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Monday, March 07, 2005

Cornell plus 32

It has been just over a month since the doctors at Cornell informed us that, if the tumor in Haley's chest continued to grow at the same rate it had been growing since December, it would probably kill her in two to three months.

Haley and I have been walking again most days since then. Not every day, and not as far as we used to, although the shortening of walks is a necessary adjustment to her new habit of sniffing everything - walking the same distance as before takes twice as long because she is stopping to smell the roses along the way. In her case it's piles of dog doo and traces of dog pee, but to a dog, those are the things to be smelled.

We just went for a visit to the vet who referred her to Cornell, and he was quite pleased with her general health. He said that if he did not know she had a tumor in her chest, he would say that she appeared to be a perfectly healthy dog.

Before our trip to the doctor we went for another walk through town past Skatarama. The sun was much more cooperative today, so I think I got some interesting pictures aiming through the ruins. The building really is a wreck, and I was amazed at how it's remained standing in that condition. I could see through the holes in the wall to where many large blocks of concrete hung from the tattered ceiling by strands of wire, looking like so many piñatas from hell.

The weather was really nice today, with lots of sunlight and temperatures in the 60's. Insects wasted no time becoming active - fully-fledged insects, big ones, with wings and stuff. What the hell? It was just freezing yesterday, and for the whole week prior to that, and for much of the month prior to that. I would think that it would take insects a few days to hatch, become active, and so on. Where did these guys come from, and how did they survive the cold?

After Haley's appointment we went to a pet supplies store where we bought all sorts of stuff, including a sock monkey dog toy. Then we stopped at a car wash where I scoured much of the salt from my car while Haley hid in the footwell. Finally we stopped at Burger King, because Haley likes their burgers.

I recently told a friend that I'm worried that I'm developing an all-is-well attitude towards Haley, which can easily lead to taking her for granted. I don't want to do that.

I keep reminding myself to try to consciously savor each moment without becoming overly fixated on the moment. As I told this same friend some time ago, I'm looking at the situation with Haley like this: so many times death takes us by surprise, even when we're expecting it, and we find ourselves crying and begging for just a little more time together. Well, this is our little more time together, and I'm trying to squeeze everything I can out of it - without placing undue stress on Haley, of course. And maybe things will develop differently than the initial diagnosis suggested, who knows?

The vet said today that he doesn't want to do any more X-rays of Haley because they wouldn't really provide any new information. I suggested that we should plan on new X-rays on the one-year anniversary of Haley's visit to Cornell. And, hey, if we all live that long, maybe we'll do just that.

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