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My disease took everything, even my son.

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I have had a hideous disease for most of my life. The kind of disease that healthy people can't even comprehend, with over 60 different symptoms that combine in unholy ways to make my life a maelstrom of agony and suffering. The kind of disease that causes more suicides than traditional fatalities, because living with it is worse than dying of it.

I wasn't even finished with school yet when I had to begin grieving for myself. I had to come to terms with losing my future, with a drastically lowered quality of life. I even assumed that I would never find love, because having a spouse would mean consigning them to the role of carer for the rest of my life, though my fiance has stubbornly refused to give up on me ever since I met him.

Besides him, the one bright spot in my life has been my pet rabbit, who I have always introduced as my son. This makes some people angry, they say that calling a "dumb animal" my son somehow takes away from the relationship mothers have with their biological offspring. But you have to understand, because of my disease I will never HAVE a child. No, adoption is not an option. I do not have the physical stamina or mental capacity to raise a child, regardless of who brought it into the world. I cannot shower or dress myself, I cannot remember my own phone number. I cannot be responsible for the health and mental development of a human child. This rabbit is the sole beneficiary of my love and affection. I would go hungry to buy him toys. I would die to protect him. He is my son and that is the truth, no matter how many feet he has.

He was eight weeks old when he entered my life, a cold February afternoon. He had been born on Christmas day. A scant two weeks later, I suddenly collapsed, unconscious. It happened so fast I couldn't push the emergency alarm. I lived alone, and my disability assistant was not due for another two days. I have no idea how long I might have laid on the floor, but because of my son, it was only about five minutes. He was ten weeks old and still struggling with litter training, believe me when I say I hadn't taught him the first thing about tricks, let alone service animal training. Yet somehow he recognized that I needed him, and dashed to my side. He licked my face and stomped his giant back feet on the floor by my head, even butted his head into my cheek like a cat, doing everything in his tiny power to wake me. He saved my life that day.

Without being trained, he somehow learned my medication routine, and if I forgot, he would raise hell in the house. It took me a bit to figure out why he was freaking out, since I didn't train him to do this. In fact, the first time it happened I was so beside myself with a stress headache from trying to calm the rabbit down that I went to go take an aspirin. I noticed I hadn't taken my medication that morning, so I took that too while I was there. INSTANTLY he went back to being calm and chill. It took a couple more times before I realised the connection between meds and bunny panic, but he made sure I never missed my meds again.

Another time, a man let himself into the house through my unlocked front door, did something to me that made me scream. There was blood and everything. Rabbits are prey animals, as you may know, so when they're scared, they run and hide. Not this rabbit. He saw this man hurt me, and he turned into an ATTACK BUN and jumped onto me to protect me and bit the man when he reached for me again. Thankfully, the 'strange man' was actually a paramedic, and the scream/blood was from him giving me a shot of medication (I hate needles).

But because I was so sick, I had forgotten that rabbits don't speak English, and instead of just saying "NO" or something like that, I said to this rabbit, "Honey, this is a doctor, don't bite him, he's trying to make me better. Now be a good boy and apologise." And somehow this rabbit DID speak English. He hung his head and folded his ears down and licked the doctor's hand.

Unfortunately, my health continues to collapse. The treatments available for my disease are few and far between, have a low success rate, and only treat the symptoms instead of the problem--like giving someone aspirin for a broken bone. It'll hurt less, but unless you set the break and put a cast on it, it's not going to heal correctly. My situation is getting so severe that even the treatments I am on are no longer effective. I'm not yet 30 and taking over 100mg of morphine a day. And this dosage is still not enough to do more than slightly dull the pain, and my doctor's latest suggestions have been "try to sleep through the worst of it" and "try prayer?"

It doesn't have to be this way. In the US, a country I have dual citizenship with, there is another treatment. Not just a vague hope and some clinical trials, a proper treatment with reams of evidence and successful cases. It treats the cause, not just papers over the symptoms. It can undo twenty years of damage to my body, and give me my life back.

Please just take my word for this, that my doctor and I know what is best for my health. Somehow, whenever I talk about it, I get loads of people rushing to tell me that all this isn't necessary if I'd just go gluten free and do yoga every morning. I know what treatment I need, I am not here for medical advice. That's why I have not shared the name of my disease. It doesn't matter. What matters is that it's killing me, and that there is a treatment, a CURE, available in the US.

And my son can't come.

You may have seen in the news that a giant rabbit died on a flight from the UK to the US. You may not have seen that in the wake of the news, many people have come forward with stories of animal abuse and neglect at the hands of the airlines, not just United. And because of rabbits being so much more delicate and sensitive due to being prey animals with fragile bones and super hearing, despite being so much less common as pets, they are astronomically MORE likely to be harmed, even if the airline does everything perfectly the stress of a noisy airplane and those enormous ears popping can stop their hearts.

I have to choose between giving him up here in England, or taking his body to America to bury. The odds are far too high that he'll suffer and die alone and frightened to even chance it. I will not take my son onto a death trap that is more likely to kill him than not.

The only other option is for me to die instead, to stay here where my treatment options are limited to "we'll try to make you comfortable, dear". My fiance says that my son would want me to go, if he could only talk to me about the situation. He's probably right, too, but that doesn't mean I can do it.

I had come to terms with my disease, really I had. But now it's taking my son, too. I try to tell myself that as long as I have my fiance I'll get through it. But how do I tell my beautiful brown eyed boy that I'm leaving and he's not coming? How do I tell him that my promise to be his mama forever was a lie? How do I tell him it's not his fault?

How do I keep living with this gaping bloody hole where my son belongs? How is losing my soul going to heal my disease?




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Wow. I completely understand your fear of having your son abused and neglected, but for all the stories of animal abuse on airlines, there are probably ten times the amount of stories of successful animal experiences in traveling. Have you researched airlines individually to see which would be more accommodating? Would it be easier and less stressful for you to possibly take a ship over to America? Could you take your son with you? Have you consulted with vets about the best way for him to travel? 

I hope you make the decision to get the treatment you need. If you must leave your son back, find someone you know will love and take care of him until you return. 

We will be here with you,


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