a personal style blog by Lauren Pfieffer

Friday, May 24, 2024

Taking Time to Heal

In early May I took a step back from social media for a bit of a break. After 15 years of creating content, I don't think I can recall a period longer than a few days where I didn't share some update on social media. Taking a week off from work and even longer from my personal pages has been something I've needed for a long time.

I do believe if you work yourself too much, your body will eventually force you to stop. Since January I've been fighting the pull towards rest, believing I could outrun its call.

My mind has been sick. My body has been sick. My little family has been struggling and I've felt helpless in showing up for them with the time and mental capacity they need. 

In February our four year old dog, Benji, started having seizures. The day after Valentine's Day, my partner C and I were sleeping and woke up to his cry. We found him thrashing on the floor and foaming at the mouth. We were paralyzed with fear. 

Once Benji came out of it, he stumbled around aimlessly in a trance: we knew we had to get him to the emergency vet. We were shocked when the vet told us he'd had a seizure. This wasn't something that had ever even crossed our mind as a possibility. Benji was a young dog with no history of epilepsy. We hoped (and prayed) it was just a one-off occurrence, perhaps triggered by a new food he'd started. Life resumed and although we were weary, we were hopeful we could move past it.

In April we woke up again to him having a seizure. It was similar to the first, but this time we confidently knew to record, time and document it. Our confidence was shaken when just a few hours later he had another seizure. Multiple seizures within 24 hours of each other are called cluster seizures. We knew then it wasn't just a one-off occurrence and he needed medication to try and control his seizures. 

Since then we've started him on Keppra (Levetiracetam), an anticonvulsant medication. I wish I could say Keppra has been successful, but even with increasing his dosages over the last few months Benji's seizures are more frequent, about every 10 days. This morning at 5AM he had another one, which feels especially discouraging after we recently increased his dosage from 2x a day to 3x. He's now at the maximum dosage for Keppra.

From here, it's really just experimenting to find the right cocktail of medicine that will work to control his seizures to ideally only one to two every six months. We've also been working on integrating some holistic treatments like fish oil in the AM and melatonin in the PM to see if they have any positive effect. 

And then there's been Tito. Tito, my little best-friend who has been with me through so much over the last 8 years. I was only in NYC for two weeks when my roommates and I adopted him. I don't know what  New York (or life) looks like if he's not in it.

Gradually over the years Tito's health has been declining, really due to his age. At 17, he's lived a full life for a cat -- especially for one with only one tooth left. A few years ago he was diagnosed with hyper-thyroidism and we've been trying to slow down its progression since with twice a day methimazole. 

Earlier this year around the time Benji's seizures started, Tito was also diagnosed with stage two renal disease. He throws up quite frequently and his disposition has definitely been shifting. He seeks comfort and has taken to sleeping on my pillow above my head every night. All we can do is continue to give him palliative care and love him unconditionally.

Whenever life feels too overwhelming or complicated to continue on, I find myself seeking refuge in Ohio. The simplicity and comfort of home always brings me back to my gravity's center. I knew I had to take some time off both professionally and personally and spend time in Ohio in order to heal from the last few months.

It's day six now of rest. I find myself settling into it more willingly than day one. It becomes easier to sleep in. More natural to do nothing but read, run and relax. Even my pets feel more at peace as they look up at me and seem to understand their mother is finally letting go. Nature has been so healing as I spend time on our front porch, listening to the sounds of suburbia: the low rumble of lawn mowers, children playing, birds chirping and cars leisurely winding down the street. The chimes we received at my grandmother's funeral nearly two years ago play softly now as I write. Benji sits at my feet, tufts of fur blowing in the wind as he lays stretched out on the warm concrete. I've let go of the obligation to create. I don't feel a desire to make things other than this blog post, which feels cathartic to write. 

This is a stop in my healing journey. It's not a solution for the culmination of creative burnout and heavy sadness I feel. This week taught me the importance of slowing down to clear my mind in order to gather clarity about what's next. I feel a calling for change and have for awhile. I'm working on the what, the how will come later. 

I hope you're well. I miss you and will be back hopefully soon. 

With much love,



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