Thursday, July 29, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Dr. La Rue will be the radiation oncologist caring for him. The tumor sits atop his hard palate so the biggest concerns from radiation are mouth ulcerations and the outside chance that it'll burn a hole in his sinus.
After reading extensively and consulting with thought leaders this seems the best course of action. Thank you to everyone who sent us alternative ideas and treatments.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
I choose not to ask because the answer is as unknowing as it is extraneous. What I felt when I awakened this morning was truly blessed. God's love for us is so great that he held the cancer at bay until after our mission was completed . He got us from Austin to Boston safely fulfilling his promise.
From what the vets said yesterday, nasal cancer can come in several varieties so we're awaiting the results of the biopsy. While I am still digesting all of the information and articles that were provided to me it seems the 'gold standard' of care is radiation therapy over a three week period. The prognosis of nasal cancer especially caught this early is promising even though the tumor has invaded part of Murphy's bone.
I want to thank the staff at Colorado State University Vet School for taking good care of Mr. Murphy yesterday, especially Drs. Woorley and Venable and Jennifer who's a fourth year student.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
A little historical context first. After reading an article that pathogenic infections are more and more likely suspects in causing some cancers in humans I talked with several physicians about it. HPV is thought to cause the majority of cervical tumors and it seems now that lung cancer is not caused by the tar and nicotine from smoking but the repeated respiratory infections from diminished lung capacity.
I think there's something there. Since Boston I've been meditating on what's next - now that the walk is over the work begins - and the correlation between pathogens and cancer has always been one of the possibilities.
The road from Austin to Boston to Colorado is more than about the book now. As Robert Frost said in his poem, 'Way leads unto way'. I was lead to Lily's Haven for a reason.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
*This is something I wrote whilst in the basement of a host family in Bowling Green KY on the 3rd anniversary of Malcolm's passing. I hadn't read it since I originally posted it over a year ago*>
January 11th 2006. I still remember every moment of that day with absolute clarity. The cancer that began in his bones had spread to his lungs and besieged his beautiful body. At the time, he was on both Rimadyl and Tramadol which I had stopped the day before so that I could better assess his quality of life. I'm glad I did because I discovered his mobility in his hind legs was markedly diminished something the meds were concealing.
The tumor had grown so large in his lungs putting him into congestive heart failure which caused a secondary condition known as hypertrophic osteopathy. His body was succumbing and he was tired from the long struggle. But I wasn't ready to let go of my boy.
When his cancer first metastisized I wondered daily how I could possibly establish the criteria to know when it was time to let him go. It's not purely a scientific question unfortunately. How could I let him go? We had this saying that helped get us through the tough days when he wasn't feeling well. "We don't give up, we don't give in until the end, my friend."
I can't recall where or how I came up with that and I'm sure I said it mostly for me... to keep me from breaking down. Not once did I cry in front of him... not when his leg was amputated nor when the cancer spread. To do so, I believed, would've been tantamount to telling him that it had beaten me and I wasn't going to go the distance with him.
You see, Malcolm just didn't have quit in him... it was amazing to see the rugged determination in his eyes and the unwillingness to give up. He was that way about everything and that was apparent from the first day we met.
When he first came into my life, a present from an ex-girlfriend which should've automatically sent off alarm bells in my head, he was a wee lad. I sat him down for the 'father-son' talk. "If you respect my rules in this house and behave yourself then I'll treat you with respect. Oh, and, I don't do baby talk. That's for girls." That's what I told him.
He broke me in less than a fortnight. I started singing him good morning songs, planning my day around him, and looking for excuses to stop by the pet store and buy him yet another toy and more treats. I recently saw a shirt that said, "You had me at Woof". Indeed he did and in retrospect, I'm quite sure that was part of his master plan.
My family had animals all throughout my childhood. Jenny, a beautiful black lab, and a supremely cool cat my brother Jon named Wally are two of the ones I remember most vividly. I've always considered myself a dog lover but up until Malcolm, I had never experienced a deep and profound bond with one. Such a thing just wasn't possible from my upbringing. "Dawgs is dawgs". That's what a nice and well intentioned fellow from
Dogs are dogs sure enough but Malcolm was my boy, too. My day rose and set with him and it was three years ago today I knew it was time to let him go and that the sun that had filled my life with so much joy and simple happiness was going down forever. I held him in my arms as he was given rest and he left this world as he lived it with a strong, quiet dignity.
It's because of his strength and courage that I began this walk and some 900 miles and nine months later, there have been times when I've faltered, doubted, and even despaired but I won't give up, I won't give in, until the end my friend. And today, I give thanks to Malcolm for that and toast that spirit which was his. I miss you, mate.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
We have been walking by their side in spirit every day since the kickoff barbecue in Austin nearly two and a half years ago. Every step of the way, their courage, passion, and determination never ceased to amaze us.
Words cannot describe the pride we share knowing we played just a tiny role in the 2 Dogs 2000 Miles adventure – except to say we know Malcolm would be proud. We're sure he and Jerry are both smiling down on the entire 2 Dogs crew from the Rainbow Bridge.
And to think, this is just the beginning... Big Dog, you will always have our support. We can't wait to see you again. The Tripawds Colorado contingency will be waiting.
The 2 Dogs - Tripawds Connection
For fuzzybutt fans who may not know, we met Luke after discovering his first first 2 dogs 2000 miles video. We had hit the road in an RV with our dog Jerry when he was diagnosed with bone cancer to enjoy the time we had left together roaming the country as a pack. Sound familiar?
When we learned about Malcolm and this amazing man's mission to keep a promise he made to him – needless to say – we connected immediately. The timing was right, so we planned a party and headed for Texas. Thousands of miles later, Jerry is no longer with us. But inspired by Luke's relentless resolve, we have grown his little three legged dog blog into the largest support community for those faced with a cancer diagnosis or amputation for their dogs.
Find out more about the evolution of Jerry's blog by reading our How do you .com? contest entry, then please vote for Tripawds to help us prove to the world that it's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.
And don't forget to Puppy Up!
Monday, July 5, 2010
Just before Boston a reporter asked me if I had accomplished everything I set out to and I still don't know how to answer that question.
The short answser is - I got Hudson & Murphy from Austin to Boston safely which was the single most important part of my mission. Against all odds I did that, defying countless skeptics and disbelievers. Some said we'd never make it 100 miles... others said we'd never make it out of Texas.
But this journey was never about proving myself or my abilities to anyone. I leave that to people like Bear Grylls and Shaun White. So what did I hope to accomplish with the walk?
Sharing Malcolm's story and educating thousands of people about canine can.cer and comparative oncology was a big part of it. It brought together so many from disparate backgrounds and distant lands that I'm only beginning to understand the implications and possibilities. Even still that wasn't why.
I set out from Austin some two and a half years ago with a simple hope - to find out what took my boy from me and until and when I accomplish that there will be no rest. As long as cancer is the greatest scourge known to mankind it can count me as its greatest enemy.
Boston wasn't a victory lap for me. Not by any stretch of the imagination. I suppose some people after an endeavour of this magnitude congratulate themselves. I am not one of them. I was born in the Year of the Dog. Nuf said.
But I do owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to all those who made this walk possible - a debt that can only be repaid by fulfilling Malcolm's legacy.
'Is Eram Meus Filius'