Hold Them Close

What a crazy ride this month has been.  From finding out about Brendol’s cancer, to amputation, to chemotherapy, and then a friend going into hospice, and his passing away two days ago.  All followed by a round of cancer dogs losing their fights this past week or the pawrents getting tragic news about their conditions.  I have run the gammut of crying and indecision to even elation at how well Brendol has done.  This past week, things finally started feeling like they were back to normal at home, and I was so happy about my Brendol doing good that it was easy to ignore the fact that she HAS cancer.  Of course, I put a lot of my time into helping my friends through the process of dieing.  And I’m trying to help them grieve along with grieving myself.  But then last night, all of the news of varying individuals having their pets also lose their battles was very deflating.  It reminded me of my limited time with my baby girl.  I’m trying so hard to balance feeling good about her progress with fearing losing her.  And so many battles seemed to be lost so quickly.  My friend went from still being able to stay at home (although we were going to have him go to an assisted living facility this past week) to being gone in 2 weeks.  And one of the dogs that I was following his progress, went from just getting his brace for his leg to not being able to breathe in a matter of days.  Everything is just so uncertain.  And I am a control FREAK.  Try controlling Cancer or Parkinsons!  Not happening.

So, I laid in bed last night and I cuddled around my baby girl and I just held her tight for as long as she would let me.  I try to remember that the love we have in our life is why losing those close to us hurts so much.  It’s all a balance.  Grief and Joy.  Love and Loss.  May I learn the lesson I need to learn with grace, and may I learn it quickly :D.

So, this is just a reminder, to hold your loved ones close.


Tripawd Awareness Day 3/3

Miss Brendol was diagnosed with a osteosarcoma at the end of January.  She became a tripawd on 2/6 and although I was extremely concerned about her handling this change (she’s 12), she has adapted wonderfully.  No more pain or limping.  Occassionally there are complications with these types of procedures or it takes a while for the dog to adjust, but Brendol has been a posterpup!  Within a few days she was maneuvering full flights of stairs and by a week later she was running.  We are now doing chemo and hoping for many more months to play. 

My Cuddle Bug - Brendol
My Cuddle Bug – Brendol

Nearly 3 Weeks Post Amp

Brendol is doing GOOD!  I’m beginning to relax! And things are getting back into a groove.

 Her first Chemo was last week on Monday and I waited anxiously all week for any signs of side effects, but fortunately there were none.


Here’s a pic, not a good one, of Brendol and her incision site.  Can’t wait for my poor baby’s hair to grow back in.   So I have to play elevator service with both her and my other little girl.  Aissa May has a patellar luxation and can’t make the jump up anymore, so we have the system down that when she is ready she puts her front paws up on the trunk and then I hoist the rest of her up.  And now, Miss Brendol gets a lift down.  Whew am I glad they are only about 50 pounds each.  My bed is so tall, that I’m not sure a ramp would work… I don’t think there is enough room for it.  We’ll have to just see how it goes.

 Brendol has also decided that she doesn’t always want to go out to the back yard to potty as it requires her to go down 4 wooden steps.  Well, she will go when she feels like it.  But she doesn’t always feel like it when I want her to! 😀  So the new pattern is I let Aissa out the back, wait to see if Brendol wants to go or not.  If the answer is no, then we get the leash and go out the front steps, which are 3 brick ones.  She’s always happy with that option because she thinks she might get to go somewhere in the car.  Boy does she have me figured out!

OH!  And I have to tell ya.  Brendol went exploring in the back yard on Saturday.  I was just standing on the patio thinking that she is doing so good that maybe in the afternoon I’d go out to the back of the property and have her come with me.  Before all of these issues, she would always go exploring in the back yard and in the woods (we have a large half-wooded back yard).  She would also always walk the perimeter before coming back in at night.  She hadn’t done any of that in a long time.  Just as I was thinking about all of this, what did she do?  She headed out to the back.  She went into the woods and snooped around and then came back up after checking it all out.  Fortunately it’s winter and the trees are bare, so I could keep an eye on her the entire way.  But I was so happy to see her doing some of the things that she used to enjoy.

SO… just wanted to share that things are going well.  There are a lot of posts with the sad things and sometimes we just need to hear the good news even if it just means they went for a walk in the yard!  Catch you next time.

Karma and Brendol

One Step at a Time – Just Keep Swimming sequel

I’ll keep this short tonight because I’m writing this on my iPhone (very small screen).  First, the update on my wiggle-butt.  She’s doing really good.  She’s back to her old bad and good habits.  One of the good habits that I cherish is that when I come home she runs to greet me and brings me one of her dollies.  Tonight was her little purple tiger.

The main reason I’m writing tonight is to let out a bit of what I’m dealing with.  I am burning the candle on more than both ends.  This week I’ve had to sort through my feelings about chemo on my baby.  And now I’m hyper-vigilant about watching her for any side-effects.  On top of that, a dear friend of mine has entered a hospice facility to end out his days after a battle with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.  so I’ve been going up to the hospital and now the hospice center to support him and his wife.  Work is crazy busy.  I didn’t even manage to eat until 4:00 today.  And then I have my own health issues that I should be working on, along with an appointment in the morning.  Whew!  I’m tired just writing it all down.

My intent, as it pertains to my friend, is to visit every day until his time is over.  The doctors are thinking a week or a little longer.  I am so sad for him and his wife (whom I am also very close to).  When they moved here, they kind of adopted me and took me into their home.  So I really want to support them through this.

So…I am very much focusing on what is in front of me.  I wake up and worry about my baby girl.  Then I rush to work and focus on the tasks that I have in front of me there.  Then I head to the hospice center and spend my time trying to comfort my dear friends.  Then I rush home (worrying the whole way that this may have been the day  Brendol didn’t feel good).  I take care of all my fuzz-butts (2 dogs and 2 cats).  Brendol so far makes me so relieved once I’m through the door.  And I’m trying to make sure that all my sweet peas are getting plenty of attention!  And then it’s time for bed so I can do it again tomorrow.

Therefore, “just keep swimming…just keep swimming.”

Guess this wasn’t all that brief. 🙂

Just Keep Swimming

“Just Keep Swimming” is one of my favorite lines from a movie… “Finding Nemo”.  I often use it in my everyday life to remind me to…well…just keep swimming.  This is one of those days. 

I should start with, Thing Are Going Good.  Brendol is doing really well.  She is having a little trepidation about going UP the steps now, but has mastered the going down.  I hope this is just a phase.  She went through the amputation with flying colors, ate well, no problems with the pain meds, and just hunkered down a little and cuddled with me on the couch a lot, which I didn’t mind one bit. 

This morning, we got the stitches out and met with the internist to discuss chemo.  I have been waffling back and forth about it.  And honestly, I am still not sure.  But we went ahead and started the chemo today… 4 to 6 treatments every 3 weeks of carboplatin.  I just got the call that my baby girl is done with her treatment and ready to go home.  I’ve got her hanging out there while I work and will pick her up this afternoon.  Fortunately, she also loves going to the vets.  She is a sucker for attention.  And most people that see her are sucker for giving it to her.

Miss Brendol posing for the camera this weekend.
Miss Brendol posing for the camera this weekend.

Here’s my baby girl from this weekend.  All of our friends that saw this picture stated how young she looked.  See Brendol is a 12 year old gal, so we’ve got a little mileage.  But because she has been so healthy up til this cancer crap, we are giving that chemo a shot. 

Driving to the office after leaving her for her treatment, I have felt sick to my stomach.  I think its a culmination of the whole thing, not just the chemo.  Because I’ve read from many forum posts that the chemo doesn’t bother them that much, so I know in my heart that this will be ok.  But, I guess, I just hate her having to go through any of this.  Unfortunately, many of my friends will not understand my decision.  When I first found out about the osteosarcoma and that amputation was a possibility, many of them were sympathetic to me but also “awww, I hope you don’t put her through that”.  Well, I did put her through that.  And when I talked about the possibilities of chemo, they also were like, “aww Karma, that’s so sad, I hope you don’t decide to do that”.  One of my friends is very vocal and her point of reference is that she has undergone chemo twice with breast cancer.  I explained to her all that I had read about dogs not having the side effects as bad as humans, but she wouldn’t have it.  Nobody knows yet that we decided to go through with it.  So I just have to hunker down for any judgements they may feel free to pass my way and prepare to blow them off.

I have to admit I have not been very productive at the office ever since her diagnosis.  My mind keeps reeling with weighing all the options and trying to decide what is the right thing to do for both of us.  I’ve read so many forums and blogs and articles that my head is spinning.  And all I really want to do is stay at home and curl up with my sweet pea. 

But, have to work.  So here I am.  Just keep swimming.  Just keep swimming.

Just getting started

Miss Brendol is a 12 year old Pitt Mix that lives just North of Atlanta.  She was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in her front right leg on January 30th, 2013.  The news was devestating to me and a non-issue to her.  All she knew was that her front leg was hurting.  A week later we got in to see a specialist to weigh all our options and the osteosarcoma diagnosis was supported.  Amputation was recommended and we proceeded with that the very next day, February 6th. 

It has been one week since her amputation, and she is doing AWESOME!  She’s going up and down full flights of stairs and she’s back to getting into trouble.  She likes to get into things and drag them around the house when I’m not home.  (Like pulling pillows off the bed and dragging them into the bathroom)  Six days after her operation, I had her in a t-shirt and an e-collar when I went to work so she wouldn’t scratch her stitches… the booger managed to get out of her t-shirt with the knot still tied in it and with the e-collar still on, not once… but twice.  So, no more t-shirt.  That’s pointless.  Then yesterday she managed to lock herself in the spare bathroom and play in the bathtub.  Only problem, she got in but couldn’t figure out how to get out.  Mom to the rescue. 

With her doing SO well, it is hard to remember that I still have some big decisions to make regarding her treatment.  Chemo has been recommended by the surgeon, and we have an appointment with an internist regarding our options there.  But with her age, I am inclined not to pursue it.  We will see what options are presented to us.  I have also found a veterinarian in the area that practices not just traditional medicine, but also holistic medicine.  We are contacting them as well.

A little bit about my Miss Brendol.  She was originally owned by a not very nice man that thought she was a Brindle Pittbull/Rottweiler mix (she’s fawn colored by the way).  He wanted a mean dog for whatever reason.  And I was stupid enough at the time to be dating him.  When I met Brendol, she was about 3 1/2 months old and cute as a button.  He was complaining about her acting out and doing things that puppies do.  I saw a sweet loving baby that had no interest in being mean nor any interest in being with this guy.  At our first meeting, she was running around and playing with me as puppies do.. and he was complaining about her never sitting still.  Within a little time, I had her laying in my lap and I was gently rubbing her forehead until she dosed off.  I was in love immediately.  So I suggested she come to my place which had a nice back yard to play in… and I just never gave her back.  I eventually got rid of the guy and kept her.  An awesome trade!  And she has been my cuddle bug every since.

She had a sister that passed away at a very young age (Sadie – a black chow/lab mix) and a feline sister that tolerated her presence for many years until about 4 years ago (Allegra – a himalayan).  After Sadie passed when Brendol was just a year old, we welcomed Aissa into our home, a little black Chow/Border Collie mix.  And about a year after Allegra passed, we welcomed two new feline sisters to the family, Mathilde and Morrigan.  Pictures of Miss Brendol and her family are below.


3 Days post surgery, we got our drain out.
3 Days post surgery, we got our drain out.

Aissa May

Little Miss Mathilde laying on my lap.
Little Miss Mathilde laying on my lap.
The princess, Morrigan.
The princess, Morrigan.
Brendol and Aissa waiting for a treat!
Brendol and Aissa waiting for a treat!
My Cuddle Bug - Brendol
My Cuddle Bug – Brendol