Osteosarcoma. There's a sucker punch in the gut for dog lovers. No word in cancer's sparkling lexicon strikes fear into veteran dog owners quicker than that ugly s.o.b. Quick...stealthy...aggressive...hideously painful...and final...very, very final. Not to say that there's no hope...there is...but it's the kind of hope that comes when you're resorting to bargaining with death rather than being blissfully unaware of it. This is not the kind of miraculous hope we all wish for. It's the kind of hope that includes words like "amputation", "chemotherapy", "quality of life" and "median survival time". This is a rude awakening from our lovely cruise down "denial", that's for sure.
Anyway, surgery is set for Monday, although the Red Dog will have to undergo a final round of x-rays, blood work and urinalysis to be certain that the results of last Tuesday's Met-screening are correct and the disease has not yet metastasized into her lungs. She passes those tests and she gets an express ticket into Dr. Mitch's surgery suite...and then we hope for the best. This will be followed by two weeks of wondrously pain-free recovery (thanks to the absence of the tumor and the presence of some really good pain meds) and then her first trip to chemo-land.
If, on the other hand, any of the screenings turn-up with bad news then our world goes dim again. She would not be able to have surgery and would slide into the "palliative care" category. While the prognosis of this lovely disease is 3-4 months from diagnosis to death when left untreated, Shiva most likely would have less than that due to the very real likelihood that she would suffer a pathologic fracture of the diseased bone within the next couple of weeks. If that happens, it will not heal. That would mean the end...just like that. So we look forward to Monday!
Thanks to everyone for their prayers and support and we will keep you posted.
I Know There Are More...
4 years ago