I am overwhelmed. The frivolity and happiness of the new puppy muted by the terrific disappointment and anguish of the dreaded C word again reappearing in our lives.
Like before, out of the blue. Like before, no real symptoms. Like before, fear and pain and sad.
Our 10 1/2 year old first “fur baby” Cameron didn’t eat his kibble the last day we were gone. When we came home, he was less than enthusiastic. But it could have been that we brought along a 10-week-old puppy. I mean, we knew he wouldn’t be thrilled by that addition in general, but this was downright weird. He is totally and completely food motivated.
We saw him breathing shallow, and thought – maybe there’s something in his mouth, on his neck.
Imagine our shock and surprise when we found out that based on the Xray, he had a “mass” – likely cancer.
The frenzy, the questions started anew. Where do we go for another opinion and soon? Where do we go to get the best care? What can we do? Will he die?
I cried more than when I was diagnosed. Somehow this felt worse – I was powerless. I have been a red ugly raw all weekend.
We still don’t know – a trip to the Texas A&M emergency room netted us a a 10am slot on Monday morning for a CT scan and diagnostic follow up with specialists – the best in the country. He will have a CT guided biopsy (eerily familiar to those of us who have undergone the X ray guided biopsy – at least he will be asleep!) The earliest we could do here in Austin – surprisingly – was the 15th of January.
It has been the longest and shortest two days in the last year. Going from ebullience at puppy cuteness – she chases her tail! she walks sideways! she has a white spot on her chest! To the recognition that our other dear dog, my therapy dog, might instead be lost this week.
We told the kids, this time avoiding the term cancer bugs – Davis was concerned that it would echo too much on their minds to my battle (cancer = death??) We told them there was a mass that wasn’t supposed to be there and there might be drugs to get it better. Dad and Cameron will go to the best doctors in the country on early Monday morning for the tests that will allow the doctors to see his body better. But, there might be a chance Cameron doesn’t come back. There might be a chance that he would die.
Henry said “Well, Mom, you’ve been through lots of surgeries and have been fine – I’m sure Cameron will be fine.” I am sure of it too, because this time around, like last time, the other option is unthinkable.
You may think me sappy or sentimental for being so attached to our dog, but I point you to my last two years and the net that was my constant support – Cameron amongst. And, now I am granted the glimpse into the world of those around the cancer patient – the frustration, the grief, the overwhelming sad. I feel what so many felt for me.
I guess the good news is that Cameron doesn’t know the fight he faces. But the rest of us do, and we see the end in sight. Much closer than we expected. As is always the case.