Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Grace of a Puppy

I spend most of my free time with Lola in her final weeks. It has allowed me plenty of opportunities to study her and see the things I didn't bother to notice before. I have come to realize what grace she has. She is slowly, well, actually, quickly, dying inside, but yet she finds the new in everything. She carries herself as if today is not her last day. She gains interest in the slightest thing as if everything is wondrous. But most importantly, she acts so brave. My dog is a shining example of grace and how to capture each moment and make the most of each day.

I often wonder if she realizes how dire her condition is. There is a part of me that hopes she never realizes what horrible disease has attacked her body. She doesn't have to live with the knowledge that today could be her last. However, there is a flip side to this. She is so unsuspecting and that breaks my heart. Breaks my heart to know that this spunky little girl is living on borrowed time, and she doesn't even know it.

My puppy has grace. She is grace, my saving grace. Puppies can really make everything better. I truly believe that. I don't think it is Chicken Soup for the Soul, but rather, Puppies for the Soul.

Friday, August 13, 2010

10 Things I Learned from Lola

  1. Always greet those you love with excitement, it never gets old
  2. It is never too early or too late to play
  3. Eating on a regular schedule, in controlled portions, is great for the waste line
  4. A kiss can really say it all
  5. Saying I'm sorry immediately after a 'wrong' is a good thing
  6. Sometimes it's OK to chase the birds and be free
  7. You can never have too much snuggle time
  8. A best friend can be furry and on all fours
  9. It is easy to fall in love, but very difficult to fall out
  10. Life really is too short

Her Name is Lola...

Lola. The word alone brings a smile to my face. Lola is my saving grace, my muse, my laughter and the love of my life. She's also my puppy. Well, not exactly a puppy, but at 1 year and 8 months, she will always be a puppy to me.
Lola has terminal cancer.
So please indulge me if my posts for now tend to sway more towards Lola and what she is going through vs running.

Seven months ago Lola was diagnosed with bone cancer. Osteosarcoma of the ribs to be more precise. It is typically a deadly disease that strikes larger dogs and/or older dogs.
She was 15 months old and 30lbs. My options were limited. I was given the choice of letting her go gracefully, which all I heard was "30 days to live", or I could be more aggressive and see what kind of miracle she was. I opted for the miracle, perhaps the selfish route.

On March 3, Lola had 3 ribs removed, followed by 6 rounds of chemo, which ended in June. Prognosis for dogs with bone cancer, who opt for surgery + chemo, is usually death within a year. But she was so young and healthy otherwise. Her oncologist and myself were hopeful that if anyone could persevere, it was Lola.

With her last round of chemo in June, she was given a diagnosis of "remission". Her lungs were clear, her blood work perfect. Aside from her spare ribs (I nicknamed the wire mesh that took the place of her ribs "her spare ribs"), one would never know Lola was fighting for her life. It was a breath of fresh air to be finally done with week in and week out of vet visits. Lola could be free to be and to play and to heal.

In late July, I felt another lump on her ribs. My breath caught and I thought "oh no". It was quickly determined the lump was bone cancer. Back in March, I had promised Lola we would go the invasive  route only once. I wouldn't put her through it again. I kept to my word and two weeks after finding lump #2, I am watching the life drain from my puppy.

She is night & day from how she was one month ago. She doesn't want to eat. She limps. She can't "run like a fast girl". She lost the "puppy" from her. She's 20 months old and can't chase the birds or lay comfortably on her left side (her lump side). Life was taken from her.

The oncologist has said "4 weeks". I can't even quite type what will occur in about 4 weeks, all I can say is "4 weeks".

It is very painful watching her fade. Selfishly, I need her. I can't imagine life without her. Then there is the guilt. The guilt I couldn't save her. The guilt of having put her through the past 6 months of being poked & prodded by vets.

She saved me and I couldn't save her. I can't quite get over that.

New Blog

Feeling in a new spot in my life, I decided to start a new blog. I was previously known as Jana's Joint, but have since decided to renew myself and my blog. The bloggers the same, just a new joint.

I will primarily talk about running and my attempt at running upright versus laying helpless on the sidewalk, but there will be times when I stray from topic and discuss things that impact my running or my life in general. Like my muse, Lola.