Thursday, April 28, 2011



(yashica mat-124, film)

when ransom was first diagnosed with cancer, this very sweet mom (who i have never met) sent this charm to me, completely out of the blue and unexpectedly. i was flabbergasted by such a thoughtful gift. how amazing that another person, a virtual stranger really, understood what my Boob meant to me :)

i have worn it ever since, and take it off only to shower. it is the first thing my hand searches for in the morning, making sure it is still there. i fiddle with it, unconsciously rubbing the "r" against that word "love". it is my reassurance. twice i thought i'd lost the necklace, once in sleep, convinced it had broken off, only to remember i'd removed it to shower the night before and forgotten to replace it around my neck. on both occasions, i was convinced it was the universe or God telling me to guard my heart and prepare for the inevitable.

his tumors are growing so fast. i hate them and grapple after them, willing them to go soft and shrink again, as if my hands belonged to a magician. they fit now in the palm of my hands. they protrude from his neck. what are they doing in his liver and his spleen?

i had (and still have) a horrible migraine. i couldn't sleep for it last night, and drifted off for 30 minute intervals only to wake and fight to find a comfortable position. at one point, i woke and in half sleep, went to scratch the back of my neck.

then i heard the sound. the tiny "snap" of something breaking, the tension of something i cherish just before it comes apart, coming apart. the necklace.

in the dark i fumbled, dry eyed (tears not an option with the migraine) to find the charm, and it was found. i carefully placed it on the bathroom counter, leaving a note for G who would be up for work before me as it was my day off, telling him "it" had happened. that this talisman of protection had done the one thing i had hoped it never would. it was that one sign that for me, was my sign.

so, i was not surprised when he woke me at 7AM to let me know Ransom couldn't finish his breakfast and had to be cajoled into eating it.

but no vomiting, no pain, and he readily downed a biscuit. i know it is coming too soon. it is time to tell him it's okay and let go of the words. stop typing.

just be in this, with him.

Monday, April 25, 2011

our easter

so, uh, don't mean to interrupt or anything but ah... kinda got my eye on that yellow egg and all, so if someone could just pass me that one there, was gonna maybe put my name on it or just a big R or well, what the heck, you know, crack that sucker and let's just eat the darn thing... i'm feeling like a second breakfast, what about you? second breakfast? anyone? anyone?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

happy easter

ransom and kris
(photo by G)

Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won't stay there.

Clarence W. Hall

Thursday, April 21, 2011

of bonds and mending hearts.

my boy
(yashica mat-124, kodak ektar 100)

i wonder each time ransom pauses outside to look toward the same cul-de-sac what exactly he sees. what his nose is sniffing after. nothing has really changed on our street in the 5 years we have lived in this little house.

except, everything.

today, i have learned your cancer has spread Buddy. that your liver and your spleen are enlarged. at work i shed tears and in the car, leaving work, i could hardly breath through them.

but i arrived home to your happy disposition, your amazing smile, and found it impossible not to grin from ear to ear in return. your eagerness in greeting me is the highlight of my day, equal only to seeing E and G. but maybe this exuberance was only realizing a biscuit was soon coming? :o) i don't think so. when i sensed a week ago your time to leave might be near, when my gut was telling me... when i hoped my gut was faulty and misguided, but deep down i knew better....

i can attribute that knowing to only one thing: this incredible, indescribable, amazing bond the 2 of us share, Mr.Man. somehow you were telling me in your own way- and i heard. that's the kind of love that is shared between us. a love that transcends the spoken word and is wholly unconditional.

now it is time for our hearts to break and mend as we start to say our good-byes. not yet, you say to me. but sooner now than later. maybe in this way your cancer is a gift, even though i am struggling not to feel angry that it came so early in your short life.

today was the hardest day of them all. 7 years to just weeks... (if we have weeks)... in a flash. i wouldn't trade a single second. every one has counted.

there is no eloquent way to wrap this post up tonight. i love you Buddy. you have my heart. let's just make the most of these days. ice cream, peanut butter, table scraps, snuggles, trips to Pet Sm*rt... the world is yours. and heaven too.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

not that anyone asked but i'm gonna tell you anyway :)

the boob
(yashica mat-124, kodak ektar 100, film)

so the cultures came back. hemolytic staph. your basic staph aureus infection, unknown at this point if it might have been a resistant strain, or if i brought it home to him from the hospital, a definite and real possibility. agreed that his compromised immune system set him up for such an infection in the first place. mysteriously, the lesions and last scabs fell off on their own over the weekend and now only scars remain, and (grateful again!) no new lesions have appeared, so we hold off on a second round of antibiotics.

i'm taking him in next week for a "peace of mind palpation" of his tumors by his primary internist. suckers decided it was time to start breeding with the advent of spring i guess. where once i could only feel them by knowing where they were and massaging deep, now he only needs to turn his head for them to be detected with the naked eye. a mere brush of my fingertips along either side of his neck surrenders a firm and protruding knot or two, as they push outward, upward - wherever they will- toward his jaw line... and deeper into his neck. suckers, i say.

my first and most important conviction is to give him the most painless and peaceful passing from this world to the next.

i hear him snoring in the next room. content. last night or maybe it was the night before, he licked away my tears and in his compassion i heard: not yet, not yet.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

the gift of friends

Had a wonderful time celebrating Jami's birthday today! E had a blast bowling and at last meeting Emme and Lisa (and it was so great to see them again, you'd never have guessed it had been 2 years since we last got together!). Emme is such an empath at heart, and spent almost the entire time down on all fours with E :) And E spent all of dinner talking about how much she loves Jami and Lindsi, and how she and Emme are both 5 years old and their names both start with E. I am so glad she has found another great friend. We love all of you!

Friday, April 15, 2011

t-shirt by L*fe is Good... by E.

3rd pony in the back is the bonus :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

six months later



hair loss, the effects of cancer, 6 months since diagnosis

i remember a couple of weeks ago, my sister Kim said to me: "he doesn't look like he has cancer though, you know? he just hasn't changed to me at all". and i thought that is so Kim, who sees so fully with her heart and almost never with her eyes. and while the changes to me are obvious, living with him day after day (grateful! day! after! day!), i have come to love his bald spots and patches, the worn look in his face, and his greater need for affection and food :) i also realize that i don't often show much more than his face, or the effects cancer has had on his body.

the first photo was taken a couple weeks ago, and that is so my boy. ready for you. waiting for you to get down there with him and snuggle. no, wait. just give me a carrot or a piece of bacon he is saying!

the second one is tastefully done and doesn't show the multitude of patches that were periodically shaved as one lesion after another emerged beneath what little coat he has left... three weeks ago he was started on antibiotics for a suspected staph infection, even though my gut told me otherwise with no itching, no redness, no smell. just these serous mild oozes, a scab, then with some, healing. but today, at the vet, since new lesions keep popping up- we cultured and if that culture is negative, we'll biopsy next week.

yes, the lymphoma can present this way. i had read that somewhere and thought since it was rare, no chance. my gut keeps telling me otherwise, in spite of hearing those words today. i'm trying hard to ignore my gut or just plain tell it to shut its trap.

in the last photo, you see what most of him looks like now- these large areas of thinning, sometimes in artistic patterns (doesn't that look like a rockin' flame on his side or maybe an angel's wing?). most of these appeared before his diagnosis and were the first symptom of his cancer, some hair loss came with the chemo- though not much. and where he was shaved for surgery the hair has never fully grown back in.

i think he is the most handsome, beautiful dog that ever lived.

april 8th marks 6 months since the official diagnosis.

and damn if i don't feel (#%!*%$#) blessed for every minute of the days that have made up those months! i'm banking on making it to his 8th birthday even though i tell him (almost) every day that i am ready when he is ready, that if he's too tired it's okay. even though i know that's pushing it and maybe unrealistic.

even though i'm not really. ready, that is.

but for him? well, i will muster every bit of strength i have. cuz he deserves my all and my best and this boy, well, he has my heart and my heart has been full in such large part- in such LARGE part... because of him.

Thursday, April 7, 2011