- It didn’t take Bonnie long to recover from the surgery. We knew she was better when her tail, which had been hidden for days between her legs, bobbed back upright and stayed there except for when I approached her with a pill wrapped in a piece of cheese. More strangely I also have risen to the surface again even though for a few days I was submerged under a wave of tears and sneezes. I feel fine. I know there is a problem, I know there is danger of huge pain to come, but right now I feel good.
- The good wishes and messages of love from family and friends helped so much. Never underestimate the power of a message to someone in pain. When there is something difficult going on it is a million times worse if you feel alone. But when you feel wrapped in the caring thoughts of other people, strength comes to help you deal with whatever life throws your way.
- The internet is an amazing gift in our lives. It would take too long to list all the useful things I have found recently…… help on all levels, practical, emotional and spiritual. But right now I am thinking about the information about Trigger Points which I used to almost totally cure the pain I had in my ankle. Thank you Paul Ingraham & Tim Taylor.
- And then I found an e-book called the Dog Cancer Survival Guide by Dr Demian Dressler. The vet who wrote it seemed to be speaking directly to me. He starts by telling you that it is important that you fully face up to the role of Primary Caregiver for your dog. And to do this you first need to get yourself as strong and fit and clear headed as possible. ‘Put on your own oxygen mask first‘. Then you can start to connect more deeply to your dog so that decisions made will be coming from her needs. A lovely suggestion was to tell her the stories of her life. We started this sitting on a park bench a few days ago when Bonnie jumped up beside me and seemed to want only to sit quietly by my side. There are so many stories to tell.
- Since then we have been enjoying a lot of good moments together. We are waiting for the results of the biopsy and as she has returned to normal health after the exploratory surgery it is almost possible to forget there is a problem. But I am very aware of it and of the precious nature of this time together. It is as if we have entered a new world….every moment full of delight in each others company. She is coming up onto the sofa too…..do you remember that Catalan men don’t like dogs on the furniture? Well, I have a sofa here that is mine and now Bonnie can lie beside me whenever she wants. For goodness sake, who is going to lie on the ground to cuddle their dog?
- We went to the vet for a checkup yesterday and on the way home visited the pet shop to buy a new toy. Squeaky toys are her favourites. I made a film of her playing with it and added some music but now YouTube won’t let me upload it because of copyright restrictions. If I succeed I will get it on here but if not then I’ll take off the music (which was perfect…I Feel Fine by the Beatles) and put on something else. Meanwhile here is a photo of herself and the Squeaky Toy!
Baby’s good to me you know,
She’s happy as can be you know,
She said so
I’m in love with her and I feel fine
- The vet decided I was the sort of person who could cope with seeing a photo of my dogs insides. He explained about the little white lines on the intestines which show lymph collecting where it shouldn’t ought to be. ‘What’s that?’ I said pointing at the large mass of pink red and purple flesh just below where the gloved hand was holding her guts up to the camera. ‘That’s the tumour’ Oooooffff it is bigger than a large mans hand!
- On the first two days I cried a lot. I don’t mean I sat and sobbed on the sofa but waiting in a queue at the bakers my eyes filled up and welled over, telling a friend the news I felt my words wobble before my shoulders followed suit, I cycled through town with my face soaking with tears. Then it stopped. Where do they go those tears? At the vet for a checkup after the surgery there was a woman sobbing without shame. She was flanked by two sad looking men who occasionally patted her knee, setting off another bout of wails. The day my crying stopped I started yet another cold with streaming nose and violent sneezing.
- The first day my partner kept complaining of feeling cold. He was wrapped in a thick coat but his hands were icy. I asked over and over again ‘How are you?’ and was disappointed that he seemed so emotionally distant. It was the next day before I realised it was shock – he had frozen and I had forgotten about arnica.
- This says something about my life here in this house:- I was grateful when the Resident Adolescent (now strictly speaking a Resident Teenager) stopped in the hallway to ask ‘How is Bonnie?’ This must be the first real conversation we have had in over a year. And it only lasted for three sentences.
- After surgery dogs sometimes get constipated. Internet searches recommend mashed pumpkin. Unfortunately pumpkin is also high in carbohydrates and carbohydrates feed the cancer. I worry a lot about food. Why not continue to give her raw meaty bones? So I do. Then I worry that she can’t digest it. So I boil it up and have to painstakingly remove the meat by hand. Rice? Vegetables? She needs fibre but I don’t want that mass to get food. That photo of her insides haunts me a little.
- Day four and we walk a bit further in search of a bowel movement. She is peeing a lot – is it the Kidneys?– she stops and sniffs around raising my hopes but no, she pees again. It reminds me of the quest for an orgasm “Don’t be goal oriented, just enjoy the moment” We walk, meet other dogs, birds fly over, the strong wind blows little sandstorms into our faces, then she starts to sniff the ground and circle around a special patch of grass. “Is this it? Come on darling, just relax.’ No she just pees again.
- I was happy that she started eating so well after the surgery then I told the vet and he said, ‘the cancer needs to be fed – it will make her hungry’. That thought doesn’t help me when I am planning what to put in her bowl. I need to find a new way of dealing with my thoughts.
- When she dies – if it is in weeks or months or even years from now – I will miss her face, the feel of her fur, the way she brightens up at the sight of a ball, the ease of her company, her muzzle pressed into my hand, her silent almost invisible presence at my heels when we walk. So now and every day I want to really enjoy her, in this moment, fully present not in a worrying anxious over-protective way, but just being with her 100%.
I have no idea how many people read this blog. And I don’t know who you are. I am lucky if I get one comment after each post and so have decided to turn this apparent failure into something positive and to free myself to write what I want. I don’t know what you want to read but I am very clear about what I want to write so starting now, here is what matters to me.