F*** You, Cancer

ferdlibrarytilttiny My baby boy, Ferdinand the Great Dane, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma yesterday.  Bone cancer.  Terminal in almost all cases.  We took him in to the vet because he was limping a bit.  Not a lot, but a bit more than his usual “I pulled a muscle acting like a wing nut at the lake” limp.  We were expecting to hear torn ligament, maybe arthritis since he is 7 1/2 and in Great Dane years that makes him eligible for AARP.  Instead, 15 minutes later my whole world came crashing in. If he’s a candidate for amputation we might get lucky and have him around for 3 more months.  If not, we’ve got a month left.

I should have known.  He’s been trying to tell me for a long time now and I refused to hear it.  For the last few weeks, sometimes when I would glance over at him sleeping I would suddenly feel the loss of him. LIke just for a second he was already gone.   And I would think to myself, “Oh Holy Christ how am I going to survive him passing?”  And then I would scold myself for thinking that way:  “What the hell is wrong with me? Why am I being so morbid?  Yes, he is 7 but he comes from a strong genetic line – he had relatives that lived to be 13.  Obviously I’m just being melodramatic — he’s going to live to be 12 or even 14.  After all, he is very small for a Great Dane, only 105 pounds, so he is exempt from all the size-related ailments our other Danes faced, right?”

No, he’s not our first Dane.  Although right now I’m feeling like he may be our last.  I don’t know if I can do this again.  Sidney the Insane was first.  He died of complications during his neutering when he was only 2.  Then Norman the Never-Met-A-Stranger suffered a massive coronary while playing in the back yard shortly after his 3rd birthday.  Harvey the Poet Prince lived to the ripe old age of 9 before a stroke claimed him.  For a year during Harvey’s reign we had a brilliant girl Dane named Kelsie.  We rescued her when she was 3 and she never quite got the swing of our family.  We were blessed to find her a new home with a family that adored her and pampered her until she passed away at a respectable old age.  And now there is Ferdinand.  My heart that one is.  I’ve loved all of them of course, to a degree that was well beyond balanced, but there has always been something special about this spotted little Mama’s boy.

So once again I think, “Oh Holy Christ, how will I survive this one?”  This fucking cancerous murderer is extraordinarily painful to its victims.  Which means some day very soon he is going to look at me with eyes that say, “it hurts too much, Mom.  Make it stop.”  And I will.  I will end the pain.  But part of me will end too.  I know it’s completely selfish to be thinking this way – that the cancer is attacking me as much as him.  But then, no one ever doubted the limits of my selfishness.

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