Love and Loss

Since my beloved dog Leroy died, the house has been painfully quiet. My partner is enjoying the calm, dog-free environment, but I am not. We have no children, so at night there is just the sound of music playing and laptops buzzing. No pitter-patter of paws, no head-butting, no fake sneezing, no barking, no “I wanna go on a walk” dance performance, no cuddling, no old-man snoring, no silky coat to be combed, no belly rubs, no licks on my face. I can’t live like this.

I want to adopt a dog now, but my partner wants to wait. He wants to wait a long, long time – as in he never wants to get another dog. He is worried that my cancer will start to metastasize, (Peritoneal Mesothelioma), that I will die and that he will be left devastated and having to take care of the dog – something he is not sure he will be up to doing. Now, the thing is, I can’t promise him that all that won’t happen. Right now my cancer is stable, but unfortunately Peritoneal Mesothelioma is rare and aggressive and without a cure. So yes, I could be dead in a couple of years, that’s entirely possible. What’s also possible is that I live for another five years or more. With this diagnosis the average life expectancyΒ is 12 months. But, but for those lucky enough – like me – to be able to have Cytoreductive Surgery and HIPEC, (hot chemo poured in your abdomen), then the life expectancy increases to up to five years and beyond. There are even a few people in my private Facebook mesothelioma group who are ten years into living with their disease.

I don’t know how long I have until this cancer kills me. But I do know that having a dog allows me to experience pure joy and I think joy is the best medicine out there. If I’m being totally honest, I think I deserve that joy and I want it now. And yet, I have this amazing partner by my side. When I was in the hospital for two long months, he visited me every single day. He is not freaked out by my hideous ostomy bag and he is more than happy to continue having an intimate life with me despite my rather mangled looking tummy. He is protective of me and my immune system, buying bottles and bottles of vitamins and making sure I eat enough protein. He is in love with a woman who has a terminal illness – how fucking hard must that be?!! So, how do I reconcile my desire for a dog with my wanting to support my partner as he navigates the emotional war zone of living with cancerdame?

To Be Continued…

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12 thoughts on “Love and Loss

    • Yes, great idea! I am looking into it but my partner does not even want to foster a dog right now. I am hoping that after a break he will have a change of heart – I think he will. Take Care.

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  1. Animals are some of the best antidotes for illness and stress. Get your husband to pick out the dog with you and make sure that they really bond. He may not like dogs very much, but he can love his dog.

    Woofs and Wags, Cosmo and Stella

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  2. Dear Cancerdame, I was really affected by your new post. I want you to have all things that make you happy. If you can choose a dog that does not rouse my asthma too much, I am happy to promise that Dad and I will sign a contract to take excellent care of your dog should you die. I am sure that happiness will make you live longer. We love you Mary Ellen, Mom and Dad

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  3. What a poignant recounting of how important dogs are to you and the stark reality of your cancer prognosis. Animals have always been a healing influence on me. When I recently had my hip replaced, I was aching to be home to hear the purring of my cat and feel his warm silky body. I feel your grief at the loss of Leroy viscerally. How absolutely loving of your Mom to offer to care for specially picked canine if you cannot. You have so much love to give – to all creatures great and small. Thank you SO much for your lovely card after my surgery. You are such a beautiful person in all ways. Janet

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  4. Hi, Rachel and I would also be happy to adopt any dog for you if necessary. (Assuming of course that Trump doesn’t win and build a “dog wall” on the Canadian border!) Katie can provide a dog care reference if requested.

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  5. I am so sorry for your loss. I hope you are able to adopt a new dog while also keeping your health and the things you need in life. Hopefully your partner will change his mind and you guys can pick one out together. Maybe an older shelter pup that is already an adult and fully trained might help sway him? I wish you all the best.

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