I was reminded of a funny story today and I can't remember if I ever shared it here....so I will now!
When I was first diagnosed with OVCA in June 2001, I just seemed to march along and did whatever was needed to be done. I had surgery, then started chemo. I thought I dealt with everything really well even to the point of still going on a trip to the East Coast less than two months after diagnoses. I thought I was o.k. Although, there were a few tense moments when my daughter said that she hated this whole thing and it was ruining her summer. Of course, I just wrote that off to adolescent moodiness and really didn't apply it to myself or our 'new normal.'
In December of that year, I completed my chemo on December 11!!!!!...and the next day I took my daughter shopping for a winter coat. It was a bit rough on me but I knew that in about three days I would be feeling even worse so we trudged up to the mall. As we parked in front of the pet store, my daughter asked if we could go in and look and see what animals were there. So, as a treat I decided what the heck and we entered the store and promptly separated going in our own directions. I ended up in the back of the store and there; in behind a window in a cage; was this little fuzz ball of a puppy. I stared at her for a minute and then asked the sales clerk if I could hold her.....bad idea right?! Well twenty minutes later, with all the necessities in hand, we left the store with a new puppy.....needless to say my daughter went the winter in her overly small last years' coat!!!!!
As we got in the car, I realized what I had just done. Not only had I used my credit card to pay for this puppy (no job no money never occurring to me) but I then remembered that we had a dog at home and one that is not very fond of other animals. I quickly said that 'if Boy doesn't take to her we will have to return her'....my daughter holding this fur ball just nodded, probably not even having heard a word that I said. Arriving home, we set her down on the floor and watched to see what would happen. Initially the other dog seemed not too interested, then he came over and I think thought that she was stuffed. He made a move to pick her up in his teeth and she moved.....it was hilarious , he jumped back startled and actually swallowed his bark.....he left her alone after that, but it did take awhile for him to get used to this new little 'ankle' bitter.....she followed him around biting his tail and barking at him absolutely in love with him....I think in the end he liked her too but only would show it if he thought I wasn't looking.
She adapted to her new surroundings, sleeping with my daughter of course. And life went on.....then I realized that something had definitely changed in our home....there was laughter again. There were squeals of delight from my daughter, barks of wonder from the older dog, and giggles from me.....JOY had come back into our home. We had been so saddened by my illness, and so absorbed with medical procedures, nurses visits, and just hanging on by our fingernails , we had forgotten to laugh and joke and have fun. This little furry creature brought JOY back into our lives......as crazy as the whole thing was to buy her and bring her home at a time when we didn't need anymore chaos, she brought serenity and peace, joy and happiness and all those things that seem to disappear when illness enters a home.
Today, I laughed again at something she did, this time with the cats (a whole other story in itself) and was reminded of that day 10 and a half years ago when Bilbo became the newest member of our household........she is also a reminder of how long I have survived this dreadful disease and how much life I have lived since then. Never underestimate what God may provide in your life in order to make sure JOY has a place in it......it was very much a God incident that day we entered the mall to buy a winter coat and instead came out with a four-legged fur!!!!!!!!