Last Big Hike?

l am glad to say Taz survived the cancer tumor surgery, the big hematoma bruise after climbing and tearing out the inside stitches. He has a few more years of adventures and walks in the life of Taz.

Our hiking dog Taz had a fatty tumor between his leg and groin that continued to grow.  Finally we decided, we needed it removed just in case it was cancerous, and we needed to know.  Now. Hence, the ‘last big walk’ occurred five days before the scheduled surgery. We went to the Pinery Open Space, northeast of Colorado Springs, and were able to let him wander at his own pace.  

I was still dealing with my own health issues, I wandered at the dog’s pace too.  Stopping to sniff and smell the trees while he did his marking was a good way to saunter through the woods. It was a cool early morning and fewer people than normal were encoutered on our three mile walk.  

We took pictures of him on logs, on the path, and even peeing by the flowers. I wanted to memorialize what may be his ‘last big walk’ in case he did not make it through surgery. He is a blond twelve-year-old schipperke. We knew that was probably the last LONG walk of the summer, as it would take time to heal, if he survived surgery. Tears fell a couple times down my face.

How much time do we spend looking at our dog’s backside? How many times have we called the dog’s name in their lifetime? What is their favorite activity?

My heart and breathing issues were ongoing and greatly impacting my speed.  The heart had been checked out thoroughly and EVERYTHING was fine, but I was still sick.  I asked for a carotid scan just in case something was impacting the blood flow to my brain.  

The carotid scan looked good with no plaque buildup. The technician said, “Remind me to come back and look at your thyroid. I saw something at the anecdotal corner of your thyroid, and I think you will be back for more tests.”   

Upon further analysis, the technician could not really do a scan and charge for it, but she showed me what she saw.  Five nodules in the thyroid and one with a bright shiny calcification circle around the edges. Calcification shines, and for me it has always meant cancer.   

“Let the trees of the forest sing, let them sing for joy before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth.Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” I Chronicles 16:33-34 NIV

Now I wait again for this test to be sent to doctors, who call me, send a referral, and call other doctors to scheduled more tests and biopsies. A malfunctioning thyroid explains so many of my cardiac and breathing symptoms, but was never mentioned by my doctors. It feels like I am directing my own care.  

The dog is waiting for his biopsy results, but he does not know it. I await my thyroid scan results, and I do know what awaits me if I receive another cancer diagnosis.  But we both continue to walk and will to the end of our lives. Even if it is the ‘last big walk’. 

I am glad to say it was not cancer of the thyroid and the testing continues to try to figure out why hiking has become so difficult. Maybe in two or three months we will know something for sure.

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