Generally speaking anyway. I take a deep breath, put aside emotion and take care of business. When the crisis has passed, however, I am a complete and total wreck. This last week was no exception.
Let me explain: Mojo the Beagle has bladder cancer.
This isn’t quite as bad as it sounds. There’s a drug* that works pretty well to arrest progression of the disease and in some cases even shrinks the tumor. Because of the tumor, however, Mojo has been experiencing some urinary distress and I think he actually threw his back out from straining to pee.** So, I’ve spent the last week figuring all this out: taking him to emergency vets, the regular vet, going to the drug store, figuring out pain medicine timing and dosage***, carrying him up and down the stairs, lifting him up onto the couch and the bed, holding him steady while he pees****, etc.
Throughout all this, I’ve been pretty good. Sure, there was crying on the way to emergency vet before I knew the prognosis***** and a wee bit of shower crying******, but the rest of the time I was pretty OK. Until tonight. Because tonight was the first night since last Wednesday that I thought, “You know, I think we’re going to be OK, at least for a while!”
So I spent the last hour crying like a little girl and now I feel better.
Counter-intuitive? Maybe. But true nonetheless. In fact, I feel better than better. I actually feel good. This isn’t my first dance with that asshole Cancer – and his sidekick Death has shown up, uninvited, at my door a couple of times. I know how this is going to end and it’s not going to be fun; but these experiences (including the one I am in the middle of) have taught me a very, very important lesson: grief can be as much a gift as it is a burden, if you let it. I always let it.
** It’s OK to laugh. It’s sort of funny now that he seems better. If you had laughed last week though I would have kicked you in the junk.
*** Like me, my dog hates being on pain meds. It just feels weird. Don’t like. So, like I do for myself, I’ve cut both the amount and frequency of the dosage in half. This seems to be working for him.
**** Good times.
***** Technically speaking, this preemptive emoting is an important element of crisis management. I was certain they were going to tell me there was no hope so I PRE-cried to avoid being a wreck when actually talking to the doctor. That’s how tight my game is!
****** Which really doesn’t count because with all the water falling on your head no one can really tell that you are in fact crying.