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Throughout my blog posts thus far, I've mentioned my wonderful doctors (Ramos, Lenz, and Sugarbaker) and my fantastic nurses (Mom, Dad, and Will), but I've failed to discuss a constant companion that is undoubtedly a key part of the team I've assembled to beat down cancer. This guy weighs 10 pounds, is always ready for a cuddle or a play session, and is a constant source of unconditional love and a tenderness that makes me wonder if he knows more than we give him credit for, considering his species.

I am, of course, talking about my Yorkshire Terrier, Winston.

Before I headed off to the ER at Good Samaritan, I had felt pretty bad for about three days. During that time, I tried to force food down -- often losing that battle -- and tried to sleep away my bellyache. Winston was a watchful eye during that entire time: resting with me, following quickly behind me each time I ran to the bathroom, and watching, wide-eyed, as I left my loft for the hospital.

During my two weeks at Good Sam, Winston wasn't in the best way. Will would visit him almost every day, and my parents also spent time with him, but Winston seemed nervous and not at peace. I was missing him, too. When I was up to it, Will brought him to the patio area of the hospital and I ventured down, in hospital gown and all, to see my little man. I can't tell you how many licks I got that first time we reunited, but they were enough to boost my spirits and fill my heart with the love that only your little animal can give.

Now that I'm home, Winston is a happy camper and has been an incredible companion. He has not once walked on or near my incision or portacath (which is crazy because he used to jump all over me), and instead of bounding over when I greet him, he sits back patiently and lets the licks fly the minute my face gets near. He sleeps with his head resting on my legs every night, and by the time the morning rolls around, he's usually chest to chest with me, waiting for the minute he can kiss me good morning. It's hard to quantify how much that sweet pup has enhanced my days with love and laughter, but it's a ton. I've come to one conclusion: Winston hates cancer and is doing his part -- one lick at a time -- to beat it to bits.

Now, if you don't mind, I'm off to spend some quality time with my little man.

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