Cancer – A word everyone dreads to hear. Cancer doesn’t wait for anyone. It doesn’t see the gender or age or human or dog. I was one of the unfortunate ones to hear it. Cancer is a very scary word, and on one forlorn morning, I got a call with Junior’s diagnosis. He was deducted with Mastocytoma, a type of Skin Cancer.
Around 2 months ago, Junior had developed skin infection, where his skin had become flaky and his body was covered in tiny boils. The Vet gave some medicines and vitamin E injection. He told me that there was nothing to worry and Junior will be fine. Junior’s skin started improving but there was a small puss boil between his stomach and behind legs. Earlier it was very small in size, but in no time, it grew bigger and started oozing a little blood.
I immediately showed it to the Vet and he recommended me to get it surgically removed on urgent basis. I did exactly the same and Junior underwent a surgery the next day. The vet sent the lump for biopsy and informed me that the results will take about a week to 10 days to come. He also warned me that it could be cancerous, but most likely a local Cancer as his blood reports were normal and the lump was only on the outer layer of his skin.
I was definitely scared. As Junior was recovering from the surgery, I was slipping into Anxiety. But I kept myself sane by repeating two things that my brother and the vet said. 1) My brother told me to forget about the lump and only remember that his blood reports were absolutely normal, and 2) The Vet told me it was most likely Cancer, but at an early stage or local.
I tried keeping a positive attitude throughout till I received the biopsy results. And then, that unlucky day came where I was getting ready to leave for office and my mobile rang. It was the Vet. He confirmed – it was Cancer. I couldn’t believe what I had heard. I was speechless. It took me sometime to register the news, but then, I cried uncontrollably. But there was a twist. The reports didn’t mention the grade of Cancer. It just told the type of Cancer, so the Vet recommended me to an Oncologist.
I got an appointment with the Oncologist after 4 days. Till that time, I had already started having episodes of Panic Attacks and severe Anxiety. But I had to hold myself together for Junior.
The day of the appointment arrived and I reached the Oncologist’s clinic with Junior. She took an entire history of Junior, checked his reports and did a physical examination. She suggested we send the sample for a second histopath (biopsy) and know exactly what grade it was. Since Junior was active and he was eating and pooping well, she too thought and told me that hopefully it was an early stage, but we could only be sure once the second opinion comes which would take another 8-10 days. She explained to me the further plan of action if the Cancer was grade 3 and above.
Another 8-10 days of waiting. Each day was like living in hell. But I kept myself extremely strong and didn’t entertain any negative thoughts. This was the first time in my life that I was going through a bad time but my mind had remained strong. This time, I didn’t let Anxiety win. I took complete control over my thoughts and kept telling myself, “Whatever the results come, I will do whatever it takes.”
8 days had passed. I called the Oncologist in the morning to know if the results were back. She informed me that they had not arrived yet and she would call me once they come. I had kept myself strong till then and was still being optimistic. The same day in the afternoon I received a call from the Oncologist’s clinic. The receptionist told me that the results had come the doctor would like to talk to me. My heartbeats had started racing till the time I was on hold. Finally, the doctor answered the call and her first sentence was, “its good news.” I was extremely ecstatic. Something like, I didn’t want to hear anything further. The results were a Grade II (low grade) Cancer which was gone as soon as the lump was removed surgically.
My happiness knew no bound. I was crying once again, but happy tears. Tears that I was holding on for so many weeks. The Oncologist advised me to get a regular check up done every 3 months with our vet. Though the chances of reoccurrence of such low grade Cancers are unlikely, but now we have to be vigilant. I informed my Vet about the same. He too relived a sigh of relief.
Today, I am extremely grateful that Junior is fit and fine, and lives every day like an active puppy. Such a fighter! In the past 2 years, Junior has been through so much and each time he wins. My baby has beat Cancer and is Cancer-free at the moment and I pray this dreaded disease doesn’t make a comeback ever.
Life has become very fragile and unpredictable, but I would like to share a personal experience of how I coped with Anxiety this time. If there is something you cannot control, just give in your best and leave the rest in the hands of God. Prayers are very powerful.
“When you realize that you will never be this young again but this is the first time you have ever been this old.” – Kalyn Roseanne Livernois.
I am standing in the kitchen making Tea and listening to music, when suddenly I look at Junior who is sleeping about a feet away from where I am standing. This moment really got to my heart. Just standing there and the first thought that flashed in my mind, “How fragile his body has become, but spirits still high.”
Just then, I don’t feel at home in my own skin. There used to be the comfort of enjoying my evening Tea while Junior slept besides me; which I called “Me Time.” When I realized that Junior is no more a puppy, but this is the first time he has ever been this old. When I suddenly can’t remember how he got this old and is no more a young agile dog, and at the same time he is just as much energetic as he was few years ago.
Nostalgia hit me, and all the memories suddenly flashed in front me. The day I bought Junior home; a palm size puppy, so soft and fluffy. And as days passed, he grew up in no time. A big energetic dog who made his presence felt at every minute of the day. Destroying furniture, jumping around, zoomies, spilling water, etc., and most importantly, Junior jumping on me while I made Tea to eat lemongrass. At the same time, I was younger, and had all the energy to cater to him at all times.
My heartbeats are racing now with thoughts of getting old. Additionally, seeing Junior motionless just staring at me while I am drowned in my thoughts and staring at him back. His bones are weak now, his eyes no longer holds the bright sharp vision, his fur is getting dull, and his energy gets drained in no time.
I am feeling the cracking in my bones, the strain of my heart, and the aching that comes with growing up. The past 10 years of reminiscence of loving, lost love, adventure, a hunger for home (whatever “home” means), nostalgia, angst, etc. At this point of time, I just want someone to look at me in the face and say, “I know exactly how you feel and it is ok to grow old.”
When I was younger and Junior was a puppy, I thought aging would be an achievement. Each year that passed marked one step closer to adulthood. However, right at this moment, I realized I am not young anymore and neither is Junior. But I also appreciate the years we spent together. The ups and downs, the running around and bedtime, the tears and laughter, the hugs and sloppy kisses, the walks and drives, the illness and good health, the frustrations and patience, and the love and togetherness.
The sight of Junior portrays that he aged gracefully. And he helped me age gracefully. Aging is inevitable. So why not do it joyfully? Without realization, we did just that. The strength of pulling ourselves through all the bad times, yet with enthusiasm and still kicking it is a proof that we are aging gracefully.
Junior is not jumping on me to eat lemongrass anymore, but his presence is enough for me to keep going and do my best to give him a comfortable old age.
The song is over. The Tea is done. I am out of trance. I can hear my heartbeats. I am breathing in and out. Poured the Tea in my cup and I walk outside to sit on the couch. Just then, Junior got up and put his head on my lap and went off to sleep. Some things never change. I feel at home again. This is my “Me Time.” One day, we all will leave this place, but that’s not today.
If you have a dog, chances are you will have a healthy heart, and mostly likely live longer. Medically speaking, a dog at home means better cardiovascular health, especially for heart attack and stroke survivors who live alone. Prior studies have shown that dog ownership alleviates social isolation, improves physical activity and even lowers blood pressure.
Keeping a dog is a good motivation for physical activity. Let’s talk about personal experience. My dogs have helped me stay away from depression, and losing and maintaining a healthy weight. I am physically very active in the form of walking my dogs, getting up to fill their water bowls, tending to them when they are ill, cleaning the house when they dirty it, feeding them, etc. My dogs help me in not living a sedentary life. I am on the move most of the time even at home.
Above were some of the physical advantages of having a dog. However, my dogs have helped me in more ways than many in keeping me sane. I never feel lonely. I have a motive to live, and that is to give my dog the best and healthy life. I never think of suicide. I don’t constantly require human company, as my dogs are always around. My dogs also encouraged me to start this blog and share my experiences.
But the worse part about having a dog is – saying “Goodbye”. Ever since Casper crossed the rainbow bridge, I have never been able to fully recover. Dogs have a magic effect on us, which doesn’t vanish even after they are gone.
One of the reasons for these therapeutic effects is that dogs fulfill the basic human need for touch. It has been found that touch calms our nervous center and slows down our heartbeat. Touch also lowers blood pressure as well as cortisol, our stress hormone. It also triggers the release of oxytocin, a hormone known for promoting emotional bonding to others. So now you get it, dogs are clingy. They don’t even leave you alone to the bathroom – ha ha ha ha ha!
Every dog should have a home. Please don’t get me wrong. I am not saying every home can have a dog. There are a lot of factor to be considered before getting a dog home like money, size of the house, number of members at home, city you live in, etc. And having a dog does not mean a piece of cake. It’s a huge responsibility. But once you have a dog, then there is no looking back. Your life changes for the better.
Let me share another benefit of having a dog. My dog’s Instagram account has more followers than my personal account. Also, many a times when I walk my dog, I have had many people approach me to pet my dog and just start a random chat with me. Not that it is safe to talk to strangers each time, but I have made many genuine friends only because of my dogs. Socializing at its best!
Let’s talk from astrology point of view (though I do not believe in astrology). It is considered lucky even in astrology to have a dog at home. People who are superstitious and believe in astrology have even told me that, “something evil was going to happen to me which Casper absorbed instead and died”. Once again, I do not believe in all this, my dog was ill and passed away; that was the actual case. In India, in many religions when food is being cooked at home, the first chapatti is given to dogs.
Whatever the reasons may be, my dogs have bought a lot of positivity into my life. I am extremely lucky to share a part of my life with Casper and Junior. They came into my life out of nowhere, when I was not even prepared to own a dog. But now, my life revolves around them. Has I not owned any dogs, I would have missed out on the best parts of my living. I am thankful and grateful for this beautiful experience.
It’s never easy to let go of someone we choose to love. We still want to hold them tight, if not in our arms, then in our heart and mind. We struggle to sleep at night; because we are recalling all the good memories. Suddenly, all the bad times vanish and we wish we could get one more chance, to make it right.
And suddenly, we only see the light when everything gets dark, and the darkness doesn’t scare us anymore. It has become a safe haven for us as no one can see our tears and the sorrows in our eyes. No one can hear us cry loudly in our hearts. We are just so scared to sleep, as sleep has become our biggest enemy. And the only thing that matters now is hold their hands and their heart whispers “I Love You”.
We thought, when someone says “Goodbye”, it would not be a sad thing anymore as no tear is worth it, but only the last voice of them we wanted to hear for safekeeping whenever we forgot what it feels like to Love. Their voice grows louder and louder without their presence. The crickets are singing, the dogs are barking, the stars are shining bright, but we can only see the lonely moon, all alone in the sky.
Our eyes are moist, and for a second, we feel everything in our hands is snatched in a fraction; all at once. A night where we feel most alone; when the world is asleep awaiting for a new day, we feel the hollow which isn’t a hollow anymore, but everything we need for now.
The winds have stopped blowing, even that inside our lungs, they took our breath away as they vanished into the horizon. And love maybe the strongest feeling of them all, but often it’s the one that isn’t enough.
We sacrificed our bodies, our souls, our hearts, put it upon our sleeves, but love had no mercy upon us. Now, we are standing only skin and empty bones under a sombre sky; waiting for the endless night to end or wanting the darkness to never go away.
But if we never let go, we will never allow ourselves to have a new love experience. We will stay stuck as life continues to erode what we’ve once built. A bold wave has movement, some forward and some backwards. Let the wave carry us to where we are intended to be, and this time, not where we want to be. And when the storm passes, the rainbow will finally find its way through.
What we carry in this dark night is heavy. But, the good thing about what can be carried, is that it can also be put down. It’s a terrible feeling, the pain of not being loved. The grief of everything that we lost, but in our heart, we still believe we have. We are in between ashes of losing ourselves and questioning what was left of us.
But tomorrow, we will wake up happy. And if not tomorrow then maybe the next day, or maybe in a week, or a month. But we will make it. Perhaps it’s time to let go of the burden we’ve been carrying. We have done enough. Let the world work its magic over us once again. Let us try one more time to fall in love. Let us forget about the time that doesn’t exist anymore, and create new memories for us.
To the ones who walked away, we were scared to be without you’ll. You’ll used to breathe life into our lungs, and then suddenly we had to breathe on our own. But now, we will learn to exist happily without you’ll. Actually, we can flourish without you’ll.
Let’s be grateful, that life always has HOPE. Let’s be excited for LOVE to find us again.
Research finds that loneliness peaks at 20s + 30s, which they often find surprising because there is this perception that these are the years of “thriving”. One of the biggest reasons why people experience loneliness during this stage of their life is because there are numerous transitions.
Sure people can be thriving in their 20s and 30s; discovering their talents, passions, and identity. But at the same time, all these achievements are mostly accompanied by loneliness. Loneliness arises specially during transitional period.
When we understand how to connect with ourselves along with the newness of the understanding of life, along with connecting with others, it is often a learning curve. This is a topic that isn’t talked enough, and something that many people suffer with. Mental health is often ignored and goes under the rug. But as the world is becoming more and more technically advanced, loneliness is also reaching its peak.
Loneliness is an unpleasant emotion. It often leads to taking the wrong steps when people are feeling this emotion. Loneliness is also described as social pain—a psychological mechanism which motivates individuals to seek social connections. It is often associated with an unwanted lack of connection and intimacy.
Everyone’s experience of loneliness will be different. Feelings of loneliness are personal, and we all feel lonely from time to time. But loneliness is not always the same as being alone. You may choose to be alone and still live happily without much contact with other people, while others may find this a lonely experience.
Or you may have a lot of social contacts, or be in a relationship, or a part of a family, and still feel lonely. Some people experience deep and constant feelings of loneliness that come from within and do not disappear, regardless of their social situation or how many friends they have. There are many reasons people experience this kind of loneliness. You might feel unable to like yourself or to be liked by others, or you may lack self-confidence.
There are many who feel lonely after the death of a loved one, or loss in business, or a fight with a family member, or even after being unappreciated. There are many who feel deeply lonely after a breakup. They feel their life has come to a standstill. It’s never easy to let go of someone we choose to love. But if we never let go, we will never allow ourselves to have a new love experience. We will stay stuck as the sea of life continues to erode what we’ve once built.
Remind yourself, these thoughts that are making you feel worse and the feelings of loneliness are JUST thoughts, and many of them aren’t real. They are fake conclusions that you have created comparing your life with others, or by the breakup, or any other reason. They are thought traps that don’t let you move on in life.
Set your thoughts down for now. You will sort it out. You will find new love, you will earn the lost money, you will reconcile with the frowned one, and you will find peace one day about a lost soul. But it doesn’t have to be all in this moment. Not all things matter in life. You are destroying your own peace. Slow down! Stop running and stop running away. Stop chasing. Stop comparing. Stop being too hard on yourself.
Instead, be thankful to what is left. Give love to yourself and others. Cry it out if you have to. Trust the process. What belongs to you, will definitely find you. Be patient.
We all live in a myth that we all are the directors of our own life. The truth is, we are not. Life happens and we just adjust to the changes and keep moving. We come across many inspirational quotes about life every day, but how many of us actually understand them and follow through?
In the past two years, since the pandemic, many of us have had a harsh wake-up call and forced us to change our priorities, our way of living or thinking, our approach towards life in general. The more time passes, the more I realise that life is to be lived one day at a time. Sometimes, even thinking about the next 24 hours is too much, that time; live every moment. I have even perceived that happiness and fulfilment is in the little moments.
We are currently biting off more than what we can chew to embrace the new reality post Corona virus. For some, the worry, the sorrow, and the sadness associated with the death of their loved ones or feeling of isolation will last too long. For others, the impact this virus and isolation left on the mental health will linger even after all this is over. And for a few others, the realization of the importance of family turned out to be a blessing.
While there are a lot of motivational quotes, awareness and help available on the internet, there are many misguiding and wrongly provocative materials and articles also easily available. Unfortunately, many people feel that’s the reality and fall prey to it and regret later.
The virtual reality is starting to feel like real life. On a daily basis, on many social media sites I come across quotes like “you have to thrive, not survive”, “be the leader of your life”, “if you are not something, then you are nothing”, “hustle now, rest later”, “disappear for some years, and enjoy later”, “date only to marry”, “be a gangsta”, “the relationship broke because you deserve better”, “don’t give chance to others, be independent and spoil yourself”, etc.
I am not saying all the above quotes are completely wrong, but the meaning extracted from them by people these days is wrong.
Let’s get to reality:
- You don’t always have to keep thriving; these days if you survived your day, you did a good job.
- Our future is unpredictable. We all seen it in the past two years. Life happens, change is the only constant. Only control your thoughts, don’t try to control your life.
- Others perspective of success is not necessarily your perspective of success. Same applies for having fun. Do what is suitable, convenient and comfortable for you.
- Taking rest, having days off is extremely essential in today’s times. Don’t fall sick or drain yourself out in hustling all the time or showing the world how much you work.
- Take accountability of your own bullshit. Sometimes, the relationship breaks because both the partners are not on the same page, or you were the toxic one, or your partner’s needs changed and opted out. Besides cheating and abuse, there is free will, and you and your partner are allowed to change your mind. No one owes you anything, and neither is your partner a bad person that you keep saying you deserve better.
- You have no need to disappear to earn money and then enjoy or rest later. You can do everything simultaneously. Having fun, taking breaks, going on a vacation, or going out with friends and family, and most importantly, keeping in touch with your loved ones is very important for healthy living. You never know which moments become only memories or when you will see the person for the last time in your life. Make beautiful memories along with earning money.
- Sometimes it is essential to ask for help. Everyone has the capacity to be independent, but asking for help is required sometimes.
- No work is big or small. A man can choose a career in cooking and a woman can choose to be a carpenter. Do what you like, do what gives you peace.
- Accept that you will die one day. Embrace it and don’t live life as per what internet tells you or shows you, or what you see others doing on their stories. Don’t compare and don’t judge a book by its cover. More than half of pictures and stories posted on the internet are fake.
- Failure is necessary to grow. Failure and success are not opposites. They both are part of the whole.
- Problems may be inevitable, but so is our approach towards it. If you can change anything, change it, if you cannot, leave it. It’s ok to quit sometimes.
- Your energy is finite. Please use it wisely. Don’t let the artificial internet world be an energy vampire. Trust me. Majority of the stuff you see is bogus or fake.
- Allow yourself to simply enjoy an experience with your partner. Be present. Not every person you date will be “the one”. If it’s meant to be, you will marry that person. Or else leave in dignity.
Waste time this year; go for long, rambling walks. Write poems or try a new recipe just because. Pray, paint, laugh at yourself or simply watch something on the TV. Take your dog to the beach or just sit by the shore and enjoy the winds and coffee. Our world is obsessed with being productivity all the time. We feel guilty of wasting our time even for an instance. But the reality is, our “unproductive” hours are the most soul-shaping parts of our lives. SLOW DOWN!
Dogs can experience both positive and negative emotions. They can experience pleasure, comfort, fear, and anxiety. Dog’s ability to communicate with humans is unlike any other species in the animal kingdom. Having said that; dogs can catch our (humans) emotions very well. They seem to possess a special skill for knowing exactly how we’re feeling.
As a pet parent, we also have to keep in mind how our mood and behaviour affects our pet’s behaviour and overall well-being. We are their primary care-givers. To keep them in good health is our priority. If we are angry, throwing a tantrum, screaming, etc. Our dogs are most likely lurked below or behind a couch out of fright, afraid to make eye contact; for fear that he or she might intensify our rage.
Conversely, if we are feeling sad, our dogs are drawn towards us trying their best to make us feel better. And if we are happy, they are happy. Laugh out loud and watch that tail wagging. I can say this with guarantee as I am a living proof to this. As mentioned in my earlier posts, I wouldn’t have been living if it wasn’t for Casper who understood my sadness and immediately came towards me and started licking my tears.
Thankfully, those bad days and weak attitude is gone. Dogs adapt to figuring out their humans’ emotions. It is very important for us to stay hale and hearty at most times. But what if we’re not acting out? What about those times we put on a brave face for the world when we’re fearful — or when we keep a stiff upper lip even though our world is falling apart? During these dark times, it sometimes feels like your dog senses your emotions, even those you thought you were hiding.
Living among people with consistently negative emotions can create negative behaviors in dogs. On the other hand, cultivating an environment in your home that fosters mostly positive feelings in your human family will help contribute to well-adjusted, content dogs with fewer behavioral issues. It’s not always easy, but doing your best to sustain a positive, happy household is beneficial to everyone — you, your kids, your dogs, and other pets, too!
When Casper passed away, I was consistently reminded by the vet, family and friends to keep a positive attitude; as it would affect Junior. But I was in a very fragile state and would break out crying often. I started noticing that Junior became a little distant from me. This was because, every time he came towards me to lay his head on my lap or bought his favourite toy, I would push him away (not physically push of course). He caught up on my behaviour and became distant, and also stopped eating.
Mercifully, I collected myself for the sake of Junior and made a full recovery. Had I continued with being depressed, Junior could have developed a full blown anxiety. Once again, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise. For and because of Junior, I became strong.
Dogs are intuitive, and also sensitive to human moods and behaviours. You must have noticed that dogs are playful with some humans, and distant from some. This is because they can sense human vibes. If your dog doesn’t like someone or is hesitant to be close to some humans, then it is an indication that you too should maintain a healthy distance from that person.
Dogs can make you happy and improve the quality of your life. They also keep us physically and mentally active. Looking after them is not a burden, but indeed beneficial for our own health and well-being. I used to purposely stay in a good mood around Junior, and now it has become a habit. We are humans, we have our days. But having my dogs around have helped me go through the bad days by staying calm and positive deliberately so that I don’t remove my anger on my dogs. This in turn, became a lifestyle. I never display my negative or bad mood in front of Junior. Infact, I start playing with him and my mood automatically changes.
So, next time you want to wipe your tears on your little fur baby, remember to think of his feelings, too…
Remember, your behavior has a significant impact on his peace of mind and quality of life.