Tilda’s Connection With a Special Lady on Our Way to “The Den”!

Update for Tilda for August 21st, 2011

On the last day of Tilda visiting a hospital to make her working rounds, she had a most interesting incident. I want to share that with you in a moment, but first:

Tilda at a dam on the Big Thompson in Loveland

On our last visit to CSU, we asked for a follow-up blood test as it has been 2 weeks since the last one. I wanted to see if the liver enzymes (counts) had changed since the last test as we have been doing some things trying to prevent Tilda from liver failure due to the high output of chemicals from the tumors. The good news is there was NO CHANGE in the test results from the test 2 weeks prior. Previous to that earlier test, her liver values report were worsening week by week, so I was pleased to hear this last test had stabilized in that regard. I have been working steadily with others overseas (another story for another time) for the last few weeks trying to come up with ways to alter Tilda’s condition as none of the chemo drugs were working at all.

Tilda at Viestenz-Smith Park in the mountains

I am pleased to report that as of this last week, part of Tilda’s situation appears to have stabilized. While her good days may not be getting any better, her bad days are not getting any worse. The best news is there doesn’t appear to be any new tumors developing and possibly the size of the old tumors are staying the same now. This is a major step to slow down this process, but still is not a cure by any means. Until we find a way to stop the old tumors from producing all those chemical overdoses, it is pretty much a losing battle. Right now I am successful trying to balance the side effects of the overdoses with medications and herbal remedies. That appears to be working now, but the problem is there is no way to know what damage has been done internally which continues to occur when the balance between chemicals and treatments is not quite right. The goal is to attempt to “starve off” the old tumors while not allowing any new ones to grow, but not sure we have enough time left to accomplish that feat. However, I am very pleased with what we have accomplished so far as now Tilda is a bit more predictable than she has been concerning her symptoms.

On the other side is the sad news and that is Tilda is wasting away rapidly now. She eats as much as she wants of good cooked meat (carbs and/or sugars feed the tumors so don’t want to do that) many times per day and is still losing weight. The old tumors are of the size where they take all the nutrition and her body gets shorted. The reasons I have been told is that a normal cell has one or a few nutritional receptors. Tumor cells have nearly 160 receptors so in this situation, you know who wins in the fight for nutrition inside her body……and Tilda’s body shows that without a doubt. This is why I say we are running out of time and probably cannot win this battle, but we will learn a great deal along the way.

Tilda on trail just before bear appeared

I have video verification of Tilda’s endurance. About a week ago, Tilda and I went back to what we call “Tilda’s Park” which is the Viestenz-Smith park west of Loveland on Hiway 34 to continue our adventures visiting places from the past. This is Tilda’s most favorite park. Her and I were alone very early one morning (no one in the park yet at all) and were walking down a dirt road and all of a sudden a BEAR crossed the path up ahead in the shadows. I had Tilda on a leash, but she went into this explosion of protection by standing in front of my legs crossways and began barking like I have never heard her bark before. Tilda is NOT a barking dog……rarely does she ever bark, but this bear had her very concerned for my safety and hers. Now, get this picture if you can…………a very ill dog with bandages all over her head, body and legs…..still trying to protect her master and fend off a wild animal by barking like crazy (which she never does). Our good fortune was that this bear was more afraid of us then we were of him and he disappeared quickly. When I thought it was safe, I dropped Tilda’s leash, took out my camera and started to take some video of Tilda at that moment. For those of you who know Tilda, you won’t believe this video. I have uploaded it to YouTube so some of you may not be able to open it on your work computers, but you should be able to open at home. The bear crossed the path in the shadows just beyond the red sign in the video:


After I stopped the camera, I grabbed Tilda’s leash to go forward and she would not move forward. Instead, she pulled me off to the right…….through the pole fence and way around the area where the bear had crossed. That’s “Our Girl”. I am not sure if Tilda’s barking scared the bear or if it was the sight of her stamina and attitude with all those bandages on. Another great experience with Tilda!!!

Tilda’s Connection With a Special Lady on Our Way to “The Den”!

Tilda at CSU on the day we found out about her cancer

Tilda has had to stop her work at the hospitals some time ago, but early on in her disease, she was still able to do hospital visits as there were no open sores and her condition is not contagious. During her last hour of visiting on her last day of visiting, we were headed down to the lower level of a hospital to visit a group of staff people that always enjoyed Tilda’s visits. They call this room “the den” as it is so far removed from the main part of the hospital and it is a long ways to get there from the main hospital.

I wasn’t sure if Tilda could make it that far on this day as she was already weakening from her situation, but I thought we would just head in the general direction as it may be the last time Tilda could make that trip………so we headed there and Tilda made it just fine.

As we turned the final corner and walked down the narrow hallway to the den, there was an small office on the right with one lady sitting at her desk. As Tilda and I passed her office doorway, Tilda stopped and looked in at the lady with her tail wagging straight in the air. We had never stopped at this office before as it was always vacant so this lady was a total stranger to both of us. I feared that Tilda was going to tire before we got to the den so I asked her to “come Tilda” and she didn’t move………just stood there gazing at the lady with her tail wagging high in the air, her ears perked and a big panting smile on her face. I stepped backwards to the doorway and the lady was watching Tilda, but not smiling much so I apologized that we interrupted her and told the lady we would move on…………….so we did.

Tilda dining with Auntie Jane and Dad

We only spent around 5 to 6 minutes in the den with the ladies there as Tilda seemed either tired or distracted for whatever reason. She was nice to them of course, but not her normal self so we said our farewells and headed back down the hall. As soon as we stepped out of the den office, Tilda immediately pulled me down the hall with a great deal of intent and went right back to the small office with the one lady we had passed by earlier. This time Tilda marched right into the lady’s office, walked up to her, sat, stared at the lady with perked ears, I saw Tilda’s tail winding up into that high speed connection mode and then I figured out FINALLY what was going on. I looked at

the lady and said “I am so sorry, I don’t know why Tilda is wanting to be with you but she is insistent about it”. The lady then smiled and said “it’s okay, I think she is sensing something today”. That was my clue to BUTT OUT and let things be and to say NOTHING while Tilda went at what she does best. The lady rolled her chair out in front of Tilda and cuddled her head in her lap while Tilda incessantly looked up at the lady’s eyes as tears began to drop from them. As she reached for a tissue, I backed myself out of the office and leaned up against the wall by the door in order to give them

both some time to share. After a couple minutes, Tilda came walking out of the office and I grabbed her leash and thanked the lady and wished her a good day and she did the same to me. I started to walk down the hallway and Tilda was at my side for about 20 feet……when Tilda stopped, turned around and went back to the lady’s office pulling me the whole way again. As I walked into the lady’s office AGAIN, I threw up my hands to her and she said “it’s okay, she has me pegged right today”. I didn’t ask why, not my place to do that………….Tilda knew what was going on and it was my job just to let her take care of it.

In Wyoming the sky gets sooooo BIG!

Tilda and the lady visited intently for a few moments and then all of a sudden, Tilda got up, turned around with tail wagging high (which to me means “I am done and let’s get on with life……..where are we going next?).”  We walked down the long hallway again and this time her mood was happy, smiling and peaceful. On the way I reached down and told Tilda “Thank you, Tilda” while patting her on the back as I knew what had just happened. She looked up a me while walking and gave me that darling smile with her eyes and face. She knew that I knew exactly what she was doing and had done.

Tilda and Donna in the good old days

Sometimes these incidents happen and I never learn why they happened.  However this time, several weeks later, I was walking a new therapy dog team around that same hospital introducing them to all the people, showing them where to go, who to visit, etc. I walked the new team to the den again and on the way we met the same lady that Tilda had visited so intently. She asked about Tilda and I brought her up to date on the situation. She asked me to tell Tilda that she was praying for her and thinking about her and wished her to get well soon………….and to thank Tilda for what she had done for her that day. I explained to the new team what had happened on Tilda’s original visit with this lady and it was then that the lady shared that on the day of Tilda’s visit to her, she had just found out that a loved one was diagnosed with serious cancer and the report had just came in that morning of Tilda’s visit to her. OKAY……….now we all get the purpose and reasoning behind Tilda’s actions that day. Of course, I knew it was something like that, but Tilda is always the one to pick up on it and then trying to make it better. I think she succeeded once more and what a fitting tribute to her last day of work at a hospital. Thank you, Tilda!

Until Next Time………………..



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