My backstory: our pets impact our health


It takes a lot of “get up and go” to keep up with an active kitten. Make sure you are taking good care of yourself so you can take good care of them. When I had health issues my pets saved me.

Are you worn out yet?Sleepy cuddle

After several times a day playing with your kitten to keep her active and healthy you may be wondering “how much longer do I have to do this…I’m TIRED”!

That may be a clue you need to start focusing on taking care of YOU so you can continue to be great at taking care of everyone and everything else in your household. As a sixty-something-year-old woman with 2 cats, a dog, and seven grandchildren I have learned the importance of keeping my own energy level up. If I get too tired to say…run the vacuum a couple times a week my carpet tends to grow its own fur coat. Not a good look.

There are several new activities I have begun to incorporate into my routine over the years. I’ve always been a believer in vitamins. Now that so much of our food is processed the nutritional content is badly lacking. Even “fresh” fruits and vegetables are grown in nutrient barren soil and picked so early for shipment they don’t have time to reach their full nutritional potential.

To take or not to take

As I progressed into my mid-forties in addition to a multi-vitamin I also added calcium plus D to help fortify my bones. I couldn’t feel my bones disintegrating but my Doctor assured me it was happening, right about the same time my ovaries began their dance of death and my thermostat stuck on “hot” several times a day.

Another addition she suggested was CoQ10, one of our basic cellular building blocks. So now it was 3 pills every morning. At this stage of life, I was still able to wake up before 6 am (without an alarm clock) and run a couple miles before getting ready for work. Ahhh the good old days.

Welcome to 50…crash and burn

At about age 49 I ran my last marathon, at Disney World In Orlando, and my body was never the same since. I swelled up until I resembled a balloon at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade and could barely walk from the shuttle bus to my hotel room. Even after the swelling left me the joint pain never disappeared completely.

Eventually, I was diagnosed with an “undetermined chronic pain/chronic fatigue” syndrome on the autoimmune disorder spectrum. After trying many prescriptions for the pain I finally settled on extra strength Tylenol in combination with 2 prescriptions, 2 to 3 times a day, that has finally kept the pain at bay and given me some semblance of a normal life again.

At this point, my appreciation for my animals grew even stronger. They were always there to comfort me when I was having a bad day and seemed to know whether I needed my space or needed a cuddle. Things sailed along pretty smoothly for about 6 years and then came cancer.

The big CLucy

After 5 years of working at a great job, buying a beautiful townhome and saving a fairly substantial nest egg, I was laid off at age 56. In the third month of my layoff, I was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. With no job and no insurance the timing couldn’t have been any worse. Over the course of the next 8 months I had chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery to remove thoracic lymph nodes which had shown a potential for cancer cells. If I hadn’t been forced to get up and take my dog out for a walk several times a day I would have stayed in bed for 3 months.

Shortly before my last treatment, the Affordable Care Act went into effect but it was too little too late, my entire nest egg was gone and I was left disabled and could no longer work full time. I sold my townhome and downsized in an attempt to live within my new income, about 30% of what I was previously earning.

I gave up many things to adjust to my new normal, but my animals were considered a necessity not a luxury, and if I needed to learn to like the taste of Blue Buffalo to survive then so be it!


I feel extremely blessed to be here today to write about my personal experiences and how the animals I love played a role in getting me through some of my darkest hours.

If you have your own stories about how animals have impacted your lives for the better I would love to hear about them.

I wish you and the animals you love a wonderful day!

Kyle Ann

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2 thoughts on “My backstory: our pets impact our health”

  1. I learned a few things I didn’t know about you. I have a better understanding of why you always seemed to like a few pets around you, especially a mixture of cats and dogs. I think this section was extremely well written, particularly in those areas of medicine that are private and sometimes distasteful. Stay alive and as healthy as possible!

    1. Thanks for stopping by and taking time to read my posts.
      I believe cats and dogs each give us something different in the way of comfort, and I enjoy both. I’m glad you understand, and hope you stop in again to read up on new information coming in the future.
      All the best,
      Kyle Ann

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