I’ve had this refrain, practically a mantra, that I’ve been repeating over and over. “When things get back to normal…”
When things get back to normal, I’ll restart my running/training plan with Cooper. When things get back to normal, I’ll finally sweep the melted snow and sand and ice out of the garage. When things get back to normal, I’ll buy real food at the grocery store, not just something I can stick in the microwave. When things get back to normal, I’ll answer all these emails. When things get back to normal…
I realize now: I need a new definition of “normal.”
Lucas is okay. Our most terrifying fear was that the cancer was in his lungs. That there was nothing we can do. Thankfully, that isn’t the case. Unfortunately, though, his leg is far gone and will be amputated. Even more unfortunate is that they think it may have spread already but that the cells are too small to show up on x-ray. Because that’s usually the case. We’re waiting on the biopsy result from the lesion in his ankle to determine if he can take part in a clinical trial they’re conducting with a chemo drug. If so, he’ll have the amputation, then he’ll have a series of four IV chemo treatments spaced three weeks apart. The particular drug that is part of this study has some GI side effects – like loss of appetite and nausea – but they prescribe a medication with it to hopefully counter those. By all accounts, pets tolerate chemo far better than we humans do. Having been through it, I wouldn’t wish it on my baby, that’s for sure.
He is in a lot of pain and struggling to hobble around. We can’t schedule the amputation soon enough. He’s on a whole pile of pain meds until then, but it’s no fun – he oscillates between woozy and disoriented to crying and pacing as they wear off. As far as the amputation, I’ll write about that separately when we have more nailed down. We’re just awaiting the biopsy results…
In the meantime, I desperately need to create a new normal. For self-preservation and sanity.
For the last week, we’ve been sitting and sleeping in the living room, mourning his pain and the situation. Staying close. Watching. Crying. Our reality is that Emmett has survived long past his initial prognosis, for which we are immeasurably grateful. I cherish every single second with him and find myself just watching him be him. But, we’re also waiting for the other shoe to drop. It’s around the corner – we just don’t know which corner. And it’s terrifying.
Now, we’re in the same situation with Lucas. Waiting. Waiting to see what happens and when – not if – when he worsens.
While that is our reality, I realize it doesn’t have to be our normal. Today’s post on one of my favorite blogs, oh melvin (and yo jake), nailed it so perfectly. Please go read that post. I’ll wait…
Each day, I move forward a little bit , I gain clarity and strength while still maintaining the sadness and fear. It’s odd how that is possible, to still be as frightened as day one but to feel as if I can absolutely see him through this. And then I realize, that is what love is. It can break you, in the same moment that it lifts you up.
I’m taking her words to heart. I need to move forward, not just in monitoring their health and scheduling their tests and administering their medication, but with life and love and all the joy that comes with being so intensely bound to my sweet dogs.
Before Wednesday, I had some fun posts lined up. After Wednesday, they felt frivolous. Well, I’m going to dust them off and post them because I need to continue moving. Sure, I’m going to let a lot of things slide until we have a plan to take care of Lukey’s leg. I’m working ahead on some client stuff so that I can take those two weeks after his amputation off to do everything I can to help him recover.
But, I need to move forward. I need a new normal of balancing living with grief. I need a new normal of going and doing despite the fear.
Thank you so, so much for all your kind comments, messages, and emails. I can’t even tell you how much they lifted our spirits as we navigated the murky waters of this last week. I’m so touched and beyond grateful to be a part of such a supportive community. Please know that if I could hug every single one of you, I totally would right this minute. I’m so grateful for you. Thank you.