The good, the bad, the ugly, and being true to yourself

Well, the title says it all.  The good — Dieter received his bandana in the mail today!  Thanks Rene; the yellow color looks awesome against his black fur.  Here is the best shot I could get of him.  It shows the best part, I *heart*  The nice thing is that he doesn’t mind wearing it!  So, on it stays until it needs washing.  🙂


Dieter tri rule

He’s been a little listless today; the neighbor’s comings and goings got him up and barking, though, which is a good sign.  He is healing really well; I’m continuously amazed.  Although he did open up a couple of stitches night before last.  I’m not sure if it was from sitting on them, or licking, but he had to go in for replacements yesterday.  He’s doing well, though.  It’s his one-week ampuversary and he has no more bruising.  He can move all around the house without a problem and even goes through the dog door without a hitch.  I think he’s experiencing some itchiness and some phantom pain, but I’ve talked to the vet about both of those.  They are so nice, they don’t care how many times a day I call with questions.

The bad — In the course of balancing some bank accounts, I discovered just how much all this has cost so far.  That’s the bad part.  Ouch!  I never did, nor will I ever, ask how much it costs for whatever treatment he needs.  As a grad student, it’s tough to see my savings account drain, but so be it.  By this time next year, I’ll be making plenty and can carry debt until then.

The ugly — along with his one-week ampuversary came a call from the oncologist.  Osteosarcoma, and how quickly can I get him in for chemo.  Although I knew that’s what it likely was, it still hit hard to hear it.  So, I immediately made myself some hot chocolate and turned on some soothing music.  And got to thinking.

There are many phrases that you hear in life for which you really only have a cursory understanding of their meanings, until some life experience teaches you the meaning.  I remember absolutely *hating* the phrase, “you choose to be happy” until I got it.  Then many years later, I learned what it meant to say “you can’t love someone else until you love yourself”.   Really, that one is kind of like when the airline steward(ess) tells you to put your oxygen mask on before your child’s.  You’re no good to someone else if you can’t breathe yourself.

Now, I feel a dawning understanding of the phrase “make every day count”.  I used to think that meant accomplishing all that you had to do for that day, or at least doing some good for the day.  Or, make sure you were moving in the right direction for yourself.  Or something else…I’m pretty sure I had no clue.  Ha.

There are a lot of ways that one can “make every day count”.  I posted somewhere else that I was going to start a gratitude jar.  I never was good at gratitude.  It’s not that I’m bitter, I just have tried to practice gratitude and it never stuck.  I fell off the gratitude wagon several times after just a few weeks at it each time.  It doesn’t feel like enough to just be grateful that Dieter is around and reasonably healthy.  So I’m taking back what I said about a gratitude jar.  Screw it.

I’m more of a hands-on person.  That’s a big part of who I am, and I know that about myself.  I do much better if I can roll my sleeves up and get in the muck.  Dieter’s got about a week until he can really start to move around, so until then, I’m gonna do what I do best, and some other things.  Research, research, research.  I was told the median life span, with chemo, was about a year.  What’s the mean?  Mode?  The closer these three numbers, the less can be done to change them.  If they’re farther apart, then there are factors that make some dogs last longer than others.  What are the differences between dogs that last the median vs. the mode or mean?  I sure hope the oncologist knows the difference between median, mean and mode, or it’s gonna get embarrassing (for her).

And tonight, I’m gonna read to Dieter.  Tomorrow I’ll be sitting on the floor next to wherever he is when I have a couple of Skype meetings.  We’re spending Thanksgiving by ourselves, so he gets to share the meal with me.  Chicken (too lazy to run to the store and get turkey at this point, plus I’ve been sick myself), and a couple of family specialties.  Then, I’m not sure.  We’ll see.  But, I’ll make it count for him.

Dieter relax

Aloha, friends, aloha.

6 thoughts on “The good, the bad, the ugly, and being true to yourself”

  1. Sounds like you have a plan – and I agree that we have to make everyday count.

    I think the oncologist will get mean, median and mode – but asking for correlations might be out of the question.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you, Dieter and Otto.

    Linda and Tucker

  2. Sounds like you are processing it all pretty well. My approach is always to try to attack the plan for the day and worry about tomorrow tomorrow. I’m not a big fan of long term goals anyways. Hugs from us and I hope y’all have a Happy Thanksgiving.

  3. Don’t worry about median/mode/mean times. They’re all just numbers. Dieter doesn’t know anything about them, and he doesn’t have to. He just has to have a great day, every day, and I’m pretty sure you’re going to handle that part of it. When my boy Max got his leg amputated I remember telling my husband, “All of this will be worth it if he lives another year.” Well, Max survived a total of 14 months. And I was really grateful about that. But I also realized how stupid my original statement was. I realized at the end of things that I was happy that Max made it at all. Some dogs don’t. We were lucky. I would’ve loved to have had much more time with him, believe me. But when you see what your dog can do with what’s been given him, and how awestruck you are at his awesomeness, you’ll just be happy your boy is with you. So, don’t you worry about numbers right now. You just think about what a great boy you have by your side, and how great every day from here on out is going to be! 🙂
    You rock Dieter!!!

  4. Yellow is Dieter’s color and he will wear it proudly.

    As for the rest, you stated things most of us have thought, but judt didn’t get around to saying. Besides, I’n sure you said it much more eloquently than I ever could.

    Enjoy your chicken and I hope you both feel better for the holiday.

    Luanne and Spirit Shooter

  5. Dieter you look fabulous in your magical Tripawds cape! The magic must be working ’cause you are doing so well. Yay!

    Isn’t it strange how enlightenment comes in the form of life’s greatest, hardest challenges? It’s hard to believe that anything good can come out of such heartbreak but it DOES happen and you’ve gotten it! Take those ruff times and turning them into something beautiful is not only one of the best ways to make your world better but the world around you too. Yay for you!

    Hugs to you and Dieter on this very thankful Thanksgiving. As someone who was in recovery mode during this holiday back in 2006, we totally get it. Snuggle and enjoy!

  6. Thanks, all, for the wonderful comments and support. More good things to think about.

    Linda, I’m sorry to hear that correlations may be out of the question. As a researcher, that’s disappointing, but I’m still gonna pester my oncologist. And do some digging.

    This, for better or worse, is in my nature. But, I have come back to the comments here several times already, to remind myself to live for the day and make it a great day for D every day. Thank you Linda, Karma, Maximutt, Luanne, Spirit Shooter and Jerry’s people for the reminder.

    I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    I picked up some pumpkin and whipped cream from the store today. 😀

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