We left the vet’s office in a fog of disbelief. Hearing words like “carcinoma,” and “chemotherapy” and “palliative care” is surreal for anyone faced with a loved one’s diagnosis of cancer. But looking into the eyes of the 10-pound bundle of fur I carried in my arms, knowing those words meant nothing to her, that we couldn’t explain or reassure her about the challenges she faced, I experienced a helplessness I had never known.
A Road Less Travelled
Desi has been a part of our family for more than 10 years. From her start as a palm-sized puff of silky hair and round protruding eyes, through three litters of puppies, and countless hours of couch-cuddling, neighborhood walks, and watching her chase the cats through the house, she has been a constant source of love and laughter. My wife and I felt powerless to help her, and frustrated by our inability to prepare her for what lay ahead. Illness is a challenge to the strongest and surest of us, a path dotted with questions, what-ifs, unknown outcomes. We have the chance now to be the strength she needs, to support and calm her when she’s scared or exhausted. We have the privilege of walking with her down what may be the final trail of her life, to be witness to a life that matters not because of exalted achievements or extravagant earnings, but simply due to the love her presence has supported in our family. None of us, I’m sure, would have chosen this road. But navigating it together, taking this risk that is love even though the cost may be great loss, is our effort to mirror her unconditional acceptance. We are here with you, Desi, wherever these next steps may lead, whatever the end may look like. You are our blessing.