This morning, awake before dawn, it seemed like a great day to run.

Over the past several days, I’ve been moving into my new Grand Forks home, and trying to settle into it. Riley appears to have taken a liking to the place, and I’ve made quite a bit of progress – all things have been moved, and more than half of it put away.

Moving can seem like an all consuming task, and it has been for the better part of the past 4 days. Now, finally, the daily commute of 160 miles round trip is over.

And I love the neighborhood, which I set out to explore with Riley in tow early this morning. We headed to the greenway, where we ran through the cool, crisp 50-degree air, surrounded by singing birds and touched by the sun poking above the horizon. This morning, my first official run while living in Grand Forks, was a memorable. It’s hard to imagine a more serene setting or a more perfect morning. Thankfully, I was able to do it with Riley, and the experience has been etched into my memory.

Part of the run, though, came with a heavy heart.

It was yesterday the veterinarian sent an email confirming the latest results from a blood sample sent to Colorado State University.

It’s been an emotional experience the past few months as Riley and I have endured several rounds of testing and a variety of diagnosis. At first, the doctor told me that Riley had cancer, although it wasn’t conclusive. After 3 weeks of testing and botched blood samples, the diagnosis was reversed. I wrote about it, and felt like I had done my due diligence to find answers.

The doctor didn’t give up, either, and something didn’t sit right with her. She asked to have another blood draw so it could be sent to CSU, which is currently doing a huge Golden retriever cancer study. The confirmation for cancer came back on Monday. Finally.

But the tests still can’t differentiate between leukemia and lymphoma. The best guess is that it’s leukemia, and with some medication, it’s possible to manage the symptoms and pain. There are no guarantees and I’ll know more after chatting with the veterinarian tomorrow.

Now I’m grateful for all the times I’ve had to take him with me on daily runs, and I’m just hoping there will be several more like the one this morning.

One thought on “Finally…

  1. I am truly sorry to hear this news–Riley is a special guy–spend each day fully and don’t spend needless energy (mental and physical) worrying about the future.–just enjoy each day for you will be storing wonderful memories of your times together.
    Since we last spoke, I have been diagnosed with cancer and am undergoing chemo treatments for a treatable albeit not curable disease. One of our last conversations had to do with choosing treatments or quality of life —isn’t life just one kick in the can!

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