I feel a bit like a truculent five year old today. I didn’t get the answer I wanted and now, like a cranky kid denied one more hour of television before bedtime, I’m throwing a bit of a tantrum. The inside my head kind. Not the kicking and screaming on the floor kind.
Not yet, anyhow.
Last night we got the news that our 13 year old Dalmatian, Toby, doesn’t just have an infection in his liver and abdomen, as we hoped. Odd thing to hope for, right? But it beat the hell out of the alternative.
The answer we did get was the wrong answer. The very wrong answer.
Toby has lymphosarcoma. It is one of the most common cancers to strike dogs. How dare it strike MY dog.
And now my inner five year old is running amok. What is it? How did it happen? How do we stop it? What can I do right now?
Our veterinarian, Dr. Dennis Henson, in the role of patient parent, will answer my flood of questions as best he can. He’s amazing that way. Calm, compassionate, brilliant, and so very well-versed. He will handle my barrage of why-why-how-how-why-when-why-how questions. We are so lucky to have him as our veterinarian, advocate, and friend.
Toby is so lucky to have him.
The next step is to talk with the veterinary oncology specialist we are fortunate to have in our area. Dr. Henson will be calling her to initiate the why-why-how-how-why-when-why-how with her on our behalf.
We will also consult with our friend and veterinarian, Dr. Heather Owen, who specializes in alternative treatments. Once again, fortune is on our side because we have a veterinary practice right here in Tulsa that specializes in acupuncture, rehabilitation and physical therapy services, integrative food therapy, laser therapy, Chinese herbs, massage, and chiropractic care.
Toby is going to have one heck of a great team in his corner.
Of course it’s all going to boil down to choices. Jim and I will have to make some choices on Toby’s behalf. It’s a huge and daunting responsibility we face when caring for our beloved animals.
Toby does have a type of cancer that responds well to treatment. As I understand it so far, treatment could range from management with steroids to a full-blown attack with chemotherapy. There are many things to consider in selecting the right treatment path and we will consider them all carefully.
The most important consideration is and always will be Toby.
This amazing, smart, lovable, loyal, trusting dog does not deserve to suffer one minute. I hate seeing him not feeling well.
Of course, I have to remind myself that he is still recovering from a fall on the stairs, that led to damage to his liver, that led to exploratory surgery and removal of part of his liver, that led to us discovering the cancer.
Can a bad fall be a good thing? In the Olympics, no. In Toby’s case, quite possibly.
It is possible that Toby is still feeling down because of the fall and surgery? Yes. Is it possible that when he recovers from all of that, he will return to feeling pretty darn good? Yes. In that case, he could be a good candidate for chemotherapy. From what I have speed-read online, a good majority of dogs handle the chemo with very minimal to no side effects, and do go into remission.
That would be grand.
But we won’t know any answers right away. And frankly, the answers I am digging up just bring on more questions. Oh Nancy’s inner five year old. Please take a nap.
I need to focus on right now.
Right now I’m buzzing with the need to do something. I can hug my boy. Jim and I can make sure we’re supporting him as best we can until we can get some answers that will lead to good, educated decisions.
Today, when everything seems to be spiraling a bit out of our control, the one thing I can do is look up the best type of diet to support a dog with cancer. I’m a huge believer in approaching this problem from all sides – dietary, homeopathic treatments, and traditional medicine. So while I wait for the chance to pepper my veterinarians with a million questions, I’m digging through resources to come up with the right menu for our special boy.
It sure can’t hurt. I believe it sure can help. Plus, I need to do something.
I need to try to turn this wrong into a right. Jim and I just need to find right.