The first you need to know if you haven’t met him is that Mac is HUGE.
The second thing is that the reason is that he was made so big is because no other body would have been big enough for his heart – he is comprised entirely of love.
He is nearly as big as the biggest horses in the world who I think beats him by a little under 7 inches.
He is a Belgian Draft horse brought to us to foster and remained here as a permanent adoption as of four years ago. When he got here he had been left in a field abandoned suffering from malnutrition. That’s why we didn’t really understand the infections in his eyes when they began. Cancer is very often activated by a compromised immune system which is a natural result of malnutrition. and the fact that Mac was a pure Belgian didn’t help with their fair skin and proclivity to ocular melanomas.
Mac’s first eye surgery for cancer happened back in 2011 in his right eye. A tumour that looked like a cyst had grown on the bottom eye lid of his eye. We had a small fundraiser but the costs were enormous and the first surgery nearly cost us a years worth of hay for our entire herd.
Two and a half years later the cancer returned to Mac’s left eye this time with an ugly aggressivity that made it obvious that it was causing Mac a serious amount of distress especially after the warmer weather began to arrive and his tissues became swollen. AT first I thought it was just an eye infection but nothing I did seemed to make any positive difference. His eye was bleeding and he couldn’t stay outside in warm weather. Something had to be urgently done and we were in no financial position to do any of it. Many sleepless nights ensued.
A friend suggested that our band had done so many successful fundraisers for other beneficial organizations, that maybe we could put some of that music behind our very own Big Mac. That’s when the miracles began.
In only four short days a fundraiser was organized to raise money to send mac off to the hospital for his surgery. Our band played one evening and a local restaurant donated their time and staff to help us out. Friends came and helped us have an open house at our farm WillowCreek Stables where everyone could come and meet mac themselves. The community and our friends really stepped forward and helped us the create something amazing for Mac. Soon we had enough to send him in and just four days later I was making arrangements to have the surgery done. I love that horses seem to have that effect on bringing together communities and folks that work together to make it all a little better. Mac became everyone’s horse that weekend.
And to tell you the truth, without all of generosity and all of the amazing synchronicity that the universe offered us Mac’s ultimate outcome would have to have been euthanasia because the amount of pain he was enduring would have been catastrophic. We are so eternally grateful.
The procedure that Mac had is called ENUCLEATION – it involves full removal of the eye.
Just so you know, we didn’t take that decision lightly at all…I had trouble with the idea of this so an equine ophthalmologist specialist was called in to consult. Dr. Ollivier was very gentle in handling me (and Mac) especially as the first thing I suggested to him is that he not tell me he is going to take out my horse’s eye based on a photograph(good thing I’m studying Non-Violent Communication?)
“You know Doc…This isn’t just ANY refuge horse”, I glowered at him, still holding his hand from our initial handshake.”This is MY refuge horse”, saying it with some contrived authority. Like who I was should somehow mattered to him.
He was smart. He knew how to defuse me immediately…
“I only put the horse first. I don’t even care what it is YOU want”, smiling sardonically. Ballsy and brave. OK. Good. I could see this man would champion the highest and best choice for my horse and my death grip relaxed.
We began an exam with a whole gang of doctors and students. Smart questions, suggestions and treatment options were flying around the room. They students and doctors were all so kind and careful to cover any questions I had. No quesuiotn was left unexamined and definitely there were no such thing as stupid questions. I felt so comfortable asking as did John.
My husband and I stayed with Mac for his surgery. We felt it important that we have our energy there with him to support him – and it felt like one of my kids was on that table.
The surgeon doing the procedure was amazing. Smiling great energy with a room full of curious students. It was much less difficult to see the procedure when you are watching a bunch of fresh faced curious kids.
The eye removal wasn’t as horrible as I thought. I was actually surprised at how much effort it seemed to take the small female surgeon, her arms wiry and strong looking, to really complete that part of the procedure. I always had the impression an eye would come out easily. It doesn.t We can leave it at that.
Then they cut the skin and tumour off from around his eye. It was WAY more enormous than I knew. When I saw the sheer daunting size of the tumour, there was absolutely no question in my mind we were doing the right thing. Then a cryogenics treatment was performed within the eye so that the cancer cells would either die or be unable to grow.
Mac will come home tomorrow now THE GREAT PIRATE MAC – ARGH MATEY!!
* Have no pain whatsoever . I know this is amazing – but removal of the eye for horses causes them to have a great relief.
* He will live much longer and totally pain-free from cancer.
* He will gain weight (he has lost about 300 pounds again and trust me …not for lack of food ugh…:(
* We will be able to ride and play with him again
We are very grateful for our Mac and for all the love that ahs been demonstrated here.
Horses are truly awesome creatures…bringing out the best in us all!