Last Monday I spent worrying about my dog most of the day. I worried before he went to the vet, I worried once he was there, I bawled when he went to surgery, and I continued to bawl at the thought of putting him down. When they took out my dog’s tumor I wasn’t naive in thinking the possibility of him having cancer was slim, but man did I hope that was not the case. I just kept thinking God let him come back to me so that means we did the right thing. He let him get through the
surgery so again we did the right thing. No more cancer was found. Nothing seemed to show any more cancer other than the tumor. So no spreading. All good news.
Yesterday, I called because Oreo’s legs are wobbly when he walks. He’s still in pain. I knew this in my heart. I made sure to give them my dad’s phone number so they got in touch with someone today, and they told my dad that the results were in, and he has cancer. Hemangiosarcoma. I did more reading on this of course to discover that apparently when it affects the spleen an emergency surgery must take place, which we did. Also, I read that if Oreo had not presented any signs he was
in pain the tumor could have ruptured, and he could have bled internally. Of course, he was close to having the tumor rupture, or they wouldn’t have had to do the surgery in the first place.
Supposedly, dogs typically live about two months after having the surgery when the tumors results come back as cancer. Two months. I kept thinking we had three to four years with him. And I know I said I was glad he was home and able to spend any more time with him at all, but now I know I’m going to secretly be staring at him and wondering if he’s in pain. Is he breathing okay? Is he okay? Does he need something more? Does he need something I can’t provide for him? Will I really be here when he passes? Will he wait until I’m gone to spare me watching him take his last breath? Will I need to finally make a decision I’ve never had to make? When is it right to put him down?
I don’t know these answers. I just know my mind has ran through all these questions in the last ten minutes or so. In many ways I feel like most of them are irrational. We’ve done everything we possibly can for him surgery wise. At this point it turns into a pain management situation. The odd part is that he has this resurgence going on now. He’s the same happy pup that he was prior to the surgery. So I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t devastating to think of his life in these terms now.
Ultimately, I want to believe his prognosis is wrong and believe nothing will happen until at least ten years from now. Maybe he will prove the doctor wrong and somehow he will have the best day then and pass naturally. He will just go to sleep and I’ll know he’s okay. Realistically, though I know that I might have to face making a decision I’ve never made for an animal before. I may have to decide that he’s in too much pain and the right thing to do would be to let him go. I don’t want to cross that road, but I also believe in myself that I can and will if that truly needs to happen. Right now my strength in that belief feels nonexistent, but ultimately as I typed most of this yesterday with his face staring up at me I know he knows he’s loved. I know that he knows we are doing everything for him we possibly can. And honestly, now I just need to convince myself that is enough.