Someone to Watch Over Me

Week Four
Tuesday, September 17, 2013

After four weeks of treatment, I’m actually feeling pretty good. I saw my doctor last week (on September 11th), and he said that it’s not unusual for patients to tolerate Gleevec  (my oral chemotherapy medicine) with only minimal side effects. Most of my initial side effects have seemed to wane, and I’m hoping that is a good sign. My blood and glucose levels were normal or, at least, in the acceptable range. Now, I will be on this medication for about another thirty days.

On October 9th, I will have a CT scan performed. We will immediately look at the results that day to determine if my tumors have grown or stayed the same. My doctor did tell me that it typically takes 3 to 4 months for tumors to shrink when treated with Gleevec. So, what we’re hoping to see is that my tumors have not changed or grown. I’m glad I have people much smarter than me monitoring my cancer. It’s a blessing to have some many folks “in my corner” as I continue my journey with melanoma, which brings me to today’s thoughts on being watched over.


Spending a lot of time at home has been both a blessing and a curse. Luckily, I have not had to endure being at home by myself. I have a shadow – literally – who follows my every move. Nixie, our six-year-old Border Collie has always been my constant companion. Now that I’m home more, it’s a given that I will be continually watched over or “guarded.”

Who’s watching over you?

If you know anything about Border Collies then you know that they are highly intelligent, extremely focused dogs who fixate on their work with the intensity of a sixteen-year-old video game fanatic. These dogs also have boundless energy and a fervor for completing a job that would make any office manager jealous. Prior to last month, Nixie’s “job” was to chase balls and catch Frisbees. As long as Nix – as we call her – was busy then everything was fine. If we didn’t keep her busy, or give her enough exercise, there was “heck to pay.”

Now, her job is to watch over me…at least that’s what she thinks she is supposed to do. Nix is almost always by my side while I’m at home or outside in the yard. When I return home from running errands or from an appointment, she greets me as though I’ve come back from a long journey. I know most dogs are like this, but Nixie’s intensity has seem to grow ever since my diagnosis. Does she sense that something is wrong? Is it true that dogs can tell when their owners are ailing? I don’t know, but I do know that I’ve got a four-legged family member in my corner as I deal with my cancer.

In fact, I would think that everyone would want to have someone or something watching out for them. Whether or not you’re a spiritual person, there’s something comforting knowing that you’re being watched over…even if it’s a sometimes neurotic, always attentive thirty-eight pound fluff-ball.

And the journey continues…..

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