Friday, July 31, 2009

Cancer Sucks.

Joe is recovering from surgery to remove a soft tissue spindle cell carcoma from his right front elbow. We discovered a lump on him several weeks ago on a Thursday. He was at the vet's office Friday having a needle biopsy done, results came back the next Monday confirming cancer. That Thursday he was having surgery to remove it. He had an extremely rough patch post-recovery. We weren't entirely sure he was going to make it through it, as he paced for 36 hours without laying down or resting, panting like a freight train in obvious distress. We tried several different drug protocols during that time, but nothing worked. He was even on a narcotic, but that just caused paranoid delusions and made him even worse. Tuesday morning, we had resigned ourselves to what might be our last day with Joe, as he was suffering mightily, and our hearts were breaking and we didn't know what to do for him.

He finally collapsed in the yard around 7:30 am and I got him to actually lay still on his side. I had to come to the office to open up and inform Lloyd that we would not be at work that day and handle a few things and I put a call into the vet's office to have our doc call us when she got in. I went back home, and Suzy was still out in the yard with him, and he was still resting in the same spot as I left him. We discussed what we thought we should do, and agreed to try to move him back inside to try and get him settled on a dog bed. The vet called, and I related all the troubles we had experienced and she suggested that he seemed to do the best on the pain injection they gave him during surgery, and once that wore off, his problems seemed to develop. Since Rimadyl is offered in tablet form as well as injections, she suggested we try a last ditch effort to switch him to that and see if it helped any. Off to Cornelia I went to pick up the meds.
Not expecting anything, but willing to give anything one last shot before we had to do the right thing, I gave him a tablet around 11 am. By 12:30, it had kicked in and he was finally sleeping comfortably. I am so thankful to Dr. Brooks and the staff at NEVH for not giving up on the boy and suggesting one last option, because I wasn't ready to say goodbye to Joe, but we had exhausted all of our bag of tricks to try and help him.

We've lost two wonderful greyhounds over the years to bone cancer. It's a terrible disease that robs you of dear ones before their time is up. Lily, our first greyhound was the first to succumb to this horrible disease. A beautiful brindle girl, she was the first ambassador that paved the way for all the others.

Then, there was my big goofy boy, Mallory.

Mr. Mal picked me out when we had gone down to Thomasville to a volunteer work day at NSRA, National Sighthound Rescue Association - the wonderful place where most of our greys have come from. It was supposed to just be a socialization exercise for the resident dogs - getting them used to people outside of a track setting. Walking them on leashes, petting them, interacting with them, etc. Well, I was handed Mallory's lead for a walk and I made the mistake of brushing him with a zoom groom after we were done with his walk. He and I bonded immediately, and I set about asking Suzy if we had room for another hound to add to our pack. She relented, and the rest is history. We lost Mal to bone cancer as well, way too soon.

Joe is on the road to recovery. His prognosis is not great, the type of tumor he had has a pretty high instance of reoccuring, even after surgery. The option of radiation on a 12 year old boy is not one we'd put him through, so we'll get him healed up from this surgery and just enjoy however much time left we have with him. Who knows, he might be like his cousin Maggie, who just celebrated her 15th birthday last week. I am just glad we will have a chance to spend more time with the boy.

1 comment:

Micki said...

I am up at this time in the morning just thinking about Joe and Sadie and all of our dogs.OMG Clark!! I knew Joe was having a very hard time after surgery, but did not realize the severity of all of this. Please, please, please tell me he is doing so much better today. Sounds like he went thru hell for the last week, but I am so praying he is out of the woods with all of that. Just like Petie- he made it thru the week. After Petie had his kidney removed 5 months ago, they didn't think we was going to make it and he sure the heck did! So, now that Joe made it thru the long week (which hopefully was the worst of it), let's pray today he just may feel like eating some of his favorites. Love to all of you.