It was a strange one. I’ve been planning for a year all the fun things I would do on my

40th Birthday. First, it was a trip to Europe. Then I switched it to a fun trip closer to

home with some friends. THEN I switched it again to a fun day in NYC with my


And then life happened. I haven’t written to you here in a while, and here’s the

why behind that. LIFE happened! Claire, my wonderful dog, had this ‘mole’ on

her face that she started to mess with. I took her to the vet we use in NJ and he said

“Oh, sure you can get that ‘mole’ removed for $1500. But it’s really nothing to worry about.”

Ok, doc. So I didn’t worry about it, and I went out of town. I left Claire with my awesome

dog sitter, with a ‘cone of shame’ (do you know the reference?) so she wouldn’t mess with

the ‘mole’.

The dog sitter contacted me at one point to tell me that she had taken the cone off and Claire

had made a mess of her face and she didn’t know what to do. When I came back, my dog

had an infected bulging wound the size of a plum on the side of her face. I had a complete


We took her back to the vet office immediately, and got a different vet who said “Oh yeah, that’s a tumor.

It could be cancerous. We’ll remove it for $1500”. At least he was consistent on the price.

We made the fastest and best decision we could, to take her down to my family’s vet in

Virginia, where they are consistent with what they say and do a fantastic job. Only problem

was, the soonest we could get down was the weekend of my birthday. Canceled my birthday

plans and made the appointment.

Oh, but that is not ALL!

After we made the vet appointment and I started to shift my bday plans to going for a hike

in the mountains with my family and just general running around in the country plans, I had

my own dr.’s appt. It was just a simple test. And during that test the doctor said something

was off and I would have to come back the following week to have ANOTHER test, and after

that next test I shouldn’t move for about 5 days. What?! Of course, those days fell at the same

time we had Claire’s appointment in Virginia.

Doc said I could drive, just not walk around a lot (hello! I’m a FITNESS INSTRUCTOR!). SO,

I gave up completely on having any sort of meaningful fun 40th Birthday plans and drove all night

to get my dog to the vet in Virginia by 7am for her surgery.

My friend Kate called to ask me how I was feeling on my last day of being in my 30s. I said I never

thought about it, but thanks for asking- I feel like a zombie!

The day of my actual birthday I had a wonderful leisurely day with my family. I couldn’t go play in

the mountains, or do anything really, what with the bed rest, but I found that

I was just so grateful to be with them all together. I have an amazing family!

And I was so grateful that I made the decision to

take my doggie friend to the vet I trusted (where I did NOT pay $1500 and got way better treatment!)


I acknowledge that I was initially disappointed that things didn’t go

as I had planned for the big 4-0, but I also adapted very quickly to what was happening around me. I made

the best decisions given my circumstances and had the best possible outcomes.


I guess what I learned from this experience is that life happens and you just have

to roll with it and savor whatever little morsels you can. And to be open to

enjoying the unexpected. Oh! And to trust my instincts! But I already knew that

one 😉


Claire looks like Frankendoggie now, but she seems much happier and vivacious.

And I am still planning a fun day to see my friends very soon!


Your Fitness Coach (on bed rest!)

Miranda Zukowski