Thursday, August 19, 2010

Grief, numbness, autopilot

On our way to Toby's swimming hole...

Can't believe it's only been a week and a half since Toby's diagnosis. She is deteriorating so fast, it scares me. Mike and I opted not to go the chemo route. She is 12 years old and the thought of driving back and forth to Calgary (2.5 hours each way) makes no sense when all we want to do is make her as comfortable as possible.

I've done a bit of research on the internet and joined a canine cancer internet forum. Here is what I've learned: Carbs feed cancer, high protein diet is great. My vet has told me to feed my Toby girl whatever she wants. Her new diet obviuosly agrees with her -- from wasting away and refusing to eat her dog food, she is in all her glory now. She gained 0.7 kg last week. :)

Toby's new gourmet diet

I've been avoiding phone calls, contact with anyone as I just can't keep it together emotionally. As soon as someone is kind to me and asks about Toby, I break down.

As a family, we've been really busy having some good times with Toby this past week. Taking her to her favourite swimming hole, lots of walks....we even threw her a birthday party. She LOVES snapping and jumping at a burning sparkler. And howling with us as we all sang happy birthday to her. :)

But interspersed in these moments of happiness are hidden daggers of pain that pierce my heart....

Like the last day I took Toby running with me -- it was only for 10 minutes after my bike ride, but she couldn't keep up at all. Not even when I was going REALLY slow. I kept running on the spot, then running back to her. My heart broke that afternoon, and as I was running/jogging up the highway home I was crying the whole way.

At her birthday party, she had to stop jumping at the sparkler as she fatigued so quickly.

This morning, when eating a meaty treat, her paws kept slipping on the hardwood floor and she couldn't support herself...I moved her treat out to the living carpet so she could gain purchase,

How can anyone keep it together?

I love you, little dog.

So, every day is a real struggle for Mike and I.

Add this to my last hard week of training and then taper time, and I have been an emotional wreck. But, whether it be functioning on auto pilot or relying heavily on Mike or my Mom and Dad, I've managed to get through. The weird thing about all this, is that I'll be laughing and playing with Toby one second, and the very next second I'll be in tears. I've been sleeping even more than usual (which will alarm those who know me) to take the edge off the exhaustion from crying all the time. WHEW BOY. Heavy, heavy stuff.

Mike, Toby, and me :)

I do have a funny triathlon related story for you all, however...

At the Penticton camp, Sara appeared horrified when I told her, "I don't ride over cattle guards. I walk my bike over them." "WHAT?!?!?!?!" was the response I think. Hahahahahahaha! You see, around these parts, there is only one cattle guard I cross and it is WAY out in the booners. I maintain that if I were to ride across it and something happened, I would be poop out of luck and waiting for a ride from some fisherman. (And for my other buddies that would LOVE to point out how this is yet another reason to buy a cell phone, there ain't no service up in those parts, y'all. LOL!!)

If you look really close, these signs also say, "If your name is
Julie, time to get off your bike."

So, last Saturday, I was 1:12 into my 6 hour ride when I reached the cattle guard. Now this cattle guard is a screwball sort of one too (of COURSE it is, I mean everything is odd about where I live! Hahaha!).

It has a bunch of long skinny metal pieces where a car's tires could go -- but these pieces are very, very skinny, like the width of my tire. Not like some of the other cattle guard or Texas Gates where they have wider pieces where if I grew some balls, I might one day try and ride across...

(Which leads me to another tangential thought...What is the difference between a Texas Gate and a cattle guard? I've seen signs for both of them. Texas Gate almost sounds like a pejorative term....LOL! I feel almost guilty and sheepish writing about it in case a fellow reader says, "They call cattle guards Texas Gates in Alberta!! How racist! Or discriminatory or whatever!! LOL!)

To cross this particular cattle guard, I walk sort of sideways on the long skinny pieces whilst carrying my bike. I often imagine myself walking over a ladder on the Khumbu Icefall on my way up Everest......Yes, the thoughts that go through my brain are always very interesting!

I was taking my last step when my cleat got caught between the skinny pieces and part of it snapped off. Oh shit. I looked down and the first thought that popped into my head was, "So much for my excuse to Coach Sara about not riding over cattle guards!"

The next thought was, "I am only 1:12 into this 6 hour ride."

But lo and behold, I could still clip in. I was a lucky l'il bugger!

I went up to Calgary yesterday and got new cleats on both my shoes -- I don't want to take any chances at IMC.

I leave you with this.....

Here's a quick video of how Peanut is ALWAYS jumping on my back. When I come back from a bike ride, she'll even jump on despite the fact I still have my helmet on....What a cat.


Susi said...

sending you tons of love and support. hearts are breaking everywhere for what all of you are going through. xo

Jenna said...

great pictures, glad you are getting in some quality time!! You gotta know the hard work and taper makes it all that much harder - as if it is not hard enuff on its own....

Leslie said...

So sorry to hear about your puppy! You make me tear up just reading your blog entry. Enjoy the time you have with her.

PS. I also walk across cattle guards...they scare the crap out of me.

Oh yeah and Chad and I are coming through town in september - we should get together for coffee or something

Amber Dawn said...

big love and hugs to you! I am so sad reading this and I can only imagine how heavy your heart is....
And I am the same with the cattle guards. I can usually get over them if I am riding them alot, but otherwise I chicken out and walk across.
Keep plugging along and get your butt to the start line of that race in the best shape of your life.

Julie said...

Leslie --

Yes! I'm around all of September -- here is my email:

Give me a shout when you guys roll through -- I'll give you my phone number. :)

Amy said...

Ugh, I am so sad for you. I loved all the pictures though. Sending you hugs and prayers through the computer.

Lisa G said...

Hi Julie,
Your post about Toby brought tears to my eyes. She sounds like such a wonderful companion and I can't imagine how tough it must be for you right now. Hang in there.

I didn't know that you are doing IMC - wow! That is going to be awesome. And I'm with ya on the riding over cattle guards thing (or not riding over them!) although there are not many of them around these parts!

麗王王珠 said...


Cath said...

Keep cuddling her and, as of course you will, you and Mike keep hugging hard too - sending you lots of love down the highway xx

Graham, Prince & Tilly said...

Thanks for stopping by at 'our place', but I'm so sorry about the circumstance that brought you over. It truly is the most cruel, devastating and heart-breaking thing that can happen. My heart goes out to you. If there's anything I can do to help, even from a few thousand miles away (!), and any questions I can answer - just give me a shout.

Sending lots of love & support from the UK,

G, P & T xxx

Sara Gross said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sara Gross said...

Lol. just posted a comment and then deleted due to typos!!

You brought me to tears and Zoey is definitely getting extra attention these days!

As for cattle guards... WTF?? do we need a cattle guard training camp?

Big Daddy Diesel said...

I had to google cattle guard (ya I didnt know exactly what it was) to get the mental pic of you crossing, LOL, I dont blame you for doing it the way you do.