Saturday, September 25, 2004

Smack in the Face

Our 15 year old Siberian Husky, Nova, has been doing very well since his refusal to eat and discovery of liver failure. He has his more creaky days, but generally he's a cranky old dog going about his business as usual.

He seemed even more creakier the other day, plus we noticed that his butt was a bit irritated. Called and got him an appointment for his follow up bloodwork and to check out the butt problem. We were also going to see if he could take some new arthritis medicine to help his creaky bones.

Our usual vet saw him, we really like her because she's very diligent, attentive, and good. She gave him a thorough once over before the bloodwork, which included a prostate check, her reaction was immediate "CRAP!". He has a small fist-sized mass in his lower intestinal tract close to the anal glands. It wasn't there 4 months ago when she last checked, and we could tell she was very upset that she hadn't checked at each visit.

Turns out that even if it isn't cancer (we're waiting on the cytology to come back to see whether it is or isn't) the mass is in an inoperable spot. It will continue to grow until it blocks the rectum. Even if Nova were a young dog, it still would not be operable. If it is cancer, then chances are the cancer will spread to other organs, and the brain. His lymph nodes are very tender, so she suspects that has already happened, and it may be why he's been disoriented at times.

Best case scenario: it's not cancer, but eventually the mass will grow and block his rectum. Worst case scenario: it is cancer, it'll affect his entire body. Either scenario: we're talking months. Not "if", but "when".

We thought we were going to lose him a few months ago, but he recovered. We went into the vet thinking "we got this under control", only to find out that you really never "control" things.

Hubby is taking it very hard. I'm in "gotta be strong, think clearly" mode. I have to keep reminding the both of us that we can't dwell so hard on death that we miss what life we have with him. Our vet is crushed. She blames herself for the whole mess, but in fact, she's done a fantastic job, which is why we like her so much. She actually cares, and her patients' health affects her.

This really sucks, but it's a part of life... and death. Embrace life now.

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