Today is a pretty big day in my little land. Today marks 4 years since my cancer diagnosis. I know this because it’s also one of my brothers’ birthdays- sorry Joesph. I also know this because my TimeHop app reminds me each year with the same silly picture of me at the Brea mall, pregnant AF sitting in one of those massage chairs inside the Brookstone store- my face puffy and swollen from tears and baby weight.
You see, earlier in the day 4 years back- I remember getting the call while in my office at work. I found out over the phone that my world would go forth in a way I was not ready for but tried to flow with as much as possible. I notified the necessary people at the office that I had to leave immediately. I don’t remember the drive from work to home. I just remember eventually sitting on the couch with John watching comedies until they couldn’t distract us any longer. So what do you do when you’re stressed, scared, uncomfortable? You go to a place where you can mindlessly walk around without judgement and without purpose and with lots of free AC- you go to the mall.
The above picture is the only one from that day. The first of many photos which would document my life from diagnosis and beyond. It brings me right back to that day, to that chair, to that cookie I ate shortly after, to that dick of a surgeon I met with a few hours later, to me standing up for myself immediately and requesting a second opinion.
Typically this day brings a smile to my face because I am still here to see it. But today, my once again swollen face and puffy eyes aren’t in a joyful mood because just yesterday we had to let go of one of Team Filloon’s greatest supporters and mascot.
About a month and a half ago, we had noticed a lump on Petey’s head. I just knew what it was, there was no doubt in my mind that C was forcing its way back in our lives to be a complete dick wad. Petey had no other symptoms at that time other than the lump and slight changes in his activity levels. Our vet prepared us to plan on letting him go soon but John and I just couldn’t see it yet.
Things would soon change and he would decline very quickly over the weeks, so we took advantage of quarantine and tried to make the most of our remaining time with him. Though in the last week or so, his condition worsened greatly, his pain meds didn’t seem to be as effective and decisions were being made as to how we could help him move on while in the middle of a pandemic.
Thankfully, we found an amazing human who makes veterinary house calls and we were able to help Pete Dog transition peacefully and comfortably from his/our own home. Petey seemed ready, he walked right up to the Dr., something he hadn’t been doing for anyone. We were all able to love on him, thank him for being such a good boy, and say our goodbyes. I felt him take his last breath, just as I had with both of my parents. And I heard myself ask the same question I had with them, “Is that it?”
I cannot say it’s been easy other than the relief of knowing he’s not in pain any more. My eyes are still puffy, my heart space feels empty, my best bud is no where to be seen. I continue to look for him around the house. I expect to feel his scratchy fur against my leg while I sit here on the couch typing this. I continue to find random things of his that fill my eyes with tears all over again.
Petey was my first baby. He shared his love with us as John and I navigated our dating relationship, when my mom passed, when we got engaged and as John and I moved around Southern California, when we got married, when my dad passed, when I got pregnant with Harlon, when I got pregnant with Wyatt, through all of my own C shit. He should be here with us celebrating the 4 years. But he’s not and I can’t change that. And that’s the hardest part- there has been nothing I could do to help him other than love him and feed him pain pills covered in peanut butter.
The helplessness of C is consuming and the loss is of my bubba so great. But I know that my love for Sweet Pete will always be greater. I’ll see you on the other side my main man- until then, have fun with my mom and dad. They’ll take good care of you, I know it.