Friday, July 27, 2007

A Baby Boomer Dreams of Arabian Horses Part 14

Part 1

The voice on the phone had expected to speak with a parent in denial. Instead he found my worst fears had been confirmed. We spent a bit of time talking about how I had come to suspect a brain tumor and then we went on to discuss a course of treatment.

The voice on the phone, you see, was none other than the pediatric neurosurgeon, Dr Berger, scheduled to do surgeries on my daughter. The surgieries were scheduled in 14 days.

The type of tumor Lindsay had was one of, if not, the most aggressive form of brain tumors that children get. Treatment needed to be swift. The 2 week delay was to allow for a regime of steroids that were necessary to help minimize swelling on the brain.

Because Lindsay's tumor was blocking the flow of fluid from the brain down the spine, there was 3 to 4 times the amount of fluid on her brain than normal. Before removal of the tumor could even be attempted, this excess fluid would have to be dealt with. That meant two surgeries, one to remove the fluid, the other to remove the tumore.The surgeries would, however, be done consequetively, one right after the other. The both procedures were expected to take a minimum of twelve hours.

It was a long night for all of us. By morning we were all looking for a distraction. The horse show seemed to be just what we needed. Dave and Lindsay set about doing the horse chores at home as I headed off to the show. They would join me in time for my classes.

The memories of that horse show are not as clear as they used to be. I had decent rides on my horse but I couldn't tell you if I got a ribbon or not.

I can tell you that after my first ride, a man came up to me and said, "I just want you to know I think that's about the best ride I've seen that horse give anybody." With Shannon Armstrong's opiniom before the show that I didn't belong there, that comment from a stranger helped a lot on a very difficult day.

Later I was to learn that the stranger was none other than Jee Lee of Jeff Lee & Company training barn and a regular judge at US Nationals. Jeff had the reputation of being one of the best Arabian western horse trainers in our area. He was even respected by none other than Shannon Armstrong. That information made his comment even more meaningful.

Early that evening as I walked into the Hat Lady's trailer I overheard two men talking to Terri Deering about how the horse looked happy for the first time in his life. Terri introduced me to the two gentlemen as the owner of the horse they were talking about. We spoke for a bit about Mark and his problems in the show ring. Both men assured me I was doing a wonderful job with him. This too helped on a very difficult day.

Shannon never did say anything to me at the horse show about my rides or, for that matter, about Lindsay. It was an awkward time. People seemed to walk around all of us (Dave, Lindsay and me ) like they were walking on eggshells. But it was ok, we seemed to be in a fog anyway.

When I did talk to Shannon later about where I should go to show from there, she acted a bit awkward as she told me that it would be fine if I went ahead and showed at the Washington State Classic with the rest of the barn. "And for that matter," she continued, "the rest of the Arabian Circuit as well."

She never did apologize or admit she was wrong. Nor did she tell me I was doing good with the horse. But then the whole time I worked for her I never heard a compliment about my work or commitment either, so I wasn't surprised.

I don't know what Shannon had expected of me that first horse show. I probably never will. All I know for sure is that whatever it was, it didn't happen. Shannon may not have admitted she'd misjudged me but she'd told me in that only way she knew how. For that I was grateful.

As for when I would show next, that would depend on the outcome of Lindsay's surgeries. We didn't have the internet like we do today, information was hard to get. All we knew is what the doctors told us and they seemed to feed us information they thought we could handle. They down played the risks.

But just as I had had my suspicions about what was wrong with my ten year old daugher, I also had them about the risks. Only time would tell what was in store for this Arabian horse breeder and her family.

To be continued.......

Part 15


  1. Okay I figured you did well at the horse show, but I would have been a total mess, completely unable to function. Kudos for you for going ahead and getting it done and done well.

    And yet again, you've left us hanging. You really should take up writing suspense, you're very good at it. :)

  2. Hi

    I'm new here landed up searching blogs on resources on pets. cool blog you have here, keep it up. i'm also interested in dogs and do have a german shepherd named devil ( named after the phantom's dog - i was a huge phantom fan in my childhood ) any way its nice to be here. i'll be back some time later for more updates.

    Warm Regards from India

    you might find this series
    on dogs
    in our blog interesting. do leave comments there. see ya.


    Kerala, India

  3. Wow! You're amazing!! I, like you, would have gone on to show but I'm pretty sure my ability to show well wouldn't have been there. I probably would have crashed and burned. My gosh...congrats on showing so well at that show despite the bomb that was thrown on you guys. Dang! Can't wait to read more!!

  4. Thanks for visiting my blog.

    My brother, who I went motorcycle riding with, lives on a ranch in Colorado. His daughters show horses.

    Have a good day!

  5. No matter where MiKael decides to leaves us at her stories, is leaving us hanging! I know if this was a book I was reading, I would not be able to put the book down! I'd probably read it all day!

  6. It is wonderful that you all managed to carry on, Lindsay included, I think that is really important, dont let the sickness direct and change your life, it helps to keep the person with the illness keep as normal a life as possible.
    I would have been a wreck.