Friday, April 25, 2014
Prayers for Pino
It's true what they say - that when you hear the word, "cancer", you immediately go to a dark place. At least I did yesterday when I heard the vet's opinion.
I hesitated to write this post today–thinking I should wait until Monday or Tuesday when the lab results are back for the biopsy of huge growth found on Pino. Putting these things online can lead to a lot of people trying to be helpful, but giving out advice and surmising on things they know little about. As one good friend said when I told her, "Try not to worry until it happens, worry just takes the good out of today". Very Buddhist, I told her-and true.
And Pino is not worried. Animals just don't think of the future. They are in the present. He is looking for food, sun, shade and shelter. He is not projecting. He is not starting his day with, "What if?".
I had my vet coming out yesterday for routine maintenance of the pigs and check ups for Aldo the Elder and Mother Matilda. I am new to llama care and needed advice on feeding, since he is quite thin. I've managed to put weight on him, his teeth are good, but she said not to expect him to live much more than a year since he is ancient for a llama. This is part of the deal I make with the universe when I take on the old ones–you do what you can for them, but the real purpose of Apifera is to let them feel safe, so that they can let go when they are ready. I try to remember that. I kept Matilda's weight on all winter but she is being supplemented twice daily to get some rib meat on her. Once they start losing that back weight, it's tough to keep it on.
Anyway...Pino. My farrier and I noticed the growth on him two days ago. It is on the exterior sheath. It's huge, with another growth on top of that which erupted. I immediately thought it was either a dirty sheath that got infected or a sarcoma which I've dealt with before. I called my vet and wondered if it was an emergency, but she said to hang tight for her visit, since he was eating and peeing [sorry for the graphics-but this is part of farm living and caring for creatures].
When she saw it she immediately reacted and said it looked more like cancer than a sarcoma. My dirty sheath possibility was blown out of the water due to the appearance. The hard feel of the mass made her think it was not a sarcoma. The second growth on the larger mass is bloody and raw and she took a biopsy on the spot. Pino was so stoic and calm and allowed her to do that. The next step is to wait for lab results. No matter what it is it needs to come off surgically.
I think what made it so shocking was...it was Pino. Out of all the animals here I never thought it would be Pino. I always imagined Pino standing stoically over my grave, years from now, grazing on bramble living on into his 50's. Perhaps it was just that in the moment I heard "cancer" all my animals felt old and precarious–which many are. If I'm not trying to keep weight on Old Rudy or Aldo, it's Old Mama Sugee or Matilda, and so many others.
But we will face whatever it is. We are in very good hands. And once the results are in, we will proceed with whatever we decide is the next best move for Pino. It will be about Pino.
This morning I was out with the donkeys. Each morning, and night, I have to water down feed for Matilda and feed her. It is easiest to just stand with her so that no one else gets her feed, so she won't rush and suffer from choke. She was almost finished and I was about to leave, but Pino came up to me and I knelt down and held him a bit. I communed encouragement without words. I was scratching his neck which he likes, but he kept arranging his body so my eye level and head were in front of his massive growth. Each time I pushed him back a bit, so I was hear his neck again, but he'd take a few steps and rearrange himself so I'd be next to his massive growth. Donkeys are so sensitive. I really felt he was showing it to me, asking me for help. While it appears to not be causing him pain-as he is running, rolling, eating as usual, it must be uncomfortable and probably itchy. Maybe he is telling me, "It's okay, it's there, I know, but I'll be okay no matter the outcome."
To a donkey, finding out you have cancer means little to them. It is the care given to make appropriate decisions on how to treat the cancer-to remember their animal needs over human caretaker needs. But we'll face that when we know what we are dealing with.
So. whatever your preference in higher powers, perhaps take a few minutes to request that Pino, and I, enter the next stages of whatever this is with optimism and steadfast calm. I told him it was his time for healing, since he is so adept at letting others hang on to him and feel comfort. For any of you who ave followed along all these years, I don't have to tell you, Pino is a very special entity.