I just found two more lumps on Arran. They’re probably mast cell tumors. This has been an ongoing problem with Arran, who got his first one in 2015 and had another one removed in January. Zane also had MCTs before he finally graduated to lymphoma and passed away in 2019. Anyway, I am reminded of a book I read in December 2016 to keep my hopes up. I’m reposting it for those who might find it useful. It appears as/is.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been processing the news that my sweet beagle, Zane, has mast cell cancer. My other dog, Arran, also had a mast cell tumor removed and there’s been no recurrence so far. I’m not sure we’ll be as lucky with Zane. I have a lot of anxiety about my dogs and life in general. When I’m faced with a problem like this, I usually go hunting for information. In my quest for information, I ran across a book called The Dog Lived (and So Will I): A Memoir.
Written by twice divorced California lawyer Teresa Rhyne, this is a book about a dog named Seamus who had an aggressive mast cell tumor. The dog eventually recovered from the tumor. Then Teresa found a lump in her breast that was cancerous. Rhyne turned her odyssey into a successful blog and then wrote her book, which was originally published in 2012. I will admit that I decided to download the book because I was looking for a hopeful story. In Rhyne’s book, I did find some hope.
At the beginning of the book, Rhyne is coming back from a trip to Ireland, where she’d gone to see relatives. She had just been through her second divorce and lost her two dogs within months of each other. She’s overwhelmed and depressed, but looks amazing. Rhyne explains that when the chips are down, she ups her personal grooming. It’s like an armor she wears to help her bring her “A game”.
Rhyne has an irreverent sense of humor and writes about how much she enjoyed her Irish relatives tendency to use the f word liberally. When she met Seamus, a dog who seemed to need her as much as she needed him, she was reminded of her irreverent relatives. Although Seamus proves to be a challenge to train, they become a pair. And then Rhyne starts a new relationship with a man named Chris, twelve years her junior.
This book is part dog story and part love story, with a healthy sprinkling of medical and veterinary drama thrown in. Rhyne adds her interesting sense of humor and the compelling stories of how she and her dog both battled cancer and annoying doctors, and both survived. It’s probably just the kind of book I should be reading right now. Thanks to Rhyne’s way with words, I managed to get through this book quickly and effortlessly. I related to her story and admire how she’s turned her experiences into a new career. After the success of her first book, Rhyne wrote another. She now does public speaking and continues to rescue dogs.
As for us and our situation with Zane, I’m not really sure what’s going to happen. His tumor was not as aggressive as Seamus’s was. We live in a different country and Zane is a bit older and grayer. At this point, I’m more inclined to work hard to give him a great quality of life rather than put him through multiple surgeries and chemotherapy.
I have to admit, though, that reading about Seamus was inspiring. Rhyne’s story about her breast cancer was also interesting, even if it left me checking my boobs. I was impressed the most by Rhyne’s loyal and long suffering boyfriend, Chris, who was apparently Teresa’s rock. To be honest, Rhyne comes across as somewhat self-absorbed, although I figure she’s also pretty genuine. I’d much rather deal with someone genuine but somewhat unlikable over someone who’s fake.
Anyway… I would recommend The Dog Lived (and So Will I) to interested readers. I give it four stars out of five.
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