Thursday, November 14, 2013

The "C" Word

In life we always have some measure of control... whether it be over our emotions or choices, but when it comes to cancer, the only thing you can control is how you respond to it. 

No one wants to talk about it. 
Especially when it's a loved one that's diagnosed with it. 
In the past couple years, I've seen many friends and  family members fight the battle. 
Yesterday, I learned that one of my furbabies is fighting the battle. 
I realize he's not a human being, but he is like one of our kids. 
My emotions were just as high, if not higher, than when I found out my Aunt had stage 4 breast cancer.

Dan has lived a rough life compared to most dogs. 
Although, in his younger years he was one of the top coon hunting dogs in the state!
He lives outside through all the terrible Michigan weather.
We've rarely taken him to the vet.
He doesn't get much attention unless I go sit in his kennel or if we take him hunting.
He's about 13 years old.
I've only known him for the past 4 years and I've always felt bad for his lifestyle.
Michael always says, that's all he knows and he's fine. 

The last couple weeks I could tell Dan hasn't been feeling well. He hasn't been eating at all and he has lost a significant amount of weight. Michael and I have been talking about how we should take him in to see what's wrong. I haven't wanted to be the one to take him in because I was scared to hear what  they would say. The last time I took him in the vet said "Wow he's old, he's going to die soon." I didn't want to hear that again. 

I wound up calling the vet yesterday morning and they wanted to see him ASAP. I asked if we could wait until Saturday when my husband would be home from work. They didn't suggest waiting that long. So I left work early and headed home to get the big guy. Typically, he rides in the dog box on the back of the pickup. I was a little nervous for how he would be in my car but he did great! Minus the fact that I had to lift his heavy ass into the car! The whole ride he was really lovey and happy to get some attention. He was nudging my face the whole time. 

We got to the vet and he was howling the whoooooole time. Which was kind of embarrassing because he's so loud but at the same time it warmed my heart to actually see him excited. They weighed him and he has lost about 13 pounds. They couldn't believe how skinny he was. Since he's not fixed, the Dr. wanted to check his prostate. Which was enlarged. Then they took him in the back and ran some blood work. After a half hour of Dan howling nonstop and waiting for the results, the Dr. came in to show me some paperwork. 

One of the first things she said was that he had prostate cancer and he was anemic. Additionally, his kidney, liver, and white blood cell count is low. Due to his old age, there wasn't much that we could do besides put him down or "buy some time". I told her we weren't really ready to let him go and if there was something we could do to give him some more time, then we would try it. She reminded me that ultimately, there is one result with cancer and we should keep his quality of life in mind when trying to make those decisions. I realize that's the truth... but it's soooo very hard to accept it. I left with some medicine and tears. Isn't it amazing how much love you can have for an animal!? Damn you, "C" word. 

XO,  Julie

1 comment:

  1. awe Julie I am so sorry for your bad news! We were dealing with that last week when Katie got diagnosed with cancer. Unfortunately for you you guys are going to have to wait it out a little longer than we did. Katie's back leg bone was deteriorating and she couldn't walk on it and three days later her bowels were all backed up so it was an obvious decision that had to be made and quick. When I go to my Aunt and Uncle's it is so quiet and their kids are so sad about it. I am dreading the day I have to make that decision for my own fur babes. Hang in there girl!