One Bright Birthday

Sometimes I feel like I am in the minority of cancer patients in that I don’t often get very upset about my situation.

I mean, I am upset. I just don’t get upset. The only time I’ve cried throughout this experience has been the result of additional stresses in my life that have nothing to do with the cancer. They just upset me more easily because I’m full of cracks from the cancer.

There are moments however when I do feel really sad about what has become of my life. As a young adult, I was guilty of thinking I was invincible. Of assuming I had a lifetime ahead of me to do things. Not that I don’t think cancer is going to cut any of that short, but the word “if” is used a lot more these days instead of “when.”

My friend Lauren reminded me the other day of my favourite Leonard Cohen lyrics, which I’ve shared on this blog before:

“There is a crack, a crack in everything/That’s how the light gets in”

Without the cracks caused by cancer, I wouldn’t have some of the light they let in. Hands down, the brightest light of this whole thing has been BUSTER!

Call me a crazy dog lady all you want, this little pooch makes me one happy girl. The opportunity to get a dog has easily been the best thing to come out of this crazy cancer experience. Even when he mistakes the kitty litter for a playpen, or insists on going for a walk at 10pm.

And today my little Buster Bartholomew is one year old!! I got him from another owner when he was 10 months old. I guess he is now officially an adolescent dog, despite his scrawny puppy-like looks.

Please excuse the hack icing job. I whipped it up this morning while chugging back my coffee.

If you’re interested, here’s what went into the dog-friendly microwave cake:

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp water)
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp applesauce

All mixed up and cooked in a greased bowl for about 3 minutes in the microwave. Topped with a quick icing that got licked up immediately.

My little Buster however is a very special snowflake and isn’t blessed with the iron stomach of many other dogs. So he didn’t get to have all of his cake in one sitting.

One little piece at a time! I call him my “Dust Buster” because he likes to hoover the crumbs up off the floor.

Buddy the Boxer is here too and got to reap the benefits of the birthday celebration. My step-sister watched from the sidelines with her human baby boy, laughing at the lengths I go to celebrate my non-human child.

Call me crazy all you want, I refuse to let the light of those cracks let slip through my fingers. Without them, things would get pretty dark around here.

Happy birthday Buster!!

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Posted on December 5, 2011, in Baking, Buster, Cancer, Pets. Bookmark the permalink. 46 Comments.

  1. The light through the cracks line…beautiful! and that picture of him…awww.

  2. He’s so sweet! You are such an inspiration, Susan! Your attitude never fails to amaze me :)

  3. Happy Birthday, Buster! There is nothing crazy about showing some love to the little man who’s been by your side. :)

  4. Happy Birthday Buster Brown! There is truly light in every situation–even if it’s hard to see when things get so freaking dark–but he most certainly counts as a bright spot, as does all the support and friendships that have no doubt come to light throughout your ordeal. Things can suck, but people–and animals–can be an amazing reminder of good that’s out there.

  5. You have a knack for capturing the most adorable photos of your puppy. Happy 1st Birthday Buster!

  6. I would do the EXACT same thing for my dog… and WILL for my future dogs.

  7. What a wonderful post! I will try to see the light through the cracks, and I will make this cake for my dog. They are there for you everyday no matter what!

  8. um I love this :) I too am a crazy dog lady, so join the club :)

    Buster is way cute, and happy birthday little buddy :)

  9. He is too cute!

  10. Awww Happy Birthday to Buster! He is so adorable! I’m glad you are the crazy dog lady because I love seeing pictures of him! :)

  11. Happy birthday sweet Buster!

  12. Happy Birthday Buster! Thanks for taking such good care of your mom!

  13. Perfect timing! It is my adopted Bean’s second birthday today. We’ve been together just under six months and I love how you said that Buster is one of the lights through the cracks – because that’s exactly what I feel about Bean. Or I do now, the first couple months were bumpy.

    Thrilled to know Bean shares her birthday with Buster! She was busy tossing her birthday cookie [physically not metaphorically] up in the air this morning.

    Keep the cute puppy pictures flowing :)

  14. He’s to adorable for words!

  15. aww! happy birthday Buster! that cake looks good enough for humans to eat!! LOL!

  16. I’ve been a lurker of your blog for quite awhile and have yet to comment but I just can’t hold it in any longer. Your puppy is quite possibly the cutest puppy in the world…well second cutest behind my own I mean ;)

    You are not a crazy dog lady…taking a million pictures of your baby and making him a birthday cake is very normal in the animal loving world!

    Cheers!!

  17. Haha, what a good dog mom you are! :) I love that lyric, too. What a great reminder that there’s a silver lining in everything.

  18. I saw earlier on FB that you posted about a birthday and I was like wait a second, it’s not Susan’s birthday … who’s birthday is it?

    Can you bring Buster to Toronto. PLEEEEEEEEASE! I think I’m wearing Brad down on the whole thing. He’s admitted he wants a pug.

  19. Happy Birthday, Buster! And go ahead and enjoy being a crazy dog lady! I’m a crazy cat lady and proud of it! Our relationships with our pets are so simple, compared to those with other humans. It’s kinda like having recess when you were in school – a chance to just play in between the hard work you need to do with your human relationships!

    • Haha, that’s a fun way of looking at it. I always use the example of how people react when they see me without a wig or hat on. Most people either look shocked or sad, but Buster never flinches <3

  20. I dunno, dude…I’ve spent lots of time with cancer patients while both my parents were/are sick and I must say, the oncology ward wasn’t exactly filled with frowning patients. Yes, some will get better and thats why they’re there. Some might not be able to beat it. But I think they all changed their lives for the better after being diagnosed. Maybe they were slightly more miserable with their lives before because they didn';t realize how precious life can be. Like my friend says, “Life is a terminal illness, but cancer patients are just more aware of that”.

    Happy birthday B-dog (thats what I’ nicknaming him)

    • So true – usually on chemo days there’s a group of older men in there cracking jokes and teasing the nurses. Some of my most “real” conversations are with those in the chair next to me. We don’t have to pussyfoot around with each other.

  21. Happy Birthday little Man!!!!! You are a lucky dog to have Susan!!! Keep bringing light into her cracks. (OMG…that sounds so wrong on so many levels! :) )

  22. It’s my dogs 5th birthday tomorrow, so I’m sure he’ll be thanking you for the great recipe! :P Happy Birthday Buster!

  23. Happy birthday to your gorgeous little man! Hey, if you can’t spoil your pets there’s something wrong with the world!!! They give us so much. He deserves all the spoiling you can give him.

  24. Happy birthday to Buster! He looks so adorable it’s not even funny. I love seeing pictures of him!

  25. HAPPY BDAY BUSTER!
    love, lynn and julius

  26. Happy Birthday Buster Puppy!!! Susan, let the light continue to shine through! Such an amazing woman you are.

  27. Happy Birthday, Buster! From one crazy dog lady to another, I can say that you two are so lucky to have each other :) <3

  28. Takes one to know one … you know me … I form part of your group … Crazy Dog Ladies :) Happy birthday to Buster … and thank you for reminding me to appreciate my cracks!

  29. Repeat after me: “I am not crazy. I am not crazy” You are NOT crazy! You’d be crazy not to go ape over that little man. He’s a ray of light without a doubt. And that microwave muffin is just a sprinkle of stevia away from being served in my kitchen.

  30. Happy Birthday Buster!!! Keep taking care of Susan, you are lucky to have such a loving mommy,

  31. Happy Birthday Buster!!! this makes me want to get a dog even more!!! so cute :)

  32. I’ve always loved Leonard Cohen. He’s one of the last true poets. I think that the way you’ve applied that particular line to your life is really beautiful and insightful. Happy birthday Buster! It was Chase the Wonderdog’s birthday yesterday too. He turned six. We gave him a raw steak for supper. Yuck! But he was so happy…

  33. Happy belated birthday to Busta!

    And I love that Leonard Cohen lyric as well.

  34. Buster makes me happy just reading & looking at your pics of him – what a cutie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  35. buster is so cute!!! i want a dog, too :)

  36. Happy Birthday Buster!!!

  37. SQUEAL!!!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY KIDDO!!! Wow, I didn’t even know! I may or may not have finally mailed a package that I’ve been driving around with for over a month or two….

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