Luck o’ the Irish

IMG_0700Last Friday, Maggie and Moira drove me downtown for my final round of chemo. I was thrilled to have them there, as it made passing the time much more entertaining. While the experience isn’t particularly fun, my doctors are pleased how well I tolerated the infusions. Hahnemann’s hematology/oncology unit is lead by an extraordinary head nurse. I’m grateful to have befriended this fine woman, the lovely “Miss Mia”. Her compassion, grace, and beauty, inside and out, make her warm hugs even more irresistible! Sadly, I haven’t seen any reduction in symptoms yet. However, we remain hopeful, as Rituxan is known to take up to two or three months before kicking in and making a difference.
Mia is the head nurse of the hematology/oncology unit at Hahnemann hospital. She has a heart of gold!
Mia is the head nurse of the hematology/oncology unit at Hahnemann hospital. She has a heart of gold!
One of the exacerbating symptoms of some forms of chemo is acne and eczema. My skin is worse than ever, but I am still wholeheartedly appreciative to Dr. Vicki Cirillo for taking care of me during this confusing time.
I have continued simultaneously seeing one of the most revered doctors in the field of osteopathy, Dr. Lawrence Bellew. Coincidentally enough, Dr. Bellew is the father-in-law of a close friend. Through his decades of success in treating difficult cases, Dr. Bellew has gained the respect of DOs and MDs alike.

My last update on the medical front is crappy, literally. After an appointment with my gastroenterologist, Dr. Patricia Wong, it was decided that my persistent rectal bleeding had been ignored for too long, and an endoscopy/colonoscopy was scheduled right away. I went in for the procedure yesterday, and thankfully everything went according to plan. She found inflammation and hemorrhage towards the bottom, as well as gastritis and a hiatal hernia up top. We are still awaiting the results of the biopsies taken.

I feel blessed to have a gastroenterologist as kind and gentle as Dr. Wong.
I feel blessed to have a gastroenterologist as kind, gentle, and devoted as Dr. Wong.
Last week a new man walked into my life, and I’ve fallen head over heels for him. I would love to introduce you to this cuddly Casanova…Paddy.
1505620_10153216349749917_2964180778747857954_n When I was originally diagnosed with POTS, in 2010, the statistics looked stacked in my favor. At the time it was believed that 80% of teenagers who acquired the disease would outgrow their symptoms in two to three years. Since then, the commonly sited prognosis has shifted dramatically. In fact, it has been reversed entirely; the numbers now show the poor health of closer to 85% of patients will stay consistent or worsen. The manifestations and ever-morphing landscape of my condition has indicated that I, unfortunately, fall into the majority of people with POTS whose state progresses negatively. As is the case with many chronic illnesses, due to a lack of effective treatment, life with Dysautonomia evolves to encompass a serious need for the ability to cope. A little more than a year ago, one of my doctors recommended we consider adopting a service dog to aid in this realm. Since then I have spent countless hours researching programs across the US. With the help of a very special friend, “Aunt” Lisa, I was led to Mark Steiber, the founder and executive director of Main Line Deputy Dog.


MAIN LINE DEPUTY DOG helps people with physical challenges or mental health concerns train their own dogs to be fully certified service dogs.

A Deputy Dog performs tasks that help you function with increased independence and greater confidence.

MLDD works effortlessly to pair students with dogs from nearby rescues. Anxious to start training, I have been hounding Mark since the end of last year (pun fully intended, haha!). Nagging him incessantly about potential leads. Last week, I got an email from Mark, connecting me with To Love a Canine Rescue, a non-profit, all breed, foster based, no-kill rescue operating in Chester County, PA. That very night, my mom and I rushed out to the home of the head of TLC Rescue, Tracy, and met with the year and a half old Golden and his foster mom, Sharon. During the car ride there I turned to my mom and said, “I just know he’s going to be perfect, because we have the luck of the Irish with us today! If he’s the one, I’m going to name him Paddy, in honor of one of the luckiest days of my life, the day I met him, St. Patrick’s Day.”

Looking back, I had no idea just how lucky I had been. Paddy is one of the sweetest creatures I’ve ever met. We bonded immediately and he now won’t leave my side. My mom has started calling him “Shadow”, because all day long he follows me around everywhere. I now shower with an audience, because he insists on sticking his head through the curtain and watching. While I was in the hospital this past week my mom called to tell me that Paddy was a wreck! He ran around the house and paced my room, sniffing frantically to find me. There is nothing more comforting than coming home to his unconditional love. IMG_6782

I will be forever grateful to Tracy and Sharon for rescuing this angel and giving me the greatest gift of all. Paddy was highlighted in last weeks newsletter sent out by TLC Rescue:

1524419_203241649866682_2133828388_o-1When we met Paddy, we noticed what an exceptionally perceptive dog his is and when he met his new mom, the connection was immediate and it was clear he knew he was ready to fulfill his destiny. We’re always so very happy when our dogs start their happy new beginnings but there’s something extra special when that fresh start comes in the form of creating such an extraordinary partnership.

I encourage anyone interested in bettering the lives of our furry friends to volunteer or contribute in whatever way you can to MLDD and TLC Rescue.

Not only has Paddy stolen my heart, but he's also taken over my bed!
Not only has Paddy stolen my heart, but he has also taken over my bed!

5 thoughts on “Luck o’ the Irish

  1. Paddy has soulful eyes like yours. So happy for you! Know that God has that same unconditional love for you. May Paddy be just one of many wonderful surprises/healings/blessings on your road to a full recovery. An Irish blessing:
    May joy and peace surround you,
    contentment latch your door,
    and happiness be with you now
    and bless you evermore!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am so happy you have Paddy with you…there is nothing better than the love of a golden!!! They are the best. I’m sure he’s happy to have found you. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Paddy is absolutely adorable! He should help you feel better. We love reading your blog. You have a wonderful way of expressing things. Happy Easter!

    The Stavetskis

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Just wanted to stop by and let you know I was thinking about you Francie! Hope you are feeling better and I love that you always stay positive in these blogs.

    Liked by 1 person

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