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November 9, 2000
a year ago
two years ago

Last Chemo

In the morning, Fezzik was actually moving okay across the kitchen floor and around the house while John and I ate pecan rolls and got things together. Fezzik was scheduled for the vet's again today, so we piled into the car at 7 and tried to beat rush hour to Denver. We didn't make it, got stuck for a long while on I-25, but since we had a good amount of time to get there and then back to work for John it wasn't frantic. We got there in okay time and Fezzik wandered over to the lawn and instead of peeing or anything, he just lay down on the soft grass. I doubled up laughing.

A guy carrying his dog and looking worried got a smile at my laughter, but he and his lady hurried in as Fezzik serenely contemplated the lawn. Eventually he got up again with some coaxing by us and we took him inside. He was sliding all over the slate floor, sadly, and he finally got comfortable by just lying down on John's feet as we checked him in. The technician came for him eventually and it took some effort to get him to the carpet. The guy who had brought in the other dog looked mildly concerned at Fezzik's difficulties.

Fezzik really is having more and more problems, and reading even a couple months ago, like his birthday, or a whole year ago, when he started running around Marshall Mesa with Boris, Forden and Hiaku it's pretty obvious that he's definitely getting worse. He's lost a lot, but still hasn't lost his affection or, really, his enjoyment of the things that life does give him.

That was an important thing to remember when John and I heard from Dr. Biller that she recommended that he get one more treatment and that is pretty much it. We could also forego the one treatment and just let him keep deteriorating without any stops, but the one eight hour treatment seemed to have helped him a very great deal the last time and the pill set really didn't seem to do much. Gut level instinct was to just give it to him, but John and I sat down and talked it all through. How much of it was just us wanting him to live longer?

Honestly, I wasn't sure I really wanted to have him live longer, as this support thing and watching him deteriorate is so very hard. If I didn't think of Fezzik, I'd almost want him to just slide easily into his death, not go through another recovery and then another failure stage. But really thinking it through, Fezzik hasn't given up yet, not totally and not really. He still has good days and bad days and he still eats and wants to do things in the yard and if we help a little, he does them. The right thing really seemed to be to give him his chance, to do what he really wanted to do and to do the best we can do to spend some time with him when we can. So we went with the gut feel.

So we called Dr. Biller to tell her our decision and she said that it was the right thing. She even said that Fezzik still seems pretty happy, altogether, and that it would be a good thing. Even if he does do pretty well on it, it's not likely it'll be useful again, and it'll give him some good time in the meantime. So he gets to stay overnight and we'll get him in the morning.

I was completely composed and rational for all the debating and decision making. John asked me if I was okay when we were done. He had to get back to a meeting, too. I said I was fine and when he was out the door, I just started crying. I think that some of it was that it really hit me that this is really Fezzik's last treatment. It was so weird. I couldn't stop crying and I really didn't want co-workers to see as it's not like they could really do anything and it's not like I wanted to make anyone feel bad or anything. Crying is so odd, sometimes. Sometimes it seems such a guilty indulgence, but it's not like I could stop, either. It made me half angry and half embarrassed, and I hid in my cubicle and used lots of tissues and tried to be as quiet about it as I could. People didn't notice, thank goodness. After I was all cleaned up, I had to go to the bathroom and Richard noticed me and asked me if I was okay. Mildly stymied, I then answered honestly, "Yeah, I'm okay. Just really tired."

I mean, I am okay with all this. It's not like it's a surprise. It's not like I'm not dealing. I'm not going to blame things, or rant, or rave or whatever. It's just the way things are and I can deal with it. I can cry sometimes over it, but that's simply emotions I don't want to stop feeling. I can still choose my actions.

John and I took advantage of the evening without Fezzik. Most evenings we've just headed straight home, recently, so that we can have the time with Fezzik, and not worry about him out in the cold and alone. Tonight we could stay out if we wanted, and we decided to eat out at a restaurant I'd only just heard of and was fairly new, so we went there and it was a brick oven kind of place with pizzas, flatbread and various roast things. I had roast chicken with gravy and fries and cranberry compote. They also gave me veggies and I ordered some flatbread and a roasted organic yam with honey butter. I just put all the honey butter on the yams and ate them happily. The yam was better than anything else, but the chicken wasn't bad and the veggies were useful veggies. It just felt pretty good to eat them.

John got a pizza and we both had things to drink and we talked over the whole situation. I learned stuff about his growing up, about his grandfather, about a friend of his mother's who had died of cancer. The examples he'd had as a child of how to deal with slow deteriorations and living with the inevitable. John's grandfather had a stroke, and lived for years with some frustration and hadn't shown any sign of deterioration when the whole family had gone off for a summer vacation. In the middle of the vacation, they found out that he'd died. It devastated the family, and John remembered that clearly, which is one of the reasons we're likely not making Orycon. We'll be here, we have the signs and in that we're lucky.

We're also learning and learning how to deal with Fezzik's deterioration and not be scared. Maybe that'll be the biggest benefit from all this. It would be amazing to no longer be afraid of death. I am sad. But it's sadness without regrets or guilt or fear on the most part anymore. I'll miss him, it's true, but I now know that I did what I could. That may be grace enough.

Home again home again, and sleep was heavy and easy without anyone to listen for. Taking advantage of the time to rest while I can.

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