I had a productive day yesterday despite several intense flashbacks and emotional moments thanks to the 1 year anniversary of Dylan’s Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia (AIHA) diagnosis. It sure was an intense roller coaster ride of emotion and certainly life changing for both of us. I am so glad for each good day and every great moment.
Soft and cuddly Dylan, and certainly happy. I love her her dearly!
Today I started experiencing panic attacks as I get vivid, extremely real flashes of her unable to get up and her panic and desperation (mine too). Our roller coaster ride of emotion seems so real. I was certain she would die a year ago! It feels like yesterday. Then back to reality, so happy to hug her, sleeping in again, no AIHA in sight. Amazing how vivid memory can be.
Why do the little things matter?
Sleeping in means Dylan’s Red Blood Cells are not being attacked today. She is not getting rid of protein and drawing water with it (osmosis), making her need to pee early in the morning and then dehydrated and thirsty. She normally sleeps in and waits for breakfast to get up, unlike the rest of us who are outside immediately each day.
Pee is translucent yellow, meaningless to some? Not at all to us as it means her Red Blood Cells are not being attacked today! This was the scariest thing I saw in that first day during her first attack and a sign her puking earlier in the day was part of a serious problem.
Taking a poop in the back yard; meaningless? Not at all! It means Dylan is not anemic and has the strength to hold herself in that unbalanced awkward position that she has so much trouble with when anemic. When anemic, she cannot stay steady and waits for my help to steady her. Then she suffers blackouts as she finishes, stands up and leaves, referred to as “Syncope.” It seems taking a poop is a difficult task requiring strength and coordination, not to be taken for granted by us.
Hanging out for breakfast or dinner means nothing? Again, not at all, as it means everything! It means she is strong, excited and has an appetite to eat. Loss of appetite was the first symptom I noticed in the first attack. Considering she normally has a voracious appetite for her raw meals, this sent out an immediate alarm to me a year ago and caused me to watch her more closely. I saw her pee dark red that night as a result.
Eating breakfast? So basic, but so important! When they lose their ability to eat, or lift their head to eat, it becomes one of the most important things I see every day. Her exuberant excitement to jump into place for her breakfast and dinner makes my day a great day, every day!
Pink gums, so simple and hardly even thought of as anything by most, but pale means anemia and with brown patches means dead Red Blood Cells. I hope the signs I see earlier will help prevent me from ever seeing this again.
Drinking water? A basic task! Have you ever seen a dog who cannot drink water because they do not have the strength in their muscle to curl their tongue? Pale, not at all pink due to the lack of Red Blood Cells and hemoglobin and extremely week as a result, they cannot even capture water and must work endlessly just for a little drink? So hard to watch!
Tail Wagging? One of my favorite traits of all in dogs, but it too disappears as anemia sets in. Head down, ears down, tail down can be a very scary sight around here.
And to this very second I am extremely grateful for the events that lead us to become friends on Facebook with our friend Maureen Sanderson (and her dog Mercedes, an AIHA survivor too) shortly before Dylan became ill. I cannot tell you how much her help meant through those first few days especially. I think we would have been so lost without it, thanks (((Maureen&Mercedes)))
And thanks to ALL my other friends too. Something again we take for granted, but those days a year ago and this entire last year would not have been the same without the help I have received. Thank You all!!! (((everyone)))
So many things our dogs do, that we rarely even notice or think about, yet every single one of them can be lost in an instant, as can life itself, so please throw away the frustration in your life and enjoy every little thing you see and enjoy every moment you spend with your dogs. I have seen it all lost and I can’t tell you personally how much it means to me to see each and every little thing they do so I can enjoy it with them.
I Love My Dogs and Every Moment With them!