Never Retreat, Never Surrender!

213About four weeks ago, banshee dog (AKA Annabelle) jumped down off the seat of the couch and landed weird. She turned and looked at me when she landed, I asked if she was all right, and she wandered off to get a drink. The next day she started having seizures. She’s actually been stable on phenobarbital for her seizures for over a year, so I thought maybe her medication just needed adjusting. Later that night, she lost the use of her hind legs. I took her to the vet the next morning and found out that she had slipped a disk in her back when she jumped from the couch. She has been on medication to reduce the inflammation since then. I wasn’t able to afford the $5,000 for the surgery.

Banshee dog is half Chihuahua and half Dachshund and weighs 6 pounds. Her legs are approximately three inches long. Annabelle’s nickname is banshee dog because she screams like a banshee when she does not get what she wants. She is a spoiled rotten little dog by my own doing. I take full responsibility for her behaviors. I have totally coddled her, so that she would not cry and wake up my boys. Anyway, banshee dog gets up 5-6 times a night to go to the bathroom because of the medication she is on (Okay and she was getting up 2-3 times a night before that). I, of course, have to get up put shoes on and a jacket to take her outside. I walk around my yard, bent over, carrying my miniature dog’s little butt around until she finds a suitable spot to do her business.

I took her to the vet again today. Dr. Ubrick said that it will be months before Annabelle will be able to walk. We (by this I actually mean just me) will need to do physical therapy with her, but she will never regain total mobility with her hind legs. She may need a wheel chair or braces for her legs, which will likely cost $100-250.

Some people have suggested putting her down. But I won’t give up on her. Just like, I won’t give up on any other endeavors I take on. I’ve struggled through injuries and had to do physical therapy too. I’ve even had to drop out of races due to injuries. Because of this, I’ve implemented many different preventative strategies such as adding strength training, stretching, running in the pool on a regular basis, reducing my miles every four weeks, and cross training. What I’ve learned from this is forgiveness, acceptance, and determination.

I have to forgive myself for not being able to do what I set out to do at that time. This is the most difficult part for me. I have high expectations of myself, failure and quitting are not options. So, how do I forgive? I accept that my body is not perfect and sometimes it gets hurt when I ask it to go farther and do more than it is ready to accomplish. This takes time because my first response is anger and frustration. Once I have accepted that I my body is not a machine, I make a plan (determination) of how I am going to come back even stronger and conquer what I set out to do in the first place.

In running, DNF is generally interpreted as “did not finish,” but I think of it as “did nothing fatal,” “lived to fight another day,” or “lost the battle, but not the war.”

We all have bad days; sometimes they stretch into bad weeks. Runners get injured, it’s part of the sport. What’s not a part of getting stronger, better, and faster is quitting. No one skates through life without some form of bruises and scars, both physical and mental. Challenges build character. When we are pushed to the limit of what we believe we can do, a transformation happens, and we come back stronger and more beautiful than ever before.

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