Friday, February 9, 2007
My First Entry, With Sad News
Greetings from soggy California. A soggy day to match the sad news we just got about our beloved dog, Rio. He has cancer. Osteosarcoma, it's called, and like most cancers, there's no cure. This is pretty hard to take after learning just last fall that he had Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration, or SARD (another incurable disease), and would soon be completely blind. We were just getting used to living with this handicap, and were quite amazed at how well he did without his eyesight. He still fetched like a fiend (only every chance he could get) and was in general a wonderful pet whom I adored. He had pretty much convinced me that he was an unbeatable spirit.
It started over the holidays when we noticed he had been limping a lot - his right rear leg was lame. We had several visits with the vet, who took x-rays and even had them reviewed by a specialist, and there was no conclusive diagnosis. We decided to wait about 3 weeks and take some more images to look for changes between the two sets. This time it was enough evidence for the vet to suggest a bone biopsy, and we just got the results today after waiting four long, anxious days. The vet had been pretty honest with us and said that he suspected cancer, and that we should prepare ourselves for an amputation if the news was good, and euthanasia if it was not. If indeed it was the "bad" kind of cancer, it would just be a matter of time before we would be forced to put him down. If it was the "good" kind of cancer, we might be able to stop it with an amputation. Such choices. To put this in perspective, he's only 7. Or at least in a couple of weeks he will be.
Osteosarcoma is a very aggressive, fast-growing cancer that metastasizes throughout the body very quickly, although the x-rays the vet took of Rio's lungs were clear. Without any treatment he may live a couple of more months. If we amputate the leg (often done to help alleviate the tremendous pain of this disease) and treat him with chemotherapy, we may help him to live 6-8 months, or maybe a year if we're lucky. Somehow "lucky" is not the word that comes to mind when I think of this dog.
So, we have some soul searching to do. Certainly we don't want him to be in pain. It's going to be another long night.
All for now,