The last few months have seemed like a stretch of bad dreams. I’ve felt as if I’ve had little control over my physical health while my medical team has been figuring out its next move. While awaiting medical decisions, my mental health presents an additional challenge. I’m trying to manage the stress that accompanies life with chronic health conditions and accept a “new normal.” I have been struggling to overcome the depression and anxiety that parallel my health’s decline.
During the past month, I’ve been overwhelmed by a sense of loss and emptiness following the passing of two wonderful people in my life. I needed something good to happen, and my puppy came along at the perfect time. So far, he has brought me love, happiness, and renewed strength.
It sounds cliche to say “I just knew,” but the first time my boyfriend and I played with our puppy, we instantly fell in love. We had visited the puppy store where a few dogs had stood out. One was my little Cavalier King Charles spaniel, who was both playful and calm. I hadn’t thought of myself as an animal person. I hadn’t paid much attention to our family dog growing up and didn’t have the strong connection other people share with their pets. I hadn’t realized a bond between an animal and its owner could be so strong until I took my little guy home with me.
I felt such intense love cuddled up next to him. That first night, he slept for about 10 hours. I stared at his face in disbelief at my decision to get a dog. I was proud to bring home my puppy, Bernie, aka “Little B.” I like the feeling that I am responsible for this little dog, who can fit into my winter hat. I cried with happiness and joy for 30 minutes on the car ride home. I had waited for something good to happen for what seemed like forever, and now my days have a purpose besides attending doctor’s appointments.
I easily become consumed by life’s problems. This puppy reminds me that the best things in life are still worth fighting for, even when victory seems impossible. Bernie has restored so much strength in me already. When I cried in the car, he licked my face, turning my tears to laughter. At night, his warm body lying on my stomach helped to relieve discomfort caused by nausea and vomiting. Holding this tiny puppy in my arms and knowing that he relies on me for care and protection has warmed my heart and made me feel alive for the first time in a long while.
Over the last week, Bernie has accompanied me to a therapy session, doctor’s appointments, and visits to family and friends. Though I am still struggling to regain some normalcy with my physical and mental health, I’ve found a new love and a brighter spot in my day. I am thankful for my puppy for giving me some happiness, allowing me to feel unconditional love, and helping to restore my strength.
Note: Pulmonary Hypertension News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Hypertension News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary hypertension.