TIPS ON TUESDAYS Is Getting a Makeover

February 21, 2017 | by Michelle Meier

I've been posting TIPS ON TUESDAYS for almost two and a half years now on Instagram and Facebook (@lovejoyoga_therapy) and recently connected them to my website. *(Links are in the top right corner of this page). TIPS are now on hold getting a makeover and, it just so has it, life threw me a curveball, one that's left my heart in a million pieces...

Today's pic is nothing fancy, nothing planned.  I know it's Tuesday.  I know I always post TIPS ON TUESDAYS.  Recently I've had some ideas to revamp it but I'm putting it on hiatus now because, well, life happens...I apologize to you for the break from TIPS.

This is just a candid moment here holding my baby boy, Arco, a standard poodle who turned 12 last week.  He was originally my mom's dog and I inherited him when she passed away from cancer over four years ago.  At first it was quite the undertaking.  

I've grown up with dogs in my family and have a big soft heart when it comes to them.

This was my first time caring for a dog on my own.  Not to mention a dog who was 8 years old and, therefore, long comfortable with the life he'd always lived by my mom's side in a home with a backyard for him to play in.  

He was never really socialized with other dogs, just my mom's best companion.  He'd never really left our house except when he had to go for his annual checkup or for grooming.

Then when my mom died, I remember coming home from the hospital to find him still lying by her bedside waiting for her to come home too.  My heart was shattered.  I'd lost my mom who was my best friend and I had to sit down with him to tell him his Mami had gone to heaven--I would now take care of him.  She'd requested that I inherit him when she was no longer around.  

So there we were together on the floor, both lost and clinging to each other.

We moved together to an apartment.  It was his first time in an elevator.  The first time on stairs (our home had been one story).  The first time high up on a balcony.  The first time home alone, when I had to go to work and finish yoga therapy training.  He cried and howled every time I left my apartment.  

That's just how I felt.  I wanted to cry and howl for the loss of my mom.

And everything was so new to him. I tried so many ways to comfort him and help him acclimate to his new life, which he did after about ten weeks.

Then one morning I awoke in our apartment and the grief of losing my mom hit me so hard, I couldn't bear to open the curtains and see the light of day.  And I stayed put in the darkness of my apartment like that for about five days.  Arco was the only one to get me out of the house since I had to walk him.  Then we'd come home and hold each other, crying and grieving together.  

Arco has been, in so many ways, my saving grace through the hardships over the years.

During the holidays this past year, Arco grew a bump on his head that he scratched open and got infected.  We had it surgically removed and the night before Christmas Eve I received a call from the vet saying that it was cancer.

He was stuck wearing a cone for eight weeks while it healed but thankfully further tests concluded the tumor was fully cut out and there were no signs of metastasis.  The vet even noted how strong Arco's heart was for his age.  When the cone finally came off, he rebounded to his former self, jumping and playing fetch and giving me kisses everyday like always.

About two weeks ago he began slowing down on our walks.  He showed no other behavioral changes so I figured it must be old age and I just took it easier with him.  Then the day after Valentine's Day he stood in the kitchen, legs shaking and face contorted in pain.  Horrified, I rushed him to the vet and he's been under a battery of tests since.

He's been up and down.  One day he refuses food and water, lying down in the corner of my bedroom.  I thought he could be preparing himself to die.  I spent the night with him on the floor, loving on him and trying to keep him warm and comfortable.

Then the next day, he's speed walking into the kitchen with his tail up and wagging when he hears me reaching for his treats.  It's got me on an emotional roller coaster.

Today we're back at the vet running more tests and, most importantly, I need to (1) be with him and (2) be here for myself so I can be there for him.

All this talk about self love that I share and I need to do just that.  Make sure I get enough rest, practice my yoga, eat well, etc, so I can be the rock for my baby when he needs me most.

Test results today so far indicate his heart is enlarged and, along with his belly, is filled with fluids--mostly blood.  He is, as the doctor put it, "a ticking time bomb."

More tests to come.  I've got a scary suspicion the cancer returned and metastasized.  There's something pressing on his stomach.

It reminds me of my mom and all the bouts of cancer, chemo, radiation, surgeries and tests she went through over the years and all the things that happened as I witnessed her body shut down in her final months so, yes, it's bringing up a lot of difficult feelings.

I'm signing off for the time being to meditate, clear my mind and determine the best course of action for Arco.  All I want is his happiness and comfort.  He has always been mine.

Thank you from our hearts for all your love and support.