TRUTH BOMB: I feel very uncomfortable about sharing my story because I know that people are suffering horribly during the Covid crisis and my issues pale in comparison to the heartache going on in their lives right now. My heart feels crushed every time I read about how many more innocent souls lost their lives to such a cruel, invisible enemy. I can’t even begin to imagine what their families have been going through.
I’ve been feeling endless guilt even thinking about blogging during the pandemic (and the reason I haven’t blogged in over a month). It’s all meaningless drivel in the grand scheme of things. Who gives a crap about interior design when there’s so much chaos going on in all of our lives and it’s an accomplishment just getting out of bed and taking a shower most days?
I recently read a very interesting article featuring a trauma psychologist and it helped me realize that it’s totally ok to acknowledge my own feelings of my own trauma and the necessity to deal with them in my own way in order to preserve my mental health.
So I’m writing this post with the hope that it might help someone dealing with similar feelings of guilt and hopelessness and I want you to know that it’s totally ok to honor those feelings. In fact, it’s incredibly important for your mental well-being.
I’ll NEVER FORGET THAT HORRIBLE DAY
We got to visit our poor baby the next morning.
Friday, March 13, 2020. This date will forever be etched into my memory, but not by choice.
It started like every other morning: I took our dogs, Faith, Maggie Moo, and Kizzie, for their daily walk at a local park. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary except that Faith walked a bit slower a couple of times during our walk. I chalked it up to her being 12 years old and thought nothing of it because she’s always been super healthy.
Back home, I put their breakfasts in their bowls, which Faith would normally gobble down in 10 seconds flat. This morning was different, however. She seemed like she wanted to eat it but wouldn’t touch it. I always told The Hubs that the day Faith doesn’t want food is the day something is wrong.
I kept an eye on her and 20 minutes later, she was under our bed and was extremely lethargic. I pulled her out and checked her gums and they were ghost white. I rushed her to our vet, they did some bloodwork, x-rays and a quick ultrasound and discovered a mass on her spleen. They had me rush her to the emergency hospital down the street to get a life-saving surgery to have her spleen removed.
She almost went into cardiac arrest during recovery that night, but she slowly started getting better the next 2 days especially after we came to visit her. Thankfully, this all happened a week before our area went into lockdown so we were able to sit next to her to comfort her and feed her.
A few days later, the biopsy came back that the removed mass was a hemangiosarcoma which is a very aggressive cancer. We were told that even with the surgery, the average survival time for these dogs is 2 months and only 10% of them make it a year. My world basically ended at that moment.
We already lost 3 of our beloved long-time pack members in the last year, and the thought of losing another furbaby this year was way too much for me to handle. I sank into a deep depression for a couple of weeks afterward and I’m still slowly coming out of it.
HOW I’VE BEEN TRYING TO COPE
SINCE FAITH’S CANCER DIAGNOSIS
Me rockin’ my socks-and-flip-flops look while making her stone together.
Sometimes, life hands you a giant platter of shit and doesn’t even bother offering any after-dinner mints to get rid of that awful taste in your mouth. I’ve been through a lot of really traumatic events throughout my life (mainly childhood through mid-20’s) so I had to learn how to deal with my feelings in constructive ways so they didn’t eat me alive.
But nothing – NOTHING – could have prepared me for what’s currently going on in the world with the pandemic. I’m in the CDC’s high-risk category (asthma & autoimmune disease) so my anxiety level has been through the roof. It’s been so hard to focus on work most days and I barely get anything done which adds to my feelings of guilt and sadness.
I’ve been working hard on refocusing my mind to look at this time as a blessing that I get to spend even more time with Faith. I’ve been enjoying the simple pleasures of basking out in the sun next to her each day, scratching her newly-scarred belly when she starts rolling around in the grass.
I’ve been taking joy in watching how happy she is figuring out how to get a treat out of one of her puzzles. And I’ve been so grateful for every morning I get to wake up with her next to my bed, so eager and happy to start her day with a walk.
I’ve been taking TONS of photos and videos of her. I collected some of her fur and put it in a little plastic baggy (it’s so comforting to feel a pet’s fur long after they’ve passed), and we made a little adoption date stepping stone together (I do it for all our pets). Little moments like these have made life a tiny bit sweeter these days and I’m trying to cherish each and every moment.
I’ve been telling my mind that there are things I cannot control in life right now and to focus on the ones I can control instead. I can’t control Faith’s cancer, but I can certainly control how I care for her and the quality of the remaining time we have together.
I’M STAYING HOPEFUL FOR OUR FUTURE
It’s been hard to even think about the future with all of the uncertainty in the world right now not knowing when it will be safe for society to get back to somewhat “normal.”
It’s also been hard for The Hubs and I not knowing how much longer our baby Faith will be with us and whether today will the day that might be her last.
One of my very favorite photos I took of Faith a few years ago.
But I am trying to stay hopeful for our future by reminding myself that out of extreme darkness comes light and I truly believe that something good will come out of all of this.
If nothing else, it has truly taught us all how much of a gift our friends, families, and pets are and to not take life for granted for one second because it can all change in an instant.