Monday, November 29, 2004

The lumpy situation

The lumps on Max’s belly just keep getting bigger. Bigger, when it comes to cancerous lumps on a 10-year-old black Lab, means shorter. ...his life, that is.

Nobody seems to know how long Max will live. We found out that he had nerve cancer back in September, when we had a tennis ball-sized lump removed from his side. Pre-surgery, the vet said it was a harmless fat tumor, a lypoma. Post-surgery, the vet thought it might be a foreign object that his body was protecting. The biopsy, in all its finality, ruled it as cancer.

Max acts normal. He does what he’s always done: begs for food, eats his own shit out of the backyard, sleeps on the couch and pretends that Stevie, our other black Lab, doesn’t exist.

While I’m happy that he’s not in pain, I resent his normality. I feel like ol’ Maxer should be swimming the Thames or jumping out of planes or writing read-this-after-I-die letters to his friends and family. I don’t like knowing that he doesn’t know.

I feel so god damn guilty, living my day-to-day life with the knowledge that he’s going to die when Max himself has no idea. I feel guilty leaving him at home when I go to work. I feel guilty for not opening the refrigerator and letting him ingest the people food that he thinks about every second of his days (except for when he’s nibbling on poo, perhaps).

When I “grow up” and “have a job where I actually make money” and “live someplace other than Mom and Dad’s house,” I don’t think that I’ll have a dog of my own. I’m not convinced that the affection and the company is a benefit if it ends in tears and mourning. 10 years isn’t enough. I’m not going to break my heart that often.

It’s better to love and to have lost...blah blah blah fucking blah. I’m selfish, yes, but I'm also protecting myself.

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