I purchased two hand-reared, peach-faced lovebirds during my first round of IV Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide) treatment. Recovery from that treatment can be quite rough. Honestly, I just needed something to distract me from the horror I was facing at that time. And that is what these birds did. I fell in love with them, and they certainly saved my sanity.
I named them Indica and Sativa, as this was around the time I started using cannabis to find some relief from all the side effects of all my treatments, including insomnia and severe pain, among others. Just like cannabis, these birds were giving me some daily relief from the harsh reality I was battling at that time.
During the 12 months of receiving Cytoxan infusions every four weeks, I was incredibly weak and mostly stayed bed-bound. The only friends I saw were the ones who came to visit me and my caring boyfriend (who basically moved in for that time just to take care of me). I spent a lot of my time without much human company, but it certainly was not missed.
My two lovebirds were there to nurse my soul, one kiss at a time. Some days, I would be too weak to get out of bed, and they would just kiss my fingers through the wires of their cage. Author Robert Brault said, “The difference between friends and pets is that friends we allow into our company, pets we allow into our solitude.” I could not agree more. They were there for me while I was at my weakest; they were there for me when I did not want to show the world my droopy-eyed, drooling face; and they are there for me when I wake up every morning. They always seem just as happy as I am that I am alive.
I cannot communicate with these two creatures, as we do not speak the same language. Yet, they have shown me more compassion, care, loyalty, and love than most humans. They made me feel less isolated even though I was trapped inside my apartment for days on end.
Pets can be such a wonderful part of recovery. Mine add plenty to my life. They are something that I must take care of. They are sometimes my reason to get out of bed, even if it is just for 10 minutes. They are still my favorite dose of serotonin, even though they are a bit naughtier and cheekier now that they are older. Life is beautiful — never stop fighting.
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