As Harlow’s virtual oncology appointment a few weeks ago approached I wasn’t very concerned. As a child I was a serious worrier. I was anxious and constantly afraid of the what-ifs. It was torture actually, and a completely useless waste of energy. I have finally learned how completely unproductive it is to worry about things you cannot control, and I’ve become better at controlling my worry.
I was upset when Harlow’s bump was determined to be cancerous, and it was going to be nearly a full month before the oncologist could meet with us virtually and we could move forward with a plan. I solved this by calling the hospital every morning to see if anyone else had canceled their consultation appointment. Someone had, and we got moved up but about ten days. Fine.
But aside from that, there was little I could do but wait. I just told myself that this thing on her was benign and I moved on because there was little else I could do.
The oncologist, Dr Kaye, was very nice and thorough, and as luck would have it there was an opening the next week with ultrasound. They would check her body for signs that the cancer spread.
Bringing her back to Mass Vet referral Hospital for the ultrasound was rough. Once someone came out and took her leash in the car to bring her in, she began to tremble. She pulled against their guidance on the leash, and when she relented and bravely walked in with them, she kept looking back at me, tail tucked. Why are you letting them take me? This is where she was hospitalized last summer for four days for the IBD, and I think she remembers the fear. Or smells other dogs on the tech who came and got her. Or both.
The ultrasound came back with the best possible scenario – the cancer had not spread and even better, there was an opening the next day to have the surgery to remove the MCT.
We repeated the dreadful drop-off the next day, and her surgery was done by noon. I got her in the evening and she whimpered in the back seat the whole ride home. At home, cone-on-head, she whimpered in her bed too. Poor girl.
The meds were many – Benadryl, pepcid, and pain meds for the MCT, and steroid for her Inflammatory Bowel Disease. She is especially adverse to the Benadryl. Maybe it’s bright pink color if offensive but it’s more likely that it’s bitter.
Finding ways to get meds in her with her strict duck and potato diet is really hard. I microwaved treats that were safe for her which turned them into a doughy enough consistency that I could shape them around the meds. Most of the time she would take them, others days she didn’t feel like having that boring treat again.
I have accepted that pure duck breast is going to be a staple in my freezer. I can’t help but feel she knows I’m giving her all this crap for a reason. She may not like it, but she doesn’t go to great lengths to eat the treats and spit out the meds.
She now has about a six inch incision on her tummy, two shaved front legs, and of course she’s wearing the cone most of the time. She is on the pain meds once a day, down from three times a day, and the steroids only, so that’s very nice!
I feel like we’re in the home stretch with her staples being removed Tuesday night, but I’m still trying to remember to be very careful – hold her very tightly on the leash when I bring her outside to pee because she’ll attempt to chase any woodland creature she sees. I’ve also learned that even though she tells me I REALLY HAVE TO GO! about six or eight times a day, she only actually pees twice. Otherwise she just acts desperate, then when I bring her out she looks all about and nibbles on the grass and gazes up at the trees.
I mean, I don’t blame her. Sitting around inside is much more boring when you can’t follow the plot of The Great British Baking show.