Post by Poodle
My whippet, Mel, was diagnosed with oral cancer last spring. You know the film called There Will Be Blood? I had my own version of that at home. When the vet says tumors are vascular and can bleed a lot, believe them. It grew slow and steady for months. As bad as it started to look the vet said things that grow slowly aren’t usually painful until they get too big. The body gradually adjusts. He said we’d know when it was time. When it started to grow quickly everything changed. The bleeding just got to the point where I couldn’t keep up with it. I was cleaning up constantly. You can’t bandage a mouth. His breath had been getting worse too. All I could smell was that and blood. He started having trouble eating. The tumor began growing out of his mouth. It was time. We made the call for that final trip to the vet. He was a fighter but it was time to stop battling. I’d like to think Mel understood.
Up to then I had been coping with everything but I have to be honest and tell you caregiver fatigue is real and I was an emotional wreck towards the end. Anger, tears, frustration, more tears… every day. I turned to my perfumes for comfort and an attempt to smell something other than Mel’s mouth. I didn’t want to connect any favorite scents with watching my dog die so I used up samples during the daytime. I felt an odd sense of happiness with every empty vial. I was trying to do a “no buy” for other cosmetics as well and use things up. I think in retrospect I should have rewarded myself a bit more. I did eventually cave and buy a new lipstick. Or two. I always reach for incense in stressful times and Avignon and Cardinal were there for me as bedtime scents along with Baiser Vole which really works like an aromatherapy wonder on me. They’d take me to a happier place as I drifted off to sleep.
Watching that tumor grow was a constant reminder that some things are beyond our control. I now have an understanding of how a person can get diagnosed with cancer and die a few weeks later. I took photos of Mel 10 days apart and the change was scary. These things are aggressive and fast and there was nothing I could do to change it. Often, it’s that helpless feeling that tears you apart inside.
The takeaway from this is if you’re caring for someone or something it IS hard and frustrating. It will wear you down if you’re not careful. Make time for yourself even if it’s just a few minutes before bedtime. Have a good cry if you need to. Treat yourself even if it’s just a cheap lipstick or perfume. Hug the ones you love. Find a way to hug yourself if there’s no one to hug you back.
Take care of yourselves my fragrant friends.