Cancer Chronicles

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We were sitting on the bedroom floor looking into the bathroom. I set the time on my camera then jumped back to hug Janet and smile before the shutter clicked.
I should have taken time to shave and shove my hair out of my eyes, but I looked kinda like the dog, Shag Nasty. Janet didn’t seem to mind.
I think I like this picture so much because all three of us were young, happy and didn’t have the faintest idea about what was ahead for us.
A few years later, Shag developed a tumor. After the operation to have it removed, he felt like a puppy again. When he was about fifteen the tumor came back. Not only was he deaf and blind, Shag could not stand on his own. His quality of life was not good. We hated to let him go, but Janet and I decided ending his pain was best.
When Janet had gone through the chemotherapy, double mastectomy and radiation, she felt better too and thought she was given a few more years. But the cancer just spread to her brain. More radiation was planned but the doctor said the mass was growing so fast her chances surviving were non-existent. He recommended transferring Janet to Hospice and putting her on medication to relax her body and let her go. Thank God I didn’t have to make a decision to pull a plug. Agreeing to Hospice was bad enough.
I’m the only one left in the picture and this is the lesson I learned from Janet and Shag Nasty: enjoy life to the fullest for as long as you have it. And when it’s time to leave, just relax and let go.

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