Crazy dog lady is what some refer to me as, but I am delightfully alright with that title. My dogs helped get me through the toughest fight of my life. In early 2014, when I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer, I was 38. Looking back, I cannot believe the strength I had but somehow we all have some super power that gets us through it.
Chemotherapy took its toll on my body and even hospitalized me at one point but I pulled through with the care and support of my oncology team, husband, family, friends and best of all…my dogs! We have a pack of fur babies, but my black Labrador, Hunter, was always by my side throughout treatment. My four female Dogo Argentinos were equally as supportive and I often had five dogs in bed comforting me. I swear my dogs made the best home nurses.
I saw the pet therapy dogs while undergoing treatment at Moffitt and decided to train and certify Hunter so I could share him with other patients once I was healthy enough. Now, Hunter loves to make patients smile on Wednesday afternoons along with his buddies Amy, Gigolo and Pluto. This volunteer assignment couldn’t be any more perfect for the both of us. I definitely feel my dogs gave me some of the best therapy possible during the worst times imaginable.
Today, I am a one-year survivor and I do what I can to help others faced with this disease. Having cancer was horrible, but it taught me a lot about what really matters. It led me to meet some wonderful people I would not have met otherwise.
Content for this story is from PARTNERS spring 2016; a newsletter of the Patient and Family Advisory Program. For more information about the Patient and Family Advisory Program, please email Kim.Buettner@Moffit.org or call 813-745-1390.