Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Payton’s battle with PDE…sacrifices and rewards

Here is a long overdue post.  It’s Christy here.  Payton has been gracious enough to let me take over the blog today in order to finish (at least for now) our series on PDE.  Ok, so I had to bribe her with some treats. 

Anyway, if you haven’t read the other posts, here they are:

I left off wanting to talk about how Payton’s condition has affected my husband (Tim) and me.  I will tell you that we made some of the most impactful decisions of our lives thus far during the weekend/week that we traveled up-state for her diagnosis and treatment.  And the funny thing is that we had no idea how they would truly shape our lives at the time.

The immediate predicament was the cost of her treatment and her need for home care.  Payton was in no shape to be home alone, and she couldn’t stay in a kennel or doggie “day care” because of her increased risk for illness due to her lowered immune system.  Plus, there was no way I was going to have my baby live in a cage Monday through Friday for the time she has left on this earth.  If we were going to spend the money and make every effort to give her a good life, it didn’t make sense.  So the first decision was: how can we still afford all of our current bills (cut to the bare minimum) plus the additional cost of treatment on only one salary?   So we took a leap of faith.  I told my boss that I had to either quit or work from home.  You should have seen his face when I explained the situation.  But, I guess they didn’t want to hire someone else, so I got to stay home! 

What a relief that was!  Cause let me tell you, Payton’s treatment is not cheap.  Not counting the initial diagnosis (which was in the thousands of dollars), her medicine, quarterly rechecks, and occasional issues average over a single year to about $800 a month – and that is with some generic drugs!  That is a house payment for some, so you can imagine the struggle and commitment it takes.  We have been blessed to have a good income, and having children hasn’t been a priority for us, so we do not have that expense.  A few of the ladies at our local vet always say how lucky Payton is that she didn’t come to live with a family of kids or it just may not have been feasible for us to afford this.

It’s funny though, because in many ways it feels as if we do have a child.  Certainly the expense of one!  But there are also many days that my husband and I are just exhausted.  At the beginning, she had to go to the bathroom so often that we would likely get up 3 times in the middle of the night.  Now we pretty much have it down to once a night for pills.  The routine starts at 3:30 am, then 5:30 am with breakfast, 9:30 am, 11:30 am with lunch, 1:30 pm, 5:30 pm with dinner, 9:30 pm, and then it starts all over again.  It can take a toll on you.  In the same way new parents complain about having a non-existent social life, our lives have had similar relationship impacts.  Even though Payton is doing much better than when she was first diagnosed, she could still have a relapse or seizure at any time, so we still can’t bring ourselves to leave her alone.  Plus, at this point she hasn’t been by herself for so long that it probably would cause her too much stress.  So that means that anytime we want to go somewhere, we have to get a dog-sitter.  Luckily we live in the same town as my parents, and they love Payton with all their hearts.  They (my mom in particular) have been so accommodating and generous with their time, watching her if I have meetings for work or if Tim and I just need to have a date night.

And as much as I love my little angel, it is good for me, like any mom I suppose, to have some time apart.  It is sometimes emotionally taxing to care for her 24/7.  Although she is having some of the best days of her life, the journey has been a roller coaster ride.  We try to focus on the positive side of this experience, but sometimes I just can’t help but be saddened by the thought of one day losing my sweet Payton.  We just never know when/if the next seizure, relapse, or problem will be her last.  She’s a fighter, and the strongest creature I’ve ever met, but her little body will give out one day.  There are days that I think I could handle it since we have had so much time to prepare mentally, but there are other days I think I’ll fall apart.

At times, it can be very lonely and isolating going through something like this.  As you may know, that was one of the main reasons for starting this blog.  We were hoping to be a light out there for others that may be going through this or something similar.  We want to make a difference so that Payton’s experience won’t be in vain.  Already we’ve received two emails from families that were fearful their pug had PDE.  We are saddened by that possibility, but are so grateful that we could be there to help in any small way we can.

Ok, so we have made and continue to make a lot of sacrifices for our girl, but it’s not all so depressing.  We certainly would not trade her (just the way she is) for anything in this world.  There is not a single day that goes by that she doesn’t make me smile.  We just feel better, happier in her presence.  We are truly blessed to be loved by her, and she has taught us the true meaning of unconditional love.  Tim and I love each other and our families more deeply because of her.  Despite all she has been through, her sweet disposition and great joy for life shines every day.  It’s infectious.  Everyone that meets her falls in love.

It's faint and kinda hard to see in the picture, but there is a rainbow in the sky.
Payton has also taught us how to live in the now.  At least we try to.  Her life is so fragile that we strive to cherish each moment with her.  We have adjusted our priorities.  It’s most important that we spend time with family and have fun with Payton.  We try to do as many of the things that she likes as possible.  When Payton gets in the mood to play, we play.  When she wants to lie outside in the sun, we stay outside.  We try very hard not to get wrapped up in the routine of life (chores, work, etc).  And lastly, most importantly, our faith has increased.  We pray every night that God will continue to heal Payton and keep her with us.  All three of us have become dependent on His grace and mercy.  I have no doubt that our prayers have helped to give Payton the best life possible.

Christy (and Payton)


Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your ups and downs with caring for Payton. She certainly is not a low-maintantence girl.
Your hard work and sacrifice makes her that much more of a treasure.
Sabrina's mum

moPSY+MISIOber said...

I'm crying right now. What a fantastic people you are!!! I admire you very much. I would do exactly
the same for my 3 babies (and there were times, they need me more then usual). But your story... unbelievable!!! Payton is so lucky, and you are to have her :) Love you !!!! so much Gosia :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing, I am very touched by your words.
Trunks' MOM

Ellen said...

That is amazing ... she is definitely very loved! I thank God every day that my pugs are all healthy! Like you - I would do anything for them, but I'm not sure I would financially be able to do what you are doing. She is one lucky pugger! Pug Hugs, Ellen

Vito and Gina said...

I can't imagine the sacrifices you and your husband and your whole family have made. Payton is SOOO lucky to have you all. And I know that you feel lucky to have her as well!!

Gina & Vito too!

Gracie the Agility Pug said...

You're all an inspiration. Take each day as it comes, and know you all found each other for a reason.

Tweedles -- that's me said...

And the words you said "You would not trade her for anything" are the most beautiful heartfelt words.
Thank you for sharing this unsaid part of your world with us,,
You give us all courage ,, as some of us are facing challenges too.
Lets all sit together- shoulder to shoulder and support each other,, one day at a time.
We always wish for miracles, and this is one of them.

Suki said...

Where's my kleenex?! Payton is truly blessed to have you two as parents and your her Grandparents too.


Meredith LeBlanc said...

Payton is blessed to have you, and you are blessed with her.

For the last few years of my Nicki's life she had diabetes & ailments of a senior dog; it was challenging to keep up with her appointments & her medications but I felt honored to care for her kind, loving soul.

Having Nicki and supporting her broke my heart open making space to love more freely. Her passing allowed Scarlet to come into our lives, who is teaching us all sorts of new things about living life in the moment with exuberance.

Our love to you all
Meredith & Scarlet

Pug Slope said...

Wow, that was a wonderful post. It's clear that you guys are totally dedicated to your little pugnacious gal. She's extremely lucky to have you two looking out for her as you are lucky to have her in your life. It's really difficult to measure the joy a dog can bring into one's life. We had a lot of strange circumstances that led us to eventually getting Sid, and I sometimes think if one those things hadn't happened we wouldn't have wound up with him. I can't even imagine that. As much grief as these little buggers can sometimes cause, we know how important they are to each of us. You guys deserve a huge paw on the back! -Love, Brian, Jenn & Sid

Salinger The Pug said...

What a great post Christy! Please don't feel like you're've got all these other crazy obsessed PugParents here in Bloggerland that feel the exact way about their 4 legged kids!

Payton is the luckiest girl to have you as her family! How fabulous that your boss will allow you to work from home now to help keep an eye on your sweet girl.

Please give yourselves HUGS from us!

Salinger (and his peeps)

Sequoia & Petunia & Emma said...

You truly are good people and we agree very lucky you were able to work from home.Hugs to your whole family.

Southern Fried Pugs said...

Payton is a lucky girl to have found parents that could help her as you have. I have pet insurance for Tallulah and Petunia because of my foster pug Quincy. He came into rescue with mast cell cancer. His vet bills in less than 6 months were over $5000. If he wasn't in rescue, he would have been euthanized. So I got insurance for my girls because I never want money to dictate how my girls live. Isabelle is a different case. I will spend what ever I have to for her, but at her age, treatment has to be weighed against quality of life not quantity. I save money for her every month instead of paying for insurance.
You are not alone. I would do everything I can for all three of my girls, including consulting animal communicators in England and learning homeopathy. I say that I would dance naked in the moonlight if it would help them. And I'm a prudish goody two-shoes.