A Week With Cancer

A Week With Cancer

Hi, it’s Charlie here. Dad (Dr. Llera) agreed to take some dictation for me so I could share some of my story. It’s been a Charlie st patrick dayfull week since I was diagnosed with cancer again, this time with lymphoma. I thought this was a good time to reflect on my experience and share how we see things as dogs.

Late at night some days before, I was just minding my own business….you know peeing on one of dad’s flower plants outside the house. It was still pretty cold for dad and he was anxiously waiting for me to finish and get back in the warm house. When I mean anxious, he was begging me to hurry up…but then his voice got silent.

Back inside the house, he called for mom and the next minute later I was being groped around my manly dog parts. I heard them talk about it being swollen and our neighbor joking that dad should call the vet since it might have been swollen for longer than 4 hours. Sometimes it’s hard being dog & best friend of a veterinarian because when something is wrong, you know you’re getting looked over to the extreme but at least there’s usually cookies afterwards.

The next day we got up and got dressed for the car ride to the Kingston Veterinary Clinic but I didn’t get breakfast!! Charlie at VEC April 2015 Dad was talking to the other vet people about probing me and taking blood to find out more. Being a previous blood donor that wasn’t the scary part….but probing didn’t sound so good. And I was right!! I had 5 or 6 other people touch me inappropriately and putting syringes where they don’t belong trying to flush things out. Then I got poked by another needle in a lump they found next to my parts. It was not very fun and I bruised afterwards but I got so many cookies & a bowl full of food! (Can you tell cookies & food are an important part of my day?)

Blood tests came back and dad asked me what was wrong with my kidneys. How am I supposed to know? I just gave blood at vet school, I didn’t learn anything there. Since I was still feeling good, we started some antibiotics while waiting for test results. Ick! I made sure dad knew I didn’t like them as I vomited in the living room…but then I felt guilty so I ate it again quickly while he stood there looking at me like I was a purple unicorn. He didn’t get mad at me for messing up the floor but gave me a hug instead. I think he was just glad he didn’t have to pick it all up and just had to get out the machine for the rug instead.

charlie cone April 2015A couple days later they sucked more blood out of me but this time I knew it was bad. Within minutes, I was put in a cage and plugged into a fluid machine. At least they gave me a comfy blanket but I missed curling up with my buddy Taylor. The rest of the weekend was strange as I had to still sit in a cage even in my own house; oh the indignity! I couldn’t even go outside for some privacy and dad kept me on a short leash and made me wear a funny boot. He also made me wear the cone of shame…grandma said I looked like a flower.

I still kept my spirits up because I knew how upset dad had been. He cried a few times that weekend worrying about what was happening to me. He returned the favor by taking the tubing out of my leg and I got to run around the yard again! My plan had worked and I was happy! But it was short lived. Dad told me we were going on a long car trip to the big city after taking some pictures of me on another machine where everyone got to wear space age looking suits except me. The lump came back with the cancer called lymphoma. I knew this wasn’t good because dad hugged me for what seemed like an eternity.

cyst in the kidney

cyst in my kidney

Friday, we got in the car for our trip to a place called the Veterinary Emergency Clinic in Toronto. He forgot to feed me again! When we got there, I met some nice doctors named Dr. Mason & Dr. Cullander who also prodded me and looked me over. I wonder, how many more people will touch me? I just want cookies & hugs; why can’t they understand? Next thing I knew, I was laying on my back and they shaved my belly. In the summer this might not be so bad, but I realized just how cold it was when I laid on the floor later. A cold jelly was put on my belly and I got massaged by a wand which I later found out was not magical nor could it remove the cancer. It did tell the doctors that my kidneys had cysts but that the cancer didn’t look like it was anywhere else.

hugging charlie at VECShortly after, the doctors talked to dad about some major drugs that would help to kill the cancer. They also mentioned something about organic cbd oil for dogs. After a chat with mom, dad told them to start the chemotherapy and I was taken to the treatment room where I met many nice people until they poked me and I was waiting for the cookies. I wondered where dad had gone but he came back for me, true to his word saying he would never leave. We got back in the car to go home and surprise – there was food and dad even shared his chips! The drugs made my appetite weird and another pill makes me pee a lot but at least it’s warmer outside now.

It’s been a few days since our trip and mom & dad decided to get me the treatment to help me feel better even though vincristine to fight cancerI’ve been feeling pretty good. Dad said he owed it to me for all the great things I’ve done for others in my life. Yesterday was my first chemo treatment from dad and the technicians at KVC. It was a little strange when dad came over to me looking that that guy from Breaking Bad, except the suit was green this time, but afterwards I knew it was going to be okay when I got cookies.

I’m doing alright and am getting used to new foods but I’ve got a long road ahead. The next 6 months will have it’s ups and downs. But through it all, I’m gonna keep fighting cancer. I’m going to get all the love and support I need from my family and return that love even more. There may come a time when it’s time to let go and if it comes to that at least I’ll be able to watch over my family. Now wish me luck! It’s time to go for another car ride!

1st chemo to fight cancer


  1. Oh Charlie I wish you nothing but improved health!
    I know your humans will do all they can to make you comfortable and try to eliminate that nasty cancer once again.
    I is wiping tears from humom’s eyes as she reads about your journey.
    Stay strong, eat lots of cookies, try not to keep your hudad waiting too long out in the cold while you does your business, and most of all know that we are all rooting for you to return to good health!
    Pug hugs and kisses to you and your humans xxoo
    P.S. Your grandma is right, did look like a flower with your cone on 😉

    • Dr. Ryan Llera

      April 16, 2015 at 10:34 pm

      Hi Edie! I don’t have to worry about the cold anymore and dad will pretty much do anything for me at this point including sharing his BBQ ribs! I appreciate your pug love! Hoping it helps pull me through! P.S. At least I was a blue flower…more manly for me 😉

  2. Charlie,
    Been there,done that with one of my 4 legged Family members.Your Blog Post would have helped me then as it will help many going through it now.I wish you all the best.You have many people you have never met thinking positive thoughts for you(and your Family) as you face this Challenge and we`re sending you much love.

    • Dr. Ryan Llera

      April 16, 2015 at 10:25 pm

      Charlie says thank you. It was his hope to turn a bad situation around a little bit as a distraction and to help other going through similar tough times. We’re all appreciate for everyone’s thoughts & well wishes. Just hoping for as much good time as possible.

  3. Hi My Charlie! Your dad did a good job taking dictation from you! Is he remembering to give you extra kisses on your nose from me every day? I’m sorry that you are sick and I hope that you are happy and enjoying being spoiled with cookies and extra lovin’ while you get your medicine. You should be used to the poking and prodding – although it HAS been a while since you were in school being examined for practice by 100 vet students every year 🙂 I know you will be a good boy and do everything you’re supposed to do (but don’t eat any more barf, OK? – yuk!!) I love you! Feel well and be happy!

    • Dr. Ryan Llera

      April 22, 2015 at 10:05 pm

      Thanks grandma 🙂 I’m definitely used to the poking but it doesn’t mean I have to like it! But, I do enjoy the treats and extra goodies – more than ever before! I haven’t vomited in 2 weeks now, and I’m eating better. Maybe we can chat on webcam soon 🙂 xo Charlie

  4. Hi Charlie-
    My name is Astrophe and I’m a cat . My vet said the lymphoma word, too, about a bump in my tummy and I got that cold shave and wand thing, too. (I think they are stealing our belly furs!) It must be pretty scary because my human got very quiet after (which is amazing for her!) The problem is my blood – I got this funny thing called IMHA when I was a year old (that was 6 years ago! How time flies!) and I get to take pills every day – and get treats! Just before they found this lymphoma thing, they said my blood was getting too sticky and I had to take more pills to make it unstick. But all these pills mean they don’t want to do the operation and said the major drugs might be too strong for me. I don’t know. I am a pretty tough kitty so I might talk them into it anyway. But I will keep reading your story because I think you’re pretty tough, too (for a dog, I mean!) and I bet you are going to do just fine. And my human will read to cheer you on and maybe get some ideas. As for me, well, I have no plans to go anywhere just yet. That Bridge will still be there many years from now!
    Paw salutes and best wishes, buddy!

    • Dr. Ryan Llera

      April 22, 2015 at 10:03 pm

      Thanks for your wishes Astrophe! Sounds like you are a fighter as am I. It’s been a few rough days and dad had to delay the chemo this week because my white blood cell count wasn’t high enough. I’m definitely eating better but some of the meds dad gives me taste pretty bad. On the plus side, he does give me more treats including ice cream! I gotta give the blog back to dad next week but perhaps I’ll feel good enough to write another one later. Stay strong and keep fighting cancer!

  5. Charlie, I am so sorry you have to go through this and I know how worried your Dad and Mom must be! But you’re such a happy, handsome boy and I know you’ll get through this. Keep smiling! You’re such a good boy and you’re loved by many.

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