At 8:00 am sharp this morning, my wife called our vet to see when they could see Gabby. 9:15am……good, the sooner the better. I am fully prepared for a fastball to come hurtling down the pipe, but hoping for a curveball that I’m not expecting to catch me off guard and send me out swinging. I’m running off literally one hour of sleep in the last twent four or so hours, and working while waiting on my mother to show up with Gabby and my sister to show up to see her. My wife called and said her grandmother was sick and couldn’t watch our daughter, and she is a little too young to experience death of a dog she is close to right now, so we opt for them to stay home in case it happens.
My mother walks in with Gabby, her orthopedic bed, and favorite blanket. She sets her in the office floor. She walks over to the box of bones we keep for the neighborhood dogs who visit with us everyday and decides she wants one. I gave her two and we brought an extra. She is still happy as can be, although a little worn out from the hair cut and stress from yesterday. Everyone got to see her and talk to her and I talked my mother into coming along with me, because every time she walked out of the office for something, Gabby’s ears would raise (as much as a Shih Tzu’s ears can) and she would yap for her. I told my mother that Gabby would want her there more than me, but we would both be there for her if it came down to it.
We get her loaded up and take her to the vet, arriving 10 minutes early (thanks forever fearful of being late brain. I file that one in the “useful” category though). Gabby gets out and immediately wants to potty. She does so twice and is ready. We take her in and go to an exam room almost immediately. I had Gabby wrapped in her blanket because it was so cold in there, and her cheek pressed against mine. The little older nurse that we love comes in and I lay Gabby on her back and rub her chest while she looks. She immediately says she needs the head vet to come look at it. After a very short wait, the vet comes in and looks at it. She says that it is definitely infected and is a cancerous breast tumor that has a small tumor that has spread to the adjacent mammary gland. She goes on to give us some good info that should be headed by everyone. Including myself on our Bella and our new Siberian Husky Sasha. She said female dogs who are not spayed and live long into their older years have a much higher, even more than the high human chance, of developing some form of cancer which is usually in the mammory glands. Especially when they never have puppies. We plan on spaying our dogs ASAP because we don’t plan on breeding them anyways, plus as I mentioned before, Bella kinda has a thing for Gabby and Sasha. She goes on to say, to our surprise and elation, that she can definitely remove the infected part, and if her blood panel for liver and kidney health come back good (which everyone is hopeful it will considering she has no problems in any of those areas) she may even be able to remove the majority, if not all of the tumor! She did hear a murmur in her heart, but said that is expected in senior dogs and that anesthesia for animals has come a long way in the last few years and it shouldn’t be a problem. The only thing she is concerned of is that once she gets her back and can do a scan, that it may be in her lungs or lymph nodes, of which that can’t be removed and she will most assuredly die from later. She said she is pretty confident in the ability to remove the problem spot of the tumor and possibly more, using internal stitching, and her recovering fairly easily. Then, after she gets us a quote for the surgery, we can decide if we want to go that route and let her live out her days, weeks, months, or even years at home until she passes where she is comfortable. She even asked if my mom had another dog, and when she learned she does she was leaning even more towards wanting us to try the surgery in hopes that Gert would not lose her sister so suddenly. She did mention that we could always go ahead with euthanasia if we should so choose, but that she thinks with her being a pretty relatively normal acting dog, despite the tumor, that it was worth a shot for the surgery. Worse case scenario is she doesn’t make it off the operating table, to which she would not be in any pain anyways.
After getting a quote for the visit, meds, blood panel, and surgery it was going to be a little less than $500 max (accoding to how much can be removed and the extra sutures it would take. Which to us, is a no brainer even if it were double that, because we would much rather her be home. We only paid for todays visit, meds, and the blood panel to which we will get results for tomorrow. They were so hopeful of good results, they even scheduled her surgery for 8:00am Wednesday August 2nd, and according to how it goes, she may even be coming home that evening. She was sent home with some pain meds, antibiotics, cleaning antibacterial rags, and instructions for her surgery day. We were relieved and I would be lying if we weren’t getting our hopes up.
What is wrong with getting your hopes up with something like this? What do we have besides hope? Pessimism will only wrap itself into the creases in your brain and take hold to reemerge in another scenario down the road. I chose to be optimistic today despite what my brain was telling me. I chose hope for Gabby, my mother, Gert, and the entire family. If she doesn’t make it through the surgery, then she will go peacefully. If she does make it, she will go peacefully on her own terms in her own bed surrounded by the ones who love her. Don’t give up hope too soon, because you never know when being wrong could be the best thing to happen to you.
Thanks again for reading my ramblings, and if you didn’t,
TLDR: SSSSSSTTTTTTEEEERRIIIIIIIIKE! Curveball low and outside.