If it fits in my- mouth, I should- eat it
Barked: Mon Sep 21, '09 4:35pm PST 
On December 19, 2006 I was sent from my doctor straight to the hospital for being extremely anemic. Several months prior to my admission I had been experiencing extreme joint pain and my muscles felt like they were on fire. I was only 21 years old and I could not get out of bed, tie my shoes, brush my hair, walk, or even go to the bathroom without the help of my loving and committed spouse. Doctors could not figure out what was wrong with me. I had been coughing up blood for at least a month and my doctor said it was due to chronic bronchitis. The only reason I was hospitalized at all was because I was nearly dead from lack of blood.

During a horrible eight day stay over Christmas filled with needles, operations, medications, tests, and a lot of tears the doctors found out I had nodules in my lungs. My whole family came and stayed with me every day and my spouse Tristan stayed every minute even sleeping on a cot next to my bed. We didn't know if I had cancer, and if it was so bad that an x-ray could show the nodules if I would even survive. I was put on very high doses of steroids and had to undergo a lung needle biopsy. They ruled out cancer and the steroids seemed to be diminishing the nodules. I was released from the hospital without a diagnosis.

I was later told after results from tests they had done came back that I had this extremely rare auto-immune disease called Wegener's Granulomatosis. It is basically where your body attacks itself thinking that it is attacking cells that shouldn't be there, and often results in kidney failure. My father's research online indicated that I probably would not live longer than five years. Hearing your parent tell you something like that is indescribable. I was only 21 years old.

I went through chemotherapy and was taking over twenty pills a day. Life was hell. I was in pain, I was having adverse reactions to my medication. I couldn't sleep. My vision became impaired from the steroids. I didn't know if I could survive through it all.
In November of 2007 I had a dalmatian puppy flown from Georgia. She was to be my first show dog and I had been in love with dalmatians since I was twelve years old and already had one from a shelter.

Milla was eight weeks old when we picked her up from the airport. I still remember the first time I saw her little spotted face looking back at me out of her crate. I was instantly in love. She was perfect in every way that I could ever imagine in a dalmatian puppy. She hadn't even used the bathroom in her crate through the entire flight!

We decided that Milla's registered name would be Good Fortune since we definitely needed some good fortune in our lives. A month later on Christmas Eve I went to my rheumatologist where he gave me the news that my disease was in full remission! That little dalmatian puppy really did bring the good fortune I needed. She has pushed me to recover so much faster by giving me the job of being her mother (having a dalmatian as a daughter is a HUGE job!).

Milla turned two years old on September 15th and her next bit of good fortune that she wants to bring to her family is to win this contest for us. Since I was diagnosed with my disease I am basically uninsurable and my medical costs are through the roof! Winning this contest would be such a relief to know that I will never have to suffer undiagnosed like I did before. I have to go regularly to my rheumatologist to have blood tests and chest x-rays to make sure that my Wegeners isn't trying to make a comeback.

Thank you for listening to my story and please vote for Milla. We really appreciate it!

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