February 6, 2019
Recently our sweet dog developed a limp. (Look at how young he was!!)
We thought he twisted his ankle, or stepped in a mole hole and just needed a bit of doggie anti-inflammitory meds. We headed to the doctor and he was given an X-ray as well as a thorough once over. Everything looked good, and he was given some medicine to help with any type of muscle strain. If this was a ligament tear, his age might not make him a candidate for surgery, however, we were presented with the option to have laser therapy. They had seen great results on older dogs when surgery was not an option. After 10 days Geeg was still limping. Our vet discussed with us laser therapy and we started the treatment. After the 5th treatment, we were not seeing any results. In fact, his limp was getting worse. We had two more treatments, and our vet told us about stem cell treatment. They would harvest GG’s fat cells, and process them (and do whatever magic they did to get the stem sells), then we would go in for his injections. He would also be given an IV with stem cells to go throughout his entire body. If he had any arthritic places, this would help as well. One of the things they do before any patient has stem cell treatment is to shave the stomach area, perform an ultrasound, and do blood work. They were also going to do an X-ray of his ankle, incase anything had changed. They told us that if they found cancer, they would not be able to go through with the procedure because having the treatment not only causes the good cells to heal, but it also makes the cancer cells multiply, and spread throughout his body (since he was getting the IV).
I had a few things to take care of after work, so Jason took Geeg to the vet for his follow-up appointment, and to get the stem cell treatment started.
When I got home, Jason was standing in the kitchen at the stove, as I asked “How’d it go?”
His reply, the words I will never forget- “Not good.”
I knew! I knew in that exact moment Jason was about to tell me the worst news. One that we had been so fortunate to avoid all these years; CANCER!
I remember saying that word at almost a whisper, to which he replied with a very quiet “yes.”
I immediately started sobbing. We were both crying in the kitchen as something was bubbling on the stove- I can’t even remember now what it was.
I asked Jason about our options & nothing was possible. Not only was the cancer in his leg, it covered his spleen and he had tumors in his chest. Everything was webbed together. Surgery was not an option. Chemo was not an option. Amputation was not an option. We had no idea what type of cancer we were dealing with, nor how much time we had.
We discussed the possibility of doing a biopsy in his leg to see what it was, as he could have two different types of cancer growing in different places.
I remember taking Geeg for a walk- by this time, his tumor in his leg had grown and he was too unstable to walk around on his own without the fear of him breaking his leg, and he had to be leashed up every time he went outside- and our vet called. We talked about doing a biopsy just to see what type of cancer it was. I couldn’t stop crying. I asked him when we would know it was time. Unfortunately, he didn’t have an answer. Some dogs go down quickly and it is obvious that they are suffering. Others, like Geeg, continue plugging right along, wagging their tails, and enjoying life, as though nothing is wrong. He acted exactly like the same dog we’d had all these years, except now he walked with a limp and we knew our time was limited.
We decided the best thing for him, was to spoil him rotten (even more than we already did!), and to let him enjoy the last remaining time he had with us here on Earth. We didn’t know when that would be as his cancer was aggressive bone cancer. We may have two weeks, we may have two months.
One of the scary things about this disease, and knowing he had all of these tumors in his chest cavity & spleen, is knowing they could rupture and he would bleed out. It would be a horribly painful death and we worried about that happening every time we left the house, even if it was just to go to church or the grocery store. For the three weeks following his diagnosis, he was still able to wander around our property, go visit the neighbors, and wander through the woods- doing all of his favorite doggie activities. Seeing his limp get worse, and the tumor rapidly increasing in size, we decided that keeping him on a leash at all times outside was the safest option. We could not live with ourselves if he had wandered into the woods and broken his leg. He wouldn’t be able to make it back home.
His tumor grew quickly. So quickly in fact, that when we took him to the vet on March 28th, the vet that X-rayed his leg said in all of her years caring for dogs with bone cancer, she has never seen tumor growth and bone deterioration this rapidly! His little leg was hanging on by a thin bone.
X-RAY IMAGE- FEEL FREE TO SCROLL ON BY
He had such drive and determination! Not once did he ever whine, whimper or at like he were in pain.
Sometimes I think animals do that. I think they want to show their owners they are still the playful pets we were once used to.
One of the toughest days for me was being home alone, and him falling down the front steps. He tried to hop up, but it was a really cold February night. We both struggled. I was so scared he broke his leg and I couldn’t stop crying trying to hoist him up the steps! He wanted to go outside and sit, or bark. He loved cooler weather much more than warmer weather. He didn’t understand that going in and out, and up and down steps was not an option anymore. That was heartbreaking!
One thing Geeg loved doing was digging behind the front bushes, and settling in to take a nap. The dirt was cool, and the area was out of direct sunlight. With his black fur, he would get hot quickly.
Every day we had with him was uncertainty. We didn’t know if “today would be the day” or not.
We continued showering him with love, treats (the only ones he wasn’t allergic to), and lots of kisses.
Look at sweet Prancer! This was the day Geeg got home from getting an ultrasound. Prancer snuggled up with him in his bed. They are the BEST of friends!
Even Bugs got in on the action. (even though he’s over it! Look at that face!)
He was a wiggler when he started to snuggle. This was the best image I could get! Could we GET any more dog beds and blankets?!
We are so heartbroken, but will love you as long as we have you!