November is always a difficult month for me. It’s the month that I got ALS. If you want the boring details, read my November blog posting from last year HERE. This November will be the start of my 6th year with ALS. I have been sick for five years. Five freaking years. Can you imagine! I still can’t even believe it.
Not to be all dramatic but it has been a difficult five years. On every level. With ALS, nothing happens suddenly, it is a slow demise so you don't really know how to wrap your head around it. Sometimes I look back and think about the year 2011 with nostalgia and think, "Oh, the good old days when I only had a walker." Sometimes I look back and think about the year 2012 with nostalgia and think, "Oh, the good old days when I could use my arms (but not my legs)." Sometimes I look back and think about the year 2013 with nostalgia and think, "Oh, the good old days when I could go outside without a breathing machine."
Then there are the days when I look back with fear and remember when my lungs collapsed during my diaphragm Pacer surgery.freaky years Then there are days when I look back with fear and remember when my feeding tube exploded. There are days when I look back with fear and remember last Christmas when I had a respiratory illness and literally could not breathe. There are days when I look back with fear and remember such sadness that I could literally feel my heart bursting with despair.
ALS is ugly. It’s so ugly that you almost cannot give it energy because the human being is not equipped to handle what is coming at you. No matter how much faith you have there is nothing that can take away the ugliness.
There are two people that know what I’m talking about. My husband, David, and my daughter, Grace. No one else knows. Not anyone else in my family or any of my friends. My two best friends, Jenny and Yolanda, kind of know but not really because I don’t want to scare them. David, Gracie and I have been in the trenches together through this. We don’t really let anyone else in. We don’t because we have been let down by friends and family before and we have learned our lesson. It’s best if we just keep this between the three of us. I share with all of you but only about 10%. Not to be rude, but y’all couldn’t handle it. So, it’s been the David, Grace and Ellie show… Until now.
We decided that Teddy could join our gang. Teddy already had a hard knock life so we felt like he was seasoned enough.
But let me back up…
Normally, because I am a fucking snob and horrible person, I only buy dogs from breeders. But something told me to go to the rescue center this time to find a dog. My friend Heather told me about a no kill shelter in Provence named S.P.A. Refuge de Baux de Provence that had loads of dogs that needed homes. So off we went. David, Gracie and I and my caregiver, Wilson, started our adventure to the rescue center. Gracie was so excited and was practically skipping through the parking lot to go find her new dog. She wanted all of them. Truth be told, I did not want all of them because I am mostly afraid of dogs. I was worried that I wouldn’t find a dog that understood me. This dog was coming to a girl who was broken. I can’t hug a dog, I can’t throw a dog a ball, I can’t feed a dog and worse, the dog cannot hug me because I am too delicate. I needed to find a dog that understood this which was probably impossible.
We started our journey down the aisles, dog after dog after dog. My caregiver was pushing me in my wheelchair. The dogs were terrified of me, my wheelchair and my breathing machine. They were probably thinking, “What kind of monster is this.” Their only recourse was to bark and bark and bark and bark. They were going crazy. I was getting scared… Until. Way up on the top of the rescue center, near the end, I passed by a large kennel and the dog in the kennel looked at me. He didn’t bark once. He looked into my eyes and followed my wheelchair along the entire length of his kennel just looking at me not making a peep. I looked this dog in the eyes and said to myself, “You know me.” I honestly just felt that this dog and I had known each other before. We were already friends and he already knew everything about me. I didn’t have to explain anything.
Gracie and David knew he was the one as well. There was no question. This dog had a bit of a history. Like me. He was born on my birthday month in 2011, three months before I was diagnosed with ALS. He was brought to the shelter when he was three weeks old and had never left. I thought to myself, “This guy has had it rough, just like me.”
We adopted him immediately. He had another name but Gracie decided that he looked like a giant teddy bear so we named him Teddy. He took to his name immediately and left his past at the shelter. He loves us and we love him. To prove our love we gave him a McDonald’s cheeseburger and let him sleep on the bed. He sleeps in the sunshine during the day and sleeps by the fireplace during the night.
Teddy knows not to jump on me and that he needs to be gentle towards me. He does. Teddy needs to know that I cannot pet him, but I love him. He does. Teddy told us that he understands us and understands that it might not always be roses around here. He said he is up for the job and ready to join the circus. I believe him.pin him So now we are four.