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Archive for May, 2011|Monthly archive page

My Friend Bree

In Uncategorized on May 26, 2011 at 3:40 am

Bree, this winter.

There’s a special bond between sufferers of any chronic illness. We share one another’s fears, frustrations, triumphs  and the every  dayness of it all.

Due to the need to keep C.F. patients physically apart, my friendships have been stunted. It wasn’t until the internet age with facebook, and blogging culture that I ever upkept any social contact with CFers, and transplantees for that matter.

Well, one day on-line I was “friended” by a girl named Bree who suffered a similar illness to CF and was also waiting for a lung transplant. We bonded over our shared experiences in waiting for, receiving and rejoicing in new lungs.  If a technician at the hospital was being unhelpful,  if a prednisone pill dissolved on my tongue (the horror!),  or if a lung function was particularly glowing, low, or noteworthy, she was the one I texted, and likewise. We gossiped, we were scared together for sick friends, we laughed and were ridiculous and silly. We sent cards to each other. She was good. She was spunky,  a wonderful writer, baker, reader,  piano player, & an animal lover, with a dry wit and killer good looks.

Was. Because today the world lost Bree.  A strange affliction overtook her — a mysterious, nasty, and swift moving neurological illness. I last spoke to Bree on the phone a week before my launch. We laughed about puppy pee, and stepping in it. She’d gone blind just shortly before the puppy was set to arrive. But she was so positive, so strong willed and determined.  A superwoman.  I think we all just assumed she’d beat it: and MY how she fought till the very end  Her deterioration was swift, and really very mysterious.  The Docs still don’t fully understand what was the root cause of this…. just another “weird illness” swooping in and taking a tx patient away.

My few consolations are  that she is no longer suffering.  I remember texting her at midnight on new years eve and she’s pretty much been miserable since then. I cannot imagine the pain and torment.  My other consolation is that Bree lived her post transplant life (1.5 years aprox) TO THE FULLEST.  Her joy was palpable  in her writings.  She wrote beautiful letters to her donor’s family: I *know* if there “is* a heaven that she’s up there thanking her donor, patting her dog, reuniting with lost  friends.

But it’s very sad, and also very scary.  And on WHAT planet is this fair? (so yes, I might be a little angry too!)  I channeled it tonight into riding which felt good.  I rode hard, because I could. You just must live each day fully and try and do the things you love.  Not to be morbid, but you never know when your own personal apocalypse might happen. Waste no time — create, experience, do do do!

Words sort of fail me. God life is scary. Bree –you are missed by many….

Less than ideal…

In Uncategorized on May 12, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Gypsy in her bandages hand walking....

Well, Gypsy has been on “stall rest” for  just over two months, to heal her wounded tendon.  Her planned rehab was to be three months long.  But all has not gone according to plan. On the re-exam of her leg, it appears that the “slight tear” of her superficial digital tendon has progressed to a core lesion. There’s a hole in it. I saw the changes myself on the ultra sound. Now luckily she’s not in pain, she can walk around, lie down, roll, graze, all that stuff, but under strictest supervision so that she doesn’t trot, canter, slip and make it worse.  I’ve been steadily following vet’s orders of daily 20 minute walks, bandage changes, etc.  But sadly, it’s going to be another six to TWELVE months of rest. In the barn. For a pony with breathing problems.

I am a mess at knowing what to do to manage her quality of life… How did I just blithely believe she would “go on ” forever? Thankfully, we always lived in the moment and squeezed all the joy we could from life.  I had hoped she would be rehabilitated to pleasure riding soundness. A part of me still hopes, but gladly I would just take her as pasture sound so she could go out doors freely and enjoy herself at grass. It’s managing her health up to that stage that poses the problem for me… I’ll still take her for walks in the woods, just not from the saddle.

And then I get weepy thinking I’ll maybe never feel her wonderful gaits carrying me anymore… I just get so sad: we are such a great team. For now, anyhow (and maybe for always hence) our relationship is on the ground together. The way of things… she stood by me when I was sick. How could I not do the same?  Yesterday I took her on a rope out to her paddock, which is finally dry enough for her to enter without risk of slipping and pulling the tendon.  She stood in the middle and licked the dirt! DIRT LOVELY DIRT! And then she rolled in it.  She was blissfully happy after I gave her some grass, and then slightly cheesed off when the visit ended off with the same boring twenty minute hand-walk.  She’s too smart for that to stay interesting long, and she’s getting indignant and impatient at  being stuck indoors in MAY!

And while I’m weepy at the thought of that vibrant lively mare never enjoying the game of speeding up towards and over a fallen log, I am just so blessed to have been touched by her in the first place, me dear sweet best friend! She’s always been a tough nut, so I hope she recovers in true Welsh/Arab style!

Well, I have to go and sound check now for our Live To Air performance on Jazz.fm tonight. And I’ll be attending the MARTY Mississauga Arts awards tomorrow too: I’ll be coming straight from the farm: think I’ll bring some clean boots ; )