Friday, April 6, 2012

Payton’s battle with PDE...the war is over

In the end it wasn’t the seizures that took Payton’s life, but a nasty infection in her lungs, most likely a severe bacterial pneumonia.  True to form, she showed no signs of any illness until it had progressed.  Why did she have to be so tough, always putting on a strong face?  After returning from Texas (and her collapsing trachea diagnosis), she quickly lost the cough and perked up.  She enjoyed her birthday as you all witnessed on the blog, and was doing great until Tuesday night (March 27th) when the cough returned and Payton began to shake/shiver with pain.  The emergency vet was nervous, the XRAYs didn’t look good.  I won’t even bother listing all of the things that were likely wrong.  But the next day brought hope as Payton seemed better, if only more stable.  Then early Thursday (March 29th) morning she started to struggle.  When our local vet couldn’t help, Gampy drove us to Chicago (Tim was in California on business).  We dropped her off in the emergency facility where Dr. Podell worked.  They put her in an oxygen chamber and switched antibiotics to give her a fighting chance.  When we left, she was sitting and wanted out of the box.  I didn’t want to leave her, but I knew she was getting the best care.  Thankfully, Tim arrived soon.  After Dr. Podell had a chance to evaluate the situation and watch her, he called us with bad news.  The infection was winning.  Years of immunosuppressive drugs made even the smallest bug a battle for Payton.  And this time there was so much fluid building up in her lungs that Payton’s little body just didn’t have the strength to fight to breathe while fighting off the infection.  He didn’t think that she would pull through but he wanted to give her the night to prove him wrong.  I wanted to camp out in the waiting room, but the doctor and technicians said we should stay at the hotel and get some sleep.  Unfortunately, we got a call early Friday that she had declined significantly.  The wonderful technician that was watching Payton said we needed to come in and make a decision.  After checking in, the technician brought us in the back and said that Payton had just coughed up fluid and didn’t have the energy to move.  When the chamber doors were opened, Payton recognized us and used her last bit of spunk to smile at us and wag her tail.  I held her head and we petted her.  It was time to say goodbye.  I held her and she took her last breath.  She was the most beautiful girl in life and death.

March 21, 2003 - March 30, 2012
Payton fought hard her entire life, and without hesitation I declare her victory over PDE.  Kicked its butt.  Yes, it took her life too early, but if you think about it, every one of us will eventually meet the same fate one day or another.  And there is no one (furry or not) that I have known in my life to fight with so much courage and determination, with so much love and passion.  I’ve said it before, but now it takes on a whole new meaning…she is my angel of love, my hero, and my inspiration.

It is an understatement to say that I miss Payton.  There is a hole in my heart, an unsettling emptiness in my life.  There are different levels of sadness that I feel throughout each day.  Sometimes I can smile when I think about her, but sometimes I find myself having such a horrible panic attack…a pit in my stomach that we have left her somewhere and when I try to run to her she keeps getting further and further away.  I am struggling, so much pain and heart ache.  There is no place to hide from the hurt, sometimes I feel trapped.  My brain knows we made the right choice, but my heart feels like we gave up on her.  Despite how sick and tired she got so quickly, I really thought she would pull through…that’s what always happened.  I had hoped we would never have to make that decision, to have her life in our hands.

Please do not worry about me.  I know over time it will get easier and the healing process will start.  I intend to fight through this for Payton.  She would not want me to be sad forever.  There are so many things that she would want me to enjoy, and I plan to continue having adventures in her honor, more of which I will share later.

The amount of support we have received is remarkable, from people we know and many that we don’t.  Thank you.  Those words are not enough to give, but it’s all I have right now.  The daily comments, emails, text messages, and cards have been so uplifting and encouraging.  And the tributes on so many other blogs, each one is so special and meaningful.  Please know that I look forward to reading them each day, and they are making a big difference.  Just knowing that so many are mourning and crying with us has touched us more than we can say.

I wish that everyone could have met Payton, but I can’t tell you how happy I am to know that so many of you felt as if you did know her.  Really, words are not enough to express the joy I feel knowing her memory will live on beyond her immediate family.  She wasn’t the kind of pug you keep to yourself.  In fact, I think it will help me to share more of her with you.  Payton and I had drafted some posts that we planned to publish throughout April.  If you don’t mind, I’m going to publish them over the next few weeks.  

Thank you for letting me express some of my feelings.  Maybe it will help others that are grieving.  I do still plan to respond individually to everyone that has reached out to us, but please be patient with me as I gather the strength.


PS.  We were able to donate Payton’s remains to Dr. Kimberly Greer's research in hopes that even after death Payton can help kick some PDE butt!  If your pug or a pug you know has been diagnosed, please consider reaching out to Dr. Greer when the time comes.  Monetary donations are always welcomed too.  I will make sure to keep her contact information up to date on the blog.  If you have trouble reaching her, please feel free to email me and I’ll help in any way I can.


Gracie the Agility Pug said...

Thank you for sharing Payton and her fight us all. I'll be forever grateful that I got to meet her, and spend time with all of you.

She beat PDE. Was there a doubt? She'd already done the impossible by living through the diagnosis. Her legacy will live on with that fact, and in her raising the awareness of that disease.

Our thoughts are with you.

Meredith LeBlanc said...

We'd love to see the posts you and Miss P planned out, and a beautiful way to memorialize her. We enjoy reading about Payton's expeditions and wardrobe :)

We will really miss her stopping by Scarlet's blog every week to say hello. Thank you for sharing her with us.

After we lost Nicki 2 years ago, I felt like I just wanted to run and hide. Life was dark for me for a solid month. Then, on what would have been Nicki's birthday we got word about Scarlet needing rescue and the world brightened again.

I know you will get through this ~ losing someone as special as Payton or Nicki is hard, but I know I am, and you will be, better & stronger for it.

Meredith & Scarlet

tubby3pug said...

Thankyou for sharing Payton's story with us. I am so sorry for the loss and I know how tough this is for you, you did not give up on you. When Dr. Z died of pneumonia I too felt lie how could an infecton have gotten her when he had so much else going on kidney disease, heart troubles, my vet told me that pneumonia often attacks those who have other illnesses and it is frequently what finishes of tough cookies like Payton and Dr. Z. In the end PDE did not get Payton, she kicked its but good.

I am so glad that you donated Payton's remains to fight this awful disease and that you realize Payton does not want you to feel sad forever. I am glad that you will be sharing some posts with us. I know some day Payton will send a special pug to you and you will open your heart again.

Minnie and Mack said...

Knowing Payton and you through the blog brought such joy into our lives!

I can't imagine the hurt you feel. We wish there were magic words but know there aren't any, other than Payton was love by sooo many!

We look forward to the coming posts.

Love and kisses,
Minnie, Mack, and Kathy

A Day in the Life of Pugs said...

Thank you, Christy, for sharing Payton with us ... I really feel like I knew her, and you too!

It is comforting to know that you were with her at the end and that she knew you were there!

Payton did kick that PDE in the butt ... she lived with that nasty disease for over 5 years! That is amazing!

I am looking forward to reading more about Payton and some of the things you enjoyed doing!

I'm hoping that Milwaukee is one of the adventures you have planned. I would love to meet you and Tim and Payton's gammy and gampy!!!

Love Ellen and the pugs

Tamara Watson said...

When they are tough like Payton, I think that makes the loss a little harder to process and the doubts easier to access. Like you said, it's going to take time. I understand the contrast of emotions. When grieving for my own pets, laughter about a funny memory could easily slip into sobs of sadness. Then there is the holding onto the grief as a means of honoring and remembering - but fortunately, we never forget them.

Thank you for providing the story of Payton.

Tamara + Rupert

Noodles said...

It is evident that Payton did not completely come by her strength of will and character naturally. She got a lot of it from her 'rents - YOU - because you have shown more fortitude than anyone I have ever known when faced with ridiculously lousy odds for Payton and her PDE demon. I am ecstatic that you have more posts to share because it means you will still be a part of Blogville and our lives.
Love Noodles and her Mommys
PS That goes for YOU TOO Gampy and Gammy!

Idaho PugRanch said...

Dear Christy,
There will come a day when the smiles will come more often and the heartache will ease. It is never easy to make that decision to let our babies go, but we do it because we love them so much. It was almost 3 years ago that our beloved CharShu celebrated his 17th, YES!, 17th birthday. I had convinced myself that he would be with us forever. But only two months later we had to make that decision to let him go. My husband saw it coming, I did not, or did not want to.
You gave Payton the most wonderful life a pug could ask for. And you shared that with all of us. Thank you for wanting to keep sharing with us, and keeping the memory of your beautiful Payton alive.
We will never forget her and will always be here for you.
Bailey, Hazel and mom Linda

dw said...

Thank you, Christy and Tim, and Gampy and Gammy, for sharing Payton with the rest of us. Though I'm sorry I never got the chance to meet her, I know that I and so many others are better for having known her. And that is quite the legacy for a little puggie to leave behind.

Karen (dw)

Suki said...

My Mom are a so blessed that our paths have crossed. Payton kicked PDE all the way to the curb with class. We will be forever friends. You all hold a very special place in our hearts.

Suki & Julie said...

Thank you for sharing this with us, Christy. We actually think about Payton every day. And like you said, sometimes it's a happy memory, about a funny post, photo, or comment she gave us, and other times it's a very sad feeling because we miss her very much. We'd love to read the stories you guys planned for April - we always love reading about Payton's adventures.

We are keeping you and Tim in our thoughts and know that things will get better over time.

Take care,
Brian, Jenn and Sid.

Winston, Kizzy and Tika of Two Cats and a Pug said...

Payton was strong, but she did not do it alone. She would not have been so strong if it weren't for you two. We look forward to reading the posts you had planned and this sunday Winston and I are planting pink flowers in our garden in memory of Payton.

Anonymous said...

Our hearts go out to you and your husband and Gammy and Gampy. I have been deeply touched by Payton's story and your devotion to her. Your pain is felt.

Marge & Puggles

Pearl and Tessa said...

We know Payton from Puglets blog, and always enjoyed her postings. I am sitting here with tears in my eyes, thinking about all the wonderfull dogs that have been part of my life, and how many times I have had to say goodbye, the heartache and wondering if we have done the right thing. Its just not fair, how little time we get to spend with our wonderfull little ones. Thinking about you, and giving my girls extra hugs.

Kris, Pearl and Tessa

Angel Yoda, Brutus & Ellie said...

Christy, words cannot express my sympathy for your loss. She reached so many people and hopefully her fight with PDE will help other pugs fight it.

Payton knows that you did everything you could for her. She knew it was time.

Pugs & Kisses,

Cindy, Brutus & Ellie

Punchbugpug said...

Honestly we all felt like we really knew Payton through her blog. Yes, we all know our babies can not live forever. Despite her illness she LIVED. You and your family made that possible. Your sacrifice and determination to give her the best life she could have were victorious! I don't think the pain of loss ever goes away. It changes shape, softens, and does get easier to bear. I pray your strength helps you through!!! We look forward to your wonderful drafted posts. God Bless....


a boy a girl and a pug said...

Oh Christy, I'm sitting here weeping for you! Sweet sweet payton...such a fighter. I'm just so sorry for your loss. I have no words. You are such an amazing pug mama...y'all fought endlessly for her I know loved her more than words can describe. I feel terrible I'm just now finding out...forgive me. Will be lifting you both up in prayers!

Tweedles -- that's me said...

Dear Christy
I feel so humble as I read these words that have come from your wounded heart. You allowed all of us to share Paytons journey, and yes, we felt like we knew her.
None of us ever expected Payton to get sick- because she was brave and tuff.
Payton was my Inspiration, and yes- she beat PDE with determination.
Tears are streaming down my face, because I hurt for you and Tim- Gammy and Gampy. Tears are streaming down my face, because I miss Payton too.
I know you are wondering how your heart can still be beating-when you feel it has stopped.
We pray healing will come.
You all did everything possible for her.
We are looking forward to reading more of Payton storys and photos.
Her legacy will live on forever.
Thank you for thinking of us- as we think of all of you.

Maddy and Owen said...

We are so sorry for your loss! Tears are falling from all of our eyes, but we know that Payton was loved beyond words and lived a great life because of you!
Maddy and Owen

Rumpydog said...

Rest in peace Payton. You have touched many lives and have earned your rest.

Shea, Lola and Tucker said...

I have just felt so heartsick over Payton, I would love for you to publish the post already written. She was such a fighter and will be missed. She left this world in the one place she would have wanted to be, in her Mommy's arms. She knew how much she was loved right to the very end. I am so sorry for you loss!

Anonymous said...

This has been such a sad, sad time. We were devastated to hear about Payton, even though we knew her only through her blog. I lost a Griff fifteen months ago that I thought of so often as I read Payton's stories. And strangley enough, she also had a collapsed trachea, along with many other health problems. Pebbles was tough like your Payton, the stongest, bravest little soul I've ever met. I worried I would not know how or if she was suffering because she never let it show. Thank you for bringing back so many memories of her. I felt as if Payton was one of our family. We also learned this week that the brother to one of our special Griffs (Rambo, who is really the one who reads your blogs!) has also left us too soon. I sit here crying as I write this, knowing your heartache. But we send all good and cheerful things your way- you were so very lucky to have Payton for the time you did, and she was lucky to have you.

Rae - Say It Ain't So said...

when i lost my pug rose for months i would think about it all the time, what could i have done to change what happened, what was my fault, could i have saved her? i hope you will be able to get to a place of total peace soon. now I can see pictures or remember rose without crying, i can think back on how much i loved her and how sweet she was and how much joy we brought each other. Payton was such a fighter! And I bet the main reason she was able to fight was she wanted to stay here on earth with her mama and daddy! I hope you will be able to love another pug again some time and give another sweet baby such a good life.

The Thuglets said...

We wish we had known Payton. She was clearly such a fighter and a very much loved girl.
Payton will always be with you in your hearts.

Big Nose Pokes
The Thugletsx

Michelle + Myko said...

Thank you for this, and thank you for deciding to publish the rest of the posts you and Payton had drafted. We are so grateful you shared her with us.

Pug Love

Hank said...

Christy, thank you for telling Payton's final story. Sweet little Payton, smiling to the end.

Bunk said...

Dear Christy,

I look forward to reading all the posts Payton and you had planned out. We will always remember her as a brave pug. She is an inspiration for all of us. My human holds and kisses me everytime she reads about payton because it makes her very sad. I know no words can heal your pain right now but time will. Please be strong.

I'm a small pug, but if I can help in anyway, please let me know.



Archie and Melissa said...

dear christy, tim and angel payton,
thank you so much for always sharing your love and adventures with us.
angel payton is always, always with you and loves you with all of her heart.
i am always here for you.

that girl jen said...

your story is so thoughtful and inspirational. i count myself lucky to be a pug owner - or rather, to be owned by my 3 pugs. i am teary eyed and so sorry to hear of payton's passing to the rainbow bridge, but loved reading about all the triumphs and adventures you shared together. pug hugs!! <3

Crystal said...

I feel for your pain, I lost my Gizzy on Nov. 3 of this year. She was completely healthy and all of a sudden got sick and three days later, she was gone. It broke my heart and I tried my best to save her. The vet said that it was the fastest rapid progressive form of PDE that she's ever seen in her whole life. My little girl pug wasn't even 2 yet. She had a heart on her forehead and completely loved. It still feels like she's missing here. We really need to raise awareness for PDE and see if their is a cure for PDE. :(

Anonymous said...

I probably should not have read this at work on my lunch hour, because I am fighting back tears.

I too had a pug with PDE; my first pug, Winston. We rescued him from Mid-Atlantic Pug Rescue in August 2003, & it took no time for me (not a dog person, mind you) to fall in love with him. Sadly, he began having seizures in November 2003, which we controlled with medication for a few months, but the disease kept progressing. He lost his sight, & was afraid to fall asleep (as that was when his seizures typically happened). So he paced in circles constantly.

We, along with our vet, decided it was time to let Winston go in May 2004 (3 days before my birthday). Even though I'd only had him in my life for a few months, our bond & love were quite strong. To say I was heartbroken is an understatement.

Many thanks for chronicling all of Payton's experiences, as well as your own. I know that some time has passed since you said good-bye to Payton, but I also know that you miss her immensely (as I still do Winston).