Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Cancer $@(&$

I talk to him when I'm lonesome like; and I'm sure he understands. When he looks at me so attentively, and gently licks my hands; then he rubs his nose on my tailored clothes, but I never say naught thereat. For the good Lord knows I can buy more clothes, but never a friend like that. ~W. Dayton Wedgefarth

First I would I like to apologize for my bad word. I could not find another word to describe it.

A couple of days ago we learned that our 7 year old lab Gretchen has Lymphoma.

The "typical" canine lymphoma patient is a middle-aged dog brought to the veterinarian because one or more lumps have been found. The veterinarian rapidly determines that all of the peripheral lymph nodes (those near the skin surface) are enlarged and firm. Usually the dog has not been showing any signs of illness. The next step is a blood panel and urinalysis to more completely assess the patient's health and one or more lymph nodes are aspirated or biopsied to confirm the diagnosis of lymphoma.

It is believed we caught it early and with treatment she will live another 1 to 2 years. Without treatment she would only live maybe another 4 to 6 weeks. My question is why do you even think about if we are going to have your beloved animal go through treatments or not. Yes I know the treatments will cost us up to $5,000.00. My youngest son is in his last year at the Citadel and my oldest son just left to go over seas. The thought of them not being able to say goodbye to one of their best friends just breaks my heart. Gretchen is also so good with my grandsons and loves running with her Daddy. Tre loves feeding, playing fetch, and hugging her. How do you tell a 2 year old?

When my Mother was diagnosed with IBC stage 4 back in 2006 I did not even give her a chance to say she did not want treatment. I pick up my cell phone and got her the best doctors in Savannah. My Mom was 76 years old she had lived a full life. She had great accomplishments in her life she was one of the first Medical Navy Waves(what they called females during Korean War), first female pharmaceutical rep (she worked for Smith Kline and French) and these are just the ones I know about but I was not ready to let my Mom go. Now remember she was at stage four and chemo treatments for humans is not pleasant by any means. She did not have her get up and go like she use to and she was always nauseated after treatments. Thank goodness we had great insurance because her treatments were very expensive over $10,000.00 a treatment. With this being said the treatments only gave me one more year with Mom. Yes a year that I am grateful for but was I wrong in having her go through that. Then when the cancer moved to the rest of her organs and she was moved to Hospice. It was so sad watching someone who was so intelligent go to not making any sense in what she was saying. But yet you could see it in her eyes that she knew she was not making sense and could no longer communicate. So now comes to my second question why do we let our love ones live in such pain? When our animals get to where they cannot function we give them meds and let them go to sleep and out of pain. Why don't we do that for those that have done so much for us? I really hate these questions and having to come up with answers. I know I am not suppose to question GOD but sometimes I just wonder how strong he really thinks I am. Mom waited until I was in church the response was "I have asked and you have answered me" I knew she had gone to Heaven that very moment.

After much thought and research we have decided to have Gretchen go through treatments. Everything we have read stated she will be the same. She will be able to run with Mike and play fetch with Tre. Still give me a hard time about wanting to be on the furniture. She had her first treatment today.

To decide is to walk facing forward with nary a crick in your neck from looking back at the crossroads. ~Betsy CaƱas Garmon


M Button said...

Jennifer our yellow lab was diagnosed with lymphoma last May. His was further along in progression. He was diagnosed by the University of Illinois' Vet. facility. Dakota was part of our family. His treatments did not slow him down much. After one treatment he threw-up a little but that was it. I thought about female breast cancer and the progression of cancer. (My family carries the BRCA-2 breast cancer gene.) I asked the vet do they know what feeds this type of lymphoma cells in dogs. She said yes carbohydrates, so we went in search of an all protein dog food to try and starve the cancer cells during treatment. We found that they do make a special all protein dog food for these situations and started him on it immediately. Although we were determined not to give up on Dakota, and he put up a good fight, he didn't make it. If I had it to do over again I would still do the treatments :)
I pray for the best for Gretchin and your family!

JMock Designs said...

Thank you Mary, She has been on Blue for a while now. So far she seems to be doing ok. Today she is just hanging out. I am not sure if it is the meds or if Tre wore out from playing yesterday.

Carmen said...

Aww. This news makes me very sad. Please keep me updated on her treatments! I know how much she means to y'all.