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Patches Journey

This site chronicles Patches journey through OSA

Dropping By For A Quick Hello

Filed under: Uncategorized — careygram at 5:49 pm on Saturday, July 15, 2017

Even though I am not here much anymore, it’s not for a lack of thinking of my tripawd or my tripawd friends.  I still love her and all of you.  And I still think about her and all of you.  What I think now is different though. The intensity of my grief has lessened on a day to day basis.  If I really let myself wallow……it’s back with a rebound intensity. I try not to think about the details. I try not to think about how much we all still miss her.  What I focus on is the love. The love we gave her, the love we still have for her, all the good that she brought to us and us to her.

I never thought I would recover. At some points I didn’t want to. I wanted to be left alone to hate the fact that my little dog died of cancer. I don’t even know what “Recover” means. I have learned that grief is fluid and VERY individual. And that if even one other person knows where you’ve been and where you are, it helps. It’s so hard to go through what we have gone through, are currently going through and what will we have to go through in the future. I’m better prepared and I know what to do in tough circumstances. A support system is critical.  At least for me.  Talking about my girl, crying and having people give hugs and tell me they understand helped me. There is no magic answer. The pain is worse than I could have imagined but the healing is better than I could have imagined.

I will always be a tripawd. I will always be here. I will always be grateful for everything my tripawd family has done for me. And I talk about you. My cousin’s golden retriever just became a tripawd. You know I sent her here for information.  She loves the site and the people. Thankfully her dog has no metastasis. He is beating the odds.  I love her boy and I think God I could help her. And helping others is what gives me healing.  I hope to finish my book soon. I have no idea how to publish or get it out there but I know that Patches will guide me. It’s her and my gift as a result of our journey. I hope to help more people because it’s what helps me heal.

I may not be here often but Patches and my Tripawd family will be in my heart forever.

Sending love, kisses and hugs.


Debbie and Angel Patches

Three Birds, Three Legs

Filed under: Uncategorized — careygram at 2:46 am on Friday, March 31, 2017

So.  My girl has been gone for 367 days.  And I’ve missed her for 367 days.  And tomorrow will be 368.  A year flew by and I know I thought about and missed her in some capacity every single day.  I didn’t post on the one year anniversary.  The last time I posted I cried for two days after.  I didn’t have the heart for it at that time.  I sat and pondered the year past while I was out on my front lawn with Rooster working on Monday the 27th.  It was a rainy Monday, the same Monday a year ago when we had Patches put to sleep.  The date had changed but not the memory or the day.  As I sat there examining the complexity of the year I saw three cardinals land on our huge elm at the end of the driveway.  I hardly ever see cardinals and I believe they are a sign from a loved one on the other side to say hello and to let us know they’re doing well.  They were chirping and flitting about.  And then they all looked straight at me.  I couldn’t figure out the significance of three at first.  I looked at Rooster and he stared back with a somber look.  He knew what day it was.  I don’t know how he knew but he did despite my efforts to remain positive and in the moment with him.  And as I stared into his pretty brown eyes the significance dawned on me.  Three birds………three legs.  I actually smiled.

Yesterday my boyfriend told me his husky, my beloved Thunder (aka pretty boy, blue eyes, Thor God of, lovey) died last weekend.  I was traveling when he died.  I never got to say goodbye.  His family is heartbroken as am I but I was able to console them with my knowledge of what is, what was and what is to come.  As the tripawd community did for me as I endured my heartbreak.  Thunder didn’t have cancer, he was diabetic.  It doesn’t matter.  I still think it’s unfair that dogs get sick like people.  They don’t deserve it.  He was only 7 years old.  My heart break is different this time.  I finally understand what I didn’t understand when Patches died.  Dogs get sick, fair or not.  They die, sometimes before their time, sometimes at an incredibly old age.  It’s heartbreaking.  There’s nothing you can do.  Grief is personal.  Some people cry, some people don’t. Some people need to talk about it, some don’t.  Some people are strong, some are not.  I cried when I needed to, which was often.  I learned who I could lean on for support and who I could not.   I also learned that life goes on whether you want it to or not and that it’s better to have something to live for after they are gone.  That may not always be possible but I do think it helped me focus on where I was going instead of where I’d just come from.  I’ll always be sad.  I’ll always miss her and love her and remember what she and I endured as a team that I hope to never have to go through again. I hope NO one does but we know how that goes.  I’m better for having had my girl.  I’m different from having lost her.  I won’t be the same and I’m not going to place judgement on myself for that.  I have a support system and I always will.  I will always be a part of the tripawd community and be a strength for someone in need.  I will go on living… step at a time.  In time I hope to be softer and not as raw but today is not that time and tomorrow might not be either.  I still have another dog, my boyfriend has another dog.  I love them both and I know I will lose them.  But it will always be different now that I know what I know.  And for that small knowledge, I am grateful.  And with the love for them eternally in my heart and mind, I will always be on the lookout for dandelion sylphs and three little birds.


Debbie and Angel Patches

Sometimes You Just Need a Hug

Filed under: Uncategorized — careygram at 7:17 pm on Thursday, February 16, 2017

Wow.  It’s definitely been a while since my last post.  And not for lack of trying but my timing was all off.  Whenever I was dying to write I was busy doing other things.  Like driving.  And when I had the time to write…..I was catching up on stuff.  Like bad reality TV.  But my heart is still and will always be with the tripawd community and I will always be a tripawd mom.  Who is still plugging along trying to make sense of what I feel.  Because that is what analytic Type A+ people do.  It’s been an interesting time.  I know that having had my girl made me a better person.  Having lost her has made me a different person.  I contemplate more about the situation.  I ask myself “where am I with all this today?”

I’m not sure where I am and what I’m doing.  At least not today.  I can tell you that I talk about my experience a lot less.  And when I do, I don’t (Or at least I try not to) cry.  I can see the look on some people’s face when I talk about my girl.  They still get uncomfortable.  Like “is she going to cry?  If she is can I run?”.  Maybe they have forgotten about it, maybe they think I have or that I’m over it or at least SHOULD be over it.  Sometimes I just want someone to understand me, ask me how I am, tell me they know I’m sad and just give me a damn hug and let me cry.  Because I still cry.  A tear or two every day.  Usually when I’m alone in the car or my house.  Usually when I look at Rooster glued to me when we’re outside, inside, on the sofa, on the toilet…..  Rooster still needs hugs and I give them to him all the time because I get it.  Sometimes you just need a hug.  Like on Valentine’s day.  I was one little love short.  My birthday is coming.  She won’t be eating cake with frosting on her little nose.  It still hasn’t been a year and I’m dreading the year anniversary.  It’s all I’m going to think about on that day.  And then the next day after the anniversary will have me thinking about how broken I was after she was gone.  I was 28 pounds heavier, directionless yet needed to keep moving.  My son needed me.  Still does.  Rooster needed me.    Still does.  Now more than ever.  And here I am.  I need someone.  Maybe now more than ever.  So here I am with my tripawds.  No one understands unless they’ve been through it.  It’s made me a more understanding person.  Someone may be going through something I haven’t been through but I can empathize way more and feel for them.  And sometimes I give them a hug.  They seem to appreciate it.  This is the rest of my life.  And I know I still have another dog.  And he is going to be gone someday.  And I wonder if I’ll survive, or if I’ll want to.  It sticks with you forever, like anything else.  What’s different about canine osteosarcoma is the total loss of control, the total inability to make it better.  You  become a bystander.  You feel stress every day of the way from diagnosis to recovery or loss.  I grew up a lot.  I may have PTSD.  I don’t care.  Maybe 10 years from now I will honestly be able to talk about my babies and just laugh but not cry.  I’m certainly not there yet.  I see her everywhere.  To the outside world I look like I’m all better minus some “iffy” moments that are nipped in the bud when I see the look on people’s faces.  But my son understands.  He listens and cries with me.  Thank God for him and for the tripawd community because sometimes I just need a hug and I know where to get one.  I hope everyone here is doing well.  I’m sorry if you’re experiencing heart break and anguish.  I’m delighted if your baby beat whatever awful situation that caused them to become a tripawd in the first place.  No matter where I am or what I’m doing, I’m still a tripawd to the end.

And that’s where I am.  If you need a hug, or an ear or a tissue, let me know and I’ll be there.  And thank you for being here for me.  I’ll never go away.


Debbie and Angel Patches

‘Tis The Season Afterall

Filed under: Uncategorized — careygram at 11:32 pm on Friday, December 2, 2016

Wow.  It’s been a while since I’ve been here.  It’s not for a lack of loving my tripawd community but still, my knee jerk reaction is to feel guilty.  But then I stopped to ask myself why it’s been so long.  I’m HEALING.  I didn’t think I ever would.  I wasn’t ever sure I wanted to.

So what’s been going on?  Well, I’ve had stretches of time where I don’t cry every day.  I can tell funny stories about my girl and can smile and talk about her.  I’ve even watched some of her videos.  A good friend and I were talking recently and we decided that even though the sadness will never go completely away but it won’t be as intense or as often.  You bet your tripawd I still miss my girl and especially now that the holidays are upon us.  We are all talking about what we’re thankful for.  I’m thankful for a lot but I’m sad about a few things too.  Halloween was tough.  We usually took the dogs trick or treating and they loved being out with the kids with their little glow sticks around their paws.  Patches loved kids.  Thanksgiving was tough.  There was one little care package for Rooster (okay a big one) but not one for her.  Christmas will be tough…….little girl’s stocking will be on the mantle with treats for Rooster in her honor.  I don’t know if he will eat them.  The firsts are still hard.  But that hole in my heart is healing.  It won’t go away but the jagged edges are smoothing over and it’s no longer a code blue.  I have my moments where all of what I wrote just now goes out the door and it’s like it happened yesterday.  But then happen less frequently and I have moments of sincere happiness again.

I’m sort of happy to be healing and maybe a little sad at the same time.  Part of me thinks I’m forgetting about her.  The other part of me says “as if”.  As if I could ever forget my little angel and her antics.  Her big, beseeching eyes.  Her doggy sneezes in my face.  As if I wouldn’t ever want her back.  Oh the things I would give up to have her back.  But the finality and acceptance is setting in and if I’m not relieved at least some of the people around me are.  It was hard on my son to see my cry all the time.  When I cry he cries.  And I’m not the only one who was grieving.  He told me his dad was on Canaan rescue sites looking for Canaan’s in need of adoption.  He showed me a picture of a white girl named Phoebe.  She could have been Patches.  My ex-husband is looking for another dog just like Patches.  And I thought he didn’t care.  How wrong I was.  We all show our hands in different ways.  I just don’t have poker face at all.

I’ve learned SO much from our experience with canine cancer, about myself, my heart, my dogs and my life.  I know that someday when the time is right I will adopt another tripawd.  I have too much love in my heart not to have another dog or cat (or bunny or parrot or gerbil or turtle……) in need.  Only this time I’m prepared.  I know what could happen; I know what I’m signing up for.  The first time for everything is difficult…….my first experience with a sick pet brought me to my knees and just about broke me.  But I go forward, my heart waiting to see her again so it can be whole once more.  I gave her a piece of it to take with her.  I wait to get through the first holiday season without my girl.  I have focused on getting my health and head back in order.  I am fit and 25 pounds lighter physically.  Spiritually I still have some more weight to lose but I’m healing and that’s what counts.  Overall I would say that I’m healing and feeling like myself again and being there for my son more and even myself and loved ones.  I’m proof that there might be a light at the end of the tunnel that isn’t a truck or a train.  It might actually be a gift, this healing thing.  Tis the season afterall.

With love and light to share with all of my cherished tripawd family……….. I thank you for reading.

With Love

Debbie and Angel Patches

With a Sylph in my Heart….

Filed under: Uncategorized — careygram at 12:55 am on Wednesday, September 14, 2016

August 27th was my girl’s one year ampuversary…..I tried not to think about it.  Which was about as effective as trying not to breathe.  It was another first that I gritted my teeth through.  But…..  I was talking to my girlfriend on the phone that day, sitting in the little alcove outside of my kitchen, talking about how, just a year prior, my girl was in surgery.  As I was talking to my friend, yes, another dandelion sylph floated in front of my face.  And this time it gently floated to my feet.  I stopped mid-sentence.  My friend wondered what in the world could render me speechless.  I picked up that sylph with a tear in my eye and a smile on my face and put it right in my heart….my heart locket that is.  The very heart locket that has one of her hairs in it.  Being the firm believer that I am (for everyone else but me), as soon as I hung up the phone I went on the hunt for a dandelion, even one from which that sylph could have come from.  There’s not a dandelion for miles in my yard, neighborhood, zip code, there are none to be found.  Where could that seed have come from?  My inner skeptic was on high alert.  Given that it’s the second time this has happened as I was thinking or talking about my girl I finally let myself believe that it really is my girl talking to me.  And it made me smile.  I do smile more now.  I still cry too but I can talk about my baby with a smile on my face.  We can even laugh and tell stories.  We still miss our girl every day but missing her doesn’t occupy my thoughts 100% of the time anymore.  I don’t have to force myself to distract myself.  I can genuinely enjoy moments, people and things again.  I’m in a good place but I know there are more hard days to come.  I feel stronger and more prepared this time because there is no more ambiguity and stress and worry.  Just a lot of memories to cry my way through.  And it’s all ok.  I decided a while ago that I would be ok with never getting over losing her and I’d be ok with crying for her every day.  Well, I’m not over losing her but I’m not crying every day.  I’d say I’m getting by and feeling better.  There is more processing to do and more missing to do, but I know I can and will do it.   And so I carry on with a hair and a sylph and love in my heart where my girl still lives and always will.


Debbie and Angel Patches

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