So… In general, I try to be upbeat around these parts. I know we all have a lot of stuff going on in our lives and a lot of baggage and such, and I (personally) like to escape on the internet and wander around finding things to smile or laugh about. And that’s a little about what guides me on this here blog (hence all the fun rock’n’roll and puppy photos).
But things over here at Shuttersmack HQ have hit a pretty dark low, and I’m not sure I can be your funny, happy blogger today. Sorry about that.
I’ve had a rough week, to say the least. It started this weekend when my father was rushed to the hospital after strangers stopped on the side of the road to help him as he was extremely ill and had pulled over and then passed out. It turns out, he’s all right and it was some sort of viral infection (everyone breathe a huge sigh of relief with me). But he was discharged and then my mom started to show symptoms. Worrying that much about your parents when you’re this far away and cannot possibly help is zero fun. To say the weekend was stressful is an understatement. I should also tell you that my mother is feeling much better now, which is also a huge relief.
Dad made it back home Sunday afternoon, and it was the next day that Memphis started acting a little off. Monday morning she didn’t want to eat, and then she wouldn’t come downstairs and then she wouldn’t walk and then when I put her outside to go to the bathroom she just laid down in the icy snow. Not good.
So we made a doctor’s appointment and took her in today. Of course, since making the appointment she became more interested in food and started wagging her tail again. Is that not how it always goes? Because of this, we figured the vet would run some bloodwork and we’d hear back by the end of the week and probably have a prescription for antibiotics or something.
We were wrong.
Jamie took her to the appointment today, and they were extremely concerned and asked that he take her to the emergency vet right away for an ultrasound as they were worried she was bleeding internally. And bleeding a lot.
So I left work and met Jamie at the emergency vet, where we waited and waited for test results. I am going to tell you everything I know because I know you will have questions, and please know *I* have questions, too. But there’s only so much vets can learn as a) their patients cannot speak and b) well, medical science is still a bit of a mystery.
We know that Memphis has three tumors — two on her spleen and one on her liver. At first they thought these tumors were full of veins and were bleeding and were the cause of the blood loss. They were pretty sure these tumors were cancerous and I’m sorry I forget the very long, complex name of this cancer they kept referring to. They suggested we do surgery to remove her spleen and stop the bleeding. They said if we didn’t do surgery, our girl would die in a matter of days. It was a very hard call as her health is so fragile these days that we weren’t sure a major surgery was going to do any good for her quality of life.
But then another lab pathologist stepped in and wanted more tests. Something looked off in the blood.
Turns out she has tons and tons of cells in her blood that signal Lymphoma. Lymphoma is a different form of cancer that doesn’t cause tumors and rarely involves bleeding. But that’s what her bloodwork tells us she has. They cannot confirm her lymphoma, even though they took samples from the tumors, and they can send these samples and her blood to somewhere in… Colorado maybe?… and they might be able to confirm the diagnosis. But they might not.
They kept referring to what a “special” and “unusual” case Memphis was. Yes, we know. We’ve been dealing with this specialty for awhile now.
Oh! And Mem had stopped bleeding internally by this point. They think that part is over with, but she’s extremely anemic due to so much blood loss and she needed a transfusion. And a chest x-ray to make sure the cancer hadn’t spread to her lungs. (Do you hear the cash register sound at each mention of a new test? Is that insensitve? I’m sorry.) So they wanted us to leave her in intensive care overnight for monitoring and for the blood transfusion. Oh, but before we left, we needed to go over a Do Not Resucitate form to tell the doctors if we want them to bring her back should she flatline this evening.
Insert massive tears and nose-blowing here. I mean, let’s be frank, the tears were already flowing. But a DNR for my pup? Man.
We decided to sign the form saying do not resucitate. It was a very hard decision, but let’s be real: Memphis has 1) Inflamatory Bowel Disease (hence the frequent vomiting) 2) Kidney disease (hence the homemade meals) and now 3) some form of cancer. The odds are not good here.
In the end, we left her there for monitoring and for the blood transfusion and xrays. After speaking with her Oncologist, we opted for the first chemo treatment for lymphoma. It will last about 10 days, and by then we might have clearer heads to make a better decision on her care. To be honest, I don’t know how I can look at that face up there and decide to just let her die, but I also need to remember to do what’s best for her and not what I want (which is for her to live forever). I also think talking all of this over with her normal vet who has known her since puppyhood will help me with some clarity.
Hopefully we can pick her up tomorrow. The photo above is of Jamie saying goodbye to her and telling her to be a good girl and we’d see her in the morning. It was very sad.
On a completely different note, I shot a wedding ceremony today at city hall. It was simple and lovely, and I was going to blog about it today, but my head isn’t in the right place. I promise to show you later this week. For now all I can think about is my Golden.