Last week, we received the diagnosis that Murphy, our dear, sweet dog, has bone cancer.
We've heard those words before. It'll be 10 years this November that Mom passed away from ovarian cancer. It seems that no family is untouched by this disease.
I did nothing but cry when we first heard the dreaded "C" word. I was immediately reminded of Mom's arduous struggles - 6 rounds of chemo and always the hope that this would be "the one" - ascites that had to be drained on a regular basis - hospitalisation for months.
10 years ago I didn't know the techniques I do now. Then, I spent most of my time worrying and eating my way through the grief, doing the best I could to cope.
This time, I'm doing things differently. After the initial shock, I now make a conscious choice to convert my worry and grief to feelings of love. As often as possible, I focus on the joy that he brings to us. This helps balance my nervous system so that I'm better able to cope with the tough times that will arrive.
It is also better for Murphy. He has always been attuned to me, so it is in his best interest that I effectively manage my emotions.
Our family and friends are saddened by the news and feel our pain. It seems that Murphy has managed to wiggle his way into their hearts, too! I've asked them, as often as possible, to think about Murphy in a positive way and shower him with love. I can see their faces change when I ask them to do this for us. That makes me feel good knowing that it helps them deal with this situation.
I am thankful that he is still his happy and curious self, even though we've had to curtail his walks. I am also grateful for the supportive care we're receiving for him.
We'll take it day by day, heartbeat by heartbeat.