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Cancer Sucks!!

A fellow photographer shared a quote last week. No one knows who to attribute it to, but none the less, this is what it says “If you want to learn what someone fears losing, watch what they photograph”. And the quote resonated so deeply with me. If you have followed my work for any length of time you know I am “that” dog mama who photographs and shares the daily adventures of my two furry kids. The pups, Fred and Carmela, are so integral to the fabric of our lives, my husband Gordon and I can’t imagine our lives without the two of them.

Portrait of a large red dog looking at camera with his left upper lip curled and stuck between his teeth as if sneering.

Which is why it is extraordinarily painful to share this with all of you. Back in late April I very excitedly shared that after Fred’s Splenectomy, Spencer his bizarre enlarged Spleen had been examined by three pathologists and his oncologist…and they had come to the conclusion that he didn’t have cancer. We celebrated and were relieved that the worst was behind us. Just to be absolutely sure, last week he went in for a follow up ultrasound and bloodwork…. because Gord and I are paranoid parents and want to make sure he is okay. And our world was rocked when his oncologist called to tell us he has two new masses on his liver. We got the pathology report yesterday and Fred has a rather aggressive cancer called histiocytic sarcoma.

Yesterday I wrote about how “normal” life is just a perpetual shit storm…well currently, this is the fetid deluge that is causing our family soul deep pain. But even while immersed in this time of grief and profound sadness there are little glimpses of joy and laughter. Yesterday when we got off the phone call with the oncologist, Gord and I were devastated and in tears. But Fred and Carmela were not having any of our foolishness. We had been teasing them about going for a car ride before the call…and neither one had forgotten. And Fred was play bowing and bouncing off the two of us demanding we get over our histrionics. And Ms. Carmela was making her vicious dinosaur growling noises while chewing and hanging onto Fred’s bouncing hocks. They were so intent on getting us to follow through on the promise of the car ride. It was such a unique experience vacillating between tears and hysterics at their antics. So, we put a pause on drowning in our grief, got in the car and went for the car ride. Watched the joy on their faces as they stuck their heads out the window snorting and trying to smell everything while the car flew down the road….and then we got chicken nuggets and had a living room picnic. And courtesy of the nuggets Mr. Fred gifted us with the most epic farts all night long.

So today the baby boy is back in hospital for a CT scan to stage his cancer. The CT will let us know if his cancer is localized or if it has seeded to other sites. This is really important because it will allow us to see if surgery is an option before we start chemo…..thought chemo only is an option, the path of surgery followed by chemo would be the one that gives us the most time with him. So can I ask that you to please please have a word with the universe that we….that Fred is gifted this one kindness.

His Dad and I are an absolute mess…and he…well he is such a funny boy just living his best life. It is such a discombobulating feeling to see this healthy vital looking pup prancing off into the hospital with the staff like today is any other day…another adventure…new people and dogs to meet…new bums to sniff…. new people to subject to his awful farts. He is just so in the moment; it is reassuring and anchoring to see. I hope and pray we have the where-with-all and grace to live in the moment with him. This isn’t the time for dwelling on the grief…there will be time for that later. Now is the time for as much quality as we can squeeze into whatever time we have left with him.

So, if you have recommendations for pet friendly lake front/ocean front/forested cabin locations in BC we would love to hear them. We are putting together the most epic bucket list known to dog and man alike…. there will be so very much BBQ pork from T&T, chicken nuggets, naan bread and whipped cream (whipits)….visits with his favorite people…regular trips up to Buntzen lake and the dog park (so he can hump every dog in sight)…and on and on…just all the things. Both Fred and Carmela are going to be really busy in the next while….so…if you would like a play date / make out session with him….be sure to let me know and I’ll see if we can pencil it into his calendar (preference to anyone who comes bearing kangaroo treats). Operation Best Boy is officially underway. Now excuse me while I go cuddle with Gord and Carmela and get my daily allotment of crying out of the way.

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