There once was a girl in the Midwest
Whose life sometimes felt like a test.
She’d found her good health was precarious
Every twinge she proclaimed the scariest
Till her doctor finally begged, “Give it a rest!”
I’m absolutely fine, really, but once you’ve had cancer — and if you’re kind of an anxious person anyway — guilty! — you start to see and feel bad things happening everywhere. I don’t even remember when I wrote this, but it was months ago and my check ups have all been great!
But, yeah, I still feel twinges. Doctors tell me some twinges are probably nerves healing from the surgeries. Others are muscle stiffness and soreness as I began exercising. The chemo left me with numbness in my fingers and toes that eventually has gone away. But it took months…
And I’ve had occasional back pain for years — ever since I was 19 — so those twinges don’t scare me in the same way. They’re just annoying and sometimes incredibly painful, particularly when I get muscle spasms after my back “goes out” as I call it. I’m not exactly sure what happens, but over the years I’ve had at least a half-dozen doctors tell me that it looked like my spine was out of alignment. I’ve seen an osteopath for adjustments and more recently a physical therapist.
Now I’m going to a chiropractor and have progressed to twice a week adjustments. It was a little scary at first to trust someone to put that much pressure on my spine and neck while pressed face down on a table, leaving whatever eye makeup I’m wearing on the tissue paper under my face. I’ve learned to put mascara on afterwards!
I’m feeling so much better and more energetic after only two weeks of treatments. And they have this incredible traction table that you lay on, on your back, and rollers underneath move up and down from your shoulders to your tailbone. Anyone who’s sat in those big massage chairs when you get a pedicure knows the feeling I mean. And this table is like that chair on steroids! (I asked for one for Mother’s Day, but I think the cost was prohibitive…)
I have four weeks left before we reevaluate but I think I’ll be going for “tune ups” forever. And, of course, I’ll be doing the back and neck exercises that I should be doing anyway. And this time I mean it! But, oh, how I love that table *sigh*
Oh, sure, you can drink what you want and stay up late, sleep as late as you want on the weekend and even take a mental health day without asking anyone’s permission. You get to make your own choices. But then there’s all the responsibility you have and that’s the rub…
October has never been the kindest month for me. The weather gets colder, the sun hides behind clouds, the days start to shorten and things die. My garden is gone for the year. My flowers are close behind, just waiting for first real frost to wither and turn brown. My dad passed away several years ago this month. On Halloween. And now my sweet 14-year-old Norwegian Elkhound, Inga, was just diagnosed last week with advanced stage lymphoma.
This past weekend was awful. We were waiting for confirmation of the diagnosis from the vet while medical tests were being run. On Saturday Inga ate some people food and a little bit of dog food but mostly drank tons of water. By Sunday, she ate nothing and could barely stand up to drink water or go outside. This morning we had the diagnosis confirmed and decided to begin giving her high doses of prednisone. If she’s responsive to the steroid, she hopefully will get less weak and develop a bit of an appetite soon.
But her long-term prognosis is about two or three months, if the prednisone helps. It seems like a reasonable thing to try but right now I feel like she’s slowly starving to death before my eyes and I can’t bear to put her through this for very long. I’m dribbling water into her mouth through a straw. If the prednisone doesn’t help soon, we will talk euthanasia.
A more aggressive approach would include surgery to remove her spleen and chemotherapy. I told my vet I wouldn’t consider that. It’s not only the cost, which would certainly be several thousand dollars, but the fact that Inga is 14 and a dog, albeit a well-loved pet. And from what I’ve read, chemo would only put her in remission for about a year (if she survived the surgery and treatment).
So why am I agonizing over the decisions? And second guessing myself? Because there isn’t a choice that doesn’t break my heart. Right now, I hate being grown up…
Postscript: I wrote this post Monday night and decided to post it anyway, even though my precious girl took matters into her own paws and passed away during the night. I’m so very sad but also happy that she won’t have to suffer. We were honored to be her family for all these years…
If you were here for the A to Z Challenge last year, you might remember it’s birthday week at my house! Oldest son (JP’s daddy) had his birthday yesterday, today is mine and youngest son’s is Saturday. Poor hubby had his in January and we remind him this week is so not about him!
We are going to Top Golf on Saturday with some of the family. I’ve never been before but have heard good things. It’s basically an indoor golf place/sports bar kind of atmosphere for people of all ages and they have food and drink, lots of televisions, games and golf in a bay that’s enclosed on three sides and you hit the ball to the outside. Can you tell I only have sons?
It’s been an interesting and busy last year for us, more surgeries than I would have liked — I guess one is more than I would have liked 🙂 — but things are looking up for sure. I’m not crazy about the short, white hair after chemo but I’m trying not to whine about it. Well, not all the time anyway! And I’m grateful for moisturizers and cosmetics that really work miracles!
Oh, and I’m also grateful for my family and friends in real life and this crazy blogging world and surviving cancer and just getting on with life and doing what we love ❤