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When it rains…

Photo: Genessa Gutzait· The Sentry

If anything, this crazy disaster of a summer has taught me some important life lessons: Plans sometimes have to change, money will be lost, everyone dies, and even the most innocent can suffer.

I won’t go too much into it, but as you may have guessed, a lot has happened in my life this summer. I had to cancel a few trips because my grandpa got suddenly very sick, I lost a lot of money in the process from non-refundable purchases, my grandpa passed away, and my 3-year-old dog was diagnosed with an advanced form of cancer.

This summer was projected to be a productive and fun few months for me to focus on working and have some exciting adventures. Instead, it was a summer of scrambling to salvage broken pieces of plans, crying over irreplaceable losses, and not getting much of my to-do list checked off. Overall, it’s been a learning experience.

When my dog Coco had to get surgery to remove a mast cell tumor in his leg, and when pathology results came back saying that it was stage III cancer and almost certainly would spread to other parts of his body, the vets kept telling me what an unusual case he was.

The vet oncologist repeated over and over how she had never even seen a 3-year-old with this condition before, and that all of her dog patients were at least 10 years old. She kept stressing how the odds of such a young dog getting this condition were so low.

Great.

Why couldn’t he have beat the odds on something fun? Why couldn’t I have learned that Coco had a superpower, or that he could choose the winning lottery numbers? Why did Coco have to be different in this way?

I kept asking myself these type of “why me?” questions about all the bad things that seemed to keep happening. But as you may have guessed, they never fixed anything. And that’s when I realized that feeling sorry for myself was just hurting me more.

Sure, I had to change some big plans and lost a lot of money in the process, but I was still able to do some cool stuff, and I was able to spend some quality time with my grandparents—not everyone gets that opportunity.

Yes, Coco has cancer and that sucks. But you know what’s cool? The fact that I have some pretty amazing dogs, and that I’m able to give them the best possible life they can have.

This summer has helped me really internalize that old cliche: It’s not what happens to you, it’s how you respond to it.

Tessa Blair
Tessa Blair

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