Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The day the earth stood still

After limping for a couple of weeks and not showing any improvement, we decided to take Tika into the vet to have her rear leg checked.

Thankfully, Tika is really good with the vet, she just loves the attention.  She seemed confused on why I was going to the back with her (we also board the dogs at the vet). But seemed cool with it.

I got her to lay down and she dozed off waiting for the vet.  After the usual, what do you feed her, what has she been doing, blah, blah, blah, he began examining her.  When he got to the offensive leg, Tika shot up and took notice.  Since she isn't a reactive dog, the vet said, we got something going on here.

He wants to keep her, we started talking about the possibility of an ACL tear.  Since Tika is so strong, he wants to sedate her do some manipulation and take X-rays.  They would keep her for the afternoon and then we'd touch base later with what he found out.

Ring. Ring.  I start crying everytime I think of this phone call.  I will never forget it. (Even though at the time it seems it was a blur)

The vet himself was on the phone, and it's funny because he probably has one of the kindest, smoothest voices I have ever heard.  But this time, I could pick up on the tension.  He dropped the bomb on me, the X-ray is showing an alarming loss of bone mass on my rear leg.  
Me: "And that means?"
vet: "Either a rare bacterial infection of the joint.......or bone cancer."
Me: "WHAT?"
Vet:  "Bone cancer, it's not something I would expect to see in a dog that's only 4 1/2 years old.  I want to do a biopsy to figure it out."
Me:  (feeling hyperventilation coming on and seeing spots) "Wh-wh-what i--i-if it is b-b-bone c-c-c-cancer?"
Vet: (sighing) " The most common treatment is to amputate the leg and then decide on whether radiation or chemotherapy is needed.  Kim, the average life span of a bone cancer dog is 1 year after diagnosis."

I honestly don't remember much of the conversation after that.  I couldn't breathe, I felt like I had just been punched in the stomach. It had to be a mistake.  SHE'S TOO YOUNG.

When I finally got my breath back it came out in a looooong wail.  I just curled up on the floor sobbing hysterically.  Caya came tearing into the room and just knowing like those damn shepherd know, laid down by me and let me cry into her soft fur, while she just gave me kisses.

I don't remember how long I laid there with Caya, but it dawned on me that the vet actually said, he HAD done the biopsy, and Tika WAS ready to go home.  So I got myself together to go pick her up.

Oh, god, I have to tell Tim.

While driving--yeah, smart move--it's always good to be on the cell phone delivering bad news and driving at the same time, this just shows you what a basket case I was.  I gave Tim the news.  Although Mr Stoic handled it a lot better than I did, he was reeling. Then he went into his 5,000 questions mode.  I lost it on him:  I DON'T KNOW.  I DON'T KNOW!

I picked up Tika, the vet staff was in tears, so the thin string I was holding onto snapped again.
My baby came limping out all groggy, like, this trip wasn't fun at all mommy, I wanna go home.

The Thanksgiving holiday is coming up so it could be almost a week before we hear about the biopsy results.  You can send your sympanthies to my husband now.

That night was not a good night in our household.  Caya just laid there watching back and forth to Tika, me and dad.  Tika was resting on the bed of comforters I made for her.  Tim is sitting with his laptop in his lap combing the internet for everything he can find on osteosarcoma and other bone cancers.  I think he stayed up and read the entire internet on the subject that night.

Me---well, the emotional train hit me hard and I crashed.  Didn't get a good night's sleep a'tall.

(20/20 note:  If I had it all to do over again, I WOULDN'T have done the biopsy, I would have the Xrays sent to an surgeon or oncologist.)

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