Today we are more of what we hoped to become and it seems this is so with each progressing year. Life reminds me daily how lucky we are to have each other. And, when I still manage to forget, he is there with a knowing smile, a well-timed IM, or the willingness to let the dogs in/out for the umpteenth time today.
Monday, August 31, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
The lovely Lisa invited us to join her and husband for a Restaurant Week dinner at Art & Soul. It was planned a couple of weeks in advance so it was wonderful to see a decadent night out pop up on the calendar. Art & Soul is the creation of Chef Art Smith, known for his relationship with Oprah and a recent too-short stint on Top Chef Masters.
Art & Soul is in the Liaison Hotel. Now I shall plunge into full-fledged fan mode and say that at least from the peek inside Liaison looks like one of the more ideal places in staid Washington to have a liaison. It's like a different world in there.
We stepped into Art Bar in Art & Soul and it had the kind of comfy, cool vibe, even earlyish on a Monday or Tuesday night, where I'd actually hang out. The food was very good. Jac and I were a little disappointed in the entree because we had somehow psyched ourselves out for fried chicken and a baked chicken threw us both off a little.
Pull-Apart Herb Bread
Capitol Hill Salad
Grilled Shrimp with Succotash and Chili Lime Sauce
Chicken with Goat Cheese Drop Biscuit,
Roasted Vegetables and Chicken Gravy
We were happy to check it out and I'd gladly return to the hotel, bar or restaurant. I am going to have to deconstruct that herb bread and make some soon.
P.S. I just noticed I dined with Ghandi over my shoulder. It was prix fixe for RW, but on another night he might have inspired some restraint on my part, mayyyybe.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
I think I have seven open windows in Firefox right now. I have to blog from Safari because it's just easier with the account I use. Right now I'm watching mourners leaving Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's funeral. I just spent an hour trying to figure out who was engaged in a Mommyblogging fight last June (08) because all the people who commented on a fight where Sweetney tweeted about Mrs. Fussypants being "parasitic" wanted to veil the identity of the parties involved. I'm still not done investigating what went down but it seems pretty ridiculous and exclusive that all these bloggers were concealing the identity of the accuser. I started looking at this craziness because I was reading Dooce's post today where she mentioned that she had once wound up in a spat with another mommyblogger and I couldn't figure out WTF she was talking about so I had to search for her and a fight and voila it's a year ago and someone else is tweeting about another someone else.
Oddly enough, in my digital adventures, this little bit of cliquish research immediately followed me watching the Kennedy funeral while reading the tweets about it online. Way back in the 80's I think I thought Sen. Kennedy was a punch line, a caricature. But I have developed a deep respect for his life's work while being amazed that it ever took place because of the egregious and seemingly insurmountable moral and ethical failure of Chappaquidick. It's a very foreign notion to me that he would have been able to just go back to work after that. In today's world the scrutiny and pressure would seemingly mount to push him from office. I say seemingly because Larry Craig is serving out his term, and Gov. Sanford is still in office as I write this, and John Edwards allegedly had an affair and a child and that wasn't what derailed his political campaign. Clearly, Sen. Kennedy benefitted from his family's influence and affluence. He got breaks "mere mortals" wouldn't have.
But I was struck, throughout these past days by the number of people who said he had called them on the telephone. I hate the telephone. I cringe when it rings rather than reach for it in anticipation. But he was from another generation where the telephone was an indispensable tool as the web is to me. He called everyone and in his government service he believed he was working for the good of everyone. So as I read the tweets during the service this morning I was "following" those who had something insightful to say and "blocking" a few who said outrageously hateful things.
Last night I was frustrated and handed out the same sort of "pats & darts" as it was known at JMU reading comments on websites about the heinous crimes of Phillip Garrido. I physically felt ill when I read that in 1976 Garrido had abducted a woman and taken her to a mini-storage unit, walls lined with carpet and filled with sex abuse accoutrements. He was sentenced to 50 years in prison PLUS 5 years to LIFE for various crimes. This was at least his second trial - he had been convicted of some felony a year prior but no one yet knows what crime. After 11 years, he was released from prison.
Then a slew of prostitute murders and the murder of one young girl occurred and the bodies were dumped near where he worked but he was not investigated. They are now researching a connection. Then he abducted the unfortunately named Jaycee Lee and kept her in bondage in his back yard. And yet, people knew. It was reported to the police that girls were living in his back yard. He had a parole officer who apparently never looked at the property where he lived. He was called "Creepy Phil" by the neighborhood. His customers and family knew he was "off". He committed a parole violation, was caught, and instead of being returned to prison for the rest of his original term PLUS the new offense, he was released in just a couple of months. Police had come to the house at one point and interviewed him on his front porch, never exploring the property when his conviction stemmed from hiding a woman in a box! He had a blog where he claimed superhuman powers. He was a registered sex offender, which his neighbors knew, but as delusional as he was, he was able to keep his demented set up for 18 years. God only knows what other crimes he committed. I am outraged at the failure of our justice system in this case. I wonder how many other people in this country are held in captivity. It truly makes me ill.
So where does all this rambling leave me? We all think we know what justice is. It is as plain to us as the nose on our faces. It is the denial of truth, honesty, freedom, security. Yet accusations of mimicry or intellectual property theft on the Internet provided plenty of room for interpretation and defense on both sides. A case of manslaughter so clearly seen by one side is as ludicrous to the side that focuses on a man's life's work as their beliefs are to their opponents. And I read with astonishment the diversity of opinion about fault and criminality and causality for the heinous crimes of Phillip Garrido. Where one would decry the state of the justice system another would insist that the miscarriage of justice was intentional, political. It is dizzying, and heavy.
I return to my refrain that it is August in Washington, for the love of God. We cannot take heavy. Our air is plenty heavy with heat and humidity. I have a nice light but fattening restaurant visit to detail in an upcoming post. I'm looking forward to a return to our regular programming.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Jac is out with a friend which means I have the house to myself tonight and dinner on my own. It's a strangely liberating feeling when it comes about which is crazy because I usually work from home. Nonetheless with an empty house I indulged in one of my ultimate guilty pleasures - roasted brussels sprouts.
What? You think a plate of vegetables is not an indulgence? Well then you, clearly, cannot smell my kitchen or feel the temperature in this house right now. Roasting vegetables on a 95 degree day is most certainly a guilty thing. When done right their intense King of Vegetable flavor gives way to a sweet nutty taste that I cannot resist.
So I am munching on sprouts and angel hair with Gruyere and watching last night's premiere of Top Chef. That's just how rowdy it is on Girl's Night In.
Sprouts: quartered, tossed lightly in olive oil and salt, roasted at 400 Convection for as long as it took to boil 2 cups of water for the pasta.
Somebody should have told My President's administration that August is not "debut a new initiative across America month". It is HOT. People are out of vacation time. They are grouchy. They are running out of three day weekends. My old boss used to take the month of August off -- and she worked in Public Policy! (That's government people!)
I don't know how the mythical beast of Obama communications has fallen so low. I mean health care is a sticky wicket but this is some crazy ess going on out here! The message has been so manhandled and the people who are supposed to be communicating it all seem to be in Argentina looking for trails or something. I mean granted, when the fringe are claiming the president isn't an American and carrying guns to rallies, and comparing the notion of providing healthcare to people who don't have it to Nazis?!?!?! Where do you go from there? I mean what can you possibly say.
So I have to admit, after what's already been a long, frustrating summer politically, when I saw Barney Frank tell a woman toting an Obama as Nazi drawing that he had no interest in talking with her because it would be like talking with the dining room table, I laughed. And then I smiled. There is so much fervor being drummed up to make us afraid, angry and hostile. That laugh expelled a bit of built up venom and drew in just enough light that I could remember that we are among the luckiest people in the world to be able to fight freely over whether or not to provide health care. We are very, very lucky. Most of us are, anyway, and hopefully we'll remember that when the instinct is to guard our kitties and fend off any threat of change. And a grand round of thanks to Barney Frank for saying what so many of us feel, but in far more polite terms than I would, that these screaming fringers are non-sensical and aren't advancing the conversation.
These last couple of weeks when my dog was diagnosed with Cancer, my unswerving determination was that she would have the best care, that I would find a way to pay whatever it took to help her, and that we would get through this thing. I think everyone who encounters a life-threatening illness feels some version of that, "I am important! I want to live! I want whatever there is that can help me!" I remember the privation, many years ago of not being able to take extraordinary measures to heal the heart of my then kitten. When life and money are put up against one another, for me, at least, money seems so trivial.
Earlier this year I provided some technical assistance to a Facebook friend who was trying launch a campaign to help fun the treatment that her friend's son needed because he was having many seizures and heart failures. The insurance company deemed the needed treatment "genetic treatment" and not covered. The needed funds were less than $35k at the time if I remember correctly. That would cover the treatment and some continuing care. They should have that treatment and my heart broke at the thought that they had to resort to cyber begging to attempt to fund it.
We are Americans. We're not Europeans or Canadians. We're going to have American health care. We're going to fight it out and something will come out of it. And when we get sick we are still going to believe, "I am important! I want to live! I want whatever there is that can help me!" and that's not going to change whether we're dealing with a shitty HMO bureaucrat or a shitty government HMO bureaucrat. And when we can't get what we want, we will do what Americans do, we will make a huge stink about it and fix it. We'll use our three branches of government to end up with a system that serves us. And if BOTH the commercial health industry and the government option fail us, we will come up with an alternative. That's our nature.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
It feels like another long week, but it's only Wednesday. It really feels like tomorrow should be Friday, but alas, it's going to be a fairly busy Thursday. At work this week I had to learn about wild futuristic technology and then write a 20 page white paper on complex techie stuff (hello non-science person) in about 36 hours. What I wrote about is totally not classified, but I think it calls for a drink or five anyway.
That said, I do kind of love that next week I could be plunging into basically any subject matter. I have researched and written about so many things sometimes I think I'm still in a 300-level essay-heavy class. It's both fun and tedious. They tell me (har har) that after exercise one experiences a high - like gee that was hard work, but now I feel great! I think this is like that but also think that the exercise people were high to begin with the whole exercise business in the first place.
What is sure to be the highlight of our week was my trip to the vet with Lexi yesterday. She had her stitches removed. Now all the Cancer and all the stuff that was around the Cancer is gone. She is gonna make it. She could not be happier. I could not be happier. Kirby cannot sniffing the vet smell on her. We will be vigilant. We will watch for other peas that do not belong under her skin. We will love her and she will have fun. So, yeah, pretty great.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Tonight we welcome back our sterling acquaintance, Mad Men. I don't know when Sunday night TV became such a big deal, but it is. As a kid Sunday night meant a Disney movie, scrambling to finish neglected homework, and collapsing into bed.
As an adult it means re-setting the house from whatever went on over the weekend, finding something clean to wear tomorrow, debating whether to pre-empt Monday morning email bombs by checking in on Sunday night or letting them blow their fuse on time, and wondering how many weeks there are, approximately, from now to retirement.
It also means tv. Since at least the Sopranos it's meant the treat of quality tv at least one night a week. Something new, above the fray, riveting. Sopranos episodes always ended with me feeling three things: OMGdidthatreallyjusthappen?, wow 54 minutes went by fast, ugh it's time to go to bed we have to work tomorrow.
For us, then came Six Feet Under where we found characters gruesomely twisted in a whole other way. For what should have been a depressing subject - afterall every episode started with someone's demise, it was a show with light and depth and quirks and humor. The actors were so riveting they seemed larger than the show.
From that we leapt to Big Love. I was instantly intrigued by the concept of a fundamentalist sect of Mormons who were still secretly practicing polygamy. I was compelled to watch by the presence of the brilliant Jeanne Triplehorn. Alas, the characters were so real, and Chloe Sevigny's deceptions and manipulations so toe-curling that I found I was stressed watching each episode. There were crushing debt, and manifest lies, and layers of complexity of truths and alliances and a lot of characters. It was kind of like being in a really stressful office on a Sunday night. When I stopped asking to tune to it, Jac didn't even ask why.
He merrily pounced over to Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Criminal Intent was less stressful because hey, they usually show you who did it in the first minute, and it's not the tough, gnarly crimes my man Ice-T is tackling over on SVU. So, a little hint of smartness (you know when Goren is all omnipotent and Eames lets him explain to her, an experienced and venerated detective, the criminal mind). But then Bobby had a story arc with his mother being sick and with the evil and omnipresent Nicole Wallace. It was...the dreaded...dramatic tension!
I hate Dramatic Tension. I think she has no place on your show and wish you would ship her out on the bus with Paula Abdul. Of course even Ryan Seacrest's pointless pregnant pauses exist simply to create dramatic tension. Dramatic Tension stresses us out! If Hawkeye and BJ could have just hung out in the swamp with occasional visitors instead of wet blankets Frank and Charles, we could have had a little respite from the travails of the 4077th.
If Bubbles had just BEEN a competent assistant providing Edina and Patsy with what they needed instead of leading them into predicaments we could have just had a fine old time having some drinks and finding things to get us into our trousers.
But really, I have to go back to Nellie Oleson and her meddling misanthrope mother. If we could have JUST let them pass through Walnut Grove there would have been a good deal less strife all around!
I suppose you will say that we wouldn't appreciate the characters if they didn't have moments of great peril and exposure thanks to these difficult people, but I'll admit they stress me out on a Sunday night when I already can't imagine that the weekend's winding down.
This year in Mad Men it's 1963, there has been a heap of tumult going on at Sterling Cooper and all hell's about to break loose out in the real world which they've largely been able to avoid. The teasers say this is a season of change. Change is a tricky word because its connotation is subjective and incidental. I hope it's as painless as changing my oil or we could resort to changing the channel. Oh who the hell am I kidding, we'll be there for every deep drag on the cigarette to numb the insane reality moment of it. But we might need one of Roger Sterling's double cocktails to get to sleep after each episode.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
I'll get that mouse if it's the last thing I do!
It's quite hard to believe since we tell her 836,487,815 times a week to quit crying, to get down of that counter right now and to wait until later for breakfast/dinner/treats, but apparently our little Maddie is quite a winner.
We got a call that our picture of her dangling over my (old) monitor has won the Northern Neck Animal Welfare League photo contest. She is a cutie, a crazed, lunatic cutie.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
My outdoor thermometer says it's 90F outside right now. I wouldn't know because everything over 82F seems like 100 to me. I truly loathe these days of the year. In Washington hot comes humid and I've contemplated running for Congress for the simple luxury of leaving town in August.
When you are a "grown up" as apparently I am these days, summer is such an odd entity. We don't have kids yet so the traditional markers of "the end of school", "back to school shopping" and "the first day of school" are completely absent from our timeline. They give the summer some context. We've temporarily replaced them with trips, visitors, and concerts. They help as little landmarks to get through the long, gross summer, but there should be MORE.
At least after summer as a kid I got a heap of new school stuff. Since I had a mad affinity for all things organizational and pen and paper it was a wonderful windfall. I think that was part of my thinking in choosing a wedding date at the end of the summer. Our anniversary is August 31. So after a steamy August we have an excuse to spoil ourselves and celebrate.
Still, if you gave me the opportunity to skip ahead to the first cool, crisp autumn day I would without hesitation.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Ina Garten (the Barefoot Contessa of Food Net fame) is so lucky. She has producers to coordinate the constant stream of visitors to her awesome Hamptons haven. We are not so fortunate. We have been known to resort to begging. We can't provide the Hamptons, but I promise to feed you and entertain you or let you entertain yourself. I promise that once you cross into the Northern Neck traffic will seem like a foreign concept. We have issued a standing invitation to our friends and family: come join us for a weekend or more!
So it was to my extreme delight that Jac's sister and her family took us up on the offer for the first time since our wedding this weekend. We were doubly lucky that my Aunt and Uncle and the red-headed duo had planned a visit as well. It just so happened that both pairs of kids were born in the same years - heading into driving for one set and teetering toward tweendom for the other. We were granted great weather for Friday and had a little daylight and the chance to grill out.
Saturday rain threatened but we managed all kinds of stuff from tickling the tchotchkes in town to playing pool and splashing in it. There was a fair amount of Wii-gaming taking place as well. I was tired Saturday night, but the good kind of tired that comes from a satisfying day instead of a hard-working one thanks to the many hands that pitched in on everything that needed to be done. I had compost-haulers, corn-shuckers, dish-loaders, and table-setters galore. What I did not have was a seat at the dinner table. We were one short for a total of 11 seated. I have got to remember to rectify that!
Instead of dreams about work, I dreamt about where to store my wine glasses. That is bliss for an organizing fiend.
Sunday morning I deployed my new secret weapon: The Belgian Waffle Breakfast. The fruit was so delicious that I, ME, Elle Kasey, I did not even touch the whipped cream. I brought a bag of it home and it's going to be a heavenly breakfast today. As it turns out pretty much everyone loves The Belgian Waffle Breakfast. It's been a hit a couple of times now so I think it might be time to add that second waffle maker to the pantry. Where on earth I will fit it I do not know.
We'd had THREE Cancer encounters in our family during the week ranging from potential to excised and the word had been good across the board. That kind of news makes a sweet, relaxing weekend with family all the more enjoyable. It made Sunday all the more bittersweet.
So I guess I don't exactly need Ina's life, but a visit from Jeffrey and T.R. now and then would be quite welcome.
Sunday, August 09, 2009
Finally, after many phone calls, on Friday afternoon we got an answer... of sorts. Lexi's second biopsy came back negative -- all of the margins around where her tumor had been were clear of Cancer. The vet said that this, combined with the fact that the tumor was low grade, small, and had a low mitral count suggest a good prognosis for Lexi. There is a chance of recurrence and we can't pinpoint exactly how high that chance is because it's not absolutely clear how close to the skin or how deep in the subcutaneous layer or where in between that tumor was located. So, the vet said, we are her first line of defense, feeling for future lumps that don't belong there. Additional treatment or testing isn't needed now. We can resume our normal breathing schedule. Whewwwww.
Our girl still spent the weekend in the infirmary. She has a big row of stitches holding together a gnarly wound. The vet's orders are no stairs, running or intentional exercise. As much as I wish those were orders for ME, they are for the fluffy one and she dislikes every one of them. Imposing them at the river was practically torture for her. At one point she pushed the envelope and took a good run down to the dock. Then she came back and asked me in her best Irish terrier brogue if I had any of those pain meds left. I did. She got them. She enjoys the dope from time to time.
Thursday, August 06, 2009
In a fierce bolt of independence, Lexi just got up from the chair-and-a-half we share approximately 18 hours a day and crossed the room to curl up in her once-favorite chair. I think she's starting to feel a little better. And the drugs aren't hurting either. She is taking the stairs again outside to potty (against doctor's orders but she was flinging herself out of our arms in a far more destructive way than three little steps would do). Yes I know that sentence doesn't make any sense but it is 11:30 at night and this has been the longest week in decades.
We were supposed to get the results of her second operation today, but instead a vet tech called and said the vet had to leave before calling today. I am hoping that means that she has good news for us, not that she's reached the end of her veterinary oncology rope and just couldn't bear to call one more person to tell him about his dog.
Tomorrow is Friday and we are headed to the river. It will be a big challenge to keep Lexi from running in the fields with Kirby. Jac's sister and her family are coming to our house for the first time and I don't know whether Jac or I am more excited. I love having new people to the river. I'm hoping we get good weather and they find lots of fun things to do.
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
It's been 24 hours since surgery and Lexi's made it through with some good meds and a lot of sleep and gentle snuggles. I had the luxury of working not only from home, but from bed today where Lexi and I kept each other company and I tried to give her enough dope that she wasn't making that soul-crushing "yeoowch this huuuurts!" groan.
We are still waiting for the lab results to know where we stand. Lexi's wound is big and scary-looking but the biggest challenge so far has been convincing her we're not going to drop or hurt her carrying her down the three steps to the backyard.
Monday, August 03, 2009
It feels like tomorrow should be Friday because this has already been a heck of a week. After our big night out Saturday, all I wanted to do was chill in the house Sunday with my favorite man and dogs. The man had a man-date with his comic boyfriend but whatever I'm not jealous. They had fajitas!!! By now the Internet was speaking loud and clear: if your dog does not have this one type of Hemangiosarcoma, kiss her good bye sister.
Then I got the mother of all migraines. And it took two doses (and many hours) of migraine meds to not have pain. Then I was just queasy and loopy as all get out. And I didn't think a sleep aid went too well with that cocktail so I stayed up late with Lexi laying next to me in the chair. Then we went to bed and listened to Jac perform his night job, sawing loudly while he sleeps. I held her in my arms and just listened to every breath. I wondered about today and ran all the scenarios through my head.
Today we got to the oncology vet relatively unscathed (for me, a woman who largely runs her business via email and cell phone) it meant nothing critical came up this morning to intrude on the reverent march to the prettiest vet office I've ever seen. First the people in the lobby made a fuss over Lexi. Now, I know that she is a relatively cute and sweet dog. I further know that pediatricians' offices and places that cater to animals are going to rave over whatever skunky donkey you drag in. But it's fair to say people were besotted with my little blonde vixen.
We went back for the consultation and the vet tech took a thorough history. The veterinary oncologist (Who is about my age the degrees tell me. When did I get to be the age of people with advanced medical degrees???) had just a two page lab report in hand and started getting as much info as possible about Lexi. She was reassuring, actually she regenerated some hope in this house, she said that the record said the tumor was small, that it's mitrial count was very low which would mean it would be slow to replicate the cancer, and that it was a little vague whether it was dermal (gold star of Hemangiosarcoma, you need a cut and a band aid and you should be good to go) or subcutaneous and deep which could mean a 60% chance of metastasis.
Then, she did something completely surprising. After explaining she'd like to go back in and get more out of the tumor site and after we told her we'd like to have that done there, she went out and drummed up an OR so it could be done this very afternoon.
The vet tech came in and said Lexi made a huge impression on the vet. She said she'd never seen anyone (non-emergent I'm assuming) come in for a consultation and get surgery the very same day. We were elated. There is a possibility that after today's surgery Lexi could be on the road to recovery -- many scary scenarios averted. If she is, then we will always need to be vigilant about observing another growth, but we may have years left -- as we have been praying rather than something less.
The answers will come soon. There will be results this week. Meanwhile, we toted our tired, stressed, pained dog home and she has been by my side all night. I rejoiced at 11:30 tonight when she suddenly got her appetite back and enjoyed an appetizer of treats (hey it's what she would eat) followed by an entree of now refrigerated (since she'd refused it hours ago) wet dog food. She cleaned the bowl. That earned her a pain med and an antibiotic and a handcarrying to the back yard for late night potty.
Sunday, August 02, 2009
We went to see Paul McCartney in concert tonight. It's pretty funny because the opportunity for tickets presented itself at a short-lived moment of social and financial confidence. A couple of weeks later I would have hastily brushed off the email and insisted we need to use our time and money for a higher purpose.
But, it was a bit of serendipity that it happened the way it did because the show was a diversion from the countdown to Monday's visit to the canine oncologist. It was a big fat block of time that could not be used playing games on the computer or napping (apparently our favorite in-home diversions.)
Sir Paul McCartney rocked the house in the most spectacular way. He reached deep into his history and brought back a repertoire any mega star would be giddy to have. He switched guitars and swung from decade to decade. He hammered the piano keys with the likes of the best of them. He is 67 years old but he jumped around the stage --actually singing and playing instruments mind you-- for three hours! With no long "the band plays on" musical interludes. With no other singer to throw the lead to. And he was in great form. And there were fireworks.
I started thinking about our girl Lexi who we'd left at home and worrying about what the future holds for her. I started to feel a little cheesed at Ye Higher Power for the recent rundown of Elle Kasey plights and I looked up at this aging round faced man who'd lost his band, his bandmates, his music, his wife to cancer, his second chance to love, and ended up robbed by the woman he thought was his wife. And there he was merrily singing and dancing. I mean yeah, sure it doesn't hurt to be a millionaire and wildly talented at the exact right moment in history. But his performance reflected his innate ability to adapt to change.
Change can be really hard. He played a song he'd written for his wife Linda who is still in his heart. But change can be good, as he congratulated us on the social change we've experienced since he was inspired to write Blackbird.
When we got home tonight Lexi ran right out the front door to greet me, bounding all the way, not a sign of anything even remotely amiss.
Saturday, August 01, 2009
Before what will or won't be done and what is or isn't going on is clear. I am overwhelmed with thoughts of my beautiful, bright and best canine friend Lexi. She is a Therapy Dog, but because of our own dramatic health crises the only people she's been able to support so far are her family.
Lexi is a strange character who craves pets like most dogs seek food and who thinks strangers are just people who haven't petted you yet. Lexi has never chewed a piece of clothing or furniture. In fact, her very first puppy toy survived for years in remarkable condition until another family dog destroyed it in one go.
Lexi may have been given a brief instruction in "heel" once. She has followed that command ever since - to the extent that at the dog park we coax her to wander a few feet away from us. She is a quick study because her life's mission is to please us and have fun. She has tackled all the basics: sit, stay, come, down, off and a few special commands like "tell me" and "up in the air" where she barks or leaps on command.
Innately she senses what people and animals need and sees what she can do to help. Recently my young cousin came to visit and was enamored with the idea of chasing our young rescue Kerry Blue through the yard while shrieking and flailing and maybe making a few furtive lunges for his tail. As the two ran up and down the fence, Lexi sensed a Nursemaid role and inserted herself between boy and dog. Now they were all chasing each other and the boy and the dog were immediately pleased and at ease.
Lexi is also our hero for embracing her once arch-rival. We wanted a companion for Lexi and initially Lexi and Kirby hit it off beautifully. They romped in the yard and chased each other with abandon. But after a couple of days, Lexi seemed to grow weary of his presence - suddenly she was sharing EVERYTHING with this very unsophisticated boy. She may have made an effort to be extra perfect in our eyes, but she also became his coach, teaching Kirby the boundaries of life and property.
Lexi is probably a once-in-a-lifetime dog. I have owned and loved several dogs before and hope to have many more in my life, but Lexi is a dog who reached right back when I wanted to create a bond with her. She is our barometer of our lives and our marriage - getting us up and out for a walk when we need to exercise, crying for the dog park when we need to socialize, and letting us know in no uncertain terms when we're not providing the loving (no-fight-zone) atmosphere she demands.
Lexi doesn't especially want to mingle with dogs, but she is perfectly comfortable in their company. She'd just be happier snuggled up next to you, a fellow human.
Lexi shows you full well how I feel when I think about the C word, Cancer. It. Fucking. Sucks.
In a world where there's a multi-billion-dollar global race to create the thinnest, brightest flatscreen tv, Cancer gets charity pleas and gummy wristbands. Which reminds me where the hell did I put those wristbands?
Lexi was diagnosed this week with "low-grade subcutaneous hemangiosarcoma". I discovered a lump on her chest, which was removed with surgery and biopsied. The biopsy came back with the news I'd dreaded. She has cancer.
Lexi is six years old. She is a soft-coated wheaten terrier. I privately call her, "Saint Lexi.''
At the same time Cancer, that effing bastard, pesters an uncle, a realtor, a vicar's son. It's stolen the life of a mother of several young children and an Earth Mother who was filled with love. Today a Senator and recent Presidential candidate announced he's fighting Cancer too.
Seriously, fuck Cancer. These are the types of things the Internet has to say about the prognosis of dogs with Hemangiosarcoma:
Canine hemangiosarcoma is among the most challenging and mysterious diseases encountered in veterinary
practice. It is an incurable tumor of cells that line blood vessels, called vascular endothelial cells.
Sixteen dogs with a histologic diagnosis of hemangiosarcoma were treated with surgery and doxorubicin/ cyclophosphamide. The patients' characteristics, ie, age, size, and breed, were similar to those of previous studies. Historic controls for surgery alone were used to evaluate efficacy of the chemotherapy. The results show a trend of improved survival in dogs with localized disease (Stage I) receiving combination therapy. The median survival was 250 days, with a mean of 403 days. The survival times for dogs with stage I, II, and III disease was also improved with combination therapy, when compared to historical controls treated with surgery alone. The overall median survival was 202 days with a mean of 285 days. Toxicities included mild to moderate neutropenia (9 of 16) and clinical signs, such as lethargy, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever (13 of 16). Three dogs had severe neutropenia requiring hospitalization and supportive care. One dog died from sepsis and related complications. Chemotherapy with doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide appears to improve survival with acceptable morbidity in patients with early stage disease. (Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine 1993; 7:370–376. Copyright © 1993 by the American College of Veterinary
Standard treatments for canine hemangiosarcoma include surgery and chemotherapy with doxorubicin, but in spite of treatment most dogs with this disease die within 6 months of diagnosis. Tumor growth and metastasis are angiogenesis dependent. Antian-giogenic drugs such as minocycline may provide therapeutic benefits in cancer patients. The purpose of this prospective study was to evaluate the efficacy of chemotherapy with doxorubicin and minocycline, an antiangiogenic agent, in dogs with hemangiosarcoma. Eighteen dogs with histologically confirmed hemangiosarcoma of any stage were treated with doxorubicin, cyclophospha-mide, and minocycline. Complete staging was performed before and during the treatment period to assess remission status and response to therapy. No statistically significant difference was found in survival between the dogs treated with chemotherapy and minocycline, and historical controls consisting of dogs that received chemotherapy alone. Postmortem examination revealed widespread metastasis, suggesting that minocycline is ineffective as a single antiangiogenic agent in canine hemangiosarcoma. Revised April 6, 1999, February 3, 2000; Accepted March 22, 2000
So the literature basically says, if your dog has Hemangiosarcoma, she has about six months
to live whether you do chemo or not. Monday we meet with Lexi's oncologist and I pray he has something more encouraging to offer.