so my sweetie ni-ni (short for Venus) is sick. but the biopsy is not clearly indicating carcinoma. it isn't clearly indicating the tumor on her liver is benign. instead, it indicates that something is wrong, but it could be anything from diabetes to hepatitis to pancreatic cancer or worse. so. what to do? if she had cancer, we wouldn't do surgery, because at 13 years, we believe palliative care would be best, especially because the doctor says that if it were carcinomic(is that a word?) they couldn't guarantee the surgery would get everything.
but now, this thing could be benign. the only thing holding us back from surgery is our fear of anasthesia (sp?) on older beings. Venus is 13...and healthy. We know that older people under anasthesia run the risk of "never being the same" afterwards. This was true for my beloved's mother...and for my grandmother, I think.
we think we are going to wait and do another ultrasound in a month. if things have changed, then we may have a better idea that it is cancer. if things haven't changed, we might do the surgery.
but now I am thinking...maybe we should schedule the surgery and take the chance.
she is so happy and lively and sweet and good and dear...we just want her to have the best life ever.
Yesterday, I spent the entire afternoon (four and half hours) at the Massachusetts Veterinary Referral Hospital. Not a real sexy name, right? I was taking Venus for a consultation with, get this, an Vet of Internal Medicine. Who knew? As we waited to be seen, I scanned the wall of fame of the thirty some doctors employed there. There were cardiologists, radiologists, orthopedists, emergency medicine specialists--This is a real hospital for animals. Since there are a multitude of animal members of my family, well, I am glad this place is just 15 minutes away. But I digress.
I hated taking Venus to this appointment. A couple of weeks ago she had a routine blood test to check her thyroid levels (she takes medicine for that). Her thyroid was fine, but her liver enzymes were up. Our wonderful, wonderful, best ever vetrinarian doctor suggested some more tests, to find out more information. I knew she was concerned because she described an elaborate series of tests if the first test didn't come up with much. This. is. not. good. We agreed to a bile acid test (whatever?) and x-rays. NO TUMORS OR GROWTHS that are visible by Xray. Whew! However, the bile acid test revealed that definitely my angel dog has a malfunctioning liver. So, we were referred to the MVRH to get an ultrasound (better to see INSIDE the liver) and possible needle biopsy. My wonderful wonderful vet said that it could possibly be hepatitis (manageable) but cancer can't be ruled out (because of her age).
This is a dog who is happy and playful, and although 13, is very healthy.
So, Venus and I are waiting for the consult with the Internalist. She is at first nervous (hates those terazzo floors) but she settled in and took a nap. She is really cute right now because we got her shaved so she looks like a puppy or a dog-bear. The doc was great--she looked over the labs while sitting with Venus on the floor rubbing her belly (Venus' belly). She didn't think the liver numbers were that bad, so I was hopeful. She suggested the ultrasound.
They could do it , like then, well in a half an hour. I thought I would just talk to the doctor, and schedule the appointment for a later date. (dang, I don't have ANY reading material at all) So, I consented and signed a paper that estimated the cost for the day would $850 bucks, if they needed to do a biopsy, too. Gulp. Venus might need to get a paper route.
So, the short of what is a long story, is that indeed the ultrasound revealed a sizable tumor. Damn. They did the needle biopsy, and the results are back. But only the doctor can give them to me. I have called and left two messages.
...it's a gray cold Monday morning....a little dreary.
...my dreams last night. very full of crazy energy. for awhile I was a shy sad cat and then turned into a human who was gifted with this gorgeous cardigan sweater with buttons that didn't work with all kinds of thing hidden in the pockets, like square glasses made out of pipecleaners and yarn, and then many strands of beads that kept breaking as I pulled them out of the pockets and then all of a sudden I was chasing a mad old hedge hog in this house because I didn't want the dogs to get him and when I picked him up he kept spitting at me and then lept onto the kitchen counter.
...thinking about going to the library.
...wondering how my 14 year old sweetie dog is doing at the vet. she is having xrays and bile acid tests. her liver is malfunctioning and this is obviously a problem.
...when I listen to the news and hear stories of bombing in Pakistan and political unrest in other parts of the world where people fear for their very lives everyday while living ordinary lives is astonishing for me to grasp. my little white privileged american self has never and may probably never really get that. I say a prayer...and wonder what that means for me as God's person in this world. What am I called to do, to announce, to live....we just have so much. this mal-distribution of wealth and comfort and opportunity is....a quandary.
...and still, I am delighted with my red patent leather mary jane clogs. (shaking my head at my poor pitiful self"
...am wondering how long this head cold and sore throat are going to linger in my body. I don't feel so great.
...wonder how worried I should be personally about job security in light of the financial crisis in our current time and place. Am not so much now, but...don't want to have my head in the sand, either.
...am grateful to have some time home today, even if I don't feel great and I should be cleaning house.
...thinking about what to preach on next Sunday.
...how I love the alternative reality of my Mondays.
...how grateful, in spite of worries and thoughts and concerns, that I can breathe and know that God is here, with me, now.
Over at RevGals, Songbird writes about the change of season. She put for this Friday Five:
As this vivid season begins, tell us five favorite things about fall:
1) A fragrance Does late afternoon sunshine on turning leaves smell? Because that is what I think of.
2) A color Burnt orange, golden yellow, and chocolate brown. (yeah, I know, that's three)
3) An item of clothing My soft soft soft corduroy jacket...and my old seminary sweatshirt.
4) An activity Dog walking, hiking, and of course, apple picking (in SPITE of being ALLERGIC to apples! why am I allergic to apples? so weird!)
5) A special day o.k., this is so nerdy, but I LOVE World Communion Sunday. It is always the first Sunday in October, and I associate it with the season, the feel of the air, community, and connectedness to the beautiful diversity of global Christian expression. 'Course, Halloween is a close second.
So, like many of my other clergy friends, last weekend was a big one. First, on Friday, we hosted an ice cream social on the front lawn of our church, complete with live band, free ice cream, and balloons. The point was to be a presence in our neighborhood, as well as be a re-gathering time for our congregants--or a time to bring a new friend looking for a church home. I am happy to say that we had tons of people from the neighborhood, from young families from the pre-school we house, to senior citizens who saw the sign to a lovely group from a home for people with special needs and beyond. All we did was advertise for free in our local village paper, and I made a bunch of "Burma Shave" signs that were up all week. The signs seemed to do the trick, as a lot of people said that is how they found out. I highly recommend putting signs up for any event that you want to attract the public to. But I digress.
Since the ice cream social took quite a bit of time, I was feeling less than prepared for my Sunday School Orientation the next morning. Yes, I had an agenda. Yes, I had a general idea of where it would all go. But I wasn't quite clear on how to pull it together with meaningful spiritual moments. But the Spirit was quite clear.
Secretly, I didn't expect many people to come. You can imagine my surprise and pleasure (and panic) when pretty much all of my teaching staff for the whole year showed up!
After coffee and fruit and all kinds of yummy breakfast pastries, people started to get settled around the tables. As they were being seated, I ran into my supply closet to look for stones so I could give one to everyone. All I could find was fake plastic jewels. I gave everyone a jeweled "rock" and said, just hang on to this for now. (At this point, I had no idea what I was going to do with them, but I figured I could improvise something.)
After doing a really fun community building activity, I introduced the curriculum, which is called "Rock Solid" and read the bible verse about the wise one building a home upon the rock. (get the jewels? rocks, right?) Then, I shared with them an entry from a friend's blog, (she and her family are part of our church family), entitled God Makes A House Call Well, of course the point of me sharing the blog entry is that Jess' daughter, Darby, is a wise spiritual angel and she is talking about rocks and God. Here is an excerpt (but really, read the whole entry!)
... I asked [Darby] how she thought that God might be like a rock. “Well, Mama,” she said, “You know how when you see a rock split open sometimes and it’s really beautiful inside? There’s crystals and colors and all kinds of stuff in the middle?”
I nodded, wondering where she might be taking this.
“Well,” she continued, “It’s just like that with God.”
She seemed perfectly satisfied with this, but she could see that I needed a little further explanation so she continued on. I sometimes wonder if she thinks, “Poor, Mama. She’s a little slow, isn’t she?” But if she does, she never shows it.
“You see, Mama, when you look at a rock you have to BELIEVE that it has all that beautiful stuff inside. You can’t see it, but you just KNOW that it’s there. Just like you know that God is there, INSIDE.”
So, you see, it was much more fitting that my wonderful, loving, beautiful teachers got colorful plastic jewels instead of grey stones....because they help children (and children help them) find the beautiful stuff of God inside of us.
And...thank you, dear wondrous Spirit of God. Amen.