A part of never giving up means making the most of every single moment – – and in typical Limoncello fashion, she is schooling us on how to do exactly that….
We as humans have so much to learn from dogs…Dogs live each and every day with a sense of excitement…with a 🍋 zest for life. They are resilient and move forward despite the challenges they face. Today marks three weeks-post diagnosis (8/30/23), and yet Limoncello continues to show pretty much zero symptoms outside of her right eye looking slightly larger than the left. Although that makes me happy, if I’m going to be honest… I need to share that the past three weeks have been stressful to say the least. Upon diagnosis, Limoncello was given only a-few-weeks to a-few-months to live. I feel like this cancer has left us feeling much like we did when Porter and Jägermeister’s seizures were not under control – it’s like living with a ticking time bomb … never knowing when it’s going to “explode” … never knowing when that seizure or nosebleed is going to dreadfully emerge…Waking up each morning wondering if that day will be her last. Despite efforts to remain positive and have faith, the worries still find a way to slither their way into my mind, especially leading up to her 3-week check-up. However, I am (cautiously) relieved to share this week’s report!
September 19, 2023: Three Week Check Up With Primary Veterinarian
Limoncello saw our primary veterinarian, Dr. Campbell, on September 19th.
Observations I Shared:
- Cello’s activity level, eating/drinking habits and behavior have not changed at all
- Dr. Campbell was happy to hear this.
- Cello has begun to sneeze periodically, which is new for her – but we were told to expect this, and luckily there has been no bleeding that has accompanied the sneezing
- I thought I was crazy to think her right eye looked better than it did three weeks ago…
- Dr. Campbell agreed that she thought Cello’s eye looked better as well!
Evaluations During Exam:
The following have had no decline/changes:
- signs of discomfort
- left nostril airflow (right nostril is blocked by tumor)
- heart murmur
- facial bones and skull
- mouth, throat, and swallowing
- right eye
- When should see Cello be seen next?
- suggested time frame was 2-3 weeks
- Can we review what we are we watching out for?
- discharge from nostrils
- swallowing with effort
- teeth chattering
- Can we get a letter to submit to DockDogs so that we could request a reimbursement for Cello’s World Championship entry fees due to her medical condition?
- When I heard the words come out of Dr. Campbell’s mouth, it took my breath away and immediately the tears began to flow: “I think you should go. She deserves one last jump.” (Insert ugly crying here)! Dr. Cambell said that because Cello surprisingly did not show the decline that was expected in the last 3 weeks, it is highly likely there will not be a drastic decline in the upcoming next few weeks – although we have to understand that anything is possible of course. BUT, if she’s doing well and feeling good, why not let her do what she loves … revel in what she created for our family… and jump at the World Championship one more time?! Since Cello has had no decline and her exam went well, her previous restriction of not jumping off the dock has been lifted at the moment and for as long as it is deemed safe for her to do so.
If we go to the World Championships in Iowa, we take the chance of an emergency happening on the road, and although because of past experience, it has become one of our biggest fears, that emergency could (or could NOT!) happen anytime, anywhere. The last thing we want to do is just “sit around and wait” when we could be making the most of Limoncello’s enjoyable moments.
I will have to plan and pack as if we are going to the World Championship with the mindset of knowing we could have to cancel at any given moment – including less than 24 hours before we’d have to leave. Limoncello will have to remain asymptomatic and she will also have an exam again with Dr. Campbell on October 6th. If all goes well again at that exam, we will leave early on the morning of October 7th to what very well may be the most memorable and meaningful trip our team as a whole has taken.
I have done zero planning for the World Championships, considering we had already resigned to the fact that we couldn’t go…So we won’t have new fancy team shirts, or cool trading cards for our pack, but what we will have is 2 of the greatest gifts of all: Limoncello making most likely her last jump while battling cancer, and Lager competing as a survivor. We have had some pretty amazing moments, awards, and accomplishments at the World Championships over the years, but THIS, my friends, will truly rival them all. No award…no nomination…no victory can or will ever fill our hearts with a greater sense of pride and gratitude than seeing Cello flipping cancer the paw and doing what she loves most…rockin’ the dock one last time! Fingers and paws crossed that we are able to make the trip.
The Best Thing About Memories is Making Them
A devastating diagnosis is a jolting wake-up call that reminds us that time is precious and not meant to be wasted. Live every day making every moment count. Even though cancer can eventually take loved ones away from us, the one thing it can never steal from us is our memories…so make LOTS of them. Here are some I made with Limoncello this week:
Bike Ride Around Town
Betty White’s First Off Road Adventure
Chillin’ on the Couch with Brother Hooch
National Cheeseburger Day
Visiting with Friends and Family
National String Cheese Day
I am a true believer in the power of positivity – and it is extremely apparent that Limoncello is feeling the prayers and good vibes you all have been sending. Brian and I appreciate each and every one of you.
Here are a few gifts from this week:
Box of Sunshine
Care Box for the Whole Pack
Cello-Yellow Flowers and Cookies
No News is Good News
If Limoncello continues to do well, my plan is to post an update after her October 6th exam instead of a weekly update next week. Until then, please continue to send those positive thoughts Cello’s way, and don’t forget to keep making those memories with your loved ones!