My Lava Broke!
A Life Update
This is the second part to the Dear Blog episode earlier this week Dear Blog – “How happy are you today Rory?” Only two days ago being published on Wednesday. It followed Tuesday night where Suze and l went out with her family and despite worrying about Scrappy had a fairly enjoyable evening – l put myself at a Happy Points 9. On Wednesday l had myself before midday at a Happy Points 6. For those who are oblivious to what the hell l am on about with this business of Happy Points – it was a system of babysteps l have recently introduced into my life to get me through a very trying and difficult time of stress.
1 Point for this, and 1 point for that – to some – somewhat convoluted – to others ‘just go with the flow’ to me l needed the baby steps system to survive my daily stress.
I made mention to suffering with phenomenal stress the other day and my close friends all know l am somewhat under the weather with extreme stress – so much so, it’s making me in many ways into a different person – l am edgy, volatile, highly emotional and emotionally angry, on top of that l am struggling to keep my motivation levels in check. Personally, l think l am coping pretty well considering … but in truth in the last couple of days especially things have progressively gotten worse and now not only do l struggle with the heavy stress load but walk around with teary eyes and Suze is the same.
By Wednesday night, l plummetted to 0 Happy Points, achieved and sustained a 2 all day yesterday and am on a 2 today.
My serious stress load has been building up since second week of June of last year when l first received the news that Scrappy had a malignant anal gland lump which was inoperable. Scrappy who turned 16 years old on the 30th November 2019 was already struggling with mild Canine Cognitive Disorder [K9 Dementia] but was still very much the dog that l had known since puppy and Suze had known since 2013 when she first met her and Dora. Scrappy had been diagnosed with arthritis a couple of months previous to June.
We were told that day in June to prepare ourselves for losing her in the next few months, that if she was alive by December it would be a miracle.
By that time, 2019 had already been a trying year – Suze and l had only just started being a couple again after a seriously bad 2017 where we had split up. But by March 2019 and we were coming good again after a very dark tunnel. With my father passing away in 2018, l had been going through a hellishly hard inheritance battle with my sister which only concluded at the very start of June 2019 and l was weary from that battle. I had come off 15 months of antibiotics which had screwed up my insides which provided their own stress in May and my shoulder injury was starting to finally heal after physiotherapy started in May 2019. By June 2019 the last 12 months had been hard.
The previous year 2018, we had received a false alarm concerning Scrappy, but she had received the all clear concerning cancer, but we were still in recovery with her IVDD [ Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)] disaster in 2017 and once she started to heal from that terrible injury she started to age very quickly indeed – the arthritis is chronic today because of the IVDD attack and injury in 2017.
Scrappy is a tough breed of dog – a Kelpie cross Staffordshire – this awards them a lot of true grit and determination – if they set their intelligent heads to a task, they achieve it. At the time of Scrappy’s diagnosis, the vets were saying perhaps we should consider having her PTS’d, we decided against that and battled to keep her as healthy as we could on the scale of life system.
But it wasn’t the anal cancer which proved to be our greatest enemy or stress awarder – in many ways it wasn’t even the arthritis …
If l thought the stress of everything that led up to that date was bad enough, then the cancer diagnosis on top bad – l simply wasn’t prepared for everything that followed and after several months finally broke me on Wednesday night.
There are two types of breakdown in the main – physical and mental – l have experienced these, only once before had l experienced them both together and at that point l was 27 and l broke for a period of six months. Then built myself back up and started playing ‘life’ again.
Wednesday night wasn’t a full breakdown – it was an episode where upon l simply couldn’t take any more pressure and l snapped. I am recovering from that night still’. On Wednesday night – my volcano erupted.
What took me to that spot?
In simple terms too much stress and a long build up of stress over several months which finally l couldn’t contain. Despite everything l am pleased with myself – l snapped, l broke and here l am Friday, yes very upset with everything but l am still way better with my coping than l was 30 years ago. I haven’t sliced myself up, or thought about suicide, or seriously hurting myself – l had glimpses of the past flashing through my mind – but all l did was blow up on a volatile level of anger.
I didn’t smash anything up, l didn’t punch any walls, l didn’t bash my head against windows – l never hit anyone anyway – but l didn’t do anything – l simply broke and admitted that l couldn’t cope anymore with the situation – something had to give before l lost my mind.
End July 2019, Suze came back from visiting her grandkids in Australia and she came back with some kind of viral infection, during her absence Scrappy’s pacing and dementia was starting to get worse. In August, both the stress from Scrappy’s increasing dementia and Suze’s illness were starting to take their toll on my own mental health. I started to don masks to cope, tried to help Suze out as much as l could to alleviate her own stress levels with being ill and worrying about her kids and Scrappy by taking them on board my broad shoulders.
In late August – Suze was admitted into hospital and would be there for eleven days and narrowly escape death from sepsis from the virus infection. My stress went through the roof at that point, Scrappy noticed my stress and her dementia increased. Suze came out and was then off work until late October.
Since then, there has been a house filled with human stress and K9 Dementia that increases daily. There is no liquid relief available to dogs suffering from K9 dementia in the UK that is safe to use on them – there is only tablet forms and for dogs with Scrappy’s problems and as a dog who point blank refuses to take tablets down – we don’t have any options and this means that every day her symptoms become worse.
The irony is, that health wise on the scale of life and functionality – she is perfectly fine – technically, she is not aggressive, she eats like a horse, she can still walk, she sleeps she can toilet herself without help – but ….
… she is no longer my beautiful girl and even as l type this out, l am crying because l am riddled with guilt and shame, that my beautiful girl who can battle so much wrong with her physically, and is l guess blissfully unawares to the effects her K9 dementia are having on Suze and myself. But l feel weak that her dementia has caused me to practically lose my mind is unforgiveable in some respects.
Suze until only recently, wasn’t on the same page as me … she is affected by Scrappy’s behaviour but Monday to Friday she is out of the house with work 8am – 6pm, she is disturbed by Scrappy’s behaviour on the weekend and after work.
Where l can l have been encouraging Suze to go out more to not be in the house, to visit friends, to take courses so that she can recover from her health drop. I have taken the burden of Scrappy’s dementia onto my autism ability to detach, but have become over whelmed by the stress load of not just Scrappy – but everything.
But anyone who has lived with K9 dementia and more from a dog that isn’t on medication – they will tell you, it drives the human carers insane with stress. You are constantly worrying … Suze and l were worrying about her cancer in case it dangerously progressed and her arthritis in case she took a stumble or a fall – but the dementia is simply no longer manageable from or by me – my lava’s spilled out on Wednesday when l just couldn’t cope anymore.
Scrappy can be awake for 20 hours a day each day, pacing, puffing and panting, she will bang open doors and if people are trying to sleep they are not allowed to sleep. Scrappy will no longer tolerate Suze and l being in the same room together unless it is on her terms, she hardly recognises us anymore – she just knows her routines. She eats well, but doesn’t recognise food unless it has a high smell, so really strong fish oils are used to encourage her to eat, but then she forgets she has eaten, then new food is wasted because she remembers she is no longer hungry.
She doesn’t soil in so that is a blessing, but the stress of the pacing, and the constant walking is having a detrimental effect on her ability to walk because she has crippling arthritis, her anxiety levels go through the roof daily, you find yourself not just trying to second guess her requirements but third time guessing. She stares at walls [manageable], gets stuck [manageable], puffs and pants [manageable] ,wants to be let out 50 times a day [becoming unmanageable] , paces [becoming unmanageable], never settles [becoming unmanageable] In the space of the last seven months l have watched Scrappy mentally decline to the point that it breaks mine and Suze’s heart daily.
Suze has had to start taking sleeping tablets just to sleep, because unless scrappy is asleep as in dead to the world – no one else is allowed to sleep. With me it’s not just the mental duress and stress, but l now have physical stress – l am suffering with headaches and l also have a form of stress induced eczema appearing on my body but sadly around my eyes which means l am in pain and discomfort most days now and my eyesight is blurred.
I made an appointment this morning for Scrappy on Sunday for a check up, she has lost weight, not to the point that she is skin and bones, but l think the anal gland cancer is progressing internally over externally as the lump is certainly not visible. I am also going to ask about whether there is anything we can do for her K9 dementia – but l actually think, that whilst Suze and l will be taking her to the vets – she’ll not be returning home with us. If l am wrong and there is some new medication for her dementia, we would be over joyed.
But in light of my lava’s breaking on Wednesday, l think Suze has come to realise just how much stress l have been holding and l suppose hiding from her, l didn’t do so to be spiteful – l did it to be protecting – but in the end the stress has basically injured me.
On top of that l have other stresses which are just flooring me – my mouth is continually painful and l am still waiting months on from sign up, to get an appointment with a dentist – and l am devastated with the problems in Australia, a country l grew up in and loved – so with everything else going on – it’s making me very volatile.
I did say to my readership – l would keep you all updated to Scrappy’s condition – but that’s where we are. I will let you know the Sunday outcome. However, principally my emotion this week has been low, stresses daily and high end volatility emotionally, very high indeed. But l am on Happy Points 2 for getting to bed before 1am and getting up before 8am, that’s still better than nothing.