Unconventional Therapy with a German Shepherd Named Miles


(originally written on my CaringBridge page on 1/19/13)

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant.   ~Anne Bradstreet

Thursday marked my second treatment at Dana-Farber.  The late afternoon infusions work out well because not only can I work most of the day, the entire atmosphere at DFCI is quiet & relaxed.

I was blessed to have my mom come with me this week, and my prayer beforehand was that everything would be seamless—from driving in, parking, to overall ease of the treatment process.  I really needed her there with me early on this journey, so her mind could eliminate any scary, pre-conceived notions that often come with the idea of chemotherapy.  It was just as I had hoped for . . . drama-free.  Actually, we even had 10 minutes to spare upon arrival, so we popped into the boutique where my wig was waiting to be picked up.  They brought us out back and I tried it on for her . . . she was amazed at how natural it looked—exactly like my hair, fresh out of the salon.   I laughed at the idea that soon, I could eliminate “bad hair days” for a while from my life.  Glass half full thought of the day.

My anxiety level was considerably reduced this week before treatment because I knew what to expect, confident in knowing how my body handled it last time—the likelihood lessoned of an anaphylactic response this round.  My nurse heated my arm in advance, helping to ease the pre-treatment Benadryl pain.  He will also be gradually decreasing the amount each week, as I prove to tolerate the drug more and more.  Fighting the grogginess from Benadryl and the high from the steroids makes for a “unique” slumber experience (or there a lack of).

Arriving home late on a school night, I was unable to spend time with the boys.  Instead, waiting for my arrival was my other boy, my “angel nurse dog,” Miles who anxiously greeted me with kisses and love.

Miles’, our German Shepherd is now referred to as my angelic nurse dog, because he’s glued to my side whenever I’m home, checking on me all through the night, and if tears are ever present on my face, he licks them away.  He’s got a level of intelligence and heart revealed in those beautiful eyes that blows my mind.  God knew in advance, how much I needed his companionship during this time . . . and I’m blessed to have a furry prince to add to the “court”.

Though I felt depleted of all energy, Miles carried on a “Chewbacca” conversation with me for 20 minutes, tilting his head back and forth, as I snuggled in a blanket watching him.  I knew he was eager for some Miles/mommy time that we relish each day—usually consisting of lots of outdoor exercise and play, but sadly it was not physically possible for me.  I know he’s “just a dog,” but he honestly seems to get it, and he came over to me, gently motioning his head toward the dining room, nudging me along.  I got up and followed him.

There, we did laps around the dining room table, me following his lead.  It was honestly hilarious—a YouTube moment to behold for sure.   He started us off walking.  Next, a slow jog …then into a sprint.  He’d look back at me periodically, making sure I was keeping up.  We must have done 150 laps before we were done.  It was amazingly therapeutic.

Though my steep climb just begins on this uphill venture, I am blessed beyond words for the “cream” that has risen to the top of my relationships.  I am so grateful for the AMAZING people in my life who have gone above and beyond to support me, love me and encourage me.  The generosity of each of you is overwhelming . . . truly overwhelming.  You are loved beyond words.

One thought on “Unconventional Therapy with a German Shepherd Named Miles

  1. I’d say Miles is much more than “just a dog.” Beautiful post. Thanks for sharing it with me.

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