A Farewell to the First-Born Fur Baby

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So I got up here. Now how do I get down?

So I got up here. Now how do I get down?

She was born on Christmas Day 2000, one of six puppies from Momma Dog’s second litter. When the first litter was born six months earlier, The Husband and I lived in an apartment that didn’t allow pets, so we told his youngest brother (main caretaker of the dogs) that if she had another litter and we were somewhere where we could have a dog, we would take one. By that Christmas, we were renting a house from a friend who let us have pets, so we had to live up to our agreement.

Five weeks after she gave birth to the puppies, Momma Dog (a collie mix) had had enough of nursing. Appalling behavior for humans, but perfectly acceptable for dogs — go figure. It was time for me and The Husband to go pick out our puppy. We drove over on a Saturday afternoon and walked up to the outdoor pen where The Husband’s grandfather, Papa, had built for the pups. I knelt down in front of the little bundles of fur that clamored for my attention, but before I could get to any of them, a fawn-colored bounded over all of them and started licking my hand. Later I would learn that I had picked the alpha female.

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Hello, This is the Concierge at the Hotel of Life with Your Wake-up Call

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retro phoneFour days after I wrote that letter to 2014, I found a lump in my breast. Good one, 2014! Way to listen to my request there! ‘Preciate ya… sure do…

Then I did what any person does when they find some sort of bump, lump, or pain — I Googled it. The first information I found sounded promising. The lump moved around easily, so it was most likely a cyst. Then I came across another cite that said you can’t always go by that because sometimes malignant tumors are movable.

My lump is in the lower inner quadrant of the breast, so  one site said that only six percent of breast cancers are found in that area. Well, that sounded good until I realized that the variety of my dad’s lymphoma makes up only six percent of lymphoma patients. Fun fact: Medical issues in my family freakishly happen in similar numbers. The sebaceous cysts I inherited from my dad? My first one popped up on my chin in the fourth grade. My dad’s first cyst popped up on his forehead in the fourth grade. My father’s father died at age 57 of a heart attack. My dad turned 57 while in the hospital recovering from bypass surgery.

Those coincidences were in the back of my mind as I read another website that said breast cancers found in the lower inner quadrant can be difficult to stage correctly because they sometimes spread to mammary lymph nodes between the breasts, making them harder to treat.

So I stopped Googling… Public service announcement, peeps: Do not Google symptoms. No good comes from it. None.

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