Saturday, October 12, 2019
Last year at this time, almost exactly to the day, we found out that Mara had cancer. Specifically, anal sac adenocarcinoma or, as we maturely called it, "butt cancer." She had a mass on her anal sac (heh) and one of her lymph nodes. I won't bore you with all the fears and tears and options we ran through at that time, but we decided to start with surgery to remove the masses. She came through it great! There were some follow up steps, including an experimental (but free!) vaccine and oral chemo which, did you know that was a thing? Crazy. We were hesitant, but it had no negative effects on her, really, and was keeping the cancer from spreading. For a time, anyway.
She had a follow up appointment last week, and they found a mass on another lymph node. It hadn't been there a month ago when they did an ultrasound, so they took a sample. We found out yesterday that the mass is cancerous. Because of fucking course it is. I don't think either of us were surprised. When they told us there was another mass that had appeared that quickly, what else was it going to be?
I'm mostly OK. Mostly. It fucking sucks, but I've been mostly holding it together, if only because we still don't know what all the options are yet.
I just keep doing this thing where I'm, like, poking my feelings? To, I don’t know, see how much it hurts to think about Mara not being here this time next year, or when we move into a new place, or, fuck, not being here at all FULL STOP?
I don’t know why I keep doing that. It turns out it hurts a fucking lot, is what it does. And it makes me cry every time, and my eyeballs feel like they’re going to dry up and fall out of my head already so I really don’t want to cry anymore.
Meanwhile, Max is acting weird and apparently has arthritis and then he started eating dirt obsessively (wtf?) and we don’t know why. He gets to go back to the vet on Monday, so I’m hoping they can figure something out. I don’t know. I know this is normal (I mean, not the dirt-eating thing but, like, dogs having issues). He’s getting older, of course he’s going to have medical issues. But why does it have to be happening when we got such terrible news about Mara?
Life is supremely unfair, and I know that, but I don’t know why the universe feels the need to show me evidence of this all at the same time. It's rude.
At the same time, I know that we are very lucky. We’re lucky to have at least some funds, though they are not unlimited, to help our dogs with these issues. We’re lucky to have back up plans for moving and upcoming travel, should we need them. We’re lucky to have one another, so we can lean on each other when we’re having I AM NOT OK moments. I know all of this.
I also know we’ve been really lucky to have the last year with Mara, something I’ve thought and reminded myself of often since this time last year. We didn’t know if she’d make it through the surgery she had. And she did! And she has been acting normal (well, normal for her) ever since. We’ve been really lucky to have that time. The cancer she was diagnosed with is an aggressive one. We were lucky to have that time to enjoy her and, yes, even to take our time saying goodbye to her. Pet owners don’t always get that.
Still. It fucking sucks ass, is what it does. And no amount of luck with change that.