Dear Cancer,

I am normally not so forthright in my disdain for others, but I feel it is important for me to be honest with you. I wish you did not exist. I despise you. I hate that you rob loved ones of time together. I hate that you took both of my Greyhounds, Gunner and Jahzara, from me far too soon. We were happy until you came along and invaded our lives.

At the same time, in all honesty, I must thank you. As much as I hate having lost Jahzara (May 2012), I also have to admit that you forced me to put my priorities into place. Ever since Romeo, my Vizsla, joined our family in August of 2009, I had been devoting a great deal of my time to raising and training him. That meant less time to spend with my girl, Jahzara. It was easy not to spend as much time with her since she was already very well-trained and well-behaved.

I can’t tell you how many times I told her I really needed to devote more time to spending with her, just the two of us. More than anything, she loved being with me. Whether it was going for off-leash walks, training, learning new things, or just snuggling on the couch, she simply wanted to spend time with me. I am certain she would have been perfectly happy if she never had to see anyone else – human or canine. If she and I could have simply stayed together and shut out the rest of the world, she would never have yearned for anything else.

However, life gets busy. Between my husband, Romeo, extended family, health issues, working, chores, errands, and whatever else came up in our lives, there never seemed to be enough time and energy to spend as much time with Jahzara as I would have liked. Devoting more time to her kept getting pushed off.

That is, until you came along, Cancer. You forced me to stop and take a hard look at how I was spending my time. There was no, “I’ll spend more time with you tomorrow or next week or as soon as I finish this project.” Once you arrive on the scene, Cancer, there is no assurance of tomorrow or next week. There is only today.

So, while I abhor you for taking my Jahzara from me too soon, I do have to thank you for making me do today what I kept putting off until tomorrow. I was able to spend lots of quality time with Jahzara these past couple of months, and in particular, her last two days. Because I pushed aside those other things that I kept thinking had to get done today. Turns out, some of those things were the things that could wait until tomorrow.

So, thank you Cancer. (But I still hate you.)