Moving Forward

Today marks four months since Maggie passed.  The odd thing is that I didn’t even think about it until I was writing a post to another person who is grieving the recent passing of their dog.  I take that as a sign that I am moving forward.  I still think of Mag everyday, it’s impossible not to when I look at Tani and Obie, but now it seems to be with smiles.  While I miss Mag, and always will in some ways, I now have enough distance to enjoy my memories, not mourn them.

Taking on a four year old rescue pug has been a new and mostly enjoyable challenge.  Watching Obie learn to trust me, and come out of his shell a little has been very rewarding.  And learning more about Tani, first as an only pug, and now as a big sister has been fun too.  It is amazing how much she looks like Maggie to me now.  I guess that is in comparison to Obie, who looks really different than either of the girls, at least to me.  Yes they are both black, and many people when they see them say ‘oh, twins!’, but they are more different from each other than Mag and Tani were.

And this summer I have found myself surrounded by cancer.  I lost Mag to cancer on June 2nd.  Two weeks later one of my closest friends was diagnosed with brain cancer.  A month after that a close family member was diagnosed with lung cancer.  That same week I found out another friend was fighting lymphoma.  It was surreal to say the least.  I was beginning to fear talking to anyone else- I really couldn’t handle anymore bad news.

But once the initial shock wore off  I have been able to approach all of this with confidence and optimism.  The things we talk about everyday here- how stats are just stats, how you stay positive- those are the things I am saying to my friends and family.  I feel sure that the treatments will work, and after some not so fun months everyone will be getting back to their normal lives.  Why?  Because that is what I learned is the best way to deal with cancer.  You stay positive until there is a real reason not to be.  We can not know what will happen in the future, we will live each day to the fullest because it is all we can control.

So today, four months after saying good bye, I say thank you to Maggie.  Because our 4.5 year cancer battle taught me to ‘be more dog’.  Because our  last three months together showed me that there can be quality when life is not perfect.   Because I am stronger, more optimistic, and more able to cope with adversity than at anytime in my life.

Because I  have found a reason for our journey together.

Author: krun15

Maggie was a little black pug born in 1999. On September 7, 2006 she lost her left rear leg to a mast cell tumor. Because of lymph node involvement Maggie went through a 6 month chemo regimen. She was given 6 to 9 months after her amp, but she beat mast cell cancer! In the winter of 2010 things started to slide; in the course of about 2 months she had 2 MCTs removed, was diagnosed with incontinence and kidney failure, and then the big blow- oral melanoma. She lived her carefree tri-pug life until she crossed over on June 2, 2010.

11 thoughts on “Moving Forward”

  1. so true!!! our tripawd sisters and brothers are wonderful teachers. thanks for reminding us to listen and learn from them.

    charon & gayle

  2. That was very elegantly said and rings true. I am impressed with your handle on this. I lost my rottie/shepperd mix after 17 years together. It will be 11 months on the 14th. I can see her pictures now and think and talk about her just about pain free. Her stories make us laugh and I am so grateful for her life with me. I know she taught me so much, they are amazing that way.
    I am happy you are in such a good place!

    Elizabeth and Sammy

  3. You sound so good, Karen. It’ s nice to hear from you and know that you are being “more dog”. I hope I can be like that someday too! 🙂 I’m trying but it’s tough…
    Glad Obie is fitting in better these days…glad Tani is stepping up to being “Big Sister”!

    Tracy & “the other” Maggie

  4. Thanks for sharing your journey. Little Mags has a place in all of our hearts now thanks to you!

  5. Time goes so quickly, I can’t believe it’s been four months.

    I’m so happy that you can think of Maggie and smile, you’ve come a long way. Obie is a wonderful addition to both your and Tani’s life.

    I was telling someone about Maggie the other day and we laughed and smiled, what a great way to remember a friend.

    the chauffeur

  6. You have such a great outlook Karen. Thanks for sharing Maggie with us. You both have been a big inspiration to this community.
    I can only hope to learn and live by the lessons of our teachers as well as you have. Maggie was a very special pup.


  7. Four months, already. Wow. Time seems to stand still and yet fly by at the same time. How is that even possible?

    It seems there is always something we can learn from even the saddest circumstances. Dogs, in all their adorableness and wisdom, have a great way of pointing that out even when can’t see through the tears. As humans, it’s our job to share that with other bi-peds. You’re doing great so far.

    Hugs coming your way….

  8. I have been reading your posts. What a brave, wonderful dog Maggie was! My pug, Willie Bean, is struggling with the reoccurance of malignant melanoma — the tumor was successfully removed in September — it had not penetrated the tissues or bone — he had four cancer follow-up vaccines after a 1/3 of his jaw was removed and October of 2010 was for me — the happiest I had been since his diagnosis in late August. I somehow knew in late May after walking him home from a dog park that something was terribly wrong. For five minutes he started to pant, his tongue hung on the left side of his mouth all the way down and he looked at me with a healthy but tortured look as though saying to me “A monster just invaded.” Although I did nothing because I thought he was just tired from a spring morning that was a bit hotter than usual — I noticed that in June and July — for a dog that just turned 8 — he seemed happy but very tired. This is a wonder dog that never was tired and needed to be with people all the time and dogs all the time and to be around food 100% of the time. He was the happiest dog I had ever known.

    After the shock of his malignant melanoma in August when I took him for a routine appointment just for a minor ear infection — my life permanently changed that day when the vet found the tumor. The former small agony of seeing him wince with ‘salt in his toes’ from the snow in New York — would now seem like a sweet dream.

    The oncologist was so positive about his prognosis after the operation because of the great luck that the tumor had not penetrated into the tissues and the wonderful cancer vacinne. But the cancer must have returned before the 4th shot was even administered because two weeks later he was sneezing in a way I had never seen and then two weeks later after a biopsy — they discovered that the cancer had come back around the area where he had the jaw removed and to make matters more complictaed — in his nasal cavity.

    For a pug….the nasal cavity – when they have breathing issues to begin with.

    I opted for just keeping him comfortable at this point and said no to radiation which would have been too much for him at this point.

    Today is January 7th and I still have my darling pug but it is very difficult. He gives mixed signals. He is very sick at night and can only breathe now from his mouth — all sorts of sounds come out and if anything – rimadyl and benedryl have helped a bit. When I think I cannot take the agony of seeing him get this sick accompanied by his absolutely terrible breath and a mouth so compromised by the tumor and his unhealthy gums — he just shocks me.

    He runs down the street with glory. He chases big dogs and barks. He ‘marks’ 20 spots with urine and is still having normal bowel movements. He enjoys life and spends each and every day with his 3 year old pug friend at my friend’s apartment while I’m at work. And he greets me with a wagging tail and a fierce look as though to say “I am fine, Mom — please know that I’m scared because you’re scared but if you leave me alone — I had great treats today and nice company.”

    But it’s hard. My boyfriend would like to keep him longer but I find that the toll of hearing him struggle for breath at night has made me feel as though I’m a bad dog Mom who is being more selfish by keeping him than letting him rest forever.

    How do we let go? They say ‘you’ll know’ — but psychologically this is hard….he gives mixed signals. At the emergency overnight hospital the other night when I brought him in because he was bleeding in his mouth — even the OVERNIGHT VET told me that it was NATURAL that I was feeling this kind of agony. He was in her office running around and wagging his tail as though he was in Disneyland. And then ‘at night’ alone –he looks as though he’s dying and is asking me to help him ease his suffering.

    100% mixed signals.

    She told me that he has time — and that one system – his breathing is compromised and will get worse so I have monitor him but that he was still working it out — still completely enjoying his life.

    So I would say for me — since December 7th — I have only felt a pre-grief and loss for seeing the healthiest and happiest pug fight a disease that he doesn’t even know he has.

    And this is what Imust remember.

    To let him live out the days that he has left with the joy he is giving to others.

    Thank you for your blog.

  9. Nancy,

    I’m glad you got some comfort from Maggie’s blog. I’m sorry you’re going through this with your boy Willie Bean. I sent you an e-mail, please feel free to contact me if you want to talk more.


  10. How do we let go? They say ‘you’ll know’

    Many have found our posts describing the last week we spent with Jerry quite helpful for coping with the same decisions you face. please feel free to drop by the discussion forums for more advice and support. Best wishes to you and Willie Bean.

  11. Pingback: One Year Later

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