Sorry to hear of your hardships and the loss of your pet.
When I was very young (like 6-7) I saw someone playing guitar and singing on tv, and knew I wanted to do that. The need to play has never left me.
Begged my parents for a couple years until they could finally afford ten lessons and a guitar for $60 at a local store. I was ecstatic and worked really hard at learning my lessons. My teacher tried to teach me left handed (I am) and at the end of the lessons told my parents that I was one of those people who were just not meant to play music.
At about 12 a friend whose family we camped with regularly talked me into get my guitar back out and his dad restrung it right handed with new strings he supplied, and they taught me to strum rhythm to 2 songs the next weekend of camping together.
I have an uncle who ran a band for 30 years who gave me a banjo when I was 15, taught me bass note runs between guitar chords chords, and brought me to my first bluegrass festival (Bean blossom '75). I got hooked and have played many types of music in different situations and bands over the years. I rarely get called to perform any more, but play daily here at home (mostly fiddle now-a-days) and still try to learn and improve on my music.
I’ve always been a really slow learner when it comes to music and am self taught but continue to struggle to play well.
Managed to acquire a huge blood clot in my leg a few years back and it ended my career swinging around in trees with a chainsaw…now I spend most of my time playing/recording music and reading.
I lost my best pal of 16 years , an English Shepherd named Rusty, two years ago…I always swore he would be my last dog…this old house just got too big for me here alone…I made it ten days before I rescued Otis, a one year old Staffordshire Bull Terrier who had been quite mistreated his first year. With much love and patience he’s turned into a great little buddy and has filled a huge empty spot in my life.
I wish you all the best in your upcoming surgery and your musical adventures.