Hi- sorry for the late update, but it was a long day. First, a picture of our girl:
Tammy and I left this morning around 10:30 or so and we met my sister, Devon, at the hospital around noon (Let’s pause for a second- am I the luckiest guy in the world to have a best friend like Tammy? The answer is yes. I don’t know what I would do without her.) We went in, waited a brief bit, and went back into the consultation room with Lily and Dr. Dickinison (again, I totally adore her. She’s just such a genuinely nice person, and it’s not just because she’s trying to save Lily- she just has an air of kindness about her). Dr. Dickinson said that she had some good news and some “not so good” news, and it was a “mixed bag.”.
First, the good news. Lily is apparently a super trooper and her platelet count has rebounded to about 60k, which is still sub optimal, but it’s not 2 or 6, which it was the past few days. Additionally, her red blood cell count increased again to about 33, and she is eating, drinking, walking, pooping, pottying, alert, and sleeping well. As you can see in the photograph, she is no longer wearing the shirt they gave her the other day, and the shirt was there for the telemetry monitor, meaning her vitals are stable enough that they don’t need to constantly monitor it.
Now for the not so good news- we have a diagnosis. Dr. Dickinson found a tumor in her neck, was able to get a sample, and it appears Lily has lymphoma. And while I think we can all agree that is not good news, I was feeling rather optimistic when she told me that and blurted out something to the effect of “I actually think that is good news, because now we know what we are dealing with and can treat it.” I made sure to ask the doctor if it was reasonable to progress with treatment, and she said yes, absolutely, she has seen so many dogs rebound and have a lot of good time.
So we started today. She received a round of chemotherapy, and tomorrow, if her platelets continue to increase and the Doctor feels good about her condition, I will bring her home, go back on Monday for a consult with the endocrinologist (the same doctor who saved my brother’s dog, Ellie). The next few weeks are critical, because Lily might respond poorly to the treatments, but again, the doctor thinks given the amount of fight and resilience she has shown so far, this is the only reasonable course of action. I concur. The only other option is to give up.
From a realistic standpoint, there is no way to sugarcoat things- this diagnosis or something that comes from this diagnosis will be what eventually gets Lily. But the doctor feels that there is a very good chance we can knock it into remission, and Lily can get a good half year, year, or more with a good quality of life. Given the alternative, I think that is great news. The next couple of weeks are critical, though. If she doesn’t respond to the chemo, or should any of the number of bad “if’s” come to pass, I will have horrible decisions to make. But we have hope.
We always talk about how animals make us better people. This has definitely been the case for me and Lily. Not only was she been there for me for so much- the year and a half of hell when I was going through panic attacks and sheer misery before being diagnosed with a generalized anxiety disorder and getting treatment, the shoulder injury and recovery (which, to be fair, she played a slight role in causing), dad’s heart attack, the alcoholism, the untimely demise of Tunch, and so many other major things but also the very mundane and minor things, when you just have a bad day and she is there for me to cheer me up. I’ve also loved this dog more than anything I have ever loved anything, with more intensity and unconditionally. She’s made me less cynical.
And even now, she is making me a better person. I don’t know if it has shown in my writing the past few days, but since I took her to the vet on Tuesday and got the first inclination that something was very wrong, every single hour of every single day, with each twist and turn, the stress and anxiety were just building and building and mounting and mounting until yesterday, before I got the better news, I was the most fragile and volatile I have ever been in my life. Again, yesterday, my entire mindset was to pick Lily up, spend a few good hours with her, and then put her to sleep. Waiting for the Doctor yesterday, I was as close to spontaneously combusting as I have ever been in my life. I couldn’t feel my hands, I was losing my peripheral vision- if you hooked me up to the power grid I could have lit up the entire damned state I was so amped up.
But then Lily and Dr. Dickinson gave me hope. For cynical pricks like much, hope is such a clichéd thing. I remember when I was in the army, and one of us privates would say something to the effect of “I hope” or “I wish” and my platoon sergeant would respond “Ok, fucking Cole, how ’bout you hope in one hand and shit in the other and tell me which one fills up first.” Yeah. Mind you, I don’t try to crush other people’s hopes, because I’m not a sociopath, but I’ve also always been the person who would privately think “well yeah, sure, that’d be great, but it’s not going to happen,” and in the off chance it did, I’d be pleasantly surprised. That’s what y’all are dealing with.
Until now. Even now, potentially on her deathbed, my special girl is making me a better person. I’ve seen what hope can do in just a few short hours. I slept last night for nine hours. I ate. There was a spring in my step immediately after meeting with the doctor yesterday, and even with the news today, I’m positive. I’ve got hope, and that’s something.
So that’s where we are now.
Thanks for update and nice intrepid dog petpic.
Are you trying to make me use up all the Kleenex in the house? I am crying with happiness and sadness, but very glad for you and Lily that you have a chance at least. I posted yesterday about getting three extra years with my Sophie, and I wish you also get that extra time to cherish her and spoil her rotten. Your writing is amazing.
holy smokes, but she’s a beautiful animal.
thanks for the update & for saying all that about how this is for you. a thousand jackals just sighed with relief.
I’m not a regular commenter but have followed the blog since 2005 so I have had a chance to follow Lily’s story. I’m very sorry but also hopeful that her story gets to go on for a long time. Take care of yourself while you take care of her, she is a special dog but I also know she has a special caretaker.
Sarah in Kingston
I could get really mushy here but I’m just going to say thank you, John, and I love you, Lily.
I’m not crying! You’re crying!
At least somewhat because Lily’s saga of late got me off my butt, we went to the Humane League and adopted an elder kitty as a companion for the surviving member of our kitty trio (we’ve lost two of them in the last six months, to simple old age in one and diabetes-induced stroke in the other). He’s 15, cuddly and chill af. This one doesn’t even need to be a stonercat. He’s already Joe Cool.
Wonderful news, John. You are a good egg!
I threw a few Flurbos in the Lilly kitty.
I hope that your little girl continues to fight and progress.
Love this post, this blog, this proprietor, and this dog so much!
Dogs do respond to treatment. And you will see if Lily does pretty clearly. If the tumour is localized to her neck, surgery may be worth it. If it is more diffuse, no surgery.
Also, get the multi-pack price on Cerenia. It’s a kind of miracle drug that cures nausea, prevents vomiting, and makes pets feel good.
CBD Hemp oil really helps pets with cancer, too. Makes them happier, calmer. Anecdotal evidence it helps fight cancer. There is no THC in it. So it’s not a high, it’s a calm. (Also works for PTSD in people) And helps increase the appetite which is important.
May Lily fight well and hard. And you two have some good, sweet days ahead of you. (Knocking wood)
And Lily Love helping your heart expand is some gorgeous stuff. Love lasts forever, so may expansion continue that long, too
Mingobat (f/k/a Karen in GA)
Hope in one hand, shit in the other, then tell me which makes the world more bearable.
(Yeah, yeah, I know. But you get what I’m saying. Work with me here.)
ETA: Out to dinner with Mr. Mingobat, and I’m very proud of myself for not getting weepy. Mr. Mingobat, OTOH, looked at the photo of Lily and got some dust in his eye.
Good girl! Good Cole!
Chacal Charles Calthrop
Thank you so much for the update. I’m sure I speak for the general jackal commentariat when I say I was annoyed to see this blog posting undocumented or suppressed news about Saudi Arabia instead of a Lily update.
In other, better times I’d appreciate the fact that (not being beholden to the powers that be) the blog would tell me the news that was otherwise censored out of the mainstream press but, right now, what really matters is Lily…..
I’ll shut up.
Keep us posted. Thanks.
Wag on, Lily, wag on.
I think you probably would have been a better person regardless, but I do agree that over the last nine years Lily has helped push that along.
And the last few days, when she’s been so sick and near death — well, that experience seems to have made you willing to share your very human fears and vulnerabilities with us — which, contrarily, gives you strength and power.
I hope you and Lily have plenty of time remaining together. I know that you will cherish and treasure every moment, whether it is measured in hours or months or years. And in a very real sense you have already done the worst of your grieving for her, so when the time finally arrives to make the hardest of all decisions, you will make it consciously and clear-eyed.
Continued love and light to you, Lily, and the rest of your menagerie.
On balance, pretty good news. Your loving care will have helped her want to keep going–she knows she’s got a great home & a great papa to get home to. And a sweet pic.
We didn’t see much tenderness or patience in our blog father until Lily came along and asked for those qualities from him. Now he is such a softy he even has hope?!?! Pets create miracles in us.
Thanks for the updates. Best wishes to your whole pack.
How wonderful for him, for you, and for your other kitty. Pictures, please, when you can.
Such encouraging news…….love and strength to sweet Lily what a brave pooch; hugs always, John.
@Mingobat (f/k/a Karen in GA):
I have met Mr. Mingobat. He’s an old softie :-)
One thing Lily has shown is she’s a fighter.Just be there for her John.Actually,I know you will.Have a good evening?
Joy in FL
In my life, dogs and cats make everything better, and my current cat is my main source of delight. He doesn’t have to do anything other than be here and it’s better.
They’re magic, our animals are.
I’m so glad Lily and you have hope. She is a treasure of a lifetime.
So happy to hear hopeful news. Good man, good dog. Get well Lily.
It’s great to get any good news at all about Lily. Thanks for the updates.
@SiubhanDuinne: I’m not entirely sure how to do this, but here goes.
You’re a good man, John G. Cole. And Lily is the very BEST doggie, yes she is!
(Please don’t tell my guys I said that, okay?)
Chemo is worth a try. I did it with a cat years ago, and he got a comfortable 18 months with it
Thanks for the update JGC. On the whole this is very good news, including the discovery of that fucking tumor. Lily looks like her old self in that photo – not the version where she’s buried herself in your bed covers and snoozing, but the alert-eyed version when she isn’t sacked out.
My fervent hopes and wishes for continued improvements in her health, and for a lot more time with you and the rest of the Cole Crew.
It’s a mixed bag, but at least now you know what you’re up against. And I like Lily’s odds.
You’re a good man, John Cole.
Lily is one special girl Her eyes look like they could see right into my soul.
Go Lily! Hope is always always better than despair.
Sister Inspired Revolver of Freedom
Terrible as this diagnosis is, I’m very glad there finally is one. I went for 2 decades wondering what was wrong with me, and it made an enormous difference when I finally knew. Now you know, and it sounds to me that you’ve already made plans, and taken thought of how to deal with it. Yeah, this is cancer and cancer always always sucks. But now you know, and that makes all the difference. My fingers are crossed for both of you. Stay strong! We got your back! <3
Thanks for keeping us posted. Best wishes to you and Lily.
I remember her being constantly at your side in the days after Tunch’s death. Get well, Lily.
Thank you! What a gorgeous kitty!
Sent a second small donation. Get well, Lily. She’s lucky to have you, John. Hell, you’re lucky to have each other.
Hang in there John. You finally have a diagnosis and now the ride begins. I’ve been on the journey since January with one of my 15 year old cats. He was diagnosed with small cell lymphoma and then they also found a small mass. There are good days and bad ones. The mass was reduced almost 50% with the first cycle of chemo and we just finished the second cycle on Wednesday. The vet will send you home with medications for all eventualities, except for anything to help you cope with the stress and uncertainty you will experience. I can’t stop stress eating. So far I’ve gained about four pounds, not great for a diabetic. Just remember that Lily needs you to take care of yourself so that you can do the best for her.
Best wishes to you and Lily.
Lily looks wonderful! – no doubt happy to see Daddy.
Thank you for keeping us updated – like @Chacal Charles Calthrop: right now I’m more interested in Lily News than Rest of the World News (apologies to Adam, and the other FPers who do a great job with Rest of the World News).
@jayjaybear: After one of her 2 kitties passed on about 5 years ago my daughter went – just to browse, mind you- to an adoption event. She came home with Boots Charlemange, a sweet elder kitty with only one tooth in his mouth. He has been the sweetest, most affectionate companion, still quite playful in his elder years but much preferring to curl up on the couch for a snuggle.
Damn, Cole. You are really something. Best wishes for you and Lily.
@Sister Inspired Revolver of Freedom:
The most ancient myths and writings and scriptures talk about the importance of naming things. Just being able to put a label on something is a way of leveraging, or reclaiming, power.
Hearts for Lily and for you. No, I’m not crying either.
Oh Lily lovey, please feel better soon! Your human needs you!
Best wishes to you, Cole.
High hopes for Lily to respond well to the chemo!
J R in WV
Aw, you got that down. So pretty!!
As unreal as it seems there is a certain kind of comfort knowing what you have to deal with in making a loved one well. This is evident in your writing today.
I am very glad there is a way to hopefully make Lily well again.
Good for her, John, and good for you.
That worked fine! Nice-lookin’ dude.
Dorothy A. Winsor (formerly Iowa Old Lady)
Lily looks very Lily-like in that picture.
She is so dang cute.
Every step of the way, your jackals will be here for you and Lily. Love from all of us. Hope is good. I’m hoping as hard as I can.
Thank you for the update. I’m glad there’s a diagnosis, and I’m glad there’s treatment for it. Dogs live in the moment, so six months, twelve months, eighteen months- it’s all good time for them, if they still have a quality of life, and if she’s eating and drinking and cuddling, she’s clearly still getting pleasure out of being around.
I’ve also heard dogs don’t usually suffer from the side effects of chemo the way humans do, and a lot of them don’t suffer side effects at all. Here’s hoping (since hoping is okay with you now, I guess? Though I did like your sergeant’s phrase; it made me laugh) that Lily is one of the many who don’t have side effects.
So glad. Thank you again for the update.
Went through a similar with Princess 18 months ago. She’s getting kinda creaky but still enjoying life. Of course I know she can’t live forever–but then neither can I.
Ten there’s this
@jayjaybear: handsome kitty! Congratulations and thanks for adopting him!
Compared to where things were the other day, this is great news. Hope now has known facts and a course of action attached to it.
A little more than a year ago, my outdoor cat Snoopy didn’t look right. Took her to the vet, blood test showed kidney failure. Two of her kidney values were too high for the machine to read. The doctor said Snoopy’s days were “very numbered” but she didn’t think it was time to euthanize her just yet. She recommended daily subcutaneous fluids and an oral medication, to hopefully help her feel better for whatever time she had left.
Well, her days were numbered, but it depends what you mean by “very.” She had about another 350 of them, with good quality of life until just hours before she passed. It’s amazing what the combination of survival instinct, modern veterinary medicine, and love can do. All best to you and Lily as you set out on the path that looks a little clearer than it did just yesterday.
So glad to hear this news. Miss Lily looks quite lovely in her photo, btw.
Mingobat (f/k/a Karen in GA)
@SiubhanDuinne: That he is. He came this close to agreeing to dog number three an hour or so ago, despite the fact that we both know better and he’s usually the adult in the room when it comes to things like that. I need him to talk me out of ideas like that, but then he keeps caving. Very sweet, but not at all helpful, dammit.
Don’t tell my two tuxies I said this, but gray cats are the best cats. I still miss my late great Boris, who was part Russian Blue and part Persian. Best cat in the entire world.
I will repeat what a vet told us years ago when our Natasha was diagnosed with cancer: as long as she was still eating, drinking, peeing, and pooping and wants to be around you, she still has good quality of life. Pay close attention and Lily will let you know when she’s had enough and is ready to go.
With Natasha, she was a very stubborn cat who never let us know. She was still shoving Boris away from the food dish the night before she died at home in her favorite spot. G felt guilty that we weren’t there, but she said goodbye to each of us. She was ready and she made her choice.
Oh, look at that sweet face! How could you not have hope?
She’s a fighter, Lily-girl.
@Mnemosyne: My bestest cat ever, Shaggy, was a long haired gray beauty with Russian blue in her. She was born a barn cat and was very sickly when I visited that farm, so if course, I got her from the farmer. And had her for 14 years, though the first vet she went to said he didn’t think she would live very long.
Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et Al.)
I don’t know what to say that others haven’t said already, but I feel like I should say something anyway. I just hope everything goes as well as it can. Better, even. That’s all I can think of right now.
*peeks up from ages of lurking*
As cancers go, if you had to pick one (and who the fuck would do that?) at least lymphoma is one of the more easily treated and one of easier cancers to knock back into remission. I think you’re an absolute champion to do chemo for your lovely dog and there are a lot of good suggestions in the thread already as to how to improve her quality of life during the treatment.
Me? I’ll just send hugs your way, and to Lily. She’s an adorable pup and you’re absolutely right: Animals tend to bring out the sort of people we really are. Good people become better people with animals, and you’re one of the best critter owners I’ve ever known.
@Mingobat (f/k/a Karen in GA): Oh, man…we had to go over to the dog building to finalize the adoption and it took all my willpower not to go look at the puppies, because I knew there was no way I could resist. I’m not going down that hallway until it’s actually time to bring a new dog home.
Lily looks like she’s nearly back to herself, JC. Glad to hear there’s news & more importantly, a method of treatment. I’ll keep sending the good vibes, you keep getting better, Lily.
That is the sweetest face in the world.
When The Muffin got a lump on her neck it was lymphoma and I got nine more months for which I was and am grateful.
Sending you and Lily good thoughts.
Glad to hear John.
That sounds, if my counting-on-fingers math is correct, as though Snoopy crossed the rainbow bridge just a couple of weeks ago. Wishing your late kitty a peaceful transition (and I always mention rich cream at the Milky Way for departing moggies), and lots of comfort and good memories for you.
Very nice John. Glad that things are looking up for Lily. And you.
It’s great when someone, anyone can show us our faults in a way that we can learn something positive. That this someone is a pet makes no difference. We look outwards because that’s what our eyes do. We don’t always see whats right in front of us though. And some of us shut those blinds and only look inwards. Getting that view back or even in the first place can be an amazing thing and it usually takes some sort of influence.
It’s great that you can see this and see that Lily is that someone who gave you that. And look, you still recognize that Lily’s heath is the most important here. You have fully come out of the selfish world. Welcome Home.
ETA and because I haven’t said it in a bit – Fuck Fucking Cancer.
Good to finally know what you’re battling and better to know there’s a potential good outcome, and not one describable as an airborne spherical baked good–apple or pumpkin flavor. Enjoy that sweet dog and your support team, eat healthy and get yourself some sleep, ya big lug. You need your energy.
Fondest regards to all.
Thank you for the update, and especially the picture. We love Lily so much. I’m praying the treatment works well.
John, to be as eloquent as you have been the last few days under maximum anxiety reveals a great deal of strength. You probably always had plenty, but your animals give you more. You have a fighter of a lovable little lap dog. She has my utmost respect as well as my second-hand affection.
That is a great picture of your cat. Really captures a lot in one simple shot.
I have been following this blog for a long time. It is the ONLY blog I follow regularly because somehow there is no snarky, name-calling in the comments. (How do you do that?) Cole, his front pagers and commenters are like family, only better because they’re not. I log on often now that Lily is in crisis. Balloon-juice is such a decent place – thank you all and I wish you courage, John, in the days ahead.
Awesome news. Thanks for taking the time to cheer us all.
Lily looks so elegant- she’s clearly feeling much better. I haven’t been able to donate yet, being in the midst of an emergency hospital drama of my own. Who knew cellulitis could be such a nasty thing? Anyway as soon as I’m home I will donate. Trust us jackals to have your back here. Love you both.
I’m happy to hear you have more time with her.
All good thoughts to you and Lily. Also, since it needs to be said, f*ck cancer.
This is good news, knowing what you’re up against and having a plan moving forward. I’m hoping for the best for both of you … with both hands.
Thanks for the update and the picture, best wishes for you both. It’s good to hear you finally got some sleep.
I lost a dog to lymphoma about five years back. I chose not to go the chemo route and I am still second guessing my choice.
At the time the issues for me were financial and also not wanting to put him through the preliminary exploratory surgery and then through chemo. My vet is still mad about my choice.
He said dog chemo is not as harsh as human chemo. Also dog lymphomas are quite responsive to chemo. They probably can’t cure it, but they can give your dog a couple of good years. Two human years are fourteen dog years.
Glad to hear that you are going for it.
That’s wonderful. I’m so glad.
I went through this a year and 4 months ago with my Holly….You should ask about using Denamarin which is supposed to protect the liver from the chemo. I am sure they told you not to give her prednisone before the chemo treatment as it decreases the bodies response. My Holly’s lymphoma was too strong for her and we tried 5 different types of chemo protocols…however, she ate through them all and did not seem sick until the end. There is also a cancer feeding protocol you can try. Good luck! May have had great results with treatment. I know of one lady who got 3 years with her baby….Let me know if you want any more information on anything :)
I’m hoping for the best for both of you … with both hands.
@windpond: Amen. My reason for coming here is that everything is “reality-based”.
How long have you had Lily? Because I’ve been following this blog for a bit more than that. I remember the picture of pre-Lily and you requesting name suggestions and then seeing Lily! It feels like forever. Could it be pre-Obama?
I’m happy you have a prognosis you can live with and give her a great end (hey, burger and fries every night while you eat cereal or something, ya know?) She’s lived for you all that time that you lived for her. You have both given and received. Beautiful!
Angels come in many forms like best friends and best dogs. I hope Lily stays with us a little longer. Sending love and light to her!
Mingobat (f/k/a Karen in GA)
@jayjaybear: Yep, I know the feeling. Lately I find myself looking at rescue and shelter websites, and I really need to stop doing that. Iggy and Muppet were already adults when I brought them home, and I always wonder what their lives were like before our paths crossed. So now I have a mad urge to bring home a puppy so I’ll have a dog I can watch grow up.
Wildly irrational, but that’s about right for me, so there’s that.
According to a vet oncologist who treated King a few years ago, chemo usually doesn’t hit animals the way it does people. Once treatment began, King was pretty much his old self until the last day. The chemo helped him gain 5 months, which for a dog his age and size was the equivalent of a couple of years. His cancer was hemangiosarcoma, which is a stone bitch. Sounds like lymphoma is more responsive and treatable. Here’s hoping Lily kicks its ass.
Well this is a hell of a lot better news than the alternative and I surely hope we will be treated to MANY more Lily pics and updates for a LONG time.
You’re a good man, Cole—GOOD GIRL, Lily, GOOD GIRL!!!
Love love love. Thank you for sharing your life with us John.
Life is better with hope.
The animal oncologist we saw said that they don’t do animal chemo to the almost-fatal level of human chemo because it wouldn’t be ethical to cause that much suffering to a pet for the shorter amount of time it would buy.
So glad to hear Lily’s feeling better, and that there’s a diagnosis and treatment plan for her. Hoping for continuing good news. Take care of yourself. Hugs and scritches for the whole pack from us jackals!
Awww Lily is so cute! Hoping things go well for Lily and you, and Rosie, Thurston and Steve. This blog and especially the pet pictures and stories from all remind me there are good and caring people to counter the crappy political news. I can’t thank you enough for that and I wish for you the best outcomes.
We had a great Dane named Summer who had lymphoma, type B or something as I remember. She lived 22 months after diagnosis. Our vet told us if she had to have cancer, lymphoma was the one since it is treatable. I hope Lily responds to treatment as well as Summer did. Here’s hoping for a remission and long life.
John – I’m glad to know you’ve got a diagnosis, and that Lily’s got a fighting chance. She’s a fighter, so with any luck…
Anyhow, I know this isn’t gonna be cheap, so I’m tossing a few more bucks your way to help pay for your girl’s chemo. You’re both in my prayers.
John, our cocker spaniel responded well to the Madison/Wisconsin “CHOP” protocol for lymphoma and went into remission twice. (lymphoma comes back, and we did a second cycle.) Two and a half years instead of 6 weeks. Ultimately the drugs damaged her heart and we let her go last October at 9 years old (instead of 6.5 years old) due to congestive heart failure, but EVERY EXTRA DAY was a bonus day with our special dog and we have no regrets.
I hope you get the best results possible. More time with Lily is great.
Fingers are crossed you get to take Lily home tomorrow ????
Such great news!! Go Lily.
So we poison humans because we don’t care if they suffer as long as our stats stay good and the checks keep coming. Nice to know.
@SiubhanDuinne: Thank you for your kind words. You’re right, it was actually in late February. She had been diagnosed in early March of last year. Now she’s back with her fellow porch cat Tom, the flower delivering cat whose story Anne Laurie front paged here a number of years ago, and who sadly just a couple of years later met an end similar to what befell Tunch. I think it’s wonderful how a shared love of pets, and the shared experience of worry, sickness, and loss that comes with it, binds so many people together here.
Happy to have the news about Lily and to know that you’re okay too. This site feels like an oasis in the desert, and you and yours are clearly much loved. As an alcoholic in recovery, who also deals with the supreme discomfort that is anxiety, I send you my salute. It’s a debilitating thing, for sure, and coming to terms with it, coming to understand it, being on the lookout for triggers makes a great big difference. That and magnesium supplements. Plus lovely lovelies like your Lily. She’s an elegant looking dog — much refinement there. Anyway, thanks. It’s been a wild ride these past three days, and it was good of you to share it the way you did. Having what’s important in this life at the forefront of one’s imagination can be a very very good thing. Pulling for her and for all the other furbabies I’ve been reading about here who are experiencing struggles. I look at my dog several times a day and get to knowing that he understands a whole lot more than I do about all kinds of things. I’m definitely his pet. Nothing like having them settle in the crook of your knees while you try to sleep away the daily filth we’re subjected to. Instant comfort. Be well.
Lily is so beautiful ?
Thanks for keeping us updated, Cole.
Hope! Glad you got a diagnosis, a treatment plan, and the possibility of quality time with Lily. I will continue to send happy, healing thoughts to you.
@Ruckus: The vets have explained it to me (and I have heard this from multiple vets for multiple pets now) is that humans get more intensive doses because they are trying for 20-30 year remissions. They only need to achieve a couple of years of remission for dogs/cats so they can give much less intensive doses.
It does depend on the cancer. My daughter’s dog has an aggressive cancer and the chemo for that was very toxic. He barely made it through one dose, and she did not do any more. He was given 3-6 months a year ago March. He had surgery (it was a rough surgery and recovery) and then the one chemo dose. He is still around; the cancer is spreading slowly, but he is doing pretty well considering.
Yay Lily! I’m so glad she’s doing better and you now know the cause of this episode. I do hope you get a great deal more good time with her.
Yes, I had an old girl on Denamarin and it helped quite a bit.
It sounds like Lily is getting excellent care. That and love will give her what she needs.
@Sab: I said I was still second-guessing my choice to get him chemo for lymphoma. I am not second-guessing my choice. I phucked up horribly and had the wonderful guy “euthanized” way too early.
On the other hand, I have hung in way too long for a number of dogs, causing them to suffer for days unnecessarily.
Everything about end of life is difficult, whether they be dogs, cats, ferrets or humans.
Thank you for the update! Sending love and strength to you from Casa Hedgehog, both human and feline inhabitants. Good dog, Lily!
Balloon Jackals are good people. This really is quite an extraordinary community. I honestly can’t think of another blog that both offers such a huge variety of shared topics and embraces such a large number of participants.
Villago Delenda Est
@SiubhanDuinne: John, just this from a top 500 commenter. Siubhan has said it for me, much better than I could hope to.
Stay strong, Lily, and get well!
@Kristine: Shit. Raven was like a fucking rag doll for a couple of months after the surgery/chemo/radiation. We hereunder the assumption that he was going to improve in weeks but was so miserable that we were on the verge of letting him go. We met with the vet and she said she’d call Auburn while we went home and decided. A hour later she called and said it would be 8 weeks before he felt better. That’s when we learned that pain meds have a limited impact on dogs. We rode it but it sucked. Here’s what I think is crucial and I don’t know how you avoid it. We got more and more worried even though we tried not to. After about 6 weeks we had a party and put the little guy upstairs because we thought the commotion would be bad for him. He heard the activity and came down and pawed at the door. When we let him down he bounced off the walls because he was so happy to see his peeps. We realized then that OUR fucking depression was impacting him. I don’t know how you avoid it when treating cancer is so overwhelming but do your best do stay up.
This is amazingly good advice, no matter if the cancer is a pet, someone you know or yourself. Being positive is often passed over as an influence. And it can be difficult to be that way. But it helps. And every big or little help is better than none. And even if the end is not good, it is still better to be positive, it won’t seem as horrible.
This might not seem like it’s about Lily, but it is. I swear.
John Cole, I’ve been reading you since… I don’t know. It perfectly matched up with my own months of not knowing what was going on with me only to find it was GA.
I’d been feeling like true hell, gradually, for six weeks or two months. It started out with that feeling like when you’re leaning back on two legs of a chair and you’re about to tip every once every few days. It got to where I was feeling that and other things, I can’t or won’t bother, to explain about what this brand new feeling of anxiety was for me. I will say, I went to the doctor on one particular fucked up day where I woke up at about 3AM and did the autistic rock until I exhausted myself. I’d lay back down for a bit but my brain would get me back up way too soon to sit up, hold my knees to my chest and just rock back and forth. I was waiting for any doctor’s office to open. I’m going to leave this topic to tell you how I found you. They’re somewhat connected.
I was working…. I think this is okay to talk about openly as I believe this concerns one of your big fans and constant posters that is no longer with us. Strike me down and delete this if I go out of bounds.
I was in AZ working with a guy who was such a huge fan of yours. He kept going on about this blog. I know his real name but would never would never out it online. He was an older guy, and I think his health wasn’t all that great. He said that he, and some of you (very likely not John Cole, in particular, had anything to do with this) , had brought up a website to fuck with Sam Brownback. This might have been when Brown tried a prez run. It wasn’t at the end of it.. He was early on it and on top of it, I think, he was definitely one the people that did not want to see Brownback anywhere near the highest office in the land.
He wrecked Kansas, Brownback did, which everyone that isn’t a troll or an idiot can see that was a failed “experiment.” Not that it was even an experiment. It was the same, tired Republican message that always has the same tired ending.
ThymeZone’s efforts did have enough impact? I don’t know, maybe he kept him from being a candidate for a higher office. He couldn’t stop that fucker from wrecking OK. Except I’m sure, just like nationally, if he’d have gotten there he’d have tried to wreck it too.
ThymeZone. Do you all remember him? He said that was a persona, and it was to a degree. I think he had several unames for this blog, but that was the only one I was able to figure out and he confirmed.
I hope I’m not talking out of school. He was an old-time resident of… Can I saithe city? I’m so worried about exposing someone, even if they’ve passed. I won’t name the city. He lived in AZ, obviously, given ThymeZone. He lived in what,at the time, wasn’t that big of a city. It became so eventually. He told me wonderful tales about him and his little friends riding their bikes at what would now be a major intersection. But back then they used to just ride around as if it were the street it was. Just the street in front of his house.. Kind of like many of us did, back in the day. With the difference being that’s no longer a place where kids can ride their bikes. Ever.
He told me about… I want to say it was Ralph Nader, coming over to his parent’s house frequently for dinner. I don’t think it was one of the Udall’s, except I recall that, I think it was maybe Mo that was there at least once. I don’t think his father was a public figure. I think he was just really bright and any politician of the right stripe wanted to come visit and talk to the man. I think he had a significant position in the community, which was small-ish back then. Between his access to the rest of the important people in the state, and his level-headedness, they came to his place to talk to him. I don’t know that it was shabby or poor, but TZ made it sound like it was close to that. Middle class or a bit below. I think his parents were as concerned about social justice and maybe gave a little too much time and money to the cause. What we would have called true American’s, at some point. Giving their lives for others. They were probably on the tail-end of being called worse things by McCarthtyites. I don’t think the were Commies, but bless them if they were back in those days. They were very concerned about social justice. They wanted to make sure the working man got his due. We all know how that turned out, but it wasn’t for lack of people like them fighting. TZ was very much the same way..
OK. Enough of how I found you, Mr. Cole. The minute I did I was drawn in. You’re one of the few, and I wish there were so many others like you, that realized I don’t fit with this party anymore. I started reading you right as you were turning. At least that’s what it seemed like. I might have been a few months after that or I would have never read you. I have no patience for people that cannot see the trust when it is constantly thrust in their face.
All of the politics aside, I remember when you got Lily. In my timeline of remembrance, it didn’t take very long for you to give her the love needed for her to grow from a terrorized dog to the most loving, and loved, animal ever. Was she the one where you found her on a “road”, opened up the door and she climbed in? Out of desperation? I could be thinking of someone else or another of your dogs.
But I do remember Lily coming into your life. I remember every bit of your growing love for her. I think Tunch was still the king of the castle, both in your home and heart. I was devastated when Tunch died so suddenly. You got Steve, and he’s so awesome. But there was always Lily.
I think your big heart wanted to save and protect her. And it did.
John, while I doubt you’ve gotten this far in this message, I hope you have. Lily became your touchstone. She was the best thing that ever happened to you. Once you gained her trust, which I don’t think took very long, that wonderful dog took to you as I believe all good dogs know good people.She will be forever your best dog. And while I’m not entire sure the extent of a dog’s mind, I do honestly think that she found this man, John Cole, saw how much he loved her, and was, in turn, her best person ever.
You love that beautiful, wonderful dog. I think she loves you as much, if not more. I’ll kind of bet you were her everything. I know she was the “thing”, I use that word because I am at a loss for another word. A being. She’s not a person, but I think you’ve loved her more than any person. I don’t want to call her a “thing”, but I can’t find the right word. You’ve loved her more than anyone else. Person or animal. Are we okay with that, and leaving how I can’t characterize her? Thanks.
That’s the love of your life. I thought you were going to go spare when Tunch died. Without Lily there to soak up your tears… I don’t know man.
I’m going to try to wrap this up. And I’m sorry for going on so long. I wanted to let you know how long I’ve been reading you. Hence the TZ stuff. But mostly I wanted to talk about Lily to you.
You’ve got a fair attitude regarding her. It can go either way. I’ve been of two mind about reading BJ lately. The other day I read it and cried on and off for more than an hour. John, I’m not a tough guy, but I’m not easily cried either. I have had so many tragedies, including a prison sentence, during which Mom died and they wouldn’t let me go to the funeral. I’m not going to complain about my life. My point was, I’m not easy to make cry. Lily made me weep.
I profoundly hope, and if I had a God I’d pray, that you get to keep that sweet, sweet savoir, life-love, perfect friend, for as long as you can. She’s such a doll. She’s made you so happy, so settled. I need her around for my sake, and most certainly your own, for as long as possible.
I know. It might be a day, a week, six months, or years. We don’t know yet. I hope for your sake she’s around forever. But that’s not realistic, is it? I’m sorry, John. I wish dogs got the same lifespan as their owner. Or I should say, owners… No, wrong word. You never owned that beautiful dog. You both shared lives. I don’t know what to call that. I just know that she was in a bad place. She happened to find one of the most kind and caring men, regarding animals, that ever walked Earth. She got a bliss and joy, but mostly love and peace, from a good man.
Thank you for loving that perfect, sweet Lily. Thank you for giving her years of profound feeling. You know she felt that coming off of you. You have to. You have to know that whatever life she had before once she got Cole she was the most loved dog ever. She returned that love. I read about it so many times. I’ve seen all the pictures you’ve published.
I hope she shakes this one off and lives many, many years. For her sake. For your sake. And a little bit for mine. I’m going to cry like a child when she does pass. But hopefully that’s many years from now.
Again, you have to have given up on this by now. If not, John, you’re a good man. You’ve got the best sweet dog in the world.
John, so relieved that you have a diagnosis for your sweet Lily, and treatment options available.
WRT Lily making you a better person – if you believe she has, then she probably has. I did note in particular on your post yesterday that not only do you write so well, but you do so with clarity and a deep emotional honesty that is very touching and speaks to your deep humanity. And for some of us, the profoundly pure, unconditional love that a great dog offers us is the key to opening our hearts in a way that no other soul could possibly do. I know that my late beloved Seamus did that for me.
Seamus was a golden Retriever of singular beauty inside and out, and everyone he met just adored him, and he them. But we were a special team unto ourselves and he saw me through such profound loss and grief over the course of his lifetime, and his loving companship and the desire to give him the best life possible was what saw me through everything, like Lily has done for you.
The thing about dogs is that they don’t get caught up in their heads. They live in the moment, whole-heartedly, and enjoy such simple pleasures – they are wise teachers in this way. I am so glad that are able to have hope right now for Lily, and that you are able to have clarity about all possible eventualities. And also that you share the profundity of your experience here with us. You are a good man, John – and Lily is a good dog, a very good dog. May you both savor every moment you have together, and living each day – there is a gift in that, even when your heart must open more fully than is comfortable.
Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho
Keep wagging please, Lily.
I used to post here back around the time you adopted Lily. I’ve been lurking again for the past year or so and had to come back to send love to you and Lily. I lost a dog to lymphoma about a year and a half ago. Daisy was a rescue who had been abused by both people and other dogs, then abandoned. She had huge behavioral issues when I got her and overcame them all. She became a sweet, adventurous happy dog. Then two years ago this August while on vacation I was scratching her neck and felt some lumps. . . .
I didn’t have the money for an expensive treatment. And my vet didn’t think her prognosis was good. So I opted for prednisone and pain pills. We had two good months before it stopped working. Daisy knew when it was time to go. I try not to second-guess myself. We had only four years together and she was probably only 7 or 8 when she died. But we had that time, and I’m glad she was my dog.
That’s great news, John.
With your love, she’s going to have some more time in her life.
@Boomzilla: That was so beautiful and heartfelt.
I’ve been out tonight and just got in. Reading this, and finding out that Lily (and John) are okay for now — well now I can go to sleep.
@glaukopis: Yes, cellulitis can kill you in short order. Good thing you caught it in time.
Life is short. A lot of it is just spent trying to survive. Those times you can share with an animal or human that make it better can be few in a lifetime. But they are good, they let you keep your head screwed on reasonably. Not all of us get many opportunities for that and have to do the best we can. Some can’t look outside themselves at all and they are left with blaming others for that and for the loss of that real companionship. In my life I’ve been lucky to run across a couple of dogs that were just great, well, friends. You communicate on a different level with them, in many ways a deeper level, even if you can’t use language, discuss classic lit or whatever. You connect as 2 animals, which after all is what both of us are, animals. We think we’ve evolved to a higher level, but on many days I’m not sure that’s true at all. You can have human friends and discuss Proust or twitter and it’s mostly superficial. You sit with your four legged friend and you both know life.
@Ruckus: This is true.
Great news to come home to.
Not relevant to ms. Lily’s specifics, but …When my cat had sarcoma, with very poor odds, the chemo worked very very well. He was not sick from it. Five years later it recurred, there were some errors on all sides, a newer chemo was used and he seemed to succumb to the effects, not just to the cancer. Lost the cat love of my life. But chemo is a miracle when it works, so imo hope is absolutely the best way to go, the right course to take. The first time around, I made effort every day to stay good mentally myself and to have some trust. Even though I don’t automatically believe that would have mattered, at the same time I do feel that it did. I tried to put enough trust in the idea of it being worth the attempt (to have a positive environment around him) just because it was worth the try. ( I might remember to try this this more often.).
The 2nd time I was flattened by some other heartbreaking events and I was just so overwhelmed by the dread of losing him I could barely handle it.
I think it does help (with anything) for me to lose the mindset that I know what will happen.
John, I dont comment much, though I have been reading your blog since back before Lily, so I hope you see this. My dog has lymphoma. She was diagnosed over a year ago. About six months ago she was coughing up blood and we thought that was the end. But my husband took her to a dog cancer doctor and got her on a medicine that put her back into pre-cancer condition at least in regard to her looks and behavior. The medicine shrinks tumors. Its expensive–20 dollars a dose. I think she got three doses over three months. Now she is on a steriod and has a little fur lose, but she is happy, goes fof ealks, goes swimming, chases deer….If I gegt cancer I am going to go to a vet for care.
Anyway I just wanted you to know that there is hope for time. I dont konw how much time of course, but we were told three months and it has been over twelve.
Best wishes to you and lily
@Aleta: Sorry for your loss, hon. Oftentimes our critter relationships sustain us through all else.
Possible that Steep is around to offer some comforting tunes?
Jay in Oregon
I’m sending you and Lily all my warmest, fuzziest thoughts.
Let me second this comment. We had a cat with lymphoma who had chemotherapy and who lived happily (well, except for when he was getting chemo, although he actually was pretty chill about it) for at least that long. (About the only apparent side effect was that his fur got very soft – he didn’t lose any; it just got softer.)
@seaboogie: I liked hearing more about Seamus. You’d mentioned him a little one time (that I saw). Sounds amazing. And the funny thing is, they are all amazing. Just need a chance to know them. They are all the best dog (cat, mouse, porcupine) in the world.
John, ybefore longou and Lily have my best wishes. Today we spread Pepper’s ashes in her favorite garden spots. I hope the meds we got from our specialist bought her a few good weeks. She deserved at least that.
It’s strange how we can get into certain habits with our pets. It will take a few days before I stop expecting a cat to meow for breakfast when I get up. And tonight when I locked the front door I had the feeling I was locking a cat outside.
We’ll have a couple of new cats before long. The house just seems empty without them.
@Aleta: They are, indeed. Right now I’m loving on the Blue Jays in my back yard, and the taupe colored pair I cannot identify – but they love the treats I leave them and come to visit.
I escorted 3 generations of mice out of my former cottage via a humane live trap a few years ago. OMG – they were so cute! So many 3am trips in my jammies up the mountain road to rehome them, because the one time I let them outside directly, they ran right back inside.
Love is a powerful force John. She clearly loves you as much as you love her. She’s fighting for that.
Strength and power to you both.
Lily’s the best girl.
Whatever happens, I know you’ll do what’s best for her. If reincarnation is a thing, not much would be better than coming back as one of your pets because you are just the best to all of your fur-kids. Fingers and toes are crossed for you and Lily. You’re both good people.
Each of the dogs and cats who has been my companion, either now or in the past, has a song or poem that to me expresses something essential about their nature. In my earlier days with Daisy, when she reached the point where she no longer feared other dogs and could walk calmly past them, our morning walks got longer. One day when we were turning the last corner toward home she stopped, looked up at me, and then turned her head in the other direction. She wanted to explore over there. I had time so we went. And she had a revelation. Sometimes the Dog can get what she asks for. I don’t think that had ever been true for her before. So our walks got longer and more complex, and she sniffed out little streets and paths in the local mountains. And my poem for her is the last of Tolkien’s road songs:
Still round the corner there may wait
Some new road or a secret gate.
And though today I pass them by
The day will come at last when I
Will take the hidden paths that run
West of the moon, East of the sun.
@Joy in FL: Yes, animals are magical. For me it’s cats that make me Woo! But all animals, except for some human ones delight me. As a birder, this is the season of song and life. Today I saw 2 Ospreys building a huge nest just south of the West Seattle Bridge. And a herd of Caspian Terns on the Duwamish waterway. I need to get a decent camera.
Go, Lily! Go, John!
Never, never, never forget, John, how much better you made Lily’s life too.
That’s when a love affair is really magical — when it runs both ways. Always remember how lucky you both were to find each other.
You are such a good writer and Lily is so beautiful. She’s such a girl. Like others say, you make her life better too. Dogs know what’s up with humans — that constant watching, monitoring they do. I guess it’s evolutionary — good to know if the human is going to get pissed and kick them or something. But still side effect is that they know.
They don’t have long lives, which is their one drawback.
@Boomzilla: thx boom.
Lily is so special. Every time I see her picture, I feel such love and happiness. And I have never even met her. You are both so lucky to have found each other, saved each other and loved each other. Knowing Lily has made you a better person and knowing Lily through you has made my life better. Thank you, Cole.
Culture of Truth
Best wishes to you and Lilly
Yes, yes. Thank you John, and we love you Lily.
I choose the chemo route for my kitty, Butters. At one point during the process I realized, through tears, that it was literally the best money I’ve ever spent.
Thanks. I was afraid I went on too long. But I felt compelled. Lily and John are both very special.
Thank you, John. For everything. But especially for your love and kindness to the best dog. Good luck to you both.