I am an active member of a very large online support group for people who are affected by esophageal cancer, either as patients or family or friends of patients. The other morning, I found that one of our members, whose husband has very advanced cancer, had posted something very different to the group. I asked MJ if I could share what she had written, and she readily agreed, sending me a photo of one of the heros of this story, and asking only that I fix her English – she is a native French speaker. (Her English is far better than my French.)

So, merci to MJ for gving me a story to post while I am in a post-surgical haze:


For the past seven months I have made a habit of going for a short walk
in the woods with our Irish Wolfhound before going to bed.  The puppy
just loves following all the scents, and I enjoy the calm of the
moment.   It was our moment and no cold, heat, black flies, snow or
rain would keep me from it.

Ten days ago, during one of these walks, I was attacked by a neighbor’s
pitbull.  His jaw was about six inches from my throat when my puppy
jumped on him and, at the landing, broke the pitbull’s spine.  I was both
terrified and soooo gratefull!  We had to call the police and they
explained that, since my dog killed another dog, he had to be evaluated
for three days by animal control, who would determine if he was a
vicious dog.  I couldn’t believe it!  First: I was on MY land; and my
dog had not “killed” the pit: there were no bite marks.  Wolfhounds
are very very big dogs.  At nine months, my lean and fit puppy is a
healthy 170lbs!  His size alone killed the pit who, by the way, should
not have been on my land.  Had he not been aggresive, Borgia would
have played with him.  That’s the thing about wolfhounds:  they’re
powerful giants and they love everyone and everything but they “feel”
agressive intentions and wont stand for it!

Since he came back home after the three-day evaluation (with a mention
of :  “good family dog who simply protected its human”), I’ve been too
scared to go back for our nighttime explorations.

So, why this long story about my dog?

My spouse, lover and best friend, Daniel, spent the last few days
fencing our land and, when I started drafting this e-mail this
morning, he was on the ladder, installing a spotlight aimed at the woods
behind the house…  No matter how many times I told him he should
stop, he would just reply ” I’m fine, don’t worry”.

Daniel is stage 4 with numerous mets to the liver, lungs and adrenal glands.
He has been on chemo for a long time now.  When the chemo drugs stop working, we change for a while, but he recently developped an allergy to platinum,
and the oncologist said that he probably will not be able to continue chemo
for very long…

Last night, after finishing the fence, he was obviously exhausted. I
thanked him and told him he should rest.  He said:  “When I’m gone,
you and Borgia will need the walks…”.

I really don’t know how to end this post…

7 responses to “Strength

  1. Paul –
    I’m so glad to see a note from you. You’ve been in my thoughts. Thanks also for the photo of Borgia – I read MJ’s note to the list and wondered about her pup, thanks for putting a face to that fabulous dog! Hope you continue to recover with no difficulties. Sending love –

  2. Great to hear from you and that you are recovering from the surgery. My thoughts, prayers and negative pathology vibes are with you. Walks with a dog are very therapeutic and so are walks on the beach. Hope you get there soon!

  3. John Edminster

    I’m just so happy to see you posting in spite of being in a post-surgical haze! I hope that part of the haze is because you’re high on dope and you’re able to enjoy the high (shame on me! What a thing to say to a policeman! and a fellow Quaker! and a man suffering from post-surgical pain! — nonetheless, you know I always wish your happiness, Paul). I love the story.

  4. John, I love narcotics – I became addicted to percocet during my treatments in 2007 – and have to make a concerted effort to use them responsibly in the course of my medical adventures. A news story I saw recently about AIDS has me thinking about a post on the subject of drug addiction, although as I type now, I’m thinking it could go with a couple of other stories from my police years, a subject I want to return to here. But, then again, I’ve been thinking about some animal stories, like a series. I don’t know yet, have to see how the Spirit leads …

  5. Hi Paul,
    I was just surfing on the net tonight, with nothing to do and, after googling Borgia and Wolfhound, I ended up on your page and realized it was MY story! I remember you asking me if you could use it 🙂

    You know, Daniel died the following month and reading this story again reminds me how wonderful he was 🙂 Thanks and hope you’re doing ok.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s