Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Final Walk

The 5K-9 Walk with my girl in 2010
Ahnung has spoken to me. As I was meditating this morning the same image kept popping up in my head. I was in a forest with Ahnung. It was night time. Instead of my usual meditative practice of telling myself, ‘acknowledge the thought, and let it go’ I decided to embrace the image and go with it where I needed to go.

It was night time but right above us was an opening to the night skies. And as I looked up in the night skies I could see the stars. I imagined how early explorers would look up in the skies for the north star. I place my hand on Ahnung and remember how my north star came to me in October, 2008 and the many lives and hearts she has healed and touched since then. I cannot shake the image of standing in the middle of a deep forest with Ahnung. Pitch black and alone with my girl. But I’m not afraid. She is my north star; she is my internal compass; she is always with me. And so we walk. I follow her into the deep, dark forest.  And we keep on walking. The sun begins to rise and I can no longer see the stars up above. Yet I know they are there. They are always there. I just can’t see them.

And as I am sitting quietly this morning I know what I must do. I am at a crossroad. Since July, 2011 after Ahnung’s first diagnosis with cancer (mammary cancer) we have, in many ways, been trying to beat cancer. We have been trying stay ahead of cancer, to stomp it, to kill it, to make it go away. Yet I know Ahnung doesn't view her 'disease' that way. It's not about stomping or defeating anything. Life just is.

I know my life’s journey is so intertwined with Ahnung’s. For several years now I have struggled with my own health issues: in less than 3 years I have had 5 surgical biopsies, 2 MRI guided  biopsies, a heart ablation, pancreatic issues which led to diagnosis of pancreatic insufficiency with unknown etiology, bleeding in my stool and microscopic blood in my urine. I have been told by doctors and surgeons I am a rare case. I have a leaky kidney (dx of microscopic hematuria of unknown cause); from the 5 surgical breast biospies I have doctors and pathologists saying it is definitely atypical ductal hyperplasia and some saying it’s already cancer but no full consensus. The only agreement is that cells in my body are changing and unfortunately current diagnostics of mammograms and ultrasounds don’t seem to catch it. Surgeries came after either my doctor or I noticed a lump, or when, crazy as it sounds, I just had a ‘knowing.’ And then there’s my heart. I have electrical problems that were fixable with an ablation a year and a half ago but I, like Ahnung, have a very rare disease. I have a rare heart disease called left ventricular non compaction. Only .01% of the population has this disease. It will lead to heart failure. How soon, no one really knows. And in April, 2012 when we learned of Ahnung's second bout with cancer we were told that her cancer, invasive adenosquamous carcinoma, was also a very rare cancer and unfortunately, not much information was known about it or how to treat it. Hmmm .. it was a deja vu of my conversation with my cardiologist when he told me I had a serious heart condition.

Both Ahnung and I have ‘things’ going on in our bodies. Within our bodies, at a microscopic level there are ‘things’ going on … anomalies that for us have led to rare disease diagnoses. Yet on the outside one would never know that the cells in our body are wreaking havoc. I have often wondered if Ahnung has been trying to take on some of what is going on with me …. I have asked her not to take any of my illnesses or diseases. But I know I can’t stop my sweet Ahnung from doing what she knows she must do, whatever that is.

What I know now is that I must walk this final walk with my precious angel. It is a final walk we will take together, through the darkness and into the light, and hopefully through many more seasons. We will walk this walk with grace and dignity and remind each other that every moment we have is to be cherished. The truth is, with how intertwined our lives and spirits are, I don’t know whose final walk it is. And in the end, does it really matter? Because the truth is, we are all on our Final Walk. We have One Walk on this precious planet; we have seasons and we have change; and when it is our time to leave this planet and our physical form of existence, we simply grow wings and we take on a new form of being. As I held Ahnung tightly last night, and all day yesterday, and again this morning, I feel her love, her spirit, her soul inside of me. I know that she will always be with me. Nothing, absolutely nothing, not even death will take my north star away from me. When the time comes for her heart to stop beating so she can be set free, then my heart will start beating for her. Maybe she knows my heart is weak and is failing, and so she is giving me her heart. I keep telling her that the greatest gift she can give me is to take care of herself, and not me, but we all know that Ahnung is Ahnung and she will do whatever Ahnung needs to do! 

So today, we are choosing to live life fully and to walk this final walk together … souls connected and intertwined.

I know so many of us have beloved companions and there are many others who share what Ahnung and I share. I will share with you our journey, and all the ups and downs that will come with our Final Walk together. If our journey helps you in any way, even just a tiny way, then I will know that Ahnung has once again, sprinkled her magic into your heart. She has, after all, cast her magic spell over me  :)

For however long we are blessed to share this Final Walk, we will fill our walk with play, curiosity, time to sniff and enjoy the wonderful scents around us every day … and today, my sweet girl is excited because we are going to get her lots of yummy food from Woody’s Pet Food Deli. Now that she will no longer be on chemo drugs we can shift her completely to a raw diet, and boy, that makes my girl happy.

So today, give your beloved fur companion an extra hug from us.

Ahnung and Legacy ... morning play :)

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