In Defense of Weakness

As I delve a little into what happened yesterday during my second half infusion of Ocrevus, I want to be very clear that “weakness” is not at all meant to be a taken as derogatory, or a stand-in for failure.  I do not intend “weakness” to bring up feelings of inadequacy or defeat.

Weakness, in this piece, means vulnerability, means softness, means disarmed – and the context of these words are meant to evoke in us the power of our humanness and to speak to the testament that though we are all fragile, that fragility bonds us together and opens up the pathways for empathy.

As I wrote about in my last piece, my decision to start Ocrevus was not an easy one and the long-term side effects were scary and the short-term ones turned out to be terrible.  This all comes with the territory of long-term disease management and medications.  So I won’t re-hash that and I’ll start with yesterday morning.

(Full disclosure, as I’m writing this, I’m currently basking in the warmth of 7.5 mg of Vicodin, 50 mgs of Benadryl, plus the haziness of sheer exhaustion.  Also, my skin is burning at a level best described as “infuriatingly distracting” and I have no feeling in either of my legs, so every once in awhile I’m taken out of writing mode to try to figure out how my laptop is floating in front of me because I can’t see the lump of legs beneath the blanket and so the whole “out of sight, out of mind” comes in to play.)

Knowing that we would have to leave for Duke at 5:30 am on Tuesday morning, I went to bed at 7 pm Monday night; not surprisingly, I woke up at 1:45 am, anxious and pissed.  But I got dressed, combed my hair and took a “Let’s Do This” selfie in an attempt to get myself pumped up.  I was thinking I looked pretty good for 2:30 am, especially since I was fighting a panic attack and couldn’t take anything for it (so there would be no interactions with the pre-medication they give you at the infusion center).

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We headed out right on time, and despite the Tropical Cyclone warnings, there was only a light rain falling.  Thommy and I took the obligatory “WE’RE ON A ROAD TRIP!” photo at the first red light we came to, and then he took an adorable shot of the two of us once I inevitably passed out in the passenger’s seat.

roadtriproadtrip2

Durham rush hour traffic was reliably crazy, so we rolled up to Duke Hospital with 15 minutes to park and check-in.  While I nervously waited for them to call my name I couldn’t help but notice the obnoxiously optimistic vending machine taunting me.  Similarly to adding the words “in bed” to the ending of fortune cookies, I sometimes like to add the words “my ass” to the end of inspirational quotes.  In case the image is too small for you to read, let me assist you in recreating what I read in my head yesterday morning as I waited for the IV toxicity:

“The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it … my ass.”

vending

Despite my obsession with quotes and my belief in their ability to empower and embolden us, sometimes the only thing that pulls me along in life is sardonic humor. Apologies to C.C. Scott.

Anyway, the appointment started out great – especially the first three things.  For starters, the scale was broken!! After just getting weighed in at a doctor’s appointment on Monday (yes, I truly do spend most of my life at doctor’s appointments), I was really not looking forward to it on Tuesday.  Most people dislike getting weighed in on those hideous contraptions anyway, but for someone with anorexia it’s an even harder proposition. Sometimes I do the weigh-in backwards, but most times my sadistic side takes over and I can’t avert my eyes.  I’m going to be writing a special post about my upcoming 10 year anniversary from Renfrew and one of the things I’ll be talking about is some ways people with eating disorders engage differently than regular folks with seemingly benign tasks.  For example, on the day before a scheduled weigh-in, I usually dehydrate myself and often times use a diuretic or laxative (despite the fact that I am chronically dehydrated and have diarrhea anywhere between 5-15 times a day).  I also wear as few items of clothing as possible.  This is much easier to accomplish in the South, but regardless of the fact that I am always cold, I usually wear shorts and flip flops to appointments so I can take them off before stepping on the scale.  At the infusion center, none of these preemptive steps are possible because those places are kept at what seems to be “just-below-freezing”, so I’m forced to wear jeans and shoes.  I digress: I didn’t have to get weighed in.

The second good thing was finding out that they try to keep you with the same infusion nurse for sake of continuity of care.  I loved my nurse the first time and I was ecstatic to be back under her care.  The last positive to happen in quick succession was the fact that she was able to get the IV in on the first try.  Last time, it took 3 pokes (plus the delay of waiting for the “IV Team” to show up).  Then, things started to take a turn for the worse.

Despite assurances last time that were going to double ALL my meds to start (including the Benadryl, which is a god-send during these infusions because it either knocks you out or keeps you in a “I Don’t Give a Fuck” haze), I was informed that only the Pepcid and the steroids would be doubled.  That was the first time I wanted to cry in the infusion chair.  I held it in.  I dug in hard, gritted my teeth, focused my energy and willed myself to stay ahead of the thundering rumble of disappointment I could hear building up in the background.  Thommy must have taken a picture at this moment, which I didn’t see until later, but perfectly captured the internal pep-talk.

And then he asked for a picture, grinning.  I tried to smile back.

 

Then, as my nurse administered the normal dose of Benadryl, none of the twilight-like sedation that had blissfully overcome me during the first infusion took hold.  It might as well have been saline.  Again, the tears swelled up from my gut to the edges of my eyes – but I blinked them back down and just let the crashing wave of disappointment and frustration wash over me.  All my senses and emotions were so heightened that it felt more like drowning than washing, but I didn’t want to give up on the day so early in the process.

The day marched on.  Thommy did some work and I mostly stared ahead at the wall, or occasionally at my phone, but mostly I just looked at the IV.  A little blood had started to flow back into the tubing, a hazy mixture of red blood and opaque medicine creating a pink swirl in the line.  I don’t know why it was mesmerizing.  Something about blood leaving my body was calming; it was just the smallest amount, really, but it was beautiful.  It didn’t even scare me that I wished it was coming faster, or that the tubing wasn’t there, or that the earlier moments of “washing disappointment” turned to a wistful hope that the droplets of blood would turn to tiny streams, then currents.  Visions of crimson liquid on pale skin lulled me.  It wasn’t the meds but this vision that acted like the Klonopin I hadn’t been able to take earlier, and my eyes closed.  Thommy must have looked up from his laptop shortly after this and captured with his phone what must have seemed to him like a momentary respite from the struggle and a rare moment of calm.  It was.  But for all the wrong reasons.

***

As we hit the mark in time where I had experienced a reaction during the first infusion, I was ecstatic to realize I wasn’t having one this time.  I stubbornly decided (as one does when they think they can control everything around them) that I was NOT going to have a reaction this time and we were going to get out of there on time, beat the Durham rush hour and be back home after “only” 12 hours.  It was not to be.  30 minutes later when they once again bumped up the infusion rate, I started to get the faintest tingle around my ears and the outline of my face.  Then a little on my neck. I tried not to think about it; I certainly tried not to touch it.  I didn’t want to draw any attention to myself while surrounded my hawk-eye nurses and an even more attentive husband, who for reasons that entirely escape me, seems to actually like looking at my face.  I again tried to convince myself the increasingly hard to ignore burning was simply a matter of psychosomatic manifestation.  No allergic reaction to see here.  Maybe if I pretend to sleep, no one will look at me.

Then I coughed.  Just once.  But Thommy looked up.  I shook my head nonchalantly: “I’m fine, just a tickle, it’s fine.”

Then another cough, deeper this time: “I’m fine,” I laughed, “seriously, go back to work.” Then 3 more in quick succession, harder and rumbling, ones that forced my body upwards in the chair.

Fuck.  Me.

After 2 minutes of “Should We Get the Nurse” ping-pong, he poked is head above the nursing station.  I could hear the mumbling and I shot Thommy the coldest death stare I could muster and like a mother scolding an insubordinate child, I mouthed “SIT. DOWN.”

“Never mind, she’s ok.” Thommy said with a sheepish chuckle.  It was his turn to try to laugh it off.  But it was too late and here she came, arms crossed, smiling.  It wasn’t my nurse (she was on lunch), but one that had remembered me from last time and had come over to say hi when we first got there.  “Good to see you again,” she had said.  She was young and very pretty.   It’s strange, but even after just two visits, they seem like a family to me.

“What’s going on?”

“Nothing,” I laughed, waving my hand in an attempt to shoo off the inevitable.  I try to act like the smartest person in the room when in medical settings, like it simultaneously makes everyone up their own game and also allows me the upper-hand.  I do it because pretending I’m in control is the only way I’ve found to survive all this shit.

I don’t remember exactly who said what, but among the three of us, words like “itching”, “just a little irritation”, “cough”, and “I really am fine,” got tossed around.  No dice.  In quick succession, 3 nurses and the PA who oversees the floor and is probably the sweetest person I’ve ever met in a medical office were standing and sitting around me.  Then I started to fucking cry.  Not sobbing, not hysterically, but a stifled stream of tears finally made their way out of my eyes and down my already red and itching face.  The nurses and Thommy tried to console me, thinking what, I’m not sure.  The darker part of my nature thought maybe they believed I was weak – easily rattled – being a brat.

I doubt anyone actually thought that but those were the assumptions pounding against my skull as I tried to explain that I was only crying because I didn’t want to stop the infusion, I just wanted to get through it like (seemingly) everyone else did and go HOME. I wanted them to understand that my body does not know any other mode than “self-sabotage.” It is a betrayer.  It lies and it breaks and it defies logic.  I wanted them to ignore what they were seeing, go against all ethical and practical guides of medicine and just let me have my reaction in peace and get the fuck out of there.  As I explained that, minus the expletives, the PA sat down next to me and placed her hand on my knee that was huddled up next to me as I did my best to place myself in the fetal position in the chair.  Her eyes were the warmest shade of brown, and empathy and sympathy shot out of them like laser beams set to a better frequency than mine.  Excitedly she said, “we won’t stop like last time!! No, no…” she comforted, “we will just stop the drip while we give you more Benadryl, more Pepcid and some Allegra, and then I promise you we’ll start right back up.”  There were some hesitant, doubting looks on the faces of the nurses surrounding her.  The PA must have noticed that too because she added – “I’ll start it back up myself if I have too.”  I agreed, but kept crying.

They all started shuffling around doing what had to be done and within a few minutes, my own nurse was back.  They explained to her what had happened.  They tried to explain why I was upset.  I started to defend myself, but she stopped me.

“Of course you’re crying.  You’re tough and happy for as long as you can and you do what you have to do and then all it ever takes is one final thing, the straw that breaks the camels back, to put you over.  It’s not pain, you can handle that; it’s just frustration at one more thing not working out the way it should and you just have enough.  You’re ok.”

I cried harder.  She actually fucking got it.  I’ve known her for a total of maybe 18 hours in my life and she completely understood the secret language of my tears in that moment.

They infused more meds and I watched the clock tick.  And then, when my time was up, and every nurse was with another patient, the PA (who works in administration and oversees the floor, and who was wearing high heels, a skirt and a blouse, but who had promised me that this little setback wouldn’t get me off track to go home on time), found gloves and started my drip back up herself.

The state of medical care of this country is currently broken.  I know this because I am a professional patient.  But the level of care I’ve received at my infusion center, and especially at the hands of this PA at that moment, healed so many fractures for me.

I still had well over an hour to go when my nurse left for the day.  She came over to say goodbye and that she’d see me in 6 months.  She said a few things, all so genuinely sweet that I wanted to cry again.  Then she said “it was truly a pleasure being with you today.”  I could only nod.  When she left, Thommy turned and said, “she loves you.”

“Yeah,” I said, thinking about all the times doctors and nurses would fawn over Memere, even as she experienced the worst that hospitals have to offer.  “I learned that from Memere.”

***

In my ongoing commitment to showing how “real” complicated and ongoing illness and disability can be, I allowed Thommy to post a picture he took of me crying to Facebook.  We try to document as much of our lives as possible, and while most people who know me know that I’m incredibly open and honest about what all the colors of life look like, there are lines I try to draw.  I’m struggling with that right now as I’m drafting my Renfrew piece, because despite the trigger warnings and the explicit language I’ll use to shy away people who shouldn’t be looking at it, I know if they’re anything like me they’ll be compelled to do so anyway, and so I haven’t decided if I’ll use pictures to help illustrate what my personal weight and health struggles have looked like over the last 18 or so years.

When we finally got home last night, I kept looking at that picture.  I really had to fight the urge to take it down.  I still think displaying vulnerability, depression, anxiety and self-harm are ways that help me fight against them.  I know not everybody feels that way and I do worry maybe it’s too triggering for people.  And maybe I’m delusional, but I do feel that if someone is battling their own demons in secrecy, and maybe feels like no one else understands, that they might see one of my pictures or posts and realize that weakness does not have to equal defeat or inadequacy or failure.  Sometimes – hell, most times – weakness is permission to feel vulnerable, hurt or broken while simultaneously seeing the strength that all those feelings require.  It is permission to be human, and to let others know that not everything they see or read from people they consider “strong” is the whole story.  Strength requires too much energy sometimes; it needs its’ counterparts to be whole.  When someone tells me I’m strong, I want them to know that, while it’s often misquoted and not used in accordance with the original source material from “A Farewell to Arms”: we are all broken, that’s how the light gets in.

So today, as I sit here, I am bloated from the steroids and terrified about how much worse it’s going to get in the coming weeks. I am in incredible amounts of pain radiating from all over, and both legs are numb.  I am starving, but I won’t eat.  My face is broken out in hives (as are my neck, chest and shoulders), and I am dizzy and nauseous from all the medicines.  I am worried about money because our car just needed $1,100 worth of repairs.  I am feeling like a horrible friend and daughter because there are things I’m supposed to be doing for my friends and family that I just can’t.  I feel like the “World’s Worst Wife” (a title I bestow on myself often) because Thommy is stressed and anxious and I can’t be as attentive or patient as I should be.

I am feeling my humanness today: hard.  I am still crying.  But I’m urged to remind you that while it’s not necessarily fair to feel this way, we are okay.  And if you need to reach out, reach out.  And if you want to share your struggles with social media but worry people might think you’re being “dramatic,” tell that voice to shut up and share what you want.  You have no idea who it might help.  Or how it might help you.

What’s the point of being strong if you can’t define strength on your own terms?

What’s the point of struggling in silence because you’re worried about what other’s might think? People who would turn their backs on you deserve to be walking away.

What do you need today?  Ask yourself – then ask for help if you need it.

If you’re doing OK today – ask someone else what you can do to help them.

Results may vary.  You may make someone’s day.

Or you may save it.

 

In strength and solidarity,

Rhea

 

 

Can Anyone Hear This?

I woke up this morning with a pulse of 125.  This is an uncomfortable anomaly.  This is the steroids saying “Good Morning”.

Two nights in the last week, Thommy and I have sat in bed, with the Omron 7 Series Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor between us, and stared at the reading – “78/45, Pulse 52” – and we played one of our favorite games: ‘911 or nah?’

We play this game often.  We’re getting better all the time.  About a week before I was diagnosed with POTS, I passed out in the shower.  This was my first tip-off that something was probably seriously wrong.  After 15 minutes of “discussion,” it was decided I would go to work anyway.  (READ: After lots of exasperated threatening and ultimatums, *I* did what I always do, which is to just do what *I* want to do, because moving forward no matter what was the only way I knew to keep propelling my life forward, knowing deep down that as soon as I gave in to some of these things, I would have to give up everything.)

Then, about a week later it happened again.  Ok, this time I’ll go, I said.  But no 911, we can drive, ok?

But first I need to shave my legs.

I can’t imagine one person reading this, save Thommy, will understand this AT ALL.  But I’ve been to the ER so many times, that I knew if they admitted me, it might be days before I could shave, and the only thing worse than those hospital gowns and socks, is feeling your own prickly, sharp legs hitting each other while you shift endlessly trying to find a comfortable position.  You’re in so much pain.  You are so helpless and there are times when you barely feel human; having the continually growing hair poking me reminds me, in those moments, that I am at once alive but unable to do anything with, or about, that aliveness.  It’s a bizarre mile-marker, and I don’t expect anyone to understand, but unless I am bleeding out on the floor from a severed artery, Thommy knows that I’m going to ask for time to shave and then brush my teeth.  If you can’t be stubborn in the face of ER visits (which have brought literally life-changing diagnoses for me, no less than 3 times) than you aren’t going to be able to handle life when you leave.

And furthermore, I knew, because us hospital-dwellers know this, that if something was wrong with my heart, there was a good possibility my body might start to swell; and if you are a patient prone to swelling, doctors check your ankles to monitor this swelling.  I can withstand any number of awkward, uncomfortable, humiliating, pride-diminishing moments at the hospital – but I draw the line at having to suffer my own stubbly legs, and the unconscious and uncontrollable flinch that will occur every time a doctor, nurse, or aide (or loving husband looking to provide reassurance) tries to touch my unshaven calf. No.  I’m not doing it.

It’s a secret language I’m speaking, I suppose, with no currently available interpreter.  I accept that this seems preposterous and unimportant to most anyone reading.

So anyway, I shaved.  And we went.  And I was diagnosed with POTS.  And I couldn’t stand up without blacking out.  Fuck, sometimes it even happened sitting down.  And so I went out on a short-term disability, which led to a long-term one, which led to a permanent one.  That was the last time I would work.  I haven’t worked since 2015.  And I am losing my mind.

takesomeone
Literally.  This is not just a meme.  This is not temporary.  This is my everyday reality.

 

In the past 12 months, I have endured the electrifying anxiety that comes from researching, deciding-on, starting (and then ultimately stopping) three MS medications.  THREE.  In one year.  First, I tried a monthly infusion called Tysabri, but then quickly developed something called the John Cunningham Virus (JCV).  In people with suppressed immune systems, this can (and does) lead to something called Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy, or PML.  People can (and do) die from this.  So MS patients receiving Tysabri are monitored every 3 months or so for their levels; it usually takes about two YEARS of monthly infusions before patients become JCV positive.  I became wildly infected (like, an exaggerated titre level, laughable, almost), after only two infusions.  After all the trepidation and suspension of “worst-case-scenario” imaginings, my body only lasted two months.

FUCK.

tysabri

Then, despite my strong hesitation and vocalized resistance, my local MS neurologist switched me to Aubagio which is a pill you take daily.  Since I don’t have a large intestine, and food, liquids and pills all fly out of me at warp-speed (you’re welcome), causing any number of malabsorption issues, I didn’t think this was a good idea.  Plus it can cause nausea, headaches, cramps, diarrhea, vomiting… if those sound familiar to you it may be because you’ve heard me complain on a fairly regular basis of having all of those symptoms anyway.  It also causes your hair to fall out.

But OK, at this point, I felt like the MS was winning, so I agreed to start it.  I made an appointment at my salon and cut off most of my hair thinking I could game the system. There – take that vanity.  Let’s do this. (I cried when I got home, and then again the next day.)

The month I was on Aubagio was a nightmare hellscape.  Imagine a 24 hour flu that also causes you to suffer periodic amnesia and not know what day, time or month it is.  I wouldn’t leave my bed for 3-4 day stretches.  If the hair had miraculously stopped growing on my legs, I don’t know that I would have showered that entire month.  I have Cottenelle wet wipes, I thought. I have dry shampoo!  Fuck standing, just leave me to here to waste away.  Then all of a sudden, as I tried in vain to find a comfortable resting position, one leg would hit the other and I would snap back to reality, cringe at the unbearableness of my own body, and shower.  Then I would, quite literally, collapse back into bed for 3-4 more days.

By the time we got to Duke and my new neurologist, about 35 days after starting Aubagio, I was ready to give up on everything and just ask for my name to be placed on some kind of Stem Cell Transplant waiting list, or start chemo, or do whatever he wanted me to do as long as it didn’t involve swallowing one more pill.  When he said I could quit Aubagio, it felt like a stay of execution.  I left this appointment with a “pick your poison” bouquet of stat sheets on 3 different infusions I could try.  All, obviously, with very serious side effects, including Jackpot Winners like kidney failure, hepatitis, cirrhosis, thyroid disease, melanoma and breast cancer.

I choose the one more likely to cause breast cancer.

I did a detox to rid myself of the Aubagio and that was even worse than the previous month.  Despite the bottom rising up to meet me, I experienced one of the rarest things I had in 2 years: a night of energy, joy and no pain.  Thommy and I went to a lighthouse on Oak Island, and to Caswell Beach. It was everything:

beach

And finally, on August 14th, we started the journey of Ocrevus and Infusion #1.  We left the house at 6:30 am, and got back home around 9 pm.  The 100mg of IV Bendadryl, plus the allergic reaction, have made the details of the day just a sketch; another day in this nightmare that I wish I could say started in 2009 with my MS diagnosis.  But really, it started when I was maybe 2 months old when I first started displaying symptoms of Hirschprung Disease.  So I can safely say this is all I know and nothing I ever hoped for, obviously; it is barely something I can still imagine is happening, even as it’s happening.  I don’t want it anymore.  And the crazy part is – I was the lucky one that day.  The hours passed by in blinks, and even though I was the one who had to get stuck 3 times as they tried to find a spot for the IV, and even though it was me pumped full of steroids and a bag with a toxic sticker on it, Thommy was the one that sat in a bullshit-excuse of a chair for that ENTIRE time.  No drugs.  No warm blanket.  Fuck it babe, I don’t want it for your anymore either.

But more than all of that lately, I can’t stop thinking of the rapidly expanding schism between me and every person I know and love.  This is obviously, obviously, not their fault nor their problem.  What it is, what it’s always been, is this race that I’m running to try to keep up with LIFE (my life, their lives, our lives) while existing almost entirely in an isolated dimension of a life suspended.  There is no mooring to tie myself to, nothing to define myself other than symptoms, disease management, medications, side-effects…

How do you speak that language and still talk to people.  If it wasn’t something I was actively experiencing every minute, of every day, I’m sure there would be a way, because  I’m constantly screaming to myself, “YOU ARE MORE THAN YOUR DISEASE(S).”

Well, I know that.  Truly, I do.  But that’s also kind of a lie I like to tell myself.  Because at any given moment, whether I’m sitting in a cloud of confusion that makes my brain feel like it’s on fire as it tries to decipher what the person I’m talking to is saying to me, or whether I’m focusing on various focal points to keep myself oriented as I stand so that the vertigo doesn’t overcome me, or stuffing down the near-constant sensation of dry-heaving so that I don’t throw up in public, or willing myself, literally conjuring all the cells in my body to communicate with each other so that I can stand for 5 minutes while I talk to someone I’ve stumbled across in public, I am actually these diseases.  It vibrates through my body like a tuning-fork and it never, ever stops.  It is a body electric, and it never shuts off.

Despite what people may see when they look at me, I do not ever feel like a body of blood and muscle and bone.  Nothing in me pumps, flexes or supports.  I am more Jell-O than I am human (or just plain gelatin, depending on my hydration level).

And so when I talk to people, or when I try, to there is this voice somewhere inside that ricochets as I try to swat it away; it’s constantly asking “could this person you’re speaking to be you… could they live like this?” …

I try to make it stop but it’s constantly growing louder.  Could this person, this physical specimen in front of me, with undoubtedly all their own problems and diseases and anxieties and sorrows and pains, could they lose their job tomorrow and turn into a human shaped heap of Jell-O and still get up everyday to a life shattered down around them? And could they pick up those pieces and build a new life?  Can they even comprehend what you’re wondering?  And when I get to my penultimate question, my heart skips one of its tiny, faint beats: Have they ever had to do it before???

Because in that moment, my brain and my heart, that are always asking and searching, wonder one last thing:

Can they show me how?

***

(Note: as I typed this in a haze of frustration and fear, I’ve been watching MSNBC and it’s coverage of Hurricane Harvey and the potential devastation about to befall parts Texas.  I think back to Katrina and how so many people looking to escape it’s path were evacuated to Houston, which is now staring down the barrel of another gun.  And I think of Yemen (if you don’t know about one of the worst humanitarian crises ever that is decimating that country, you should educate yourself and then do whatever it is you do in the face of such suffering, whether it’s monetary or verbal communication between you and your god).  And I think of Heather Heyer’s family.  And I know, as I’ve always known and always said, that suffering is happening on scales NONE of us reading can understand; just as I can’t understand evacuating my home under the threat of 30 inches of rain to possibly never return, or losing a child to cholera, or having a daughter killed by a Nazi.  I know an untold number of us are forced at least once in our life to lose everything and build it back up anew.  And again I ask, HOW?  I really need to know.)

 

 

 

Burg’s Place

“Animals are reliable, many full of love, true in their affections, predictable in their actions, grateful and loyal. Difficult standards for people to live up to.”

― Alfred A. Montapert

Difficult standards indeed, unless your name is Amy McCracken.  I could make 100 posts telling you why Amy has been a personal hero of mine for years, but I think all you need to do is watch the video she made on this fundraising page to understand exactly who she is, and why what she does changes lives.

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Burg, reminding Amy who she belongs to.

We are all asked to share our time and money at a seemingly whiplash pace.  It’s hard sometimes to decide who deserves our attention and where our money should go.  But please, before I share a very difficult post tomorrow, I humbly ask that you at least go to this page and watch Amy’s video.  She, and her dog Burg, are remarkable.  They saved each others’ lives.  Let your $5, $10, or any amount you can spare be a part of keeping that legacy alive; because if you, like me, and like Amy, have ever had the pleasure of rescuing a dog or cat, only to have that precious animal save your life in return, then we can honor that in this simple, yet profound way.

“I don’t like to think about it, but the truth is, Burg and I are not going to be here forever. This is our legacy. This is how I want to honor our work at RAL (Richmond Animal League) on behalf of homeless animals everywhere. And this is how we can honor every pet who’s ever helped us feel connected to something bigger. In the spirit of love and hope, let’s make Burg’s Place happen. For RAL, for Burg, for me, for you, and for everything to come.” ~Amy McCracken

LINK to BURG’S PLACE: Watch the video, have yourself a little cry, and then make a donation or share on your social media spaces…

Amy, thank you for being so brave.  Give Burg a hug for me.  This journey you’ve started is inspirational, and it’s successful conclusion is inevitable; we will all help you get there. Thanks for having the courage to ask.

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