The day by day tale of Gabby’s struggle is coming to end with this post.
Let me start off by saying that the surgery was successful and Gabby is recovering well. I didn’t update my blog yesterday because my wife and I went down to see her with my daughter after she was home and we stayed pretty late. I do not want to come off as something tragic has happened by the tone of this post. I’m just at a low point in my mental state. The reasoning behind that will become clear in this post.
My mother got a call from the vet yesterday saying that they had just started to remove the potato sized tumor from Gabby’s stomach, but she wanted to know if my mom still wanted to have the X-ray done. The one that would tell us if and how much her cancer had spread. My mother reluctantly said yes, but only hesitated because she too will worry herself to death over anything that would be known that was previously unseen and known.
They called back around 3:30pm yesterday to say the surgery went well. They removed the large tumor, the infection, and have got her some prescriptions for pain medicine and a new antibiotic to take. Then the ominous words of “We will go over the X-ray when you come to pick her up, which can be anytime you feel like”. I regret that I was at work and couldn’t go there with my mother to pick Gabby up, but at the same time, I know i wouldn’t be much help either being an emotional wreck myself. Still though, it is a son’s duty to be the rock his mother leans on when she is in need. When my mother returned to pick up Gabby, they were very busy and she didn’t get to talk to the head vet, but instead the assistants and nurses. Not for a lack of caring on our vet’s part, so a little information here will help you understand the situation. We use a local Vet where we live because their reputation precedes them. They treat every animal with respect, love, and kindness just as you would expect yourself to do being an animal lover. The head Vet usually does surgeries on Thursdays and Fridays, but she has a few conferences to attend this week on those days to get up to speed on the newest medical information to help in her practice. Just like your doctor would do. She was backed up all day trying to help as many as she could before leaving today. So this was not a sore subject of not getting to speak to her directly, because we know we will talk to her when we return to have her stitches removed. Moving forward, the assistants said they had tried to wake Gabby to get her to eat, but she wasn’t having it. She was mad, groggy, and a little upset of what they did to her I guess. My mom was allowed in the back to the cage to talk to her and as soon as Gabby heard my mother’s voice saying “Gabby girl….awwwww”, she instant raised her head and started trying to come out from under her cover and get to her. She was done, and so over that place. She knew mom was there to take her back home, and unaware of the pampering and spoiling she was soon to get.
The vet’s assistant was telling her about the procedure and how well it went. They even noticed that one of Gabby’s eyes had some film on it (which we had noticed, but she has allergies and my mother had always just wiped it for her with a wet cloth), which turned out to be just chronic dry eye. They gave my mother some cheap eye drops and said to gie them to her daily to help. You could see that her sight was a little better in that eye already from the extra moistening from the drops. Which is even better for little Gabby. Then she started to go over the thing we were all dreading, the X-ray. She showed my mother that not only had her cancer spread to her lungs, but that her heart was enlarged. My mother said everything else became a blur, she couldn’t get her mouth to ask the right questions, and get the info she wanted. Her mind was racing, and she was heartbroken. I know this feeling all to well, being my mother’s son. That is why I wish i was there, because with my meds, I can handle these situations a little better now and stay somewhat calm enough to think straight. My mother kept asking what else she could do for Gabby. Which the assistant, took as anyone else would, that she was wanting to know who else could help as far as more cancer treatments for the seriousness of it. What my mother was trying to say is that she knows she just shy of 14 years old, doesn’t have much time left, and wanted to know what to look out for so that she could keep her pain-free and comfortable as possible. Also any kind of time frame for how much longer she would have.
My wife had a lhasa Apso that was old when we first started dating. She had similar problems and was brought home like Gabby. She made it a while and when she started having breathing problems, they returned to the vet to get pain meds and anything that would help her. She stayed pain-free and comfortable until she passed peacefully in her sleep one night. Those days were rough, and I know nobody wants to experience those days again, regardless of their certainty.
We gave my mother that info when we visited Gabby last night, and that was probably going to be the best possible thing we could all do for little Gabby. There is probably no certain length of time she has left, only that it is limited. We stopped and got a box of chicken nuggets for Gabby on the way, and she was so excited and perked up for them, even though she was still a little groggy. She certainly feels better without the lump there, and was most definitely worn out and tired, she slept most of the time we were there. I took two pictures of her falling asleep above, after her chicken nugget dinner that she was so happy about. I laid with her after the pictures, with my cheek pressed against hers and whispered to her like I have always done about my problems when she was there for me, only this time I was whispering reassurances to her that I loved her and was here for her now. That she has been the best dog in the world to me and the rest of my family. I stroked her hair, kissed her nose, and just laid there in the floor by her bed listening to her breathe.
When it came time to leave, we got my daughter who announced a prominent “Bye Gabby!” (she is 2), along with her goodbyes to her grandparents and Gert. We said our goodbyes and began the drive home. My daughter tried to look for the moon and little stars, but fell asleep when there was too many clouds to see them. I wondered off into my head like I always do in times of stress and anxiety. My mind racing in the same many as my mother’s. Running every possibility and its chances through my head, trying to prepare myself for how to handle each and every individual scenario. Right in the thick of the most taxing thing that happens in my brain, I felt my wife grab my hand silently in the dark and the haze of infinite possibilities vanished. I know I will be alright when the time comes with her by my side. Gabby will be fine too because she will be getting some of the best spoiling of her life from now on, and she knows we love her, as we know she loves us. Things will just be hard, and if they weren’t hard, we wouldn’t learn anything from them.
I guess what I have learned from this is that no matter how mush you selfishly want someone to stay around, there will be a time when they leave. Not because they want to, but because hey need to. The one thing I know for certain is that the memories and the love we have shared will not leave. They will remain forever, and will be looked back on with a smile, laughter, heartache, and love. That is what makes all relationships worth it in the end. The ability to reflect, learn, and remember.
I’ll be refraining from posting anymore on this series of blog posts about Gabby, unless the day comes where I need ears to listen, and people to share with. Thanks for reading. I have some more posts coming up very soon, possibly even today on some new subjects of things in my life that seem to be all happening in this small time frame (don’t they all?).