The last couple weeks have been a flurry of activity—mostly good, positive stuff but mixed with one major setback. We’ll start with the good news, though….
The storage garage is steadily being emptied! Millie has quite enjoyed being a “junkyard dog” and watching me sift through boxes of stuff to scan, pitch, or sell. We are on track to finish this job in about a week and be ready to hit the road.
One of the neighbors happened to notice me taking pictures of some lighting equipment I was getting ready to list on eBay. It was going to be heavy and difficult to ship, so I was not looking forward to that, but the gear was worth way too much to just pitch, and was too specialized to sell on Craigslist. Incredibly, this neighbor happened to be a budding pro photographer in need of just this very gear. He also, incredibly, happened to have the cash on-hand too (not a common thing with budding photographers!). Serendipity strikes! Hoo-ray!
Another big worry was whether or not I’d be able to sell the Sprinter van within just a couple of weeks before leaving Chicago. We had used it all Summer to haul and move stuff, not only for my house, but my sisters’ houses too. But now, time was of the essence!
So I posted a Craigslist ad (as well as posting on Facebook, and some Sprinter-specific web forums) and hoped for the best. Within a week, I had over a dozen inquiries—some buyers wanting to come from as far as Alaska and Oregon to buy it! Apparently, finding a low-mileage, first-generation Sprinter (that has not been beat up as a tradesman’s daily work vehicle) is precisely like finding a needle in a haystack!
As it turned out, a dear WinnieViews reader ended up buying it and now has great plans to let it finally become the camper van it’s always yearned to be! Bon Voyage, and may you both have many happy trails ahead!
I’ve been making my way down a checklist of mundane errands to get done before we leave Chicago at the end of the month. Getting the View and Tracker serviced, bank accounts consolidated, and a final vet visit for Millie.
It was a warm day when we got our View serviced at Winnebago Motorhomes out in Rockford, so Millie and I camped out on the front porch while the service guys worked their magic.
Yes, there are 2 other Winnebago dealers located much closer within the Chicago metro area, but I’ve always found the 90-minute drive out to Rockford well worth it for this dealer’s superior service expertise, prices, and their ultra-friendly, family-run small business that gives a level of attention to customers practically forgotten about in these days of corporate-run RV mega-dealers.
Last week, I booked Millie for one final visit with her favorite veterinarian, Dr. Lisa Doering of The Whole Pet in Bartlett. Dr. Doering was the one who first discovered Millie’s cancerous mast cell tumor 3 years ago during a routine dental cleaning surgery, and she continued to call and check on us regularly that Winter when we were out in Arizona getting oncology treatments.
Millie had a few new lumps I wanted Dr. Doering to check out, and I was also hoping she might still have time to fit Millie in for one more dental cleaning before we left. When Dr. Doering examined the lumps, she thought they were probably benign, but because of their unusual locations (and Millie’s cancer history) she thought it might be wise, indeed, to have them removed while Millie is under for dental cleaning. The only challenge was that the next week, the other 2 doctors were out and Dr. Doering would be the only doctor running the clinic.
But, she managed to juggle some other appointments around so that Millie could get in for surgery just 2 days later. Things went great with the teeth cleaning and removal of the lumps on her nose and rear, even if Millie was not amused by her new “haircut.”
Unfortunately, as if it was “déjà vu all over again,” Dr. Doering also discovered a small new tumor on the same leg that had been the site of Millie’s previous cancer. This tumor was up at the knee joint, and it also turned out to be another cancerous mast cell tumor.
There, sadly, are no good options for a nearly 10-year old dog at this point. If Dr. Doering removed the tumor, another one (or more) would likely appear soon after. Millie’s whole leg could be amputated, and while that might buy her another another year or two, at what quality of life?
So, I decided to go the holistic, palliative route. I’ll try to remove or slow down any possible triggers for cancer growth via diet, drugs and supplements, while making every day as fun and comfortable as I can for Millie.
Millie is now on heavy doses of Benadryl and Pepcid AC (to hopefully slow the progression of cancerous histamines and ulcers from forming), and I’ve now removed all dried kibble & commercial canned food from her diet. Even though she was getting the best brands of each, I’m hoping it will be safer/better to just leave her on her human-grade dehydrated food and mix that with freshly cooked meat. Looks like this vegan will now be buying and cooking meat daily again!
We have no clue how slow or quickly this disease will progress, but I plan to get Millie to a nice sandy dog beach this Winter to enjoy more stick throws and paddles in the warm Pacific waters (like those she enjoyed in Mazatlan last year).
In the meantime, she’s enjoying her afternoons of Frisbee-playing and lounging under the cool shade of an evergreen tree in the lush green grass of my sister’s yard… life is very good for now.