As my regular readers probably know, my wife Pattie is a three time cancer survivor. She had three different cancers–all before my diagnosis around four years ago.
No–my wife doesn’t have cancer again, thank God! But our adopted “son,” Finnegan does. Finnegan is an eight year English pointer mix. A shelter dog, we saved Finn from the “gallows” four years ago.
Pattie and I meet Finnegan for the first time.
In October, Finnegan’s rear right leg began to swell. Steroids (ironically, dexamethasone) helped for a while. But the swelling kept coming back. Our vet thought it was lymphoma. So we drove an hour away to Veterinary Specialists in Tampa for an oncology consult.
The good news is two biopsies later we learned it wasn’t lymphoma after all. The bad news is he had a large tumor cutting off the flow of lymphatic fluids to and from his leg.
Was it cancer? We still don’t have the final pathology report from his tumor. What I do know is he has a ten inch incision down his leg and around his knee–and I have a bill for $5400.
If its cancer, my new vet wants to give him 19 radiation treatments. No way! Too expensive and way too much trauma for the poor guy to endure. But it looks like radiation won’t be necessary. Finnegan will just have a sore leg and a scar that already has me calling him “FrankenFinn!”
Now to the caregiver part. Finnegan can’t be left alone. I took a quick shower and he had somehow slipped his “Elizabethan collar” and was trying to pull the staples out of his leg.
I got a lot of work done today. But I couldn’t run errands or work until he settled-in–which took a while since he is obviously in a great deal of pain–and he hates that collar!
I know, I know, he is only a dog. But the feelings I had–sympathy, empathy and being stuck at home as a latch key dad–all brought me back to the many days Pattie needed me to care for her.
It reminded me how difficult it is being a caregiver. Knowing someone else is relying on you day-in and day-out. Sharing their pain and frustration when there isn’t anything you can do about it. Putting up with a spouse, sibling, son or daughter when they don’t feel well and often can’t appreciate your efforts.
Did I already mention how difficult it is being a caregiver? Guess it never hurts to be reminded…
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat