Friday, November 30, 2012

Friends Helping Charlie Pants

My dearest friend has done such a beautiful and thoughtful thing for me and Mr. Pants. She made a beautiful Christmas CD titled Merriest Christmas of piano music and arrangements and is donating all of the profits to help fund the cost of saving Charlie from cancer.  I am so deeply touched and feel so loved and lucky to have a friend like Jo.

If you would like to check out her post and buy the CD or make a donation to Charlie go HERE or read on...

Adult Version of a Pitiful Lemonade Stand by Jo Crabb

We met when I was a sophomore in college. It was love at first site. She was a vivacious, bombshell blonde with an intensely loud voice and an infectious laugh. We were in choir together but I was certain she'd never seen me. I figured she'd be vain or vapid and decided against approaching her. She'd be like everyone else, I thought, and judge me or feel sorry for me. At 4 months pregnant and only 18 years old, I knew better than to try to make friends. But one night at a small party my roommates were throwing, and despite my turned back and disenchanted expression, her none-to-keen boyfriend insisted that we meet. We awkwardly shook hands while I fumbled for words. I felt it my duty to release her from the terrible predicament of striking up a conversation with a stranger in my obviously delicate and odd state.

"Patrick has told me so much about you..." I muttered quickly, while avoiding eye contact.  
"Oh really? Well he's told me so much about YOU! I've heard your a fantastic musician. I think we have choir together, right?" She asked while looking me directly in the eye. "And I heard you snowboard. You should come to this snow event tomorrow up in Park City with me," completely ignoring the fact that I was a waddling faux pas. 

And just like that. We were best friends.

It's been ten years. She's loved me through pregnancy, adoption, marriage, thousands of miles of separation, a marathon, grad school, another pregnancy, twins, and all the other aspects of my life over this past decade. 

And I've loved her through marriage, a marathon, grad school, moving to D.C, trips to Europe, a house, another house, pregnancy, and...


Shortly after Leah turned 24 she began to have seizures. The seizures were debilitating and intense. She went to numerous medical specialists and they could not pin point the problem. But through a long, painful, and tedious process, Leah found a way to cope  -
and that's where Charlie comes in.

Charlie is Leah's seizure alert dog. Whenever Leah is going to have a seizure, Charlie gives her a 5 - 10 min warning of its onset by "freaking out". He will jump, bark, and even lick her face. This allows Leah enough time to get to a safe place and lie down or call for help. Charlie is an amazing dog. And how fitting for such an amazing girl?! 
Sadly, Charlie was recently diagnosed with cancer. He has gone through a major surgery to remove three cancerous tumors and will need to receive chemo and radiation therapy. These treatments are extremely expensive and while Leah has paid for the cost of the surgery, she cannot cover the cost of the treatments he needs to receive and the cost of having her baby (she is 7 months pregnant!) It's crucial Charlie is with Leah, especially at this important time, to ensure the safety of both Leah and her baby. 


I'm asking for your help. A few years ago I recorded a mediocre piano cd of Christmas music for close family and friends. I've put it up on CD Baby (here) where all the songs can be purchased and downloaded. All proceeds from the sale of these songs will be given to Leah to help cover the cost of Charlie's cancer treatments. I'm asking you to consider purchasing holiday music to support my best friend. If you'd rather avoid listening to my piano creations, I'm asking that you make a donation to my little Charlie Fund by clicking the "Donate" button right here on my blog (top right). 

Thank you for giving to a cause that has deep and personal meaning to me. Please pass this on to anyone you know who might also consider giving. 

I love you all.

Have a wonderful holiday season and the Merriest Christmas!


p.s. To read more about Charlie, see the blog Super Dog Charlie Pants here,

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Charlie's Cancer Surgery

Charlie had his surgery yesterday.  They removed 3 larger tumors (his neck, front leg, and back leg), 3 smaller tumor-like looking bumps we asked to have removed, and his right lymph node on his neck. He had to stay the night at the Cancer Center.  It was heartbreaking, but not as heartbreaking as seeing him today. I was not prepared for how big his incisions would be.  The Dr. explained that the incisions are so big so they can get clean margins around the tumor to make sure they get all the cancer.  We wont know if they got all the cancer until next week.  Fingers crossed!!!

He is not very happy and I hope he will forgive me one day.  Sorry Charlie Pants.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Charlie Pants Has Cancer

I am so sad to report, but my precious seizure-alert service dog Charlie Pants has 3 different mast cell tumors.  We found out this past Monday while making an emergency trip to the vet for Charlie to get some stitches on his ear (he cut his ear on a rose bush and hit a vein while we were out walking).  While the vet was stitching him up we asked her to examine some weird looking lumps, one on his neck, one on his front leg, and one on his back leg.  The bumps on his legs looked like tiny blisters so we didn't think much of them and the one on his neck we were once told was a fatty tissue build-up, so we weren't that worried they were tumors.  The vet aspirated the lumps and informed us later that day (Monday) that indeed all three lumps are cancerous.  I burst into tears (being 6 1/2 months pregnant doesn't help with my ability to control my emotions) nor does the fact that Charlie is truly the love of my life.  He gives me a 5 to 10 minute warning before I have a seizure and if he dies at 7 years old I am gonna lose my best friend, my dearest companion, and my miracle dog.

We have been referred to Colorado State University's Veterinary School in Fort Collins, Colorado and we met with a team of Doctors yesterday to discuss our options. It is a fantastic place filled with loving and caring students and doctors.  So far this is what we know:  fortunately the cancer is currently localized in the 3 lumps so surgery is a good option, unfortunately some of the lumps are so big that they can't get all the cancer cells so Charlie will still need radiation and possibly chemotherapy.  The surgeons would like to operate tomorrow (Friday 11/9).  What a week!

Charlie at the Cancer Center

I am very overwhelmed with this.  We have a new baby coming in less than 3 months and the next 3 months are going to be spent taking Charlie to surgery, radiation everyday for 15 - 20 days, and possibly chemo.  Not to mention the high cost (we are looking at around $7,000-$10,000).

Does anyone have any success stories with Mast Cell Tumors and their dogs?