(backstory) Summer of 2000 I decided that I really wanted to have a dog. I was working at an animal hospital. Earlier that year I had to make the heart-breaking decision to put my cat, Jenae, to sleep. She had undergone 2 exploratory surgeries, 3 months on a feeding tube, and countless tests. I was giving Jenae injections at home 3 times a day as well as maintaining her feeding tube schedule, because I could not stand to have her in the hospital, away from me all the time. I took care of her for as long as I could at home, before she was finally admitted to ICU at the animal hospital where I worked. One of the toughest decisions in my life was knowing when to let Jenae go. She was in so much pain. I held her in my arms and told her I loved her over and over as they put the "sleeping meds" in her iv. Jenae was only 4 years old. Since her "illness" still had not been determined, I requested a necropsy be done. The results came back that she had a rare liver disease that is unique to large, wild cats such as lions and tigers. A small decimal percentage of domesticated cats develop this disease. Unfortunately, Jenae was one of them.
I had been paying as we went with Jenae's medical bills... and I was thankful that my employer at the animal hospital gave me discounts when they could. After Jenae had passed, I still had over $2,000 in medical bills for her. My employer found a way that between the two of us it could somehow be rolled in to their / my taxes and I just paid the taxes on it. Anywhom, what I am getting at is... there is nothing I will not do to help my animals or any animal for that matter. Originally, Jenae belonged to a friend of mine from high school. He joined the military shortly after she was born and when he left, I said I would take care of her. So my folks drove her to me from 5 hours away! Jenae is still a warm, fond love I will always have. Jenae was by far one of my greatest friends and I miss her every day.
I told you that to tell you this story is about KaiYin. My gorgeous, adorable, lovable, strong, faithful canine friend ~ KaiYin. After Jenae's passing, I didnt feel right getting another cat so soon. I was raised with dogs, but they were my father's hunting dogs and they slept outside in a kennel. The hunting dogs werent really for play with the kids... but we would take them on walks once in a while and hang out with them. Anywhom. I wanted a dog. My roommate at the time was not very keen on the idea, but I knew that my dog would be around longer than my roommate, so my mind and heart were set. I started looking at kennels, breeders, boxes of puppies "for free", any doggie you can think of, I looked at it! (it was very hard not to take all of them!) I would make rounds on my way home from work and on the weekends looking at all the pounds and kennels and rescues and such. I really wanted to have a dog for my birthday in August. But August came and went and I still had not found exactly who I was looking for. Finally, in October, I found her. I was walking through a rescue and saw the most beautiful green eyes I had ever seen on a doggie. She was very skinny and somewhat shy. Her kennel name was "Elle" and she was 10 months old but only weighed 23 pounds (she now weighs 48 lbs.) I asked to walk her. So she and I went for a walk and attempted play in the grass. But she was guarded at that point. I was told that she is an American Dingo and that she had been abused by her previous owner. I had to have her. I had to save her and make her a happy dog. I could see in her eyes that she really wanted to be a happy dog! Those outstanding green eyes! So I applied for her and had to wait 24 hours while they did background checks and such. I also had to come in for a animal ownership course thing. After a couple of days she was able to come home with me!
I was sooo excited! I had purchased everything a doggies heart desires. The house and I were ready for her. Once I got her home, my roommate said that he didnt want her roaming freely in the house when we werent around. (he owned the house and i was renting from him) Anywhom, I had purchased a crate so that she could be crate trained - but I was completely against this idea. Well, the first night she cried A L L night and even peed and pooped in the crate, as well as, she kicked it all out of the crate and onto the wall! I-told-him-so. He was not amused. I never put her in the crate again. She slept with me or next to my bed on a doggie bed. (Now you would think *I* sleep with *her*... the bed belongs to my doggies and I squeeze in where I can!)
After about 2 weeks I still had not named her. I went through baby name books and websites... I wanted just the perfect name for her. Somehow I was calling her "girlfriend" until one day on the back porch I realized she was answering to "c'mon girlfriend, lets go inside" So, I knew I had to dedicate some more time to finding her name. As soon as I saw it, I knew it was hers...
English = Celebrated Child.
Nigerian = Faithful Dog.
Arabic = Friend.
It was perfect!
Cut to 2.5 years later. KaiYin was now about 3 years old and we had moved 6 times in 3 different states. I was at home, grooming her, and I noticed a little bump on her left side between her back leg and ribcage area. I took her to the vet immediately. They said it was prolly just fatty tissue. She was scheduled for a dental anyway, so I asked for the vet to remove it when she was under for the dental. So they did. However, the vet that I liked, that I thought was doing the surgery, was not the one that did the surgery. It was the vet in that office that I dont like. Grrr. He only removed the lump itself without margins under the assumption it would be fatty tissue. I requested that he send it to a lab to find out (this is a small town we live in now). Bad vet said that it would cost about $50 for lab workups. I said I didnt care, I wanted to know what it was. So they sent it off and it came back... cancer. Go fucking figure. Good vet called me and explained that what would happen is this: the cancer cells in the margins that were not removed will gradually form a new mass. When that happens, they will remove it with large margins. I was still upset, but understood there was nothing else to be done at that point. So I had to wait. Wait for this terrible thing to happen again. She went through this 2 more times and I wont get into all the details, but lets just say that the good vet quit that animal hospital due to the result of something the bad vet did, and now KaiYin has surgeons out of state that we drive over an hour one-way to see. But they are worth it! So, this all started when KaiYin was about 3. KaiYin is now almost 10. It's so hard for me to think of her being *that* old. She has no gray hair and she certainly does not act like and old dog! I dont even believe that she knows she is *sick*. She has never paid any attention to the tumors when they form and she is SOOO well-behaved and tolerant of her surgeries. She's amazing!
Well, this is her 6th surgery in 6 years. I have easily spent well over $10,000 on this doggie for her surgeries alone. But she is worth every penny and more. I will do all I can for her. She is my dog-ter! My kid! My best friend! I have a thing about numbers and slight superstitions. I was born on Friday the 13th so I have always believed it is lucky for me. Well, KaiYin had her surgery on 09.09.09 and she is 9 years and 9 months old. I tried to think of that as a good sign after we dropped her off to the animal hospital Wednesday. When we picked her up yesterday, she was sooo happy! She is just an all around happy dog! You would think she doesnt even know she has staples holding her together for the next 2 weeks. She just wants to play and love! And I love that about her!
A little over a year ago I somehow came across the story of a boy named Pablo who had just been diagnosed with Wilm's tumor. I have followed Pablo's story religiously. I do believe "pablove" has become my religion. If you dont know what I am talking about, I am not sure how to explain it. It's feelings and love and faith in humanity, I suppose. There really are no words for it... but Pablo's dad, Jeff, does a beautiful job of putting it all into words on the PABLOg!
Little Pablo lost his battle with cancer this summer. He was only 6 years and 6 days old. I never got to meet Pablo or any of his wonderful family in person, but I feel like they are part of my family, with all that they have shared with us through their website. When I was in LA a week ago that was the big thing on my to-do list: Visit Pablo. My friend, Michael, went with me and we visited Pablo at Forest Lawn Cemetery. I left flowers and cards and a few little pirate figurines I had found. Pablo loved pirates! Michael and I just hung out in the sun with Pablo, looking at the glorious mountains and clear sky and all the beauty surrounding Pablo's space. He's even got a nice shade tree growing next to him as well as a wall, perfect for his favorite Geronimo jumps!
Before we visited Pablo, Michael and I had a Pablo Day. We went to Trails for lunch (one of P's favorite places - we also went to dinner later that night at Malo, another of Pablo's favorites), then we went to the Dangerbird offices where Pablo's dad, Jeff, works... so we could see the pablove mural. While we were taking photos of the mural, Josh from Dangerbird noticed us and asked if we wanted some stickers. heck yeah! I love stickers and Pablo and spreading the pablove! It worked out perfectly because I wanted to go in the offices anywhom and ask about buying another Pablove shirt. This one was for KaiYin. Josh took care of us and then we were on our way to Forest Lawn. (pablove mural photos 1 ~ 2 ~ 3 ~ 4)
When KaiYin gets out of surgery, they dont want her messing with her incision area so they usually put a wrap around her torso area. When I get her home, I usually change it out to a t-shirt. Now KaiYin has a Pablove shirt to wear! I know that Pablo loved doggies and I am sure that his Spirit is helping to heal my KaiYin. I really believe this.
KaiYin's incision / scars... photo 1 and photo 2 ... she has 1 huge surgical scar running parallel to the current incision, 2 toward her belly that run perpendicular, and 1 (not shown) on her chest.
When KaiYin goes back in 2 weeks for her staples to be removed, I will be talking with her vet surgeon about an animal Oncologist at Michigan State. I have no idea what this has in store for us, but from the sounds of it, doc thinks that maybe just a couple of rounds of radiation might blast this out of her system and she wouldnt keep getting the tumors. We can only hope. I hate to say it, but the only reason I have not taken her to the Oncologist so far is money. I just have not had the money. I, myself, had to have a pretty serious surgery a couple years ago and I am even now going through terrible health issues. I was off work from October 2008 - January 2009 and have currently been off work (on medical leave) since April 2009. I am not putting KaiYin aside due to my health issues, I am just trying to take care of both of us.
Loki, my 3 year 6 month old doggie, is going somewhat stir-crazy. She is English Setter mixed with Blue Heeler and all she wants to do is play play play with KaiYin! But she has been very well-behaved during this whole ordeal. I am very proud of her.
Thank you for all of your well-wishes and concerns. I tell KaiYin all the time how much everyone loves her and wants her to get better. Yes, I talk to my doggies. If you dont understand, maybe you should get a dog... they melt your heart... then you will understand!
I will post updates as I know more and as I feel up to it. Thanks for your patience with the gaps in my updates due to pain keeping me from the simplest things, including typing. (read my medical update blog posts for more information)
I love you all oodles and bunches! Dont forget to tell your loved ones that... every single time you see them and / or talk with them. I'll leave you with something I wrote in a journal years ago:
"For those of you fortunate enough to have Love in your life...don't take it for granted. Love with all you have in you...like each day is the last. Always leave your partner with loving words and a kiss...and greet each other the same way. Cuddle as you fall to sleep...even if you stray in the night. Set your alarm 5 minutes early so that you can cozy up before starting your day. Sit on the same side of the booth in restaurants. Hide love notes for the other to find. Smile at each other. Hold Hands. Hug. Kiss. Touch...even if it's just hands passing in the hall or your foot to his foot in the middle of the night as you reposition in your sleep. It's the little things that mean the most. Whisper goodnight, sweet dreams and kiss him even if he's already sleeping. For those of you fortunate enough to have Love in your life...don't take it for granted."