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I woke up this morning sad and scared. Today was the first time I walked both dogs on my own since Dexter’s “bloody scare.” I’m worried he’ll reverse sneeze himself into another bloody nose, and that this time it might be worse, that it will lead directly to him getting sicker and this will all happen too fast. Eric offered to go with me on our walk, knew I was nervous, but we both understood that I needed to do it by myself. Everything was fine, and Eric’s note waiting for me on the kitchen counter when we got back home was a reminder that I am loved, I am brave, and I am not alone.

A talk with the vet yesterday only confirmed that while we don’t have a definitive diagnosis, all of the evidence supports the presence of nasal cancer, so we’ll accept it as such, treat what we can, do what is reasonable and right for Dexter, and be happily surprised if we end up being wrong.

We could do more testing and cause Dexter more suffering to know for sure, if we planned on treating him with radiation, but we don’t, not at the proposed cost–both financially and for Dexter it’s just not worth it, as the treatment costs the animal a serious decrease in quality of life and the people thousands of dollars, while not buying them much more time. The most telling thing was the vet said “if it was my dog, I wouldn’t do the radiation.”

This cancer typically runs its course in about three months, although in a limited number of cases it’s anywhere from 6-12 months. For now, all we can do is be aware, pay attention, help him when we can, love him as much as we can, and when it gets worse, gets bad enough, let him go.

So I’ll be brave and open-hearted, showing up with love even when I’m terrified, even as my heart is breaking. It’s all there ever is, all I’ve got.