We Have Cancer

She has osteosarcoma. That is the scariest and loneliest thing I have ever been told. Girly Girl is now facing a terrible disease with an end game that is, at best, dismal. We have cancer. Except it didn’t take me very long to learn that we were anything but alone. And that it wasn’t just Girly Girl, Blue and I who were facing this. There were so many resources out there just waiting to lend us their knowledge, strength, shoulders, ears, experience, hugs, encouragement and support. In the darkest moments, when things seemed most hopeless, so many heroes have appeared and pointed the way.

Family: Grammy and Charlie provided a safe haven for Blue when I had to take Girly Girl to appointments and procedures. They took care of Girly Girl with the tenderest care in order to allow mumma some time off with friends every now and again. They spoiled both Blue and Girly Girl. They understood how Blue and Girly Girl are my children. They let me cry and cried with me.

Friends: They also understood that Blue and Girly Girl are my children and never once behaved any differently. They checked on me and Girly Girl constantly and let me know they were there for me, whatever I needed. They let me cry and cried with me.

My Meet and Greet Family: They formed a tight circle around Girly Girl, Blue and I. They checked on us daily and sent us encouraging and supporting emails. They offered their service, their knowledge, their resources and even offered to pool funds to help us pay for Girly Girl’s treatment. They let me cry and they cried with me.

My Facebook and Twitter Friends: They offered their support and encouragement. Many offered their experience which was invaluable in figuring out what to do and what not to do next.

Work: My bosses (who I am also blessed to have had as friends before they became my bosses) also miraculously understand that Girly Girl and Blue are my children and have allowed me the time I’ve needed to bring Girly Girl to her appointments and procedures. They never hesitated once. From the minute I told them of the diagnosis, they told me to take the time I needed and to do what I needed to do and they are still telling me the same thing.

The Animal House: Our favorite pet supply store. Aubrey and Dan Martin who own and operate this store believe in a holistic approach to pet care. We have considered them friends and mentors ever since we met them. They have provided us with all their knowledge regarding nutrition and supplements for cancer patients as well as their experience and support.

Help Your Dog Fight Cancer: A book recommended by Aubrey at The Animal House. This was written by Laurie Kaplan. It was the only book we could find on the subject and turned out to be a wonderful resource. It wasn’t osteosarcoma specific but well worth the read nonetheless.

Grey Talk: A group of greyhound fanatics who have found a home on the web. There are all sorts of forums in this community including Greyhound Health. The people in this community are, without a doubt, unsung heroes. Anyone posting a thread about their hound’s health issue can count on immediate feedback with support and shared experience. They are there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You are NEVER alone.

Dr. Laura Edelbaum: Our family vet. We love her. She is allopathic but has an interest in Traditional Chinese Medicine and has a working knowledge of supplements as well. When we first went to her regarding Girly Girl’s limp, she felt it was orthopedic given the signs. But she was willing to consider my concerns and set up the x-rays that revealed the tumor earlier than we may have otherwise discovered it.

Dr. Guillermo Couto: We had heard Dr. Couto speak at the Raynham Adoption Expo so we knew to reach out to him, but even if we had not, so many people in the greater greyhound community directed us towards him, it would have been hard not to end up at his doorstep. This is another unsung hero. Here is a doctor who heads a very busy Greyhound Health and Wellness Program at Ohio State University. He spends time volunteering at a greyhound rescue clinic in Spain, he does research and he is willing to consult, for free, on the cancer cases of retired racing greyhounds. He responded to our numerous emails quickly, even when he was out on vacation. Not only that, he took the time to give us some words of encouragement and support along the way.

Dr. Erin Romansik, NEVOG: When our local surgeons were unwilling to work with us regarding my wishes for Girly Girl’s care and were unwilling to even speak with Dr. Couto’s colleagues at OSU, we were at a loss as to where to go next. There weren’t a lot of options here in Maine. Dr. Couto suggested the New England Veterinary Oncology Group in Waltham MA. We saw Dr. Erin Romansik and he was wonderful. When the Fine Needle Aspirate he attempted was unsuccessful, he worked with us on the next step.

Dr. Karen Pastor, Massachusetts Veterinary Referral Hospital: Dr. Romansik referred us to Dr. Pastor and we were again in very good hands. Dr. Pastor, a surgeon, consulted with us about doing a biopsy but in the end, after a day spent there, we ended up doing a different procedure. We now await the pathology results and the next steps. Not only did Dr. Pastor make it clear she cared about Girly Girl but when she learned that Girly Girl is my heart dog, she took time to show me a photo of her “soul mate dog.” A beautiful, giant, harlequin Great Dane. The 5x7 photo sits framed on the counter in the examining room among the many photos from her patients.

So though sometimes it feels pretty lonely, with a team of heroes like this behind us, we’ll continue to fight. You see “we” have cancer.

1 comment:

  1. We were also at Raynham for Dr. Coutou speech, he is a great man. Hang in there Girly Girl Bentley and I will send good vibes.


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