Hope Grows With Spring
For many, January is the traditional time to think about change. It’s the beginning of a new year, so we want to start over. Even I fell prey to a resolution. But when spring begins, the days start to get longer, and the world starts to thaw. This is the true turning point for me. Both plants and people are coming out of hibernation. We’re all waking up and ready to clean out winter’s leftovers and replace them with hope.
The winter months have not been kind to me. Particularly when it has come to my two dogs, Tora and Zaria. In December, Tora had her first seizure, and the experience was terrifying. It only got scarier when she continued to have seizures in January and February. It got worse when both of the dogs ate raw bread dough. The emergency vet and our regular vet were getting a little too familiar.
Cue the first of March.
The moment I woke up, I knew something was wrong. Zaria was lying on the bed, breathing heavily. She had a far-off look and seemed dazed. My internal alarm went off, and I scheduled yet another vet appointment. An emergency ultrasound unveiled a large bleeding mass. She had to have immediate surgery. They removed her spleen and sent a biopsy out. She had been hours from death. After a week of waiting, the biopsy came back.
So am I hopeful? It’s not easy. But when you hear a diagnosis like that, you begin to take stock in the little things. First of all, I caught the symptoms in time. It would have been far worse if I had ignored my instincts. Second, Zaria has recovered for now. While cancer is a devastating diagnosis, the doctor was optimistic about how well she had healed from surgery. We also learned that this cancer is hereditary. Our dogs are sisters, so now we know to check Tora with her own ultrasound. The next step is to talk to an oncologist. There might be nothing we can do. But dealing with this has strengthened both my marriage and my love for these dogs. I won’t be having children, so every moment with Tora and Zaria has become that much more precious.
In the middle of all the dog drama, I was stressing over an attempt to get my COVID-19 vaccine. I work at a vineyard, which means that I qualify for one. I hadn’t made it a priority until it seemed that every one of my coworkers had managed to snag an appointment. A lot of my customers have also announced that they’ve been vaccinated. I wanted nothing more than to get mine too. Immediately. But there were a lot of hoops to jump through. One of my coworkers woke up at 7 a.m. every day to call and see if she could find something. My manager shared an extensive spreadsheet full of possible locations. I started working on all of the websites right away. But lost hope when I kept reaching dead ends. My one phone call only led to a sales pitch. My dreams turned into scheduling an appointment. It felt hopeless.
And then it happened by accident. It was another matter of being at the right place at the right time. Dumb luck has treated me well this month.
It’s not officially spring yet. There will be more cold days, and there will be more challenges. I still don’t know if I’ll need gum surgery until May. But I will be able to travel to Ohio to see my family in April—dog drama depending, of course. Despite everything, I’m trying to stay thankful. Hopeful. Focused on the upcoming good. Our new kitchen is in full swing. It has brought me opportunities to cook again. And I’ve been able to test out new recipes for myself and for guests. Not a party by any means, but with the rise of vaccines we might be able to by autumn. I don’t think I’ll be attempting to make bread again, though.
Featured Image By Aaron Burden Courtesy of Unsplash