Life has a bad habit of hitting you with a curve ball when you least expect it.

A few months ago, I had plans to go to Chattanooga, Tennessee for a mini-vacation with my mama. We did end up going but just before we were ready to take off, my dog Lila got sick. 

She’d been acting depressed, not eating much for a week or two and just not herself. Ryne and I had taken her to the veterinarian’s office three times, even getting a second opinion from a different doctor. They ran X-rays, bloodwork and gave her a physical exam. One vet said she was probably just developing anxiety in her older years but the other found out she was having some sort of pain focused in her neck area.

We were referred to Carriage Hills Animal Hospital in Montgomery and saw Dr. Bill Van Hooser, known to many as the “TV Vet” as he appears on WSFA Channel 12 often, giving advice to pet owners on air. He diagnosed her right away with a herniated disc in her neck and told me she needed immediate emergency surgery. 

I’d circle the world, the moon, the sun, all the planets and back again for my fur babies so I signed paperwork immediately without hesitation, even when I saw the price estimate. It was a terrible time, as I was set to leave for Tennessee the next morning. 

My Lila girl had surgery without me and her dad — Ryne — picked her up from surgery, FaceTimed me to let me see her and took care of her at home.

It set us back quite the hunk of change. Forty-two hundo’ to be exact. 

I can almost feel the mouths dropping reading that.

I know, I know.

That much money on a dog? Yep. My dogs are my babies and if a human had to have that operation, it’d be triple the cost. So I’m kind of glad it was my dog that had to have the surgery and not me or a child.

Mama now calls Lila “42” as a nickname. 

It was a setback but it was one of those things life throws at you sometimes you just have to roll with.

About a month ago, our stove broke. It took a few weeks to get a new stove. As soon as the stove was delivered — literally the next day — our fridge broke.

Really, life? Come on. Yet another thing thrown at Ryne and me we just had to accept and deal with. All of the food in our fridge and freezer was ruined and we endured almost two weeks straight of eating out. Luckily, I’d been putting off the grocery store so it could’ve been worse. 

Life is always going to do whatever it can to challenge you. People always say, “Why me?” I don’t know why you or I, but I do know the toughest people are the best at handling challenges thrown their way. I also know people who aren’t all that tough can grow stronger through trials life gives them. 

I’ve been dealt much tougher cards than unexpected expenses, a sick dog and broken appliances. My life has been one big challenge but I am more than capable of overcoming every obstacle thrown my way. I’m aware of my strength and I don’t downplay it; neither should any of you.

Everything is not always going to go your way. Quite frankly, the majority of the time it won’t go your way. 

Things aren’t always going to work out. That’s OK.

Your journey isn’t always going to be as easy as the person’s next to you. You may experience more hardships than you think you deserve. But take it from somebody who has experienced a boatload of hardships, you can and will get through it.  

Life can be hard but it’s important to remember you can handle it and there is a lesson in everything. 

My fridge finally came. 

First of all, they ordered a size too big so it hardly fit in the space. Second, it doesn’t have an icemaker.

I know that may sound like a first-world problem, but dang it I’ve lived my whole life using ice trays and just when I finally got used to the luxury of a built-in icemaker it was taken away from me. 

Life goes on though, doesn’t it?

Santana Wood is the assistant managing editor of TPI's newspapers.