A candle in the darkness

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This year, of all my years, has been the most challenging and the most painful, but also the most revelatory. I’ve discovered a strength I didn’t realize I possessed, an ability to look for the ray of light in a dark place that I’ve never known before. I’ve developed a caring bond with complete strangers and found solace in trying to comfort others who are confronted with life altering diagnoses.

None of this would have been possible with this community. The diagnosis alone would have crippled me, I fear. You’ve given me a shoulder to lean on, to cry on, and an audience when I need to unload. You’ve been answers when I have questions, you’ve made me smile when my heart was breaking. You’ve been friendship when I was lonely, and kind words when I’ve been hurting.

For all this (and much, much more) I am eternally grateful.

Merry Christmas, my friends!


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Hoppy Holidaze

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I wanted to wait to post this until I knew for certain, but now I dont feel so much like I’m tempting fate to say it: my Christmas wish is coming true! My girl is still with me, and she’s still going strong. She continues to amaze me with her resiliency and fortitude, her continued grace in battle.

Although I understand that at this stage of the game her situation could change pretty rapidly, I just am beyond-words grateful for her still being here today! That was the only thing I wanted this Christmas. (World peace would be nice too, but I’ll settle for a snuggle next to the fireplace with Woo.)

Me and my girl

Beach girl


Photos by Images by Isabel. Used by permission.

Hoppy Holidays??

So, I was originally going to post this under a topic on the forums, but then I thought it was maybe a little too off topic, but I still wanted to share:

I’ve never really been a big fan of the holidays — growing up dirt poor, we often didn’t have any money for Christmas, and relied heavily on charity to even have a holiday.  When I first started spending the holidays with my husband’s family, it was a little overwhelming for me — so much holiday cheer.  Really?  People actually enjoying the holidays????  However, these last few years have really put a damper on even their Christmas cheer.

Rio’s cancer treatments have fallen around the holidays — radiation for Christmas 2007 and surgery and chemo around the holidays in 2009.  Three years ago this week our beloved cousin lost her battle with breast cancer.   Last Christmas, we weren’t sure if my husband’s grandmother would make it to Christmas following a spill (and subsequent head injury) on Thanksgiving day.  And my husband had just lost his job.  And, this year, I am still worried that Rio might not make it to the holidays, plus my husband is still unemployed.  Merry Christmas to us.

Now to my point in all of this:  In this life, there are things you can control, and others that you can’t.  Although I’ve been feeling very bah-humbug-ish, I had a bit of an ah-ha moment this afternoon after one of my Tripawds friends asked me about holiday traditions that got me into the spirit.  I got to thinking about my favorite Christmas tradition — putting up our tree.  We don’t do theme trees at our house — all of our ornaments are specific to an event, a time, a place, something special for each year.  The year we went to France, I bought a blown glass Eiffel Tower.  Australia, I bought a kangaroo carved out of some strange palm tree.  The year we got Rio, I have a little brown and black puppy ornament.  You get the picture — our tree is like a journal, and every year, it’s like getting to read and remember only the happy moments.

In thinking about this tradition, I had a small epiphany — this will likely be my last Christmas with Rio, and, damn it, I want it to be the best one she’s/I’ve ever had.  Not in terms of gifts, because dog knows we can’t afford that, but in terms of the holiday spirit.  I want lots of warm and fuzzy memories to carry me through the dark days ahead.    I’m going to listen to my Tripawd Warrior Code and live in the moment.  I may not get to “It’s a Wonderful Life” kind of bliss, but I will make it through the next few weeks without gagging and bah-humbugging on “holiday spirit.”  (Although if I hear one more TV or radio commercial butcher some poor innocent and unsuspecting Christmas song, I may rethink this whole thing.)

Feeeeeed meeeeeeee!!!

I mentioned in my last post, that we’d started feeding Rio 4 times a day as a means to compensate for slower processing in the ol’ puppy pooper.  Between that and the (almost) cup of pumpkin a day, it seems to be helping — we’ve not had any more vomiting for several weeks, and she’s struggling less when she goes #2!  That’s the good news…  The bad news is….   I have created a monster.  She’s decided that 4 meals a days isn’t nearly enough, and is lobbying hard for additional portions.   She is eating us out of house and home.  She doesn’t seem to be gaining any weight with all the additional meals which is a little troublesome, and I can definitely feel the “bad guy” in the V between her stomach and her hip, but looking at this from a purely “happy in the moment” point of view (which, I’ll admit is pretty rare), she is doing really good.  Maybe even great.  She’s been funny and playful and spirited, and yes, demanding, these last couple of weeks.   And so, I say, if the appetite is good, and she wants to eat, I will feed her.  I love this monster!!!

Keep it down. Can't you people see I'm trying to sleep.