Looking Forward to a New Year

This year has been crazy and exciting and heart-wrenching for me. Return to Royalty was published, I created my own publishing company, I did a handful of book signings, made some new writer-friends, participated in some blog hops, went to some comic cons, and lost a dearly loved member of my family.

 

 

 

This month I’ve been dealing with the loss of Daisy, while trying to prepare for the holidays and finish my writing projects. Unfortunately, the cancer finally got the better of her and we had to put her to sleep on November 17, 2017. I didn’t want to see my best friend go, but she was in pain. It still doesn’t make it any easier.

I’m thankful for all of the time we had together over the last eight years. I’m thankful that such a kind and loving soul was entrusted to my care. Saying goodbye is hard, but I have lots of pictures and happy memories to help me through it.

Daisy’s illness and death completely derailed my NaNoWriMo, and The Time – Traveler’s Cat has been shelved for the moment. I’m planning to finish book two, the sequel to Return to Royalty, and I’m really pushing for it to be available for purchase in March 2018. Some days I don’t feel like being creative, but I know it’s almost finished. It’s the last little stretch before the finish line, and sometimes that last little bit is hard.

Book Mock Up RtG

 

Despite having such a not-so-great November, I’m hoping that December and 2018 bring new adventures and more happy days. I’m anxious to see what will happen next year and what I will accomplish. When I look back, I’ve actually done a lot this year, which is very surprising to me. I hope to do just as much, and more in 2018!

What did you do during 2017? What are you hoping for in 2018?

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Sorry for the radio silence…

I know I haven’t been consistent the last few weeks with Friday Blog Posts, but this past week was a little bit of an exception.

On Monday we took Daisy, my 8-year-old border collie mix to the vet. She’d been vomiting and not eating, so we thought maybe a stomach bug or infection. The vet spent several hours doing X-rays and bloodwork, only to determine that she didn’t know what was wrong with Daisy. She referred us to a specialist to get an ultrasound.

Daisy 7

On Tuesday, we took Daisy to the specialist, who looked at her X-rays and palpated her abdomen, where she found a tennis ball to baseball sized lump. She wanted to rush Daisy into surgery Tuesday evening to remove the lump and biopsy it and resect her intestines, which is where the lump is sitting, which is why Daisy was vomiting and not hungry. The lump is causing a partial blockage, making it difficult for Daisy to eat.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have $5,000 to give the specialist to do the surgery, so we left, thinking we would go to Texas A&M’s teaching hospital. When Jake, our younger border collie, got sick and had the cyst on his brain stem, TAMU let us set up a payment plan and found research grants and all sorts of stuff to help us. We were prepared to drive two hours with Daisy to College Station, but TAMU didn’t take Care Credit, which we need to use because we don’t have a lot of money. They were willing to do a payment plan, but they needed 40% upfront, which we couldn’t make without the Care Credit.

So, once again, we were back to the drawing board.

While I was lying on the couch having a tearful breakdown, my husband was on the internet, finding ways to find a vet who would work with us. We love Daisy. We would throw any amount of money at a vet, if only we had it to do so.

Fortunately, James found a website called VetBilling.com. It lists vets in your area who will take payment plans. Yay! There was hope again.

On Wednesday, we took Daisy to a vet across town from us, more than an hour’s drive, because they are accredited and participated in Vet Billing. They were the best we could get, outside of the specialist who wouldn’t give us a payment plan. They looked at Daisy’s X-rays and did an ultrasound and a cytology. The doctor came back with crushing news.

It looks like Daisy’s lump is lymphoma, a type of cancer.

He wanted to send the sample to a pathologist and would have results on Friday. In the meantime, he put her on prescription food to help her eat. Thursday I took her with me to Petco and Petsmart. We had a nice afternoon of driving around, and I cried when I came home because I can’t imagine not having Daisy.

Daisy is special to me. I know a lot of pets are special to a lot of people, but Daisy is special because she was my friend when I didn’t have any friends and was caught in the throes of a bad, borderline abusive, relationship. She went everywhere with me. We did everything together. She was with me while I cried about my life choices. She kept me going and kept me sane and happy.

Daisy 1

Friday couldn’t come quick enough, but it brought worse news. The sample wasn’t lymphoma. It was adenocarcinoma. According to the National Canine Cancer Foundation, intestinal cancer affects 10% of dogs, with collies being prone to it. Of that 10%, only 17% develop adenocarcinoma. Most dogs with it are male. That means that technically, Daisy had less than 1% chance of having this cancer.

All my wuts. If we could channel this luck into the lottery, we could win a ton of money.

The vet we’re working with is really awesome. He’s been working during not-normal hours, and he has given me his cell to contact him. He’s put a rush on all of Daisy’s results, because he knows cancers like this are aggressive. They metastasize very quickly to other organs. He called me Saturday evening to talk about bringing her in for surgery.

On Saturday, we took Daisy down to Galveston. We decided that if she was going to have surgery soon, we wanted her to have a last, fun day before all of that starts. She had a blast. She chased the birds and went in the water and rolled in the sand. She even played with a tennis ball, which she hasn’t done in a while (she’s pretty lazy!).

She’s scheduled to be dropped off at the vet’s on Monday morning for pre-op testing. Her surgery will be Tuesday, where they will remove the tumor and resect her intestines. They will send it off for a more thorough biopsy, and most likely we will go to an oncologist for further treatments and chemo. She will be able to come home Wednesday evening, after a night of observation.

I really wish that this wasn’t happening, but I’m glad that we caught it. We’re hoping it’s early enough, because by the time they start presenting, they usually have a poor prognosis. I hope that’s not Daisy’s case. She’s not that old. She has many more beach days and dog park days and lazy, lay around the house days ahead of her.

We are asking for donations to help with Daisy’s care. If you’d like to send her money, please go to this link:

PayPal.me/JamesAMBarrera

I’m making a mug that I will send to everyone who donates $5 or more. Be sure to include your name and mailing address so that Daisy and I can send your thank-you gift!

I will post updates about Daisy on my Facebook page.