Shelby’s going on almost 3 months post-amp and she’s doing fantastic! I continue to worry about her all the time (her coughing, her breathing that sounds like she’s either congested or breathing only through her nose, when she starts to pant) but overall… Shelby continues to prove to be an amazing fighter. You know how you just ‘know’ when there is something ‘off’ with your child? Shelby has no clinical reasons that her vets would think I need to rush to bring her in (she’s eating normally, drinking like a champ, etc.) but she seems off. Maybe sad?
Shelby has always been the most social dog I have ever come to know. She LOVES all people – regardless. As I have said before, Shelby had long been my travel companion for quick get-away weekends, lunches, happy hour… you name it, she went with me (if she could). Since her amp, I realized I have reduced the number of outings we take. Most of our day to day life is rather “transactional” and going through the motions. Neither of us really stop to smell the roses right now. Partly because of my busy work schedule and partly because of my fear of Shelby getting hurt. But what is the point of putting her through ALL the surgeries (3 total) the 9 rounds of chemotherapy and countless other drugs if I can’t let her live her life? What am I waiting for? She isn’t going to get better. That is the cold hard reality. My dog WILL lose her battle to this disease. I don’t like to think it or say it but it’s the truth. And facing that truth can only help us live MORE in the moment and more in the day … Because at the end of the day, I don’t want to say, “I should have taken Shelby for one last romp on the beach” or “I wish Shelby and I had gone to Happy Hour one more time”.
Shelby’s blissful ignorance to the fact that anything is different in health is a HUGE plus in dealing with this. She won’t look at me and say, not today, Mom, I’ve got cancer. She wants to live each day. She wants to smell the flowers. She wants to be outside. She wants to be a dog! Not a China doll.
I am going on a week of Spring Break tomorrow (and incidentally, Shelby gets a chemo treatment and X-rays which I am dreading since she does seem to cough a bit more and sometimes it sounds ‘juicy’ and I am hoping it’s just allergies or a cold). But I plan to take her to Happy Hour this week (weather permitting). We’ll go to the pet store so she can sniff around and get lovies from other people. Because I can see her spirit light up when we are on a walk and she sees a new person – her tail starts to wag, she gets excited and then her damn mama picks her up!!! But Shelby has had about three fainting episodes due to excitement so it scares me. I think that is a natural human trait and as much as I try and be more like a canine, at the end of the day, I am human.
So tomorrow we go for our last – hopefully – chemo treatment and decide on the next course of action for my beloved. I know I want to get her off the iron pills she is currently on since I think they make her uncomfortable (again, not a medical condition that her vets would notice but as a mom, she is off – she is more anxious/active at night and is taking to sleeping on the other side of the room, away from me but thank GOD it’s not the bathroom). I’ve been feeding her some form of red meat nightly (ground sirloin or carne asada + spinach) but maybe I need to diversify her diet. She is sleeping in living room at night instead of beside my bed (but again, thankful it’s not the bathroom). I think she prefers her little bed in there but if I move it, she gets antsy. Shelby likes consistency and routine (a lot like her mama) !!
And of course – the dreaded X-rays … I am not even going to dwell on that since we already know she has mets in her lungs and our only hope right now is stabilization or slow growth. Everyone who meets/sees/is around Shelby comments how great and amazing she looks at and acts and that she is full of life (and full of belly) and that you wouldn’t know she is sick. This continues to be the hardest journey of my life to date but one that I am proud of. I am proud that I not only have the resources to care for Shelby (I don’t even want to see a grand total on this – ever) but that I have the strength to handle what the universe throws at me. All I ever had to do is look at Shelby and realize how far we have come together in our 13+ years together and realize that we are one of the lucky ones. So fight on we will. Because while I say #shelbystrong and #dogisafighter – so is her mama!