pounds, down from about 54 when she first got sick. You could count every rib, every vertebrae, every cranial bone and she has a bald spot on her bony bottom because she favors her left side when she sits and the pressure from her tailbone rubbed the hair away. I worry about her skin integrity there - but so far, so good! These next two photos show the effects of the Polyarthritis (see her front right "elbow" or hock as it's properly called)? Pretty misshapen and at times, very painful for her...

The bandage on her right rear leg in this next photo is where she actually did develop a pressure ulcer from where her bony legs rested atop one another when she slept...wound care healed it up and since she's put a little meat back on her bones (up to 42 lbs at the last vet visit!) it's no longer as big an issue. For now.

My sweet hubby and I have used the same amazing veterinary practice here for more years than I care to count - they are a fantastic group that have provided our pets with wonderful, quality care throughout the years. But I knew when I brought Lulu home from the hospital in Richmond (yep, we were out of town when she got sick!) that she was going to need critical care. And so while she was still in the hospital, I did my homework and found the Internal Medicine veterinary specialist that has been seeing her weekly (we've just *graduated* to every two weeks!!) since I brought her home. This vet only sees sick animals...no routine visits here and that's good, because there's been nothing "routine" about her care! There is attention to detail at every visit. Many is the time that Lulu and I have been there for hours (literally)...and she is being attended to for every minute of that time. I am so thankful this man has been a faithful advocate for my girl! She surprises him (and delights him!) and perplexes him all at the same time! When he calls to give me lab results, he always prefaces it by saying, "Well, this is Lulu we're talking about...!" That's because it's always a mixture of good/bad news. Usually more bad than good. Ugh. The long and short of it is that Lulu is in kidney failure. Unfortunately, dogs don't have the availability of dialysis. Trust me - I've asked. It's only provided at some veterinary schools on a limited basis...

And meds? Don't even get me started on meds! But I will say two things: Lulu is on dramatically fewer medications now than she was. Thank you, Jesus! And a big shout out to the makers of these: They have made med time a real pleasure for both Lulu and I. Seriously. You have no idea.

In fact, they will have to pry Greenies Pill Pockets (or "Chicken Pills" as we call them around here - long story!) away from me if for some crazy reason they ever decide to recall them!! If you have a pet on medication - dog or cat - I can't recommend them enough! Lulu's vet approved of them and I buy them (in bulk!) from this site. Thanks to my friend, Christa, for passing on that tip! I was paying over $8 a bag in the local pet megamart...now I pay $5.19 a bag! Amazing!! When you go through them at the rate we do - well, at the rate Lulu does - that $3.00 a bag savings really adds up fast!

So, in a nutshell, that's how things have been going with my girlie. I'm grateful to all of you who have remembered her in your prayers - please don't stop! As I tell people when they ask about her: on paper (lab wise) she looks a mess! But to see her "in person" - well, that my friends, is a dog of a different color altogether! She's back to sunbathing in the backyard, running up and down the stairs, not coming in when she's called (this does not earn cookies, by the way you naughty girl), and the aforementioned staring holes in my head. Usually when I'm trying to blog. Like now.

And I'm thankful and grateful and oh-so-blessed to have her. Each and every day. But I'd really like it if you'd stop staring at me...umm, now would be good.

God's Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go! This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It's adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike "What's next, Papa?" God's Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what's coming to us -- an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we're certainly going to go through the good times with him! That's why I don't think there's any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what's coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.
Romans: 8:14-21 The Message


nancygrayce said...

She's adorable! I pray she gets better and better. I must get some of those pill pockets.......I have to shove pills down one of my pups throats and I hate doing that!

Dawn said...

Very sweet dog and amazing "mama". And doctors - I worked at CSU for years and the vet school there is top notch - they turn down people right and left who want to be vets, but don't make the cut.

Re your comment today: We will definitely be trying again for a sunny day and peak leaf time at the same time! Since Kev and Angie will be living there, it will be a total necessity.