2015 was a rather tumultuous year. There were ups and severe downs. There were many changes.
The year started out quite badly. Our pug, Daisy, was diagnosed with cancer, and it was spreading quickly.One of the tumors was a brain tumor and it was causing seizures, which were getting worse (longer and more frequent). There was no way to cure her or treat her to extend her life in a meaningful way. We chose to keep her as comfortable as we could for as long as we could.
She started to show signs of pain that even pain medication couldn’t help. After a month from the diagnosis, we made the difficult decision to let her go in peace and with dignity. We put her down on February 6th.
During that time, the company I worked for was going through a reorganization and layoffs. Work was incredibly tense. My team shrank from nine people to three, yet the workload grew. I did my best to guide my team through that period, but it was rough on everyone.
Meanwhile, J. was dealing with stress of his own at work. His work environment was toxic and he was looking actively for a new opportunity. There was a strong lead for a position in Nairobi, but nothing was certain.
Also during that time, I was suffering from very bad sciatic pain. I would wake up in middle of the night from a sharp, shooting pain that ran from my hip all the way down my leg. I couldn’t do much about it for a while.
Once things slowed down a bit, I was finally able to get it checked out. I had a herniated disc. I started physical therapy several times a week to push it back into a place as much as possible and to strengthen the surrounding muscles.
We did manage to fit in some happiness during that awful first quarter. We took a long weekend to Paris to celebrate our fifth anniversary. It was a much needed break. After that trip, I found myself starting to feel better from an emotional standpoint.
After our Parisian jaunt and around the time I started the physical therapy, something big happened. Nairobi became real. That opportunity came at just the right time.
The summer was filled with the chaos, stress, and excitement of the move. Packing up. Paperwork. Disorganization from J.’s new job. My leaving work (holy crap – I just quit my job!). Telling our friends and family. Starting a job search before I even set foot in Kenya (not easy but necessary). Flying to Kenya separately. Finding a home. Unpacking. Settling in.
And we are still settling in. It takes time to set up a home. It takes time to make new friends.
We miss Daisy. The rough roads are not good for my back. I’m feeling much better but I need to do my physical therapy exercises daily to keep the pain at bay. But other things are much better.
J. hit the two-year cancer-free mark this summer, and that was the highlight of the year for me. He still checks in with Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York and sees a doctor at Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi. He’s strong and healthy and all of his lab work is looking great. He just needs to keep up the screenings.
J.’s work is great. He’s loving it and is very happy with the new job. (No comment on the Christmas chaos. It wound up really nice, but, wow, those were 12 hours of agony while we waited.) I got a pretty great job and started working a little while ago. We sold our New York apartment. We are closing out the year mostly on a happier note.
The sad part closing out this year is that the year is ending as badly as it started for the dogs in our family. My in-laws lost Sydney, their handsome and very sweet dog. He was a perfect gentleman, a great guard dog, excellent at snuggling, and a friend of Daisy. I like to think they are hanging out together in Heaven, working in conjunction to get the best treats. We miss him.
I won’t say good riddance to 2015—it was a year of experience. Instead, I’ll raise a glass to 2016. Here’s hoping there will be less pain, more happy moments, and many more adventures!