My Inspiration

Written by on August 27th, 2013 – 8 Comments

My Healing Hand

Saying goodbye is always a painful thing. Since my diagnosis, one of the most difficult things I was faced with was saying “goodbye” to the life I once knew.

Almost three years ago today, I was confronted with my most heartbreaking, most beautiful, and most life-changing goodbye. After a courageous battle with cancer, my 13-year-old dog Kenya grew tired and was ready to go. I struggled with my decision but I knew it was the one last thing I could do for her.

Some of what I write now are things I have never shared with anyone. I’m dedicating this blog to Kenny. In life, and in her time of passing I was her healing hand. Thanks to the courage she left me, she will forever be mine.

Photo: Me, Kenya and my main man, Caesar

Letting Go

I held her close and when she took her last breath I only whispered my usual nighttime message to her: “goodnight baby girl, I’ll miss you and I love you. I can’t wait to see you in the morning.” I looked forward to seeing her happy face each morning when I opened my eyes and knew she would still always be my first thought as I woke. I wouldn’t say goodbye.

Letting her go caused an unexpected reaction. All that happened in the five years since I was diagnosed with MS came crashing down on me.

In the weekend I learned I had MS, I received a phone call, a message, from the doctor’s office, saying: “Your test results came back positive. You have Multiple Sclerosis. Have a good weekend.” This was merciless and left me angered and fearing doctors.

Only two days after this, DJ, my 11-year-old black Lab/Shepherd mix relapsed and died of cancer. His passing left me in a state of shock — for the next five years.

In that time, I started working from home, as an editor, writing infrequently. I had given up my dreams.

I wasn’t depressed — but I was disconnected and disengaged. Until April 2010 when I learned Kenya had oral melanoma.

OUCH!

That’s when I started feeling again. The moment the vet told me she had cancer, I felt like I swallowed a soccer ball. But, I knew if I allowed my emotions to rule, I would relapse, so instead I turned into vigilante doggy-mom in the five months I cared for Kenya. Controlling my MS in this time was critical and I ruled with an iron fist. She was what mattered.

It all came out seconds after I stroked her head with her last breath. The past five years of emotions flooded out of me the moment they went to take her off her bed and out of our home. Reminiscent of a child throwing a tantrum, I started screaming and crying hysterically — I’m not sure what else I did, I only remember the vet asking my then-boyfriend to take me into the other room.

I had never behaved like that. Not as a child. Not when I was diagnosed. Not when DJ died. Not with my career. I finally felt pain and it was so intense. I needed it.

I have MS, I’ve lost two dogs, and I let go of my dreams. What’s happening?

I said “goodbye” in that moment to “what” I had become in the five years prior. I had to change.

Something Will Grow…it will be Me

I was always terrified of living on my own — so many “what if’s?” But I also knew I was being unfair and could no longer depend on someone as I had for so long.

Soon after, I moved out on my own and started fighting for my dreams again. It took me two years of many health ups and downs — mostly downs — and recognizing I had unintentionally redefined MS: Moderately Spineless, I changed my attitude.

Today, I’m almost there. I’m writing frequently for a national paper, I’ve acquired some additional writing contracts, I’m making some incredible friends, I’m more active than I’ve ever been, I’m confident, I’m happy, I’m single, I love everything again and I’m living in a great apartment with the best boy ever — my 17-year-old Siamese, Caesar.

The greatest thing? I only say “goodbye” to things in life I no longer want. Everything else, I know I only have to really open my eyes — as I did with Kenya each morning — and continue on a path toward an incredible day.

 

8 Responses

  1. danben says:

    So glad you’re in a good place now Himani,Like they say there is no time limit on grief and it’s good you weren’t rushed, time heals and so do memories of those we love.Reading about DJ and Kenya brought me back to my wonderful dog Shyloh I lost in 2008 from Kidney disease.Mix between Shar pei and coyote and shepherd, she was 11 and miss her everyday.If the day ever comes and a cure for M.S. is rolled out we certainly would never miss M.S. if it were gone-a happy goodbye!

    • Himani says:

      Thank you for sharing and you are very right — a very happy goodbye 🙂
      So sorry to hear about Shyloh. I am so thankful for all they give us and know their giving goes on forever.

  2. Mel says:

    I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, you are inspirational!

  3. weezerface says:

    You’re way strong, dude. I am so sorry about the loss of your babies. When I’m missing my baby, I always try to remember that without you, their lives would have been awful. You made their lives special and meaningful and filled with a loving mom who was strong and there for them til the end.

  4. Mike Fellows says:

    Hi Himani

    Just read your thoughts and wanted to send you my good wishes…my world collapsed when I had to put Meka down (Kenya truly was her best friend BTW)…you remember how picky she was with other dogs..Kenya always had 1st place…I hope you’ll tap into your stubborn self and use that to beat the MS and carry on annoying the lucky ones who get to know you..lol..I do miss having contact with you..hope to reestablish it..and as I mentioned in my note to you I’m now seeing an amazing woman who also has MS…she’s active in fundraising for it..has a VERY positive attitude and has helped drag this old downer of a guy upwards and makes me happier each day …get in touch and lets catch up..I’m living in Barrie now..but do make the trek to the city now and then…break your bad habit and REPLY..lol..all the best always..Mike

  5. Joscelin says:

    I just wanted to thank you for this. It brought tears to my eyes but also gave me hope. I’m so grateful to have my 6-year-old kitty, Tokyo. He helps me daily, sweet fur baby. My thoughts and prayers are with you! Keep fighting for your dreams and I’ll remember not to forget mine!

    • Himani says:

      Hi Joscelin,
      Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. Make sure you also remember the people here to help you — you’re never alone 🙂 That’s the one thing I always forgot. It took great loss for me to see this. That said, my best friend is still my 17-year-old Siamese! He’s quite the conversationalist. Talks more than he listens, but he’s a good guy.
      Happy you have such a great friend in Tokyo. Hold him close and keep fighting for your dreams! Be well and happy, H

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