We all have crap in our lives that we need to deal with. And in no way do I want this blog to harp on that crap. But for this one time, I am going to bring it up and write about it, because in processing it, and bringing it to light, I realized that I’m my own worst enemy, and sometimes we put way too much pressure on ourselves.
I have two things I have been struggling with. First, my back pain. I’ve been in pain since October, on and off, mostly on. I got an MRI which verified herniated discs in my lower back along with some arthritis and nerve issues (I will get a better understanding of what’s wrong after I go to the specialist next week.) I’ve struggled with these herniated discs before, but this time the pain won’t go away. Dealing with pain on a daily basis for 5 months has gotten to be too much. Some days I can barely walk, and almost everyday the things I love to do are painful. I’m an active person who now can barely take the dogs for a walk. Pain pills don’t work and so I overuse them, hoping for some relief, and then I pay the price with headaches, belly aches and more grumpiness.
The larger issue is that my beloved dog, Squirrel, has cancer. On December 3rd I was told it had spread and she has weeks to live. That news in itself was unbearable to hear, but for the first month, she did great. No change. It was easy to be in denial about the cancer. And then she started to be painful and unable to get up. We put her on steroids and narcotics, which have helped. But then she got worse again and was in pain. So we upped the dose. Which helped, and then it wouldn’t. So we upped the dose again. Which has helped. For now. Although she has seemed to age 10 years in 1 month. Through this time I kept wavering on what to do. I refuse to see my dog in pain and let her suffer. I am a licensed vet tech who has assisted in numerous euthanasia procedures and I know how painless a death it is. So, one day I would think we would need to euthanize her, and the next she would do better. For over a month its been like this. Watching my dog in pain, crying that I am going to lose her, and then waking up to a dog who wants to eat and go for a walk. I can’t describe to you the emotional toll all of this has taken on me.
So, last week I spent the night at home and just cried and cried. I let myself feel grief about Squirrel, and let myself acknowledge that being in pain for 5 months is not easy, and not living my life doing the things I love is not easy either. I need to stop feeling guilty that I am not riding my horse consistently, and getting ready for our first event in May.( Sidenote- I refuse to believe I won’t be showing this summer. I just can’t go there.) I feel so much guilt about not meeting what I believe people’s expectations are of me. The pressure I am putting on myself isn’t fair. My friends will still want to be around me even if I complain about my back. My vet doesn’t think less of me just because I warn her every week that “Squirrel’s time has come.” My healthy dog, Stella, is ok just going for a walk. I am not disappointing Georgie or my trainer because I physically can’t ride. Let that shit go.
So, right now, I’m not meeting my perceived expectations people (and dogs) put on me. And you know what? The world hasn’t ended. My dogs still love me, Georgie is happy as can be, my trainer knows I will work my ass off to be ready for our first show, and I still have friends. So, I think it will all be ok. What relief a good cry can bring!
Here’s to happy days with Squirrel, and ending this back pain once and for all!