Saturday, February 22, 2014

Divine Timing? Serendipity? Synchronicity? Coincidence?

Call it what you may; I won’t judge. Personally, I tend to believe there are larger forces at work. No such thing as coincidence! It’s probably all in perspective. It’s probably all dependent on what your belief system is (which is totally okay!). But today’s blog is all about divine timing’s impact on my life this week and my interpretation of the events because, well, I’m feeling vulnerable enough to get spiritual here. I encourage you to do the same, my friends. We can all benefit from little vulnerability.

(Forewarning: today’s post is going to be a bit more, journal-style than most.)

This week I was on school vacation. I’m blessed to have a school that chooses to break up its Spring Break into “Winter Break” and “Spring Break.” The double break is just what a busy college student needs to get through a hectic spring semester. So, it was a blessing when the beginning of my break came two days early through consecutive snow-days. (Albeit, it was a mixed blessing: a tough anatomy & physiology exam has been put off and the further time away from models dulls the material.) With all the stress and exhaustion I had been struggling with lately, I welcomed Break like an old friend.

Recently, I did a brief dive into my health struggles through the Honesty Corner. Well, the start of this break was one of those “this sucks pond water” moments. From Saturday to Wednesday, my life consisted of lying in bed and doing nothing. I’m a bit of a control freak – I know my flaws! – so the fact this put me so far behind in homework irritated me beyond compare. I’d started off this break with glorious ideals of getting ahead in classes. After suffering with that irritation and those lost hopes, I finally gave in to my fate. Let me tell you: surrender never felt so good. I reveled in the bliss of nothingness. How often do we get time to do nothing – to just be? No obligations. No pressing deadlines. Just us, our relaxation, and whatever passes the time.

For instance, I finally finished BBC’s Merlin! It has been something I have wanted to do but time always got away from me. (I highly recommend the series, to anyone who is curious. Just be prepared to cry buckets at the series finale. It rips your heart out but is worth every second.)

Sunday, I left the house briefly with my dad on a father-daughter excursion to a friend’s house. She is a successful Herbalist I work with during the summer and this year dad is training under her. (He is trying to find another supplemental form of income that is dear to his heart.) I am so grateful for the few moments of good-health to enjoy the visit. It was great to see her in a different environment and learn about her business, her passions, and her homelife. The more we talked, the more synchronicities appeared: she once worked the same job my dad worked, she shared several of his interests, and her reasons for becoming an Herbalist were the same. It was abundantly clear – we were being shown the mirror image of what dad’s future could be!

On the way home Dad and I both caught sight of something in a field. Immediately we scrambled to find a place to turn around, overcome with awe. In the field were nearly thirty deer. A large portion of them had wandered into the woods when dad and I made it back to the spot, but I still managed to snag a few photos of some of them. I cannot tell you how happy I was that I brought my small camera with me! Something told me to bring my mini back-up with me. And I am so glad I followed that intuition!

There were so many, these are just a few!
The sight of all of the deer eating in and wandering around the field was breathtaking. My mother has always had a thing for deer; they are her good-luck charm. Seeing so many of them, especially after the synchronicities of the visit we’d just come from was like a neon sign flashing: “YOU’RE GOING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.”

Sunday through Thursday brought a rough patch that snuck up like a snake. I never saw it coming. Last week, our eldest pup, Peaches, Her Royal Queen of Fluffdom, suffered what I was convinced was a seizure. Sunday, a week later, mom and I witnessed her have another. That was it! Done deal. To the vets we went. There were several indicators in her health that left me weary, things that I had let slide because I attributed them to her love of food and hatred of exercise. She’s more tired. Her stomach distended. Now, in light of this recent health scare, they all seemed vitally important.

Peaches, letting her playful side show

We learned that her eyesight is deteriorating and that she has a risk of blood clots. More pressing, though, they found she has a very good sized mass in her abdomen. The prognosis was poor. After giving us the “good news” of her having a wonderful blood work, the vet brought us out back to see her x-ray. In a matter of seconds, the world stopped.

If it’s attached to the spleen she’s at risk of rupture, he told us.

I sunk.

There is the difficult choice, he continued, between getting it removed, if it’s worth it because of her age (as she could die in surgery), or euthanasia. Death by burst spleen is horrific; it wasn't even an option in our minds.

She has not been featured in any posts yet on this blog, so her disposition might be difficult to imagine. Let me put it in perspective:
she may be going on 11, but when Peaches sees me first thing in the morning, she is as excited, sprite and playful as she was when she was smaller than the length of my forearm. Jumping all over the place, tail wagging, wiggling like crazy. She's got this "puppy at heart" thing down to a science.

The mere thought of euthanasia – I couldn’t wrap my head around it. She has too much life.

My little white fluffball looks cream when she's surrounded by powdery white snow!

At home, after the appointment, I found myself on the floor in my bedroom. I pulled Peaches onto my lap. And I just broke down. She’s my baby – the last thing I want is for her to suffer, ever. Knowing she’s had this thing growing in her, without our knowing, made me feel like I had failed her; I’m supposed to care for her and yet we let her get this. “We try so hard to take great care of our dogs! How could this happen?”  I was terrified for her. I was mad at us.

Peaches was a good sport for a few moments. She let me hold her and sob. Then she walked down to the end of the hall way, as if telling me it was time for bed. Hearing that I wasn’t following, she turned and watched me, wagging her tail in encouragement. "You comin', Katie?" I didn’t budge; I let out another sob.

When I looked up, she had pranced down the hallway to me and planted herself before me. Her white tail moved so fast she wiggled her whole body. She leapt to my face, licking only my cheeks and eyes. Every time I sobbed, she licked me until I was dry.  (Some might argue coincidence, particularly where my pups lick so much to begin with. But I know her too well. She’s always been my shadow. She’s always been my other half. We have this soul-buddy bond.) When she usually licks it is all over, without discrimination. But that night, she only focused on the tears.

Nothing beats puppy love.
Proof that nothing beats puppy love.
And proof we're born to be best friends.
 The rest of the week was a blur until the ultrasound appointment, which would give us more detail. I was emotional distraught and drained. The numb, empty feeling that comes with depression reared its nasty, unwelcome head.

And then the most remarkable thing happened: it was beaten down. Depression was forced back into the netherworld by the most powerful of forces – love. The outpouring of support from friends and family breathed warmth and life back into us all. Prayers, love, emotional support flocked in from every angle. A few dear friends I’ve never met offered to help raise funds if we couldn’t afford pricy treatments or surgeries. The Herbalist my dad is training through heard of our plight and told us of another who specializes in animals so we can go to her for treatment. All of this kindness, without a single demand in return. I never expected any of it. From an awful tragedy, I discovered a tremendous blessing: how much love my friends, family and I share. I had no idea that, when push came to shove, I had so many people who had my back.

The day before Peaches’ ultrasound, an unexpected card came in the mail. Another dear friend had sent me a Valentine to express how much she cherished our friendship, but with all of the winter storms last week, it got here late. She was so worried about it not getting here, particularly not on time. But her card arrived precisely when I needed it most. I arrived right one time as far as I'm concerned. Had I received it on Valentine’s Day, I’d have been touched. I’d not have loved it any less. Receiving it the day before Peaches’ ultrasound, though, gave me the extra boost of love I needed to get through. It made it 10x more special. Heck, it brought me to tears! (I’m one serious softie.) I am so grateful for friends like her. (And for divine timing!)

(Before I continue, I’ll dish off the good news. It’s not great, but it’s good: the growth isn't spleen cancer. Thank goodness! It won't burst and she won't have a miserable death because of that. She does, however, have an enlarged liver and a growth on it. He's 85% sure it isn't cancerous, but he's told us a test we can have done so we can be definite. Regardless of if it is or isn't, we'll still have to have her checked every so many months via x-ray to know if it is growing. Her treatment isn’t over, we still have tests to do and doctors to see – and her seizures to address – but our largest fear is now nothing to worry about.)
Then came Friday. I’m jokingly calling Friday the culmination of synchronicity.

After a simple question from a friend - "Do you have a long dress I could borrow?" - I finished up the schoolwork I was doing, packed up a few long dresses I had left over from my high school dance days and dashed over to her house. Wh
at ensued from there was an impromptu fashion show; we pulled back her hair and dolled her up in all of my glitzy, sparkly jewelry. She twirled, modeled and posed for paparazzi-style pictures. With both of us having had a long week, it was great to have a little bit of girl fun in between homework and life insanity and to just LAUGH. Two of the dresses fit perfectly and she's bringing them to someone to see if they can be temporarily altered to fit her even better for her upcoming dances. Each of them looked stunning on her. She's going to be so beautiful!

Then we sat and sipped on tea. I caught up with her mother, her little sister, planned on a possible "make-up party" for her prom, where her older sister (also a dear friend of mine) and I do her make up together. There'll probably be more giggles than make-up getting done if that happens!

I thought I was going to miss my Mushroom, her older sister, so I wrote a little note on an index card and placed it on her bed. No sooner had I done that, though, then a car pulled in their driveway. Mushroom! We only visited for a short while, but it was enough for both of us. We talked about tea, life, her crazy work schedule, my crazy course schedule, make-up, clothes, good television shows. I also snuggled, played with and got loved on and kissed by her littlest sister's bunny, Pepper.
He gives kisses!
I was holding him and he kissed my neck. Bunnies can kiss?!
Nothing beats bunny love!

The universe conspired to have us see each other for sure. My Mushroom hadn't known I was coming, yet she'd made sure to get of work exactly on time. She'd even had it in her mind to come drop by my house on her way home - unannounced - (which would have meant we'd have missed each other!) but decided to go to her house first and call me from there. I had been planning to leave by the exact time she'd pulled in the drive way. I love when the Universe works in special, little ways like that.

She’d had a rough week at work with intense training. I’d had a stressful week. At the end of both, we got a surprise reward – a few moments with a good friend. I live for synchronicities like that.

Now, if only Mother Nature can bring a snow-day for Wednesday and make last night’s dream about a postponed paper come true. ;)

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