the war on cancer wages on

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let’s start with the good news first because, let’s face it, that’s a lot easier to write (and read). ronan has been doing awesome this last month in terms of his osteosarcoma and i had a feeling his tumor was going to show no growth and was hoping it would measure smaller at his monthly oncology follow-up last week. my hopes panned out and his mass was actually smaller and we’ve gotten his pain seemingly completely under control, which with osteosarcoma is the battle.

unfortunately ronan’s thrilling news is overshadowed by carly’s progression. my sweet girl just can’t catch a break - her mass is growing rapidly and we’re having a harder time keeping her pain controlled. at this point she’s still (really) excited to eat and she’s participating in life but she’s at a pittance of her normal carly power. dave & i both feel like she’s currently got a quality of life but we’re clear we’re on borrowed time and are trying to give (and take) all the love we can right now. we’re doing our very best to enjoy her and not allow the despair to overtake us while she’s still with us…some days we’re better at that than others.

that brings me to the subject of living with dying, in which my only experience comes from the loss of a large number of dogs which is the crappiest of crappy side effects of living with a pack of dogs. the one thing i’ve learned (very ungracefully) over the years is that you cannot prepare for the loss and you really just end up sacrificing beautiful time attempting it. no matter how hard i would counsel myself or how sad i would be prior it did absolutely nothing to alleviate the absolute crushing feeling of life without that particular being. at this point i try really hard to enjoy the time we’ve got and not perseverate on the after…sometimes i’m more successful than others.

it terms of when it’s time i always tell people (when asked) “you’ll know” and i believe that wholeheartedly. i will admit carly is testing me on this one because i am concerned the force of nature that she is will keep pushing well past what we’d like for her so i’m continually questioning if we’re being fair. i have to keep convincing myself to trust the process as it is a process that i believe in. i believe wholeheartedly in humane euthanasia and i have always felt it’s a beautiful gift we give to our animals that we don’t extend to humans. i have always been at peace with the decisions we’ve made and every time it has been an amazing gift to be with whoever we’re letting go as they move on…it’s incredibly painful and lonely but amazingly comforting all at once. i’m using i in this because it’s me writing but dave is as much a part of this process as i am.

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