Saturday, May 26, 2012

Niblet & Stella..."The Fight"

Niblet- Player #1

Peanut-Player #2  (Witness)

Stella-Player #3
When you returned home from Kansas City, Missouri, after being forced to remain at the eating disorder clinic at Research Medical Center against your will, you wanted to get a dog.  I remember worrying about this idea thinking how difficult it will be for you to take care of a dog. You could barely take care of yourself let alone a dog....but I realized that a dog would be good company for you and would give you some feeling of protection, as well.
The fact that you were in the hospital for several months and were basically forced to gain some weight I will always in my heart know that it allowed you to live for probably one extra year. As difficult as it was to commit you against your will, it was one of the most difficult decisions that dad and I have ever had to make. I wouldn't wish the experience on my worst enemy......( a story for a different post).

When you arrived home, you were so happy to be back at your apartment......
although, the experience had angered you so much, the extra weight you had put on made you feel like crawling out of your skin. However, you were so happy that you were able to drive your car again too. Before you went to Missouri you were unable to drive, you were so weak.....It had been such an emotionally draining 4 months, having just tried to battle the evil monster that lived within you. It was like dealing with my daughter who was possessed. The verbal abuse, anger, phone calls (which I dreaded) twice a day...was not you, it was your eating disorder yelling rather loudly in my ear. It was sooooo mad, upset, and forced you to say things to me that you regretted and apologized for later.

You had found Niblet at a shelter in Chicago. She was born with a cleft palette and was going to be destroyed but was lucky enough to be rescued by the shelter. They gave her the opportunity for surgery so she could hopefully live a full life. You had told me that you felt a certain bond with her since she was "messed up" you felt you were too.

She has a wonderful personality and gets along well with all people. She loves kids too....the only bad thing was that she was too much dog for you. Being a young dog and needing to run around a lot, you had a difficult time meeting her needs. You would let her out of your apartment and run up and down the hallway as fast as she could. Also, in the winter, you would put her on a long leash and let her outside the door to pee while you waited inside the vestibule still holding onto the leash. I know it was too cold for you,  having depleted every last ounce of any body fat presented a lot of problems in your life. 

You would love to go to tanning places all the time to warm up especially in the winter months. Now, they have made up a new word for people who are addicted to tanning. It's "tanorexia"....a bit ironic.

So to continue the story of Niblet, Stella, and Peanut, which is what I am devoting this post to.....after you left on March 18th, 2010 one of Chels friends, Krista, was kind enough to take Niblet temporarily. I was hoping that it would work out permanently since they really loved each other and Krista owns a barn where Niblet could run around and hang out with the horses. It turned out that Kristas schedule prevented her from keeping her since she was gone for too many hours during the day. She did live with her for a few months...which in itself was extremely helpful and I will always be grateful. At that point we actually asked dad to take her and he absolutely did not want her. He just didn't want the responsibility of having a I decided that we would try and have her live with Chel and I...even tho we already had 2 dogs in a small house.

Things went well for a few months and Stella and Niblet would play and play hard...all the while totally irritating Peanut. Peanut had very little tolerance for Niblet and would let her know it. One day while the 2 dogs were playing, it had escalated to a nasty altercation and we ended up having to separate them. It scared me a bit since I don't think it would be a fair fight since Niblet has pit bull in her and has those really strong jaws. I think that too maybe it was the beginning of them trying to establish who would be alpha dog of the household. After all, Stella was here first.....
About a week later my girlfriend, Rosalie was visiting us from Arizona and we were all in the kitchen and out of nowhere the 2 started growling and fighting with each other. Chel was right there and tried to separate them. Rosalie got the bright idea to grab some water in a glass from the faucet and planned to throw it on the dogs . In all the chaos, Chelsey reached down, Ro threw the water right in Chelseys face. We all laughed, it was hysterical. It wasn't quite so funny after we came back from visiting the emergency room and Stella had to have several staples in her chest and came home wearing the cone of shame.

One evening a few days later I was home alone and Chel had gone with her policeman boyfriend, at the time, on a "ride along". I had just let them in from outside and was in the process of putting Niblet behind the gate where we had them separated, and I heard one of them growl quietly. Before I could get the situation under control they started fighting and attached themselves to each other. We were right in front of my bedroom and they were ferociously growling and biting. Stella still had her cone around her neck, which I firmly believe saved her life since Niblet couldn't get her teeth easily around her neck to bite down....and probably too the fact that her mouth is not as effective as one w/o cleft palette surgery. I had grabbed Niblet by her back end and started pulling with all my might, but to no avail, they were stuck together like glue. I was screaming and yelling and tried for about 5 good minutes, then gave up. I ran out of the room thinking that maybe if I wasn't there they would stop. I slammed the door and immediately called 911. I ran outside and then called Chelsey but she didn't answer. I found out later that she had heard the call in her boyfriends squad car that came into the radio dispatch. He raced her back to her car so she could come home and help me with the situation.
I came back into the house and listened by the door, I was so afraid to open it for fear I would see Stella lying dead on the floor. I waited patiently for the police to arrive and finally he comes to the door and reluctantly came in...he said," what would you like me to do"? I asked him to please look and see what was in the was quiet at that point.  He told me that his partner was outside and she was a dog person, could she come in and look. So she came in and bravely went into the room to check it out. She came out and suggested I take the "black one" to the emergency room as soon as possible and that she was in bad shape. I wrapped her up in a blanket and drove to the emergency room....( i don' think I have ever had an emergency happen when it wasn't normal daylight hours or not on a Sunday).
Stella's chest was basically open on both sides, I think the both of us were in shock when we arrived at the hospital. I remember seeing the tech behind the counter who was an old friend we used to ride with years ago, Jennifer. It was good to know a familiar face after an experience like that. The police waited til Chel came home and decided not to report the incident to the Canine Patrol since they were both my dogs. I don't think that the police get many calls like this one.

Chelsey was right behind me and had stopped at home to get Niblet to meet me at the hospital. Stella gave Niblet a run for her money, but her injuries were not as life threatening. We spent a good portion of the evening at the hospital and about $2,100.00 later had to leave both to spend the night so they could be monitored. When we returned home we cleaned up my bedroom......there was blood everywhere.....splattered on the walls, carpet, bed...even in the shower they were wrestling with each other. It was like a picture from the show "Forensic Files"!
Stella the next day...poor baby!
 To this day I can't tolerate the noise of dogs either growling or fighting...I think I will be traumatized for years to come.

Stella eventually recovered from all of her injuries in time and finally Dale agreed to invite Niblet into his home, they are very happy together. They were meant to be together...Chel actually had a hand in helping him make the decision to take her. So everyone lives happily ever after and we get to see Niblet now and then.....

We miss you more each day........m

Saturday, May 12, 2012

My Tattoo & My Letter to You

I never in a million years thought I would ever get a tattoo....especially at my age, but after my first experience last year when I attended The Compassionate Friends Conference, I had a change of heart. I saw lots of bereaved parents with all sorts of tattoos of their children on all different areas of their bodies. Sooo right around Halloween, I decided to go to the tattoo parlor and get it done.  I will say that I felt very macho sitting in the chair while the artist worked on me. I actually said, "I feel so macho..." and Chelsey, who was kind enough to be there with me for moral support, responded by saying, "But are getting a Butterfly"!  So then I didn't feel so macho hurt like hell! Luckily, I have a high tolerance for pain.

I am so happy that I had this done, It just makes me feel closer to you.......

On March 18th, 2010 which was the worst day of my life, I remember leaving the hospital with Chelsey and Dale realizing that I would never have the opportunity to see you again. It was difficult to leave you, however, I am realistic enough to know that you were no longer in the body that anorexia had so maliciously destroyed. After a few days I decided to write you a letter to have read at your memorial service, since it would have been impossible for me to read myself. I wanted to post this letter that I so passionately wrote from the bottom of my heart. I guess it is apropos to have it on your blog on the eve of Mother's Day....

So here it is:

Dear Anorexia,
Do not take the dear as to mean endearment in any way, you have done your  job quite well, although this victim, Monica, for whom you never had any regard  fought very hard and  very long, she was no match for the power you possess.  You managed with ease to take a beautiful, wonderful , innocent person who well deserved a normal happy life and eventually destroyed her.  You are evil and I hate you. I wish I could destroy you and crush you and make you disappear and never hurt anyone again.

Dearest Monica,
I am so sorry…sorry that you have had to endure this monster for all of these years. I am sorry that I couldn’t protect you and help you destroy your enemy.  Please know that it is not your fault and never was your fault. You have taken so much of the burden and responsibility for much of what has transpired over the years.  I am here once again to tell you it was never your fault.  You are so special to me and I am glad that I could be there for you, when friends and family, who loved  you so much found it too painful to be around you. You fully understood their pain and blamed yourself.
Your father and I were so elated when you were born 31 years ago. You were the first grandchild for Grandma and Grandpa and they couldn’t have been happier. I know that you and Grandma had such a special relationship and it comforts me to know that you are  now in their arms. Sometimes I have dreams of Grandma and Grandpa and once I had a dream about Charity. It was almost like I saw them again and visited them. I hope to have lots of dreams of you. For now I will hold onto the beautiful  memories of you with our family during the happy times when you were growing up with your “baby sis”.  I will remember what a sweet child you were and how you always helped me with Chelsey when she was  a baby. You were so proud of her.  I will always remember the first day of school when I put you on the bus and as it drove away I cried like a baby.  You had such special talents that they put you in gifted classes and told me what a joy you were to have. 
You grew up to be such a wonderful person who we loved so much and were so proud of. Dad would wear buttons with a picture of you and Chelsey on them on his lapel of his jacket at the Mercantile every day. He would change them out every so often. He started a trend and noticed other traders were doing the same with their kids.
 Then the day arrived when you asked me for riding lessons, everything changed forever. I told you that all I would buy you was a hardhat for your protection; I guess I didn’t think you would stick with it and boy was I wrong. For the next 8 years you amazed us time and time again all with your natural ability to ride and take a horse around a course beautifully, except for the time Blackie stopped at Ledges and you fell off and broke your arm. You still gracefully got up and said, “I think I broke my arm”.  Oh and the time that you fell off at Stateline and went to the emergency room and were treated for a concussion. You were reading something on the way out and walked right into a metal sign. I remembered how much we all laughed.   During your many years of riding you touched so many lives…you made friends so easily and even though you wanted to always win, you had a way of competing with others so graciously.  The year you won Jr. Rider of the Year we were so proud of you. It was just another tribute to how much everyone admired you. There are so many years of great memories, funny stories from all of the people who have ever come in contact with you.
You were a wonderful, beautiful, giving, thoughtful, funny and loving woman.   You have shown time and time again how talented you are in the kitchen, how you had such an ability to create delicious dishes from scratch and of course using me as the taste tester. You are an amazing artist and have created beautiful pencil and pastel drawings. You have proven to be a natural at riding and showing….I have always been so proud to say that you rode at Madison Square Garden on Malmo.
Your sense of humor has always amazed me.  You were one of the funniest people I know, I have told you so many times how much you have always cracked me up. You were a joy to be with. You astounded me in so many ways, for example, your skill at Scrabble, you knew you were the best of anyone attempting to play with you. I remember that high score of over 400 once, you were so proud of yourself…..I literally only beat you 2 times, which was a feat in itself. Your vocabulary was incredible and I would often call you for help if I didn’t know a word or what a word meant….especially if it was related to food. You could have easily become a nutritionist or a chef, for sure, how you could create food dishes from scratch, never even tasting anything, the dishes would be delicious. You took so much pride in feeding others with your creations, I only wish that you could have enjoyed all of the foods that everyone else enjoyed, you  deserved it.  
Your love of books made you interesting to talk to and I was  impressed with how much you knew about every book in the library and their authors, then the books on tape which you would listen to on the fastest speed, it always sounded so mechanical, but I know it kept you company.  Your Kindle was your company for the last few months, not to mention Niblet, who adored you and would look at you with such love in her eyes.  She will miss you, but not to worry she is being well taken care of.
I have loved being your mother; even though our time together has been cut short….I will always remember your beautiful smile and your wonderful spirit.  You may have thought you were alone, because your illness isolated you so, but I hope you can look down upon us today and see all of the love in this room and realize how admired and adored you were the whole time.
When your ashes are made into a diamond you will shine forever, not only in our eyes but in our hearts.
You will be terribly missed by all that ever knew you.
Much love and affection forever……Mom

I wanted to throw in a few more pictures, the first is our last Scrabble Game. I believe it was your turn....also the paper where we were keeping score. We couldn't ever play the full game in one sitting, so it was always on-going.You really were the best at Scrabble and now that I have been reading lots of your writings, I can't believe how great you were at could have been a writer or anything your heart desired, you were so brilliant....miss you more than I can ever express.......m

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Malmo and You ; A Match Made In Heaven

Here is your pastel drawing that you never finished of you and beautiful.

Dorothy (the pastor who created your beautiful memorial service and friend) thought that this represented your life, in a way, how you left us way too soon without finishing your life....

Over the years people would periodically ask me, "How did Monica get sick? Do you know how she got Anorexia"?  I would always say the same explanation each time. I remember one of the therapists I used to see, she had explained to me that there is no single reason why one acquires an eating is like a pie and there are many pieces to the pie. I guess in a nutshell that there are so many different components that all may play a part in a person using an eating disorder to cope with difficult life situations. There are many similarities and common behaviors in people who have eating disorders, but you never know what may help or not help someone recover.
What may work for one may have an opposite effect on another.
When we first took you to get help at the very beginning of the nightmare you were in an outpatient program for 8 months. After they basically taught you how to eat again you wanted no part of recovery. You were slowly being possessed by the evil of Anorexia.
When people who are going through difficult times in their lives and feel very much out of control they will use the eating disorder to feel in control. In actuality you are very much out of control...but IT makes you believe otherwise...there is very little one can say or do to talk the person out of going down that path.
      You were so involved in your riding for so many was your passion, your hobby, your every breath revolved around the barn, riding, horses show..etc.
After you were to turn 18 you would no longer be considered a child (Jr.) rider but would then go into the next division of riders known as an "amateur adult rider". That terrified you so much.....
I remember you were feeling  so lost at that time in your life and wondered what would happen to you when you wouldn't be a Jr anymore. You were looking for guidance and never really found anyone to help you through those feelings. I think you felt useless and very scared.... I believe that this was one piece of your pie. Transitioning into adulthood is very overwhelming for lots of young people....

You also told me later that you had started having eating disordered thoughts way before we even thought anything was wrong. In some of the videos, during the horse shows in which you qualified for, you could see that you were beginning to loose a bit of weight and your breeches were a tad loser that they should have been.

I am posting the horse show that you went to Regionals in Kentucky, which I promised to do in one of my previous posts. Again, I regret tremendously not being there...I will always regret being so afraid of flying and wishing I could have been braver. I was still as proud as a mother could be and I know you had a great time with your friends that you went with. I know it was a very exiting time for you and you have never been happier.....but little did we know what was lurking around the corner.

There was one story I remember you telling me....I'm not sure which horse show it was, but I suspect it was the "Madison Square Garden" horse show. Just before you entered the arena to begin your round, you reached around and picked your underwear out of your butt crack....which I like to refer it as having "creepers" funny....all your friends teased you about that for years and years!

Here is the Kentucky Regionals clip of your amazing riding......

 You should have won!  You came so close!  I will say that you were a very gracious competitor...always happy for your fellow riders.....

 I miss you so much.......m