Phoenix, “How come you stopped writing and don’t share what we have to say with our latest news?”
Me, “Because I’ve been taking care of you, baby. Also, I don’t want to jinx anything.”
Him, “Daddy, I appreciate that and you’ve been perfect but don’t lose yourself either. I think you should share this with folks and you won’t jinx anything.”
Me, “Well then why don’t you write it if you’re Mister One Of The Most Smartest Dog Breeds In The World.”
Phoenix, “Move aside…I will…”
Thank you to our Canadian friend, Mike C, for sending us this song on a recent Saturday afternoon. It was inspirational for this life story…
You are my King, I have been and shall forever nobly be your Lionheart….
What is written here usually is often of a buoyant and happy atmosphere. An escape to whatever memory in movies, showcasing new food delights or personal stories spanning a lifetime are shared with you. Yet, reality hit here three months ago and that is what I wish to share with you.
I am his angel to look over and enhance what I can in this brief stopover. I am not his savior. That is up to him and him alone to accomplish. I have only been a guide.
We all come into this lifetime hopefully blessed and transitioned into beautiful relationships. Those bonds will either be for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. I chose to be with a man who would be the sum of the whole to me. That kind, warm person would be my Daddy.
It came with a hiccup though as this man I chose would be overflowing with love yet haunted by his pain of many lifetimes past. It would be my job to love and look after him…essentially to be his Assistant. Always would I be his Love, Light and Soul Mate.
I wanted him to know peace, calm and quiet within his beautiful heart.
To be a champion of the human spirit…that’s the challenge, that’s the voyage, that’s the expedition.
Most of all I wanted him to learn, accept and practice unconditional love.
I picked him on a June day 11 years ago. I stuck my tongue out at him to get his attention and have him grasp me up in his arms. Which he did. Then I peed all over his clothes. That was my matter of fact message to him, “You are mine…we will have fun. I will show you love like you’ve never known. That which hurts you within will no longer hurt.” It was going to be a task yet here is that actual moment right here…
I touched his heart with my paw to reveal to him that I wished to take him on a very special life journey. One that many never get to experience. He would not know the encounter and blessing of having a human child, therefore I would be that for him. His kid…forever…
My health soured in early March and I knew what had occurred before anyone else was aware. I did everything in my power to hide it from my Daddy but I no longer was able to. He and my vet, Dr Mark Ditsworth, decided that I would have surgery to remove 5 growths. One of them worried Mark only slightly. I felt Daddy’s dire concern yet we both agreed to get them removed. One would be on my right eyelid, another on my chest, one on my hiney, one of my lower chest. And the last one, to be worrisome, was next to my penis. I know, of all places huh?
The night before my surgery I went to sleep next to Daddy’s bed. He had been crying as my doggie Dad had passed away earlier that evening and I felt his passing. Daddy was worried exponentially for me upon hearing this news with foreboding emotion and my surgery a mere hours away. I felt sad for the loss but knew I needed help…
What would happen next would be the medical equivalent of a thunderstorm rolling across the Plains. One that would affect and change our lives forever. I would never be the same afterwards but more disconcerting for me is how it would affect Daddy. I never wanted that for him yet hopefully it would become a gift.
That gift? To impart upon him that today is all we have.
It was the third day after surgery that I knew that something was dreadfully wrong. I could barely move but gathered strength to sit in front of him and put my paw on his knee as I often do. I looked him in the eye to say, “I need to go to the Doctor.” He didn’t understand yet and medicated me with more pain pills as laid down at the side of his bed as I always do. The pain increased one hundred fold and then what I was worried about first….happened. I whined and whimpered in a pleading tone in the dark for his help. He rolled over to constantly stroke my fur and assure me but I needed him to turn the light on. 40 minutes later at 1:41 a.m. in the morning he did so.
Oh my poor Daddy as he shrieked in horror at the sight. The long incision next to my penis had swollen up and burst open. There was a huge pool of blood next to the bed. I immediately started to lick up the mess so very apologetically. He shouted at me not to do that. I know he doesn’t remember much as he was so upset with my condition.
He securely picked up my 72 pound body as though it was light as a feather. Yes, I was bleeding out and it had become a life or death emergency.
I would not leave my Daddy.
He sped down the freeway at breakneck speed to the Emergency Hospital. The dash clock read 1:50 a.m. and I looked over at him to see tears pouring down his face. I always insist his right hand be on me when we are driving in my Jeep and this time I could feel him grasping my leg with fear.
I was rushed off to the operating room without him at my side. This was a room where lots of unfortunate things happen. I knew it in my heart and felt the overwhelming gloomy energy.
It’s a way station.
Where doggies have passed on either because they were beyond repair or their mommy and daddy could not afford it. The nice Doctor told him it was going to be very expensive not only on this night but for many months to come. And that even then there was absolutely no assurance of a positive outcome. My Daddy said, “Please fix him and save him. I don’t need or want an estimate. Just save him please, Doctor.”
That’s my King and I am his Lionheart.
I was so very weak laying on the cold, silvery metal operating table and that life light was flickering. I could barely see the Dr and nurse as the needle pricked, then pierced my tender skin. A moment later I was grateful to feel relief yet distraught as I fell helplessly, weightless, into a chasm of sleep and dreams of which I did not know if I could recover from. I felt the darkness of forever knocking but I refused to answer the door.
My daddy would drift around the city in my Jeep for next 5 hours waiting for a phone call. In tears, numb and the threat of abandonment screaming at his deepest lifelong fear. The years flashed past me that I had spent with my Soul Mate of a bond I did not want broken…
Our life together was not going to come to a halt with me on this table. I was not going out like this.
The Emergency Doctor called him a few hours later. The 8 inch incision across my abdomen had to be left open like a fresh cavern. At 7 a.m. that morning he took me to Dr Mark’s where I would spend the week during the day having my wound flushed out and then would go home each night. I had to wear this icky bandage. My wound open, we were told it would stay like that possibly for months until the problem had a chance to expel itself…
At the end of the week Dr Mark called him at home while I was resting at the hospital and told him to come get me immediately. An emergency surgeon, a really special one, wanted to see me immediately. Apparently I had become news and the doctors were baffled. There are better ways to become a celebrity. We would meet Dr Regina who wanted to take my case on in concert with Dr Mark. She said that I would immediately be put on numerous medications and that I had to take 20 pills a day at first and that she was determined to help me feel better…
It was at this same time that Daddy would be informed of my medical condition of which I already knew. I was worried as to how he would react.
Dr Regina told him that I had cancer.
The prognosis was that my Level 2 Mast Cell Cancer was there to stay but I could have a great quality of life until it would take my body in possibly a year if not sooner.
I looked up to see him gasping for breath in between a flood of tears. I didn’t feel so hot but I lifted my right paw up on his knee like I always do and looked into his distraught, swollen, flooded eyes. I said, “I love you. I’m not going anywhere. Let’s do what the Dr says, ok?” He cried harder.
Upon removal, the cancerous tumor had burst inside of me causing the pain of a 100 bee stings all at once. It had spread like a wildfire throughout my body and would attack anything it could grasp onto.
Two days later I was home and all stitched up again from my 3rd surgery. I remember everything but I was heavily drugged. I have a strong body and life will and said, “Eff you cancer. I’m not done here just yet.”
I am a Lionheart and they would hear my roar soon.
I received another curve thrown my way. The cancer had regrettably won, temporarily, and completed taken over my left rear leg spreading like tentacles. It hurt. Bad.
Me vs Cancer.
Who would have the last word?
Dr Regina and Dr Dusty hoped that my leg wound would heal on its own. All fingers were crossed. If you look at my left rear leg its swollen four times its normal size in the picture. You can also see a huge dark spot on the comforter at my rear legs that was drainage from my 3rd operation. Because I couldn’t move I would unintentionally and uncontrollably potty on myself from time to time also. Daddy would take a warm, wet wash cloth and gently clean me up each time. I couldn’t walk anywhere and Daddy carried me in and out of the house. I liked to lay outside and he let me remain there as I told the cancer to drain out and leave my body. Daddy brought a chair outside and sat there with me for hours upon hours bundled up…from dusk to dawn…
The cancer continued to battle but it was up against me.
I had to have all of that skin removed that wrapped around outside to the inside of my left thigh in a 4th surgery. There was immense concern that once all of that was removed whether or not there would be enough skin to sew my leg back together. Then they would have to do another surgery to graft skin off my body to close it. I had to go home in a walking cast that night as all fingers were crossed…
The next day I would go in for my 5th surgery and Dr Regina and Dr Dusty successfully put stitches and staples in to hold my open wound together. It hurt bad but they gave me good pills that help alleviate that a bit…
I was now to stay in the hospital for the next 2 weeks. Daddy only came to visit with me once each time for both weeks. He was worried that I would think I was going home. I knew why I was there. Other doggies were there and the night nurse, Nancy, and I looked in on them. I was supposed to be still but as I could move around better she let me do rounds with her checking in on the other patients. I sent all of them my healing energy. She called my Daddy at 11 p.m. each night for a comfort call. I will always love Nancy.
He even requested to come sleep with me each night but that was politely denied.
For the first time ever in almost 11 years Daddy and I would be separated. I was so very restless and upset. Not about being in the hospital to heal, but that I was not home to greet him. He counts on that as I have too every single night for nearly 11 years. A tear rolled down my face. I had let him down as I was not there for him as promised. He would walk in to our house and not see my face so happy to see him. It only magnified my resolution to fight.
I was so very sad yet my energy had to be focused on healing. Daddy would have to go through yet another inner evolution of knowing and achieving his inner strength and growth within.
After two months I finally got my cone off and all of my stitches and staples removed. No more surgeries scheduled. I was so very happy…
After nearly three months of surgeries and rehabbing Daddy let me off of my leash to run for the very first time…I didn’t make it very far the first time and fell down but 10 days later I surprised him on his birthday with this…
These wonderful people were and will always be my extended family where I lived for two weeks. They took care of me at Sierra Veterinary Specialists. That’s Crystal in the gray scrubs holding me…I love her…she took me out for walks to go potty. That’s the magical Dr Regina Schroeder in white standing behind Crystal. Dr Spencer and Dr Pelsue are also magicians and worked alongside Dr Regina but could not be here for the picture. My Daddy and I thank everyone in the office forever…
Here are all of the girls and Dr Mark who took care of me at my main doctor’s office at King’s Row Pet Hospital. I spent lots and lots of time there as they flushed my initial abdominal opening for 8 hours a day. Every day. I’ve been with them since I was a puppy and I love all of them so very much. Dr Mark will always be my favorite…
Daddy chose to have a very expensive prognostic panel test done and my blood work was sent across the country to Michigan State University. The results came back to us here in Reno, Nevada just recently. It would tell Dr Mark and Daddy how many months or a year or so I had left…
We kept this secret all to ourselves and hence why I wanted to share now though Daddy was afraid to jinx anything which I don’t believe in. Dr Mark looked at him and I sat up and leaned sternly into Daddy’s right leg so he could feel my positive energy. I wagged my tail.
Stunned, he said to Dr Mark, “How can that be possible?”
Dr Mark looked at Daddy and then down at me, “I don’t have a medical answer for you. We should ask Phoenix as only he has that answer.”
This is for you Daddy…
Your boy and your Golden Retriever,
With forever love…
p.s. I’m out in the backyard with your ball cap. I’m waiting for you…