Health and “Hunger”

So, after an absolutely hellish Saturday morning and three more days of being woken up at oh-god-thirty to clean up a diarrhea accident and spending roughly $150 at the vet Tuesday, I am happy to say that Yara is doing pretty much fine. Yesterday she had her first formed stool. It’s still very soft, but is a nice, normal color which means she isn’t reacting to the prescription food.

As for me, I caught a stomach bug and spent Wednesday morning having my own issues at oh-god-thirty. Thankfully, I didn’t have to clean up after myself, though.

On a similar topic, epi4dogs.com is hoping to raise some money through Pepsi Refresh for EPI research and a general information/awareness campaign. I’m fully in support of this and hope that you’ll take the few seconds out of your time to click over to that there link and cast your vote. There are some other very worthy causes that you can also vote for, too. I’m sure I sound like a broken record and it’s hard not to after all of our struggles with this horrible condition, but there really needs to be more awareness of EPI. GSDs are the most common breed of dog to be afflicted, but it isn’t a condition solely limited to them. The belief is that EPI is caused through genetics and the aim of the research going on at Clemson University, which is where these funds would go, is to determine the exact genes that create this abnormality.

The other portion of the raised funds will be used towards an ongoing awareness campaign to spread knowledge and information about EPI. While EPI is manageable with proper treatment, there are dogs that die from the extreme effects. Diagnosis can take a long time, especially if the vet you are working with is ignorant of EPI and the symptoms. Without proper treatment, these dogs are literally starving to death. Sadly, some dogs are diagnosed too late and the malnourishment they suffered from EPI has done permanent damage to vital organs. Having a support system during the initial diagnosis and treatment process is absolutely invaluable. I can’t tell you how thankful I am for both of the vets that Yara has seen over the last three years; they’re informed about this illness and better yet they are both invested in Yara. But unfortunately there are still so many vets out there who have never heard of EPI (it’s only been recently it’s been taught in vet school, and I’m not even sure every school covers it) and that leaves a lot of dogs in a very scary place.

Somewhat related to the above in the sense of starving to death at least, I just finished reading Hunger, which is a fascinating young adult novel by the phenomenal Jackie Morse Kessler. (Otherwise known as Jackie Kessler, author of the Hell on Earth series.) It’s the story of Lisabeth, a seventeen-year-old anorexic who is one of the Four Horsemen . . . the Black Rider, Famine. Really, that was all I needed to know to pique my curiosity, which was good because that’s about the extent of the blurb.

Book cover

I feel I should have so much to say about Hunger because it is such a powerful read. Instead I’m left completely blown away and nearly speechless at this terribly short, yet incredibly intense novel. Kessler has managed to take eating disorders and weave a fiercely unrelenting story without being the tiniest bit preachy on the subject. She doesn’t shirk away from the pure physicality or raw emotion and presents Lisa’s suffering in a tangible and gripping way.

What initially piqued my interest in the book was the vague description I’d had of it. I’m sure if I’d really searched I could have found out more, but I was thoroughly intrigued by how the author would intermingle these two ideas. (Turns out, as she explains in notes at the back of the book, this isn’t exactly a foreign concept in literature . . . or at least comics.) It’s a truly fascinating juxtaposition and, aside from the uncompromising nature of Lisa’s (and Tammy’s) struggles with food, was the main force compelling me to read on further.

Basically, I’m left kind of bereft of words. It really is a fantastic book.

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