Friday, September 30, 2011

Farewell Coco

Last night we had to give away our sweet, sweet Coco girl. And it just about killed me...

I've had allergies since childhood, but as I've gotten older, both my allergies and my asthma have progressively worsened. And while I knew that I was somewhat allergic to dogs, I've never had a severe reaction to any type of dog. I've had dogs as pets my whole life.

I'm a dog person.

When Jim & I got a dog together in January 2007, we chose a breed recommended that was recommended for people with allergies, a Chinese Crested. From the start, she was a perfect fit for our little family. Loving and sweet. A snuggler. A lap dog, but not a 'yip' dog. Protective. Smart. A little dog with a fierce heart. And so, so loyal.

During my recent hospitalization, the pulmonologist advised us that no dog is truly hypo-allergenic and that we needed to "get rid of the dog."

Thankfully, a co-worker of Jim's was willing to take her. I couldn't be more grateful. We know she has a loving home. We know she will be well cared for. We know she will bring joy to another family. I am certain of that.

But I am certain of one other thing as well

Coco will always be my dog.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Return To Blogging - From The Heart

 As many of you might have noticed, I've been conspicuously absent for the past six weeks on my poor blog. I have been dealing with some fairly overwhelming family and personal issues during this time. Partly out of shame, partly out of fear but mainly out of not even having enough energy to open my laptop at the end of every day, I told myself that I was "taking a hiatus" from blogging...but less like a planned sabbatical and more like just plain running away.

I was really just avoiding the issue of how to creatively express myself in the face of adversity. How do you present the struggles and challenges of real life without becoming overly emotional or coming across like you're just complaining? I mean, god forbid my blog should read like an overwrought teen diary, teeming with angst and drama. While life has certainly felt like I've somehow wandered onto the set of the "Real Housewives of Omaha," I was less than enthused with the thought that my blog should be perceived as such nonsense. I admit it -  I was worried about being too open, oversharing or (gasp!) wandering into the dreaded TMI zone.

But then I read this post on Ali Edwards' blog last week which started my thinking that maybe I was holding back unnecessarily, that I can be real and authentic about my struggles in a productive way. Shortly after, I read this post on Stephanie Howell's blog and was completely thunderstruck, awed and inspired by her challenge to Blog From The Heart.

I hear you, universe. And I offer you my heart in return.

My heart is breaking. My darling boy, my only child is a drug addict. He has been since the tender age of 14. To save him, we had to let him go for over 1 year when he was 16. A year  filled with insight and laughter and tears and healing and sobriety. After returning home, he underwent close monitoring and remained sober for an additional 8 months. He relapsed in January of this past year at the age of 18. We had an intervention in mid-August but he declined help. We had to have him removed from the house after he destroyed our living room furniture and assaulted both my husband and I. I have had only sporadic contact with him since that episode. Right now, my family is broken but I cannot fix it. I am helpless, forced into the role of observer as my only child battles his demons, doomed to stand by and merely watch. But I have hope, always hope.

My heart is overwhelmed. The stress of a blended family is taxing to a relationship in the best of circumstances. Obviously, the present is not something that could be characterized as the best of times. Jim and I are working through these challenges. I'd ask for your support and prayers over the coming weeks that we can grow tighter, stronger and more committed through our shared strength.

My heart is grateful. We are blessed with an amazing and wonderful circle of friends, as well as both of our families. To say that these individuals, our tribe as it were, have banded together in a truly awe-inspiring display of support for our family wouldn't come near enough to describing the outpouring of love that we have received.

My heart is healing. In the midst of all the turmoil, my asthma flared up (thanks again, fall allergies) and quickly developed into a serious pneumonia. I spent the majority of the past week in the hospital and needed two days of ICU care to remain off of a ventilator. This was truly one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. But I am lucky. I received excellent care and responded perfectly to medication. I have been home since last Tuesday and am feeling my strength coming back.

My heart is kick-started. Needless to say, this recent health scare has reinforced an urgent need in myself to make some lifestyle changes. I hereby commit to improving my eating habits and increasing my physical activity. I am completely deconditioned. But I am strong. I am capable of change. I am focused and determined.

My heart is inspired. I joined the fall session of Mondo Beyondo. As the site says, "I have joined Andrea Scher and Jen Lemen as together we explore Mondo Beyondo--the powerful point of view that transforms our deepest dreams into practical realities." I'm really looking forward to focusing my emotions and energy into a positive endeavor.

What is your heart feeling right now?

Friday Photo Love - The Someecards Edition

Due to some unanticipated health problems, I have been woefully absent from my little blog. But I am back! And glad to be here...although still no running allowed for me if I want to keep breathing.

Look for a longer and more authentic post later this evening...and thanks for sticking with me, readers.