and Angel Luke (German Shepherd)
name is Janet and my beloved epi German Shepherd was Luke. I am a law
office manager, professional belly dancer and a "single mom," but
only of dogs!
I lost my Luke on November 11, 2006 a day before his 10th birthday.
The sense of loss and the pain is still overwhelming at times, but I am
finally able to see the triumph in Luke's story and our battle together.
Not only did we battle epilepsy, but we successfully battled lymph sarcoma
and some severe gastric problems that had resulted in Luke's
hospitalization. Luke ultimately succumbed to issues that were more
related to old age than anything else, and that we could not battle
successfully, no one can. When Luke was diagnosed with the
lymph sarcoma at age two, and I was told even with chemotherapy to expect
maybe 8 to 10 months of life, I prayed and prayed that Luke would live to
die of old age. I got what I asked for.
Epilepsy reared its ugly head at age 5 when Luke was securely and
successfully in remission from the lymph sarcoma. Poor
Luke never got a chance to enjoy being normal and healthy, but in spite of
that, he was the sweetest, gentlest, most loving dog who completely won the
heart of anyone that met him, especially the many veterinarians and
veterinary technicians and staff who we met along our journey.
And he was a happy boy, up until the end. He was
completely disabled the last year of his life, and I carried him in a sling.
He sweetly accepted his limitations and adapted and continued to live a good
life. When it was apparent that was no longer possible, I made
the hardest decision I ever made. But again, my prayers were
answered thanks to a kind, compassionate and wonderful house call vet, Luke
fell asleep for the last time lying on his blanket in the sun in his living
room. And my life will never be the same, the hole in my
heart will never heal, despite the love of my two remaining German
Shepherds, Betsy and Matt.
Luke suffered from severe cluster seizures that would sometimes go on for
three days, around the clock, sometimes less than a half hour apart.
Joanne was my lifeline during these times. I learned about the
valium protocol, it helped for about a year and then his disease became
resistant to it. We coped the best we could and made the most of
the time between clusters, when he lived a normal, happy life.
And that is why I am here, to help others cope. Firstly,
to honor Luke's memory. I feel, and Joanne agrees, that between
the lymph sarcoma, the gastroenteritis and the epilepsy I have gained a lot
of knowledge and it should not be wasted when it could help others.
Secondly, I have a great deal of compassion for all of the epi-parents
especially those who have to deal with clusters. I know about
the sleepless nights, having to get through the next day at work, the
pressures of having to get to work and having to leave your epi alone when
its the last thing in the world you want to do, sitting at your desk on the
verge of tears because your dog has been seizing and you had to come to
work. I know what happens to the mind when you have been sleep
deprived for over 24 hours and how it influences your thought process, your
emotions, your temper ... I was always very fearful that I would have
to make the decision to let Luke go during one of those three day clusters
when I was not thinking clearly. And I will be eternally
grateful that did not happen. But I have a tremendous amount of
compassion for anyone that might have and for all epi-parents in
general. And I understand the financial stresses, all too well. And
what it is like being a single woman dealing with a 120 pound dog who has
severe seizures and has no use of his hind legs.
I want to help. It is very important when going through
something like this, to know you are not alone. Joanne and
the Angels always were there for me day and night and I knew I was not
alone. It's time for me to give back.