January 5, 2016

A year ago today was the first day of the worst year of my life.

It was the first day back to work after a long holiday break and not to mention a super cold Monday. My husband drove me to work that day because our fur baby Layla had to be dropped off after me to the vet clinic for a minor surgery to remove a blood vessel tumor from her leg. Easy peasy …

As we had done hundreds of times before, I grabbed my husbands hand and reached out and touched the face of my precious Layla – my husband did the same and we prayed. We prayed that the surgery would go well, that they would only need to use local anesthesia, that God would give our Veterinarian wisdom and that this little blood vessel tumor was just that – and nothing more.

I stepped out into the cold and just like the hundreds of times before, the back window had been rolled down and Layla was standing there for me to give her a kiss for good luck and tell her how much I loved her and that she was going to do awesome! “I love you baby girl! See you tonight!

Off to work I go …

The past dictates that I would fret continually until I knew Layla was okay, but not that morning (which now I find very odd, but at the time, I didn’t give it a second thought). It was around 9 am that I had gotten an e-mail from my husband with the words, “call home immediately”. Oh snap! What is going on? I began to panic as I called home, I felt immediately sick to my stomach …

Come to find out our Veterinarian just couldn’t get over the results of Layla’s urinalysis which he had reviewed and fretted over late Sunday night (here is where God’s wisdom comes into play). He had decided based on the results to x-ray her bladder and that is where he found “crystals” or stones that could be the cause of her recurring UTI infections the year earlier. He wanted to clean them out and needed the go ahead to do this and my husband knowing me, had to tell me he said to “go ahead and do it” since I wasn’t available at the exact moment the e-mail came through. Great – now instead of a super simple procedure, my beautiful 11 1/2 year old German Shepherd mix was undergoing major bladder surgery! That is NOT what we prayed for in the car! What is happening? I could feel my world crash down around me. Alright … time to fret.

I waited patiently ALL DAY LONG for information … no one called me with any updates. By 4 pm, my husband still had not called and wasn’t there to pick me up from work. It was time for me to call him.

“What is going on?”

He replies, “I am almost at your office” and hangs up on me. Okay …

Once he arrives to pick me up, I open the door to get into the car and I can see a look of complete dread on his face. I had to ask …

“What is going on!”

He replies with, “I don’t know all the details, just wait until we get to the clinic”.

The ride to the clinic was a good 45 minutes from my work so we sat in silence for twenty until I couldn’t bear it anymore. I was so nervous, I had to know what was going on.

Finally I said, “It’s that bad, huh?” Kind of joking because the tension in the car was so thick, I couldn’t stand it and I had no idea what to think.

Without even looking away from the road, he replies “It’s not good”. Silence the last twenty-five minutes to the clinic.

I remember the EXACT spot on the interstate where I heard those words, “It’s not good”, but I don’t remember a single thing that happened after that until our Veterinarian walked into the exam room we were sitting in.

When he walked in, my heart sank. He could barely look at us. I knew it was bad. I could tell he was just as devastated to tell us and we were to hear it.

We find out that when he went into her bladder to clean out the “crystals”, he found a tumor.

When he said tumor, I just stood there staring at him. What? The first thing that runs through your mind is, did you cut it out, can you cut it out, is it cancer, where is she, is she okay? It’s a million emotions all at once. The answers were, no, we couldn’t cut the whole thing out, it is probably cancer – we have to wait for the biopsy results, she is recovering and yes, she is fine (at least for the time being).

At that point, I had enough. My blank stare reaction went into a frantic panic. I had enough of that day, enough of that place, enough of the tumor and cancer words, I just had enough. I wanted my dog and I wanted to leave. I had a complete panic attack – I just remember feeling out of control.

He left to go get my beautiful Layla and when I saw her, she looked as though she had been to hell and back. I had never seen her look so out of it. I hugged her and we proceeded to leave.

We left there in silence. As we headed home, all I could think about was the fact that my baby might have cancer … it made me so sick. We got home that evening and proceeded to care for our beloved Layla.

Mom – thank you for basically coming back two days after you had just left from spending Christmas with us to help us care for Layla. It means a lot that you loved her as much as I did and still do.

Stay tuned to Part 2 of “A Year Ago Today” …

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