Saturday, March 23, 2013

Support and Staying Alive

Rest In Peace Seamus The Famous.

One of the nice things about blogging is you become a member of the blogging community. Like-minded bloggers start following each other and before you know it, you've got a whole new circle of virtual friends. I call them my "blogging buddies."

So it was when I stumbled upon Teresa Rhyne's blog, The Dog Lived And So Will I. Teresa discovered she had breast cancer a year after I did. Just before her diagnosis, she was up to her ears in vet bills trying desperately to save her beloved beagle Seamus--who was also diagnosed with cancer.

Teresa was touched by Seamus's brave battle with cancer and felt it made her own battle that much easier. Four years ago, the vets gave Seamus four months to live. They were wrong. This inspired Teresa to write her memoir--The Dog Lived And So Will I, which was released last October.

Both Teresa and Seamus soldiered through their cancer battles and beat it together. That is until last week, when it was discovered Seamus had a tumor in his lung. Unfortunately, the tumor burst making it difficult for him to breathe. Teresa compassionately opted to put Seamus to sleep to prevent further suffering.

This story poignantly illustrates the power of love and support when someone is battling cancer. It doesn't matter where it comes from. It can be a supportive husband, friend, parent, sibling and even a pet. Regardless of who gives it, it makes all the difference.

I was lucky. I had tons of support when I battled breast cancer. There was an army behind me that included a boyfriend, friends, family, a boss and a team of co-workers. And of course there were my three cats. I can't imagine how I would have carried on without them.

Here's the thing. Sometimes, when you are facing death, you need to have a reason outside yourself to live. Often that reason is a desire to stay alive longer so you can continue to be with the people you love.

I have a friend who had a massive heart attack at about the same time his first grandchild was born. The doctors told him the only way he would live is if he stopped smoking. He tried to quit smoking and failed many times before. But this time was different. He refused to let death rob him from seeing his grandchild walk her first steps and utter the word grandpa for the first time.

Just last month, my Londoner friend celebrated four years as a non-smoker.  His granddaughter is walking and talking and spends many a weekend with her grandpa.

Teresa's love for her beloved beagle powered her dog to defy the odds and live well beyond four months. In fact, he partnered with Teresa four years later during her book tour.

Never underestimate love and support. It can restore health. It can beat cancer. It can save your life.

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