I knew yesterday was going to suck when I woke up at 3:30am needing to go to the bathroom. It wasn’t just a quick pee, so when I was done, I was wide awake. I instinctively knew yesterday was going to be very difficult for a few reasons. I knew I was going to watch the Queen’s funeral, and there would be beautiful music, bright colorful uniforms on stalwart men and women in her service, somber people in black who came to pay their respects, and wise words from religious leaders. That would provoke an emotional response under the best of circumstances.
Then I knew that we would be getting the results of Arran’s cytology report. I knew that they would not be the results we hoped for, and I was right. Arran has been diagnosed with lymphoma, and our time with him is growing short.
We have dealt with lymphoma before. Our dog, Zane, had it in 2019. He was diagnosed on the Saturday after we came home from vacation, and was gone a week later. He wasn’t as strong as Arran is, and his disease was found later. We were in Scotland on a cruise when Zane’s symptoms appeared, and had no idea he was ailing. Unfortunately, canine lymphoma can sneak up quickly and work devastatingly fast. My one comfort in Zane’s situation was that his last week was relatively pleasant, as cancer goes. He was able to enjoy the weather, lie outside in the sunshine, and even take a walk the day before we said goodbye. Steroids kept him relatively comfortable until the end.
Arran is still quite strong and vital. He still eats, sleeps, walks, jumps, and engages with us. He’s also around 13 or 14 years old, which makes him elderly. Dying is part of life, and as lives go, Arran has had a pretty good one with us. So I’m not particularly sad that it’s getting close to the end of his life. I will miss him very much, and it will hurt to say goodbye. But I know this is a simple part of life.
I made a social media announcement, and wrote this for a friend who expressed preliminary condolences:
…I kind of look at this as I do the death of the Queen. Unfortunately, dying is part of living, but we’ve had almost ten wonderful years with Arran and so many fond memories. We’ve been able to give him a very loving home and a pretty luxurious lifestyle in two countries, plus the ones he’s visited with us. After being passed around a few times when he was young, he finally landed with the right people– especially Bill, who is his favorite person.
It’s always hard to lose a beloved family member, but some situations are worse than others. At least we know kind of what to expect, and this isn’t a particularly painful cancer. I think he’s got some time left to enjoy… and when and if the time is right, we can give a home to another dog who needs one. In my experience, the successors seem to be sent by the predecessors. I feel very sure that our old dog, MacGregor sent us Arran in January 2013.
As the Queen once said, “Grief is the price we pay for loving.” But that doesn’t mean it won’t be hard to say goodbye when the time comes.
After we lost MacGregor in 2012, I started making memorial videos for my dogs. I made one for MacGregor, and two for Zane, because I had so many great photos and another song to use. On Zane’s videos, I even sang the songs that accompanied the photos, while I used Willie Nelson’s version of “Rainbow Connection” for MacGregor. Yesterday, I made a recording of a song I might use for Arran, when his time comes. I decided to do that, because I suspect I might be too emotional to do it later. In Zane’s case, I already had the recordings done, just because I had wanted to try the songs. I find that making the videos helps me process my grief, since it requires me to look at photos from years ago and see the progression of the time we spent together. I have tons of videos and pictures of Arran, so I think there could be two videos.
The timing for this diagnosis comes at a bad time. We are supposed to go to the Black Forest next weekend for a much needed five night break. We’re close enough to the reservation that I can’t cancel without owing 80 percent of the cost of the room, which is very expensive, because it’s at a five star resort with half board. We’re talking about 3800 euros… but it’s a special hotel. I do have travel insurance with cancel for any reason coverage, but I would rather not have to use it. Of course, I had no idea Arran was going to have lymphoma when I reserved. We are also going to see our dentist. Fortunately, the resort is in Baiersbronn, which is only a couple of hours away. If it comes down to it, we can probably still deal with Arran if he goes downhill during that trip.
Then, soon after we come back, Bill has to go on another business trip. It’s in Germany too, though, so he can get back if he has to. Still, it would be good if we can keep Arran going until that stuff is done– at least a month or so. I think we can do it, provided we have some chemical assistance. But lymphoma can go south really fast, as we found out from Zane’s experience. Or, dogs can be treated and go into remission… We’ll have to see what the vet can do for Arran’s situation. He did try to chase a squirrel yesterday on his walk.
The next thing that sucked about yesterday is that I spent the day feeling physically bad. I threw up breakfast because my stomach was all messed up. I have a burning, pinching feeling on the left side of my stomach. I think I have gastritis. I feel somewhat better today, since I tee-totaled last night, and drank herbal tea for breakfast instead of coffee. Bill made me eggs, which seemed like they would be the least offensive. I didn’t eat much yesterday anyway, and that tends to be bad for me. But I had no appetite or inclination to prepare anything. And when you’re 50 and you have these kinds of aches and pains, it gets harder to shrug them off, especially when you’re phobic of seeing doctors, like I am– and especially when you’re in a country that isn’t home.
And finally, I made the mistake of posting a comment on Amy Klobuchar’s Facebook page the other day. It was an innocuous comment– nothing that should have invited controversy. I wrote that I live in Germany and got a phone call from a German about voting in the US elections. I explained about that incident here on this blog, too. Naturally, I got several laughter reactions from MAGA trolls, which is irritating enough. But then some old bat left me a pissy comment about how I should post my address so she and her MAGA friends can send me their bills.
Already annoyed because of my gnawing stomach ache and the news about Arran, I responded “Grow up.”
She came back with more vile piss and vinegar about how she’s “grown up” and yada, yada, yada. I blocked her, and then ranted a bit to Bill, because for the life of me, I don’t understand why people feel the need to mock and harass perfect strangers for having different opinions than theirs.
Then this morning, I saw this very “literate” comment from someone else:
How could they get your phone #? Please, if you you make up stories, make them at least more believe label. Do you write fiction novels?
So this was my more eloquent retort, which I probably shouldn’t have bothered with:
I’m not making this up. They had my number because I signed up for Democrats Abroad. I just didn’t expect to get a phone call when I did that. My guess is that the guy who called was either a dual citizen or spouse of an American, or he might be a German who cares about American politics because our leaders affect Europe, too. Nevertheless, I am done voting for Republicans because of Donald Trump and his ilk.
I don’t see why stating this on a page for Amy Klobuchar should invite rude, derisive, comments from anyone. You are free to vote your conscience. I expect and deserve the same consideration. And when you “laugh” at me and accuse me of lying, you just show us all that you don’t stand for American values.
She’ll probably laugh at me again, which will prompt me to block her. Seriously… I ain’t got the time for it. I like how the woman can’t fathom how someone over here would call me about voting… There are LOTS of Americans in Germany, and we are affected by our country’s policies. But so are Europeans, and folks, from over here, America looks like a three ring shit show.
I was surprised too, about the phone call, which is the only reason I decided to post about it. Why can’t people simply be civilized and decent? Especially when a stranger posts something pretty innocuous. It’s one thing when someone posts something obviously incendiary or obtuse, but I didn’t do that. I want to ask that person if she’s that much of an asshole in person, too. But that would only reduce me to her level, and I don’t need to go down there.
Oh well… no need to fuss over it. I’ve got bigger issues to deal with. At least the weather is nice today. I’ll walk the dogs and try to enjoy our precious time with sweet Arran… and maybe my stomach will calm down. At least the funeral for the Queen is over… I know not everyone loved her, but I will miss her. Overall, I think she was an exceptional person, and she did many good things, in spite of the many controversies surrounding the monarchy. At the very least, her funeral was a masterfully presented show for the world to see. Nobody does pomp and circumstance like the Brits do.