As most know, Zoey has been with cancer for nearly two years. She has been through poking, prodding, CAT scans, radiation, and most recently, surgery. After all this, she still greets the vets with a lick and a wagging tail, cautiously, but still happy. We're the same way. Our Oncologist makes us laugh, so that's a plus.
This appointment on December 2nd was one we've been dreading for a month. During that time we have seen large regrowth of cancer. The once flat surface from eye and tumor removal surgery, now looks like she has another eye, except this time it is covered up with hair and skin. She also had brief diarrhea and colitis, which cleared up with help from our general vet, but prompted us to make an appointment with Oncology to make sure there wasn't more going on.
What's up: Our Oncologist says the regrowth is not something he's particularly pleased with, and that it is painful for Zoey. She still choses to be a happy dog over everything else that is going on, and that tells him that her pain is still able to managed. He predicts our dealbreakers will be 1) If she starts to be unsocial 2) If she shows no interest in food. This appoinment also led us into talked about euthanasia, and if we had looked into at all - we hadn't - so he walked us through what happens. Simply put, the time we have left could be weeks to a month. There is no way of telling right now.
Zoey's cancer progression of last month has forced me to start thinking about her inevitable death, and how I will cope. Only one animal has died in my life - my gerbil, Derby, in the 4th grade - and it was emotionally crushing. This will be that to the nth power.
There was an article in the NY Times some months back in which a writer used his column as a way to process his dogs death. The tone of the article was sad, but it had a playfulness - the kind that makes you laugh as your just about to burst into tears...maybe I'll do something like that.
Although there are fluctuating percentages of sadness, Zoey is still very much alive, and happy to be with us, and we are very happy to still have her.