Lemons don’t care what is going on in your life, they continue to appear and sometimes it seems they are hooked up to an automatic machine being tossed directly at your head and heart. The past two weeks have been a challenge for me and I have had to deal with lemons. However, throughout all of it, I have not given up. Don’t get me wrong, I had a couple breakdowns. The one thing I have this time in my life is a fantastic support system that helps me get past the lemons and move onto the next phase.
As readers of my Facebook pages know last week I had to put one of my cats to sleep. It was not an easy decision, but it was the right decision. Lucky was sick Sunday night. She could barely breath. She has had breathing issues in the past that have been attributed to a cold, allergies, or some kind of upper respiratory infection. Sunday night and Monday, I kept cleaning her face, especially her nose and then using a wash cloth that was warm heat to try and get some steam to break up any kind of blockage. However, I realized pretty quickly that was not working and made an appointment for Tuesday morning with the vet. I also made an appointment for Lucy that way they could both get checked out and updated on any shots.
Tuesday morning, I went to the vet with both my cats. My worst fear when I walked into the vet’s office was that they were going to prescribe a pill for me to give Lucky and she does not take pills well. However, I would have been happy with that diagnoses than what ended up being so heartbreaking. They immediately put Lucky on oxygen and took an x-ray. She had a lot of fluid in her lungs, she was also in heart and kidney failure. She was in pain and suffering. They kept her on oxygen while I sat in the room crying trying to decide what to do. I was not prepared for this decision and I was not prepared to feel so alone making it. The vet was so kind and we talked about what was going on with Lucky, what options there were and her quality of life. I just could not put her through all the suffering she was going through and there really was very little chance of her getting better.
The staff brought Lucky into the room so I could say “Good-bye.” I could not stop crying. I was looking into her eyes and I know she knew. I told her how much I loved her and how she changed my life. Really both my cats changed my life 11 years ago. While I love both my cats, Lucky was special to me because we found her on the last day of my radiation treatments (I had treatments for cancer 11 years ago). When we found her, she was less than 4 weeks old and barely breathing. Her eyes were matted shut, her nose was clogged and she was a mess. That night I took her to our vet who gave her a 50/50 shot at surviving the next 48 hours. So, I cleaned her up, gave her medicine, and went to the pet store to get kitten stuff because I knew she’d make it. I was not going to let her die. I remember when I went for my cancer diagnoses in September 2005, I was given 50/50 chance and fought like hell to survive. I could fight for this precious kitten to survive to. That is how she got the name Lucky. However, last Tuesday there was nothing I could do, no miracle that would change things. So, I held her and kissed her while she drifted off and crossed over Rainbow Bridge. I hope that when she got there she met up with our dog Allie who went there in 2013.
The vet’s office was only a mile from my apartment which was good because I do not know how I got home. When I walked in the door with Lucy, I just could not stop crying. Then poor Lucy ran around the apartment crying looking for Lucky. They were best buds. Eleven years ago, as soon as the vet told me Lucky was in good shape, I went out and adopted Lucy and they had been inseparable since. I am still struggling with the loss of Lucky because we had our routines every day. In the mornings when I would shower, Lucy would escort me to the shower make sure I got started then leave. As soon as I turned the shower off, Lucky was right there waiting for me to get out and of course I had to pet her and scratch behind her ears. In the evenings, they would greet me at the door. There were other routines too, but getting used to them without her has been my adjustment. My heart breaks every day when Lucy goes into her search mode looking for Lucky and crying. I don’t know if I’m ready for another cat. The vet told me to give it a couple weeks. I just know right now Lucy is my concern and priority. This week I received Lucky’s remains and paw print. The box the remains are in is beautiful and the paw print is precious.
There are a lot of people who will not understand the bond between a human and their pet. Animals have been a huge part of my life. When I could not count on anyone else in my life I always had an animal/pet that loved me unconditionally and was always there for me. I have had to say “good-bye” to many pets over the years, but this one just hit me so hard. I had/have a strong bond with my cats. They helped me recover from cancer treatments, they helped me realize the importance of life, they helped me adjust to life after divorce, they helped me adjust to life in Charlotte, and they helped me get through illnesses and stress just the past two years. To me my cats were/are family so losing one has been like losing a family member. I will be ok and I will adjust, but my heart is still aching right now.
That was pretty much the start of my last week with lemons and trust me they hit me hard in the heart. Then Wednesday and Thursday I found out from the Department of Health that I need to make some additional renovations to my candy store to comply with their regulations. I understand, but it definitely was not in my budget to do some major plumbing modifications. This caused me to have a mini breakdown and like I have said my support system came through and helped me get it together so we can figure out the solutions. We have come up with a game plan and hopefully it will work well and we can move on.
Last Friday morning, I was doing laundry and my washer decided to leak. Being that I live in an apartment and on the 3rd floor, I had to clean it up quickly so it did not soak through to the neighbors. I did not hear any complaining so I assume I caught it in time. Unfortunately, the repair person couldn’t come out until Monday. When he did come, it was a silly screw that had come lose in the back of the washer. At least it was a quick fix. I will give the repair guy credit he did all kinds of tests to make sure it was working when he left. Since I rent the washer and dryer, he told me if it happens again to tell them when I call in to swap the unit.
This week I found out that the landlady for my candy store is not going to be out of the apartment above the store in time for me to move into it in July. I already gave notice where I currently live. So now I need to find a place. I’ve called around apartments in the area of the store and they are all full and don’t anticipate having something by July. Friday, I am going to talk to a realtor to see about houses for rent. I need to move closer to the store because the commute is just a time killer for me trying to get a lot of things done. Hopefully I can find something and my plans can continue.
This week I have been working on filling out the appropriate paperwork for approval to change the entrance doors of the store and add my logo to the windows. Because we are located in the historical district York, SC everything pertaining to the outside of the building has to be approved before you can do it. The current doors will not pass the Department of Health inspection so hopefully that will be an easy one to get approved. I am also working on paperwork for the Department of Health which is stressful because of the uniqueness of my business.
I knew I would run into some challenges along the way, but when you combine personal life lemons with shop lemons, it feels like they are coming from all directions. You know what though, that is ok. I would rather be dodging lemons than not be around to dodge anything. I say that because today (5/25) for me was a reflective day on being alive. It was 11 years ago today (5/25) that I had my last radiation treatment for cancer. I had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma that was spreading quickly and so they hit me hard with chemotherapy and radiation. I will write about my cancer experience on a later blog. I still have side effects from the chemotherapy and radiation. I also am monitored to watch that I don’t get breast cancer. The oncologists I had told me that those who have had Hodgkin’s are predisposition to get breast cancer. But reflecting on life in general I am very happy to be alive. So I can handle the lemons life wants to throw at me.
Thinking back to the 50/50 chance I had when I got the cancer diagnoses, makes me think that I was saved for a reason. It could have been to save Lucky that day 11 years ago, it could be to go on this journey and help others cope with lemons in their lives, or it could be to open the candy store in York that will be positive, upbeat and a must visit place. I want to make it warm and welcoming. I was saved for a reason and want to make a difference because of it.
I reflect on the past often, not necessarily to relive it, but to see where I was and where I am and the journey to get here. I am happy with my life and those who knew me many years ago and still today have said I look the happiest I’ve ever been. That is because I am looking at life differently. I am looking at life as a gift and one that I don’t want to give up yet.
I think back to the many times in my past life that I either attempted or thought about committing suicide and thank the universe for not letting it happen. I will write a blog in the future about those times in my life. I have seen too many lives lost due to car accidents, cancer, childhood diseases, heart attacks, strokes, aneurisms, suicide, and of course violence. Life really is too precious to take for granted.
I hope that those who are feeling like there is no hope reach out to someone to talk to. There are people in this world that care about you. There are strangers like me who do care and who do want you to know you are not alone. I know the feeling of no one understanding what I was going through, the feeling that no one cares, the feeling that if I was to die no one would miss me, and the feeling that there is just no hope. I’m here to tell you it’s ok to feel that way, but please do not act on it. Instead, stick around and show the world what you can do. We all have a purpose in life and sometimes it takes a while to realize the purpose of our life. I can tell you from experience it is not to end your own life. Your life is too valuable and too special.
Let us all turn those lemons into lemonade, have a shot (or a couple shots) of tequila add some candy and figure out how to continue with this life we were given.
Don’t give up. Your life, everyone’s life matters. We need to make sure everyone knows they are important.