Loss of a Fur-Family Member

We’ve been devastated by the sudden loss of our main man Brodi last Friday 12/29/17.

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About a week before Christmas we noticed that he hadn’t been eating very much food and that he looked skinny.  We took him into the Vet on the Friday before Christmas and found out he had lost 15 lbs.  Otherwise all the blood work, urine analysis, xrays, stool samples, etc… came back looking normal.  We thought it was just a bug or some kind of food aversion he had suddenly developed.

Fast forward to after the holiday weekend and we got a second opinion at another Veterinary clinic in the area and they did some additional tests and an ultra sound.  The results were devastating.  Brodi’s stomach lining was 5 times the thickness it should have been.  A normal health stomach would have three different layers in their stomach, but in his xrays there was only one layer because another type of cell had taken over everything (cancer).  His pancreas was also inflamed and had cysts inside of it. His gallbladder was backed up and full of the toxic sludge that should not be just sitting there.  The stomach had become so inflamed that it had pinched off the passageway for the Gallbladder to empty into the stomach.

We found all this out on the Thursday after thanksgiving.  We talked about surgery and quickly ruled it out.  The odds of finding something curable were low; and the odds of him recovering from that kind of exploratory surgery (which likely involved removing the pancreas and gallbladder) were even lower.  We were told he had days or weeks left… it all depended on his ability / desire to eat food.

We had a goal of him eating three and a half to four cans of wet food per day.  The entire following Friday he ate nothing.  No begging, pleading, or trying to put the food in his mouth… would work.  He was laying around and sleeping most of the day, but not interested in eating.  I called the Vet and we had to make the decision to say goodbye to Brodi before he starved to death or the cancer started to spread and cause him more discomfort or pain.

Brodi was so excited to see his leash come out that he got up and danced around for the first time in days… it broke our hearts.  It was almost our undoing.  We didn’t want to say goodbye to our sweet soul.  However logic won out through streaming tears of emotions and we took him in.

The Veterinary Clinic in Lodi could not have been more thoughtful, caring and accommodating.  They made what was easily the hardest decision I’ve made to date… as easy as it could have been.  Right at the end the Vet turned to me and reassured us that we were doing the right thing.  We both broke down into tears and said our final goodbyes.

I don’t think I can properly put into words the physical and emotional heartache this has caused us.  He was dealt a bad hand.  He was the best and sweetest dog.  The scariest part was having really no warning (that we noticed) that cancer had taken up residence in our dog and had gotten so bad.

He was a part of our story, our daily lives, or future plans and I will forever be grateful for the time we got to spend loving him, receiving love from him and having him in our family.  He would have been 9 in June this year.

We’ve cried at least once every day since we said goodbye.  It will be quite a while before I can look back with just smiles and not smiles and tears.

This is responsibility we take on when we accept a fur child into our lives.  It was hard, but everything that came before it made it worth it.

We will never forget him… and always love him.

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Challenges and Changes and Blessings… Oh My.

One of the things that I find the most interesting about being a consultant is that you start new jobs (without being fired or quitting) pretty regularly.  Inherently the act of starting over at a new company, with a new culture, and new human counterparts is always a little stressful.  Even though it can be a stressful time, I have also found it to be a blessing.

What is the blessing in starting over?  Well, it challenges and stretches me to believe in myself.  To know that every time I’ve started somewhere new, I didn’t know the culture, the humans, the geography (if I’m traveling) or even the details of the work I’d be doing.  Those facts eventually changed and I learned, adapted and was successful in each endeavor.  I keep proving to myself that there is nothing I can’t learn, handle, or google… to meet my goals.

When I’m approaching a transition to a new client, I often end up in this cycle of stress > gratitude > acceptance > stress > gratitude… etc.  I find myself being my biggest cheerleader and critic, in a healthy way… not in a multiple personality kind of way.  I challenge myself to remember my awesomeness, but allow for some stress/apprehensiveness as well because in a managed fashion it allows me to be better prepared when I do start.

The biggest “bonus” of this cycle is that I have very little fear of ending a contract.  I have faith that everything will work out and that I will find the work I need to find (if necessary) and I hold myself capable of staying employed with the right companies, the right projects and the right people… at the right time.

The super secret bonus to flexing my “believing in myself” muscles is that it doesn’t just stop with my employment.  These exercises leak out into the other areas of my life and allow me to face uncertainty and change in my personal life with a little more calm and steadiness that otherwise.

All that to say that I appreciate the challenges that this career has sent my way and the growth I’ve experienced because of it.  I am pretty darn proud of myself and the person I’m becoming every day.

 

Prompt 11 – What would you do if you loved yourself unconditionally?

If I loved myself unconditionally… I would definitely be more comfortable in my body.

I spend so much time wasting precious brain cells trying to be comfortable in my body where it is in this moment in life.  Logically I know that it is a waste of time, but I think there is something to be said about the technology at our fingertips and the images we are inundated with.  So, while I think I look fine… then I look at Pinterest to get ideas for work outfits and feel like 90% of the results wouldn’t look good on someone who has such a fondness for Wine and Nutella…. like myself.

So, I’ve actually been making this a focus of mine lately (not wine and Nutella… because that’s always a focus of mine).  I’ve been focusing on being more grateful to my body and what it can do for me.  I would like to spend my time focusing on this deliciously adventurous thing called life…. than focusing on losing a couple inches in middle section of my body.

So… here’s to playing with balance and priorities and landing somewhere in the middle.

Prompt 10 – What does unconditional love look like for you?

**Playing catch up on these prompts on this beautiful rainy fall morning.**

What does unconditional love look like to me?

It looks like my dogs.  They love me every day.  They don’t care if I’m hangry, hormonal or having some other human experience.  They are excited to see me every day.  They will cuddle with me even if I was a jerk five minutes ago.  They make me laugh and smile.

The love they show me is contagious.  It makes me want to be a better human for them.  When I’m mad because I’m cleaning up dog fur… for the seventh time that day because Huskies are always shedding, or I’m cleaning up poop or pee because one of them has a serious anxiety problem when it comes to fireworks… I just remember that they would love me if I pooped on the floor or was shedding all over.

In all seriousness, my dogs are a great example of unconditional love every day.  I hope to be more like them when I grow up.

Prompt 9 – Make a list of the people in your life who genuinely support you, and who you can genuinely trust.

Family.

You guys, I have the best family.  I have a Grandmother, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins (first, second, third… literally hundreds of cousins), Step Siblings, Step Parents, Bio Parents and a Sister I’ve been harassing since the day she was born. that I don’t see for quite a while.  I can go a year in between seeing them… and they still feel like home when we hang out.  I can honestly say without a doubt that I would trust any of them to help me, hold me and cheer for me any day of the week (maybe a slight delay in response on Packer Sundays… ;).

I have many blessings in this life, but my family is one of my biggest blessings.  They have been supporting me since before I knew what a blessing they were.  I cherish each and every family member I have.

If one of my famdangle is reading this now… I love you, let’s hang out :)

Prompt 8 – When I’m in pain — physical or emotional — the kindest thing I can do for myself is…

When I’m in pain — physical or emotional — the kindest thing I can do for myself is…

Be kind to myself.

Seems simple, but we (I) are our own worst critics.  We think we shouldn’t be slowed down or hindered by physical or emotional disruptions in the force (haha).  But seriously, as my life coach always reminds me… being kind to myself is the best gift I can give to myself.

If a good friend or family member was going through the exact same struggles I am, I would see all the brave and beautiful things about that person and would urge them to be kind to themselves.  So, the challenge to myself is to see the brave and beautiful things about myself during times of struggle… and be kind.  And maybe watch a harry potter marathon.  ;)

xoxo

Prompt 7 – I couldn’t imagine living without…

I couldn’t imagine living without:

I am always so thankful for the comforts of the life I’ve been blessed to live.  So I can’t imagine living without a roof over my head, running water at my fingertips, heat (heated blankets, a heated house, warm clothes, warm blankets), electricity, always having food available when I’m hungry, ability to work and support my family and having a healthy body that allows me to live the life I choose to live.

I am also thankful for a wonderful family and extended family, friends and all the souls that touch my life.

I couldn’t imagine my life without you.