F.Y.N.N. - My Pet Story
The one thing I have learned in recent years is that when you post a picture of your pet on social media, whether it’s doing something silly or just being cute, you’ll get more loves, likes, and comments than anything you could post about yourself.
Aren't pets special?
We all love our pets, and fortunately, they love us back a whole lot more. You experience this love everywhere. Many of my conversations at Connexion 2019, the Health Union conference, continued to prove to me that not only are our relationships with pets valuable but they can become even more so after you have been diagnosed with a life-threatening disease.
Those conversations were always a wonderful give and take of respect, love, and empathy. There was always a special spark when we talked about our kids and grandkids, but bring up pets, and the conversation went to a whole new level.
Dogs are a big part of my life
Personally, I am and always have been a dog lover. There were dogs in my life as a child and early teen years. When I went off to college, got married, and started having a family, pets were part of the scene, but really became family when we got our Golden Retriever Telli, and a few years later got another Golden named Zeno. The bonds between them and our family were as strong as the bonds among our human family.
Over time, both Telli and Zeno passed. Two of the toughest days I think I’ve ever experienced. At the time, my career required a lot of time and travel, so we held off bringing another dog into the family.
As time went on, there was talk of getting another, but we took no action. We decided to enjoy and spoil our grand doggies.The most devastating news: A multiple myeloma diagnosisThen I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma and pet magic started to happen.I have told this story to quite a few people. Please indulge me one more time if you have heard it.Part of my “journey” has been the severe toll MM has taken on my back. I had 7 collapsed vertebrae in the first six weeks after diagnosis. It was pure hell. I had 3 back operations while undergoing my MM treatment. Every time I was forced onto my back on a hard table for a scan, another vertebra collapsed. I wasn’t able to get around without a walker until about sixty days prior to my marrow transplant.Several weeks prior to my transplant, I started having severe back pain again. I found out another three vertebrae had collapsed. I went to see a spine specialist, who basically told me I’d never run again, pick up more than 20 lbs. again, bend over to tie my shoes again, or walk upright without wearing a heavy thoracic brace.This was the most devastating news I had received since the day of my diagnosis, maybe in my life. My youngest daughter, Kara was with me and saw my anguish. I wasn’t her strong dad anymore. I needed more help than any of us could have imagined.
What type of blood cancer are you or your loved one diagnosed with?