Tuesday, April 12, 2011

six months later



hair loss, the effects of cancer, 6 months since diagnosis

i remember a couple of weeks ago, my sister Kim said to me: "he doesn't look like he has cancer though, you know? he just hasn't changed to me at all". and i thought that is so Kim, who sees so fully with her heart and almost never with her eyes. and while the changes to me are obvious, living with him day after day (grateful! day! after! day!), i have come to love his bald spots and patches, the worn look in his face, and his greater need for affection and food :) i also realize that i don't often show much more than his face, or the effects cancer has had on his body.

the first photo was taken a couple weeks ago, and that is so my boy. ready for you. waiting for you to get down there with him and snuggle. no, wait. just give me a carrot or a piece of bacon he is saying!

the second one is tastefully done and doesn't show the multitude of patches that were periodically shaved as one lesion after another emerged beneath what little coat he has left... three weeks ago he was started on antibiotics for a suspected staph infection, even though my gut told me otherwise with no itching, no redness, no smell. just these serous mild oozes, a scab, then with some, healing. but today, at the vet, since new lesions keep popping up- we cultured and if that culture is negative, we'll biopsy next week.

yes, the lymphoma can present this way. i had read that somewhere and thought since it was rare, no chance. my gut keeps telling me otherwise, in spite of hearing those words today. i'm trying hard to ignore my gut or just plain tell it to shut its trap.

in the last photo, you see what most of him looks like now- these large areas of thinning, sometimes in artistic patterns (doesn't that look like a rockin' flame on his side or maybe an angel's wing?). most of these appeared before his diagnosis and were the first symptom of his cancer, some hair loss came with the chemo- though not much. and where he was shaved for surgery the hair has never fully grown back in.

i think he is the most handsome, beautiful dog that ever lived.

april 8th marks 6 months since the official diagnosis.

and damn if i don't feel (#%!*%$#) blessed for every minute of the days that have made up those months! i'm banking on making it to his 8th birthday even though i tell him (almost) every day that i am ready when he is ready, that if he's too tired it's okay. even though i know that's pushing it and maybe unrealistic.

even though i'm not really. ready, that is.

but for him? well, i will muster every bit of strength i have. cuz he deserves my all and my best and this boy, well, he has my heart and my heart has been full in such large part- in such LARGE part... because of him.


  1. angel's wing. amen, amen to that.

  2. Absolutely, an angel's wing...wish I could reach through this screen & give him a big ol' hug...and you too!

  3. You and this dog...something so special that it brings tears to my eyes. I didn't realize he still had the cancer :( I thought it was gone.
    Amazing what we can learn- from a dog.
    Thank you for sharing him with us through your lens. Thankful for every day with you.

  4. thanks so much Holly... there is just something incredibly, and i mean INcredibly special about Ransom and everyone who knows him or meets him says as much. he has that "it" factor :)

    no, the cancer never went into remission- the reason we stopped chemo is that the tumors were growing WHILE on chemo so it wasn't working. strangely, those tumors in his neck have basically stabilized (haven't grown much, very slow), and he's only had minor grown through his chest- but all his lymph nodes along both sides of his chest are involved. it is very unusual with this kind of cancer to not have it spread more quickly. and honestly, if this turns out to be more of the same, we won't do anything differently. he is still eating well and happy and until he tells me it's time, well- then, until then :)

  5. bless his sweet, ever loving heart and you too. :D


  6. I agree.. definitely an angel's wing! :-) I'm so sorry you are going through this. Maddy still says every single night that she misses her Brooklyn. :-( Thinking of you!

  7. He is such a handsome boy....I am so glad you get this time with him & that he is still eating & happy.....

  8. We lost our sweet dog to lymphoma last over a week ago. It ripped my heart to shreds. Cancer stinks! Cancer in dogs, just seems cruel.
    Wendy @adoptionandfire.com

  9. Ransom is rockin' his angel wings. He is so totally rock 'n roll. He needs an electric guitar...or a drum set...or maybe just a swaggering microphone to sing sweet nothings into?

  10. That sweet sweet dog. I cried when I saw him in that last picture. he looks so much like the worn velveteen rabbit. So much love emanates from him, so much love surrounds him.

  11. I'm grateful also...for every day you have with him. There are more prayers going up for you and Ransom than you know.

    Hugs, friend.