"On the plains of Oklahoma, with a windshield sunset in your eyes like a watercolor painted sky, you'd think heavens doors have opened."
Fly Over States

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Fighting the Good Fight

Jezebel had her third radiation treatment and second vaccine injection, today.

The mornings that I take her in, I like to snap a picture just before we head out the door. She's usually pretty excited to be going for a ride.

See how pretty her muzzle is looking?

She and I arrived in time for her 10:00 appointment. Here she is waiting for Nurse Claudia to come get her, hanging out on the fancy schmancy furniture.

Jezebel really didn't want to go with Nurse Claudia but she didn't argue.

I took a book to read but mainly just dog and people watched. A tiny, elderly lady sat near me with a gigantic rottweiler who looked to outweigh her by 80 pounds. Two seats over, a burly young man hugged a three pound ... something... to his chest. I know it was a dog and I know what it weighed because the tech told him, but I don't really know much else about that situation. I thought it would be rude to take a picture.

Meanwhile, at home, Evelyn reportedly was extremely unhappy to be left behind. She pouted at her regular spot on the landing.

They finished up quickly at the vet, and we were heading home within an hour. Reportedly, Evelyn heard the car coming up the driveway.

Poor Jezebel, still anesthetized, could barely get her legs to work. Husband had to help her get out of the car.

She has been sleeping all afternoon.

Evelyn has been doing her share of snoozing, too.

Jezebel went into a sneezing frenzy a little while ago and it looked like it was hurting her nose. Other than that, and being sleepy, she seems fine.

Unlike some of us:

They’d been cautioning us that she might get a little burn on the tip of her nose from the radiation. Now, they don’t seem to think that is going to happen. I’m not sure what has changed but am not complaining.

I hate to end on a somber note but it occurs to me that perhaps one of the most beneficial things about treating cancer is that it's so time and soul consuming that for awhile, you convince yourself that you can hold death at bay, indefinitely. I've managed to go for a couple of weeks not dwelling on the likelihood that we are ultimately going to lose Jezebel. I've been conducting myself as if she will beat this thing. I know that is more than likely out and out denial. But I am so grateful to discover that I am capable of such a thing, even if only for a short time. After losing my mother, last year, I assumed I had reached a point of no return in believing that cancer is an unbeatable monster. Passively watching my mother die, knowing there was no hope, and respecting her decision to surrender to death without a fight, cut deep. I felt helpless on so many levels. Fighting for Jezebel, even if we lose, makes me feel more alive, myself.

I've called Jezebel my therapy dog ever since she was so wonderful caring for my mother. When we brought mom home from Texas, Jezebel immediately appointed herself as mom's comforter and would not leave her. As her illness progressed, her pain increased abruptly from time to time. Sometimes, that resulted in a scramble to adjust her pain medication. Jezebel would cuddle with mom and it really soothed her during the 20 minutes or so it took for the medication to kick in. Mom would sometimes even say she no longer needed the medication. Jezebel would come get me when mom became confused. When mom's eyesight failed, I'd see Jezebel pressing against her, gently "herding" her small distances. She always seemed to know what mom needed.

Jezebel always seems to know what I need, too.

I don't want to lose her.


Jacquie said...

i guess i needed a good cry tonight. my heart hurts for you.

Patsy said...

The first thing I do when I get home from work is to check to see if you have new information about Jezebel. Having had dogs my whole life has been wonderful. However, my Pepper (salt and pepper Schnauzer) passed away at age 15. Since I travel most of the time with my work, I have sorta adopted your pups. Nothing like a dog to make you feel better. If I was crying (at a sad movie on TV) she would get up in my lap and lick my tears away. We will says prayers for Jezebel and thoughts for you.


South Jersey Quilter said...

My heart breaks for you and Jezebel. How fortunate she is to have you as her Mama, and for her to be in blissful ignorance of what's going on. We're rooting for you!


Smiles! Becca said...

I wish I could be there to give yall a hug. I know we have never met in person but we check on Jezebel through your posts everyday.(((hugs)))

Perry said...

Hang in there Penny, and enjoy every minute you can with Jezebel. She is a special dog and you havea special relationship with her. I love your patriotic quilt. It is wonderful!!!

Stephanie D. said...

I am so sorry you are going through this. After losing Libby last year, I find myself super-attached to Tandi, and I can't bear to think of ever losing her, too.

Your girls are so beautiful, Penny.