Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The cancer roller coaster

I'll get straight to the point of this post: We were told via cytology and biopsy that Bugsy's tumor was a histiocytic sarcoma - a localized version that unfortunately had attacked the spleen.
For the record splenic carcinomas are BAD.

But the surgeon - who I respect highly - mentioned there were additional tests that are more specific. So I agreed to do them.

Would you believe it came back NOT histiocytic sarcoma?
If you know Bugsy and his history, you would.

The surgeon was happy. Our regular vet was happy. I was fairly happy.
I sent the lab report to my good friend that works at the vet school and she shared it with one of the oncologists.
Well the fact it's a rare cancer was confirmed. So rare that there aren't many studies on it - he provided snapshots of three, one was 20 yrs old - and no real idea as to what if any chemo helps.
Still feeling buoyed by all the vets saying this was still better than histiocytic sarcoma I was hit hard by the oncologist statement that it wasn't a "better' diagnosis due to the "high mitotic index".
For inquiring minds it is termed a "nonangiomatous and nonlymphomatous splenic sarcoma".

So that is the background.

Bugsy has continued to feel quite well ( according to observation) and that means that he is constantly living on the edge of being in trouble.  Which has kept me from really thinking about the situation.

In the evenings it hits me pretty hard, it's odd, all of a sudden I think, "OMG no Bugsy?"
I truly cannot imagine and I wind up sobbing. But it passes quickly. All very strange as it is literally a wave that passes as quickly as it arrived.

The last few days have been a bit tougher. Due to his obsessive digging at the beach, the return to daily zoomies and not being on adequan for a couple of months, his shoulder is killing him.
It isn't too bad but then he decides to zoom.  Once it's over he can barely walk but he doesn't seem to regret the decision to zoom.

It reminds me of how weak he is. I rub the shoulder or massage his upper back and am so aware of the muscle loss.
I want to remove the pain so he can enjoy life to the full these last months.

I want to hold him (which occassionally he'll allow). I want him to know how much he's loved and that it is OK if he doesn't want to zoom.

The beauty of Bugs is that he WILL zoom, likely beyond when it is even physically possible. Because his heart explodes with joy.

And here are the tears.
I have been exceptionally blessed to have such a beast in my life for so long.  I still can't picture life without him.
Tonight I'll listen to his sleeping sounds and drink in all that I can.
I'll allow that slow deep breathing to calm me and to bring me to peace and sleep.

Good night sweet boy, thank you for all you do, even the bad things.

Saturday, October 15, 2016


Here we are at the Atlantis, where we have visited 2x a year throughout most of Bugsy's life.
This is the place where I think we realized that people were drawn to him. I cannot recall a stay here where we didn't wind up in a long conversation with someone about him; what is he? wow he's handsome, people stopping to laugh at his antics, in the later years people commenting on how well-behaved and sweet he is.
In some bizarre way, I think all dog owners feels some sense of pride when people compliment their dog, even if it has nothing to do with the human. I am no different.
I have enjoyed the attention as it wasn't on me (which I find uncomfortable) and Bugsy absolutely loves it.
The comments on how well-behaved he is still elicit a wry smile from me. If only they knew the REAL Bugsy.

This trip though it's a little different.
Sure he's made canine and human friends and the compliments have been numerous.
However, this time people see the shaved belly and ask.
So I tell them he had his spleen removed less than 3 wks ago.
Then they say something similar to, "wow he's doing great! is everything going to be OK?"
"hmm, no. He has cancer, the prognosis is poor"

Then comes the but he's so young, he looks so healthy, my goodness he is beautiful and sweet.
A few have teared up, I imagine they too have lost a dog they love.
They love on him and he eats it up.

My heart pretty much fills and explodes.

I trot along the beach with him, still reminding him he is supposed to be WITH me.
We play in the sea.
He greets all the dogs and remains non-plussed with the ones that want to take a chunk out of him
He sticks his head in the mini garbage can (this is a beach only habit)
Nose punches the fridge
Digs in the sand, being sure to have you in the line of the flying sand.
He scours the beach for crabs to hunt.

And he goes up and down the 3 flights of stairs to our room first thing in the morning, last of the night and multiple times a day with no additional effort.

They are just an obstacle between places he wants to be and things he wants to do.

To him this trip to the beach is just like the others but with more naps.

I haven't done too badly at being there with him, but when folks ask about the shaved belly I am thrust back to reality.

So, kind strangers, please don't ask. Let my boy and I pretend we are just hanging at the beach as we always do this time of year.