Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ups and Downs

September 25, 2013

Saturday was a big day! I'm sorry to be reporting a bit late but we have had a roller coaster of emotions around here.

Lets start with Thursday. First let me fill you in if you don't already know, we are moving to Tennessee. This has meant a lot of packing and painting and fixing stuff and cleaning and moving stuff to storage. So due to all these activities my short runs have been a bit non existent. Slap my wrist, I'm bad. oh well. Move on.

So Thursday after work I was so excited to go to the airport to pick up our dear friend from Ukraine, Raya. She is the director from Erik's orphanage and is here in the states visiting kids who were adopted and then participating in a conference on how to help children deal with difficult things in their lives.  Raya's life is about helping children and helping them thrive.

Our whole family went to the airport and after a quick errand we went home. She came in on a late flight so we only visited for a short time before heading off to bed. We had big plans the next day.

Early to rise, we opted to keep Erik home from school and we all went to spend the day at Universal! This was a dream come true for Raya as these kinds of places don't exist in Ukraine and can get to be quite pricey when you do find something equivalent. The day was great! The crowds were low and the lines were short and we got to see just about everything we wanted to see and was able to leave the parks by around 4:30. We ran some more errands including picking up race rackets from Track Shack.

After dinner at Pastamore, where Paul was working, we headed home to get to sleep.

Saturday morning at 5:30am my alarm went off and Raya, Erik and I put on our running shoes, got our hydration packs, our MP3 players and ate our oatmeal and we were off to the races.

The Miracle Miles 15K Road Race requires an average pace of a 15 minute/mile. I was pretty nervous after the previous week's awful time. I know there is a fair amount of adrenaline that is added in an actual race and I was counting on it. However, I had Raya with me and she had said she hadn't ran since high school and Ukrainians aren't runners. She was hoping she wouldn't slow me down and I was hoping she wouldn't get hurt.

So we get to the run, can't find parking, asked a cop a question about putting money in the meters and the cops said no one is checking them today. GREAT! We get to the line up, Stretch, set up our music, take some photos and video and BAM off we go!

As we cross the starting line the initial reaction was to jog. We jogged just a few minutes and I remembered last week and I motioned to Raya that I was gonna walk. She nodded and kept jogging. Impressive! But I started to get scared she would give too much too soon. She jogged at the same pace as I walked. We stuck around a 14:30 pace. Erik just kept walking and jogging along side us. As the miles ticked away we had a small group of people behind us and a small group we could see in front of us. We were at the back of the pack but it was okay. I kept looking at Raya...1 mile, still jogging, 2 miles, still jogging, 3 miles still jogging! Just after the 3rd mile she took a little break and walked. By around the 4th mile the volunteers and Road officers were really taking notice of Erik. They told us he was definitely 1st in his age group (there isn;t an age group for 10 year olds though) and that he was the youngest so far... and we didn't see any kids behind us. Volunteers cheered as he ran by, Officers gave him high fives. I watched him run taller, gain confidence and feel proud of himself. Raya went back to jogging, Erik began to cheer on other runners who may have been struggling. It was amazing to experience and we just kept chugging along. As the finish line neared we all began to jog together. I told Erik to go ahead but he said he's stay with me. I told him to finish strong and as he ran through the finish the announcer said "Erik Williams, 10 years old"and the crowd cheered! 2:19:11. 2 seconds later, Raya and I also crossed. We received our medals and had some pictures taken and all of a sudden the kids were lining up for a kids fun run. Erik wanted to do it !?!?!?! I ran to the table and asked if he could join and they said sure! Sadly all the people got in the way and I couldn't see anything but Erik said he fell but then got up and finished! I was so proud of him! We were all proud of us!

Walking back to the car was a bit torturous. Our legs hurt. and hurt bad. We needed to get Raya to the next family who was taking her for a short time but showers were a necessity at this point. We get to the car. Parking Ticket. $22. grrrrrrrrr I did however get clarification that Erik was most definitely the youngest runner to complete the 15k.

Our drive home was followed by showers, reminiscing, giggles and just trying not to move for a little while. Sadly a couple hours later it was time to bring Raya to meet the other family at Downtown Disney. She was sore and was now going to go to the Disney parks for the rest of the day. Poor girl but she loved it and learned she actually loves running! Her parting was so sad.


I need to interject here and add some factors of the weekend. We have 2 adopted greyhounds and a cat we found in a parking lot. The pets are our family members. We love them, cherish them, miss them when we are apart. Our oldest Greyhound would be 12 on October 30 which is very old for the breed. In recent months she has had some bad day and in recent weeks been really favoring one paw. This has been a reoccurring issue for a couple years and no vet can really say why even after x-rays. Probably just arthritis.

On Friday, however, Isabelle was not only limping around, but she also began yelping when someone came close to touching her as they walked by, or in some cases screaming if she stood wrong or used that leg as her main support. We could not manipulate a scenario to isolate exactly where the pain was and it was heart breaking to know she was in pain and we couldn't fix it. By late Friday night  when Paul came home form work, she was screaming quite a bit. Somehow Raya and Erik slept through it. I was up until 2:00 and Paul slept on the floor comforting her all night. Needless to say, we were worried. On Saturday however she seemed to be doing a bit better. I had to leave the house a couple times and when I returned she was still limping but not screaming and she was getting around okay.

Sunday was different during her breakfast feeding she was having a hard time standing. She leaned over Ruthie and rested her nose on Ruthie's back. It was sweet at the time. Then she moved forward and had her entire head on Ruthie's back. I realized she was using Ruthie to support her and Ruthie was happy to be there. When Isabelle walked back to our room to lay down, she almost fell completely over except I caught her. Paul was having to help her get outside to get the bathroom and her other legs stopped being able to support her. While working, Paul came to me and said, "I think it's time". I just sat and cried. He did too. I finished working even though the last 2 hours of my shift I spent trying to pay attention to my trainer and just crying. Paul and Erik laid with Isabelle and tried to keep her comfortable. We anticipated taking her to the vet Monday morning or having a vet come to the house. But around 6:00 Paul came in and said, we are taking her in now.

I was crying. Paul was crying. We knew she wouldn't likely be coming home. There was something very wrong and we knew it. He tongue was starting to turn purple and her skin became very dark and she wouldn't drink and couldn't stand to make herself use the bathroom. The decline was fast and obvious.

I laid in the back of the SUV with her until we got to the Emergency Vet. They took her with her bed and a comforter into the back of the clinic and asked us to go in through the front. The clinic staff was wonderful. They knew we were coming and were compassionate, and kind and tried to help us any way they could. The vet came in after examining Isabelle in the back and told us she would support whatever we wanted to do. If we wanted to run tests, she would support that and if we came in as a family knowing she would not be coming home, she would support Euthanasia as a good humane option. A few minutes later a tech brought in an action plan we could take if we wanted. It was filled with injections and shots and procedures. We just sat crying knowing none of this would do any good, just tell us what happened.... maybe... and we just didn't want her to go through all that. We sobbed to the vet and she understood and agreed with us. We asked her what she thought happened and she stated that she thought it was a stroke or a neuro issue like a brain tumor or tumor on her spine. Without the tests she couldn't know for sure, but in the time she was in the back she had lost stable function of all 4 legs and was wobbling around.

I don't know if you have ever experienced being in the room and holding your pet as they pass over the rainbow bridge, but this is the second time we have had to do this with one of our family members. It is heart wrenching. It is painful. But we could not let her go through it alone or with strangers. We gave Erik the choice if he wanted to be there and explained it to him and he wanted to stay. It was only then that he let his emotions come out. It has been a very difficult several days. The house isn't the same without her. We know Isabelle is in a better place and this was the right thing to do for her, but for us it is heart breaking. We are just taking it one day at a time.

Thank you for reading this today. The second half was difficult to write and I apologize for any typos..

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