Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Approaching Storms

There is currently a storm of which most of my friends and the sailing community in general is aware.  Hurricane Florence is expected to collide with North Carolina in the next couple days.  Unfortunately Rover seems to be right in the middle of the predicted path and there is nothing we can really do about it that hasn't already been done.  Sails and canvas were removed and extra dock lines were added when I left her several months ago.  The caretaker we hired has added additional lines and fenders and done everything else possible to make her as safe as can be for the impending storm.  The marina, and her location within the marina, are about as good as anyone can hope for anywhere in the area. At this point, all we can do now is wait and see what happens. My concern regarding this storm is more for the many friends I have made that will be impacted far worse than us by Florence.

Hurricane Florence image from NOAA as it approaches the U.S.
But, for our family, there is another storm on the horizon that is of much more concern.  This storm is not a weather event at all, but has to do with the health of our eldest four-legged crew member.
Madison sunning herself on deck.
A couple months ago Madison developed a limp.  At first we thought she might have just slept on her leg wrong or pulled a muscle playing.  When it didn't get better, we took her to the vet to see what was going on.  Initially they thought a soft tissue injury and so she was given some pain medications and we were told if it didn't get better in a few more days to let them know.  It didn't. We went back. The vet thought it was arthritis. I pushed back as I didn't believe arthritis was such a sudden onset symptom when recent x-rays didn't show any arthritis.  The doctor said the only thing they could really do was to send x-rays to a radiologist to see if they could see anything.

Her favorite hobby when a big bed is available.
The radiologist report was not conclusive, but thought he saw something in her shoulder bone that would be consistent with cancer.  More x-rays were done and in the process they found a tumor in her lung.  Not wanting to mess around and having one of the premier veterinary oncology centers nearby, we immediately made an appointment at the CSU Veterinary Hospital.

Playing in the ocean.
More examinations and a CT scan later and we had our answers.  Not only did she have osteocarcoma (bone cancer) but there were 8 tumors in her lungs.  In the matter of a few weeks Madison went from "a very healthy dog, particularly for her age" to a terminal diagnosis.  To try and and improve the quality of life for the time she has left, she has now had two radiation treatments and chemotherapy.

Taking Madison and her brother Tucker for
a hike in the Rocky Mountans
Other than a limp (that has improved with treatments and medication), she seems to be in good spirits.  Her appetite certainly has not diminished and I don't know that she is at all aware of the seriousness of her condition. Meanwhile she gets lots of attention and some special treats.  But there are dark clouds on the horizon.


  1. Oh, I’m so, so sorry for you. If she was “just a dog” then it wouldn’t have to be so painful, but I know she is much more than that. We had to say goodbye to our old dear lab Sandy two years ago. It’s as though there is a niche in our hearts for our dogs and when they leave us, it feels like a gaping hole remains. We love them to the moon and back, yet their love for us is infinite. Hopefully, you have some time with her still, and when you make the loving decision to say goodbye and the hole remains, remember that it becomes less painful as time passes. But for now, it’s all about treats and pets, and those sweet dog hugs!
    Mary and Ken Reeves s/vMoonRiver

    1. Thanks Mary. Sorry to hear about Sandy. The palliative treatments seem to have brought Madison some comfort. We've been able to take her on a few short hikes (she is an explorer at heart and loves hikes and car rides) and, of course, she has had several special steak dinners. My wife and I do take comfort in the fact that we have given her a good life with lots of love and many adventures.

  2. So sorry to read about Madison's cancer. We went through the same with our beloved pooch three years ago. My condolences to you and your wife.

    Your blog is amazing. You are a very kind and generous person to give up your dream of living on the boat when your spouse did not care for the lifestyle. Your work ethic, in terms of all of the improvements and repairs, is awesome. I hope you are able to find a buyer who can appreciate that she is now shipshape in bristol fashion.

    1. Thank you. Madison is still with us, but the palliative treatments seem to be having lesser effect in recent days. She still seems mostly happy...and I know loves the more regular "special meals" of steak and similar that she gets.

      I feel a bit bad about the blog as I feel I have neglected it since moving back on land. Things are still up in the air regarding the sale, it just hasn't been a focus with everything else that is going on. I am glad you have enjoyed it. I hope to get back to it at some point.