Danger. Beware. I’m breaking blog best practices. I’m going off topic and deeply personal. My black lab son has cancer.
As a single woman, Bo is the center of my universe. Actually, he IS my universe. If you know me, you already know this. If you don’t, allow me to paint our love story picture. Plus, I’m pretty sure, we’ve got some pearls o’ life wisdom you’ll appreciate.
Live life differently
A little family background…Bo came into my life ten years ago. He was a sassy and precocious two-year-old. He grew to be my beloved son, main man and the apple of my eye. Bo has moved with me four times, ran a dozen races, traveled hundreds of miles and healed my soul a thousand times plus one. With this cancer, we didn’t get a warning sign. And after days of heaving snot-filled tears, I distilled one thing. When God journeys you differently, you move with Him. And you live life differently.
On the cancer race track
A little cancer background…In November 2018, we went for a surgical consult on Bo’s knee. One hour later, I was told he had cancer. Two days later, I learned there were several fast-growing tumors in multiple places. Within a week, Bo had surgery. Extreme gratitude and humble love to Dr. Greenwood and the team at First Coast Veterinary Specialists. Paw high fives to SEVO-Med for the ongoing oncology care. The biopsy results said four tumors, two types of cancer and it will return. As we continued running on the cancer race track, we began chemo. It’s an at home pill called Palladia. At 60 days, cancer free. At 120 days, it’s back.
Breathe, hear and smell the love
No lie, Bo’s cancer has crashed down on me like a wave. At times, I feel swept out to sea. Treading hard to keep my head above the water line to avoid drowning in sadness and ache. And then I catch a deep breath, like a gasp, and wake up to our ever-present blessings. I still have him and he feels good. He doesn’t know he has cancer.
Wisdom Pearl #1. A high school bestie, who’s given several dog children to God, shared this: “Keep taking him to the water, sit on the beach and both of you breathe, smell and hear the love. Make memories.”
Cancer as a lifestyle
I’ll admit it, when we joined the cancer club, my attitude was ‘we’re kicking its ass.’ Once surgery was a viable option, I simply said – GET. IT. OUT. I wanted this growing sickness taken out of my son so we had a fighting chance. The mass of it all, which took over ever so quietly, needed to know the jig was up. Enter Warrior Mum mode and off to battle we went. Cancer mountain, meet our God.
Wisdom Pearl #2. I have a local friend who’s also on a cancer journey with her husband. She recently said: “I consider cancer a lifestyle vs a battle. We make it joyful and full as possible.”
Pace and embrace
When a family member has cancer, it permeates your personal and professional boundaries. And schools you as well.
A little new biz startup background…I left the corporate world about a year ago to launch my brand consultancy business. I’ll admit it, I was a virgin – unknowing and naive.
When you pursue a solo entrepreneurship, your strength gets tested in new ways. You split time between networking, brand building and revenue generation. It’s a challenging pursuit. The feast or famine affects your identity and value. And it seems, no one talks much about the relentless famine struggle, outside of triumph. There’s nothing like cancer to ground you. And say f-it. I’m doing my best; I’m pursuing my truth. This is going to feel different; put one step in front of the other.
Wisdom Pearl #3. Pace. Embrace. Pick your challenges and learn to move past most of them. Do your best and honor small steps.
If you have a dog son or daughter with cancer and you want to connect or learn more about metastatic AGASACA or Palladia, contact me via email. As you know, each dog and case is different. That said, knowledge is power and I’m happy to share my experiences and learn from you as well. It’s how we get through this cancer race as we live life differently.