Monday, April 18, 2011

More badass with three legs than the rest are with four.

When I last wrote, I had just brought Kit home from Silver Spring. He'd had a bad day last Thursday, and mom's still got a puncture wound in her hand to show for it.

I observed Kit here at home on Friday and Saturday, and noticed his limp getting worse, and the pain seemed to be increasing. He wasn't up for walks unless he really needed to go -- though nothing could prevent him from climbing the stairs late at night to take his place beside our bed to sleep. The pain was so bad in his leg, he wouldn't even put his paw to the floor while standing, much less while limping along.

Saturday afternoon, after observing this long enough, I got him into the car and took him to a vet near us that has a 24/7 clinic. They're also a first-rate vet hospital during the week. We met with a doc there who examined him, took X-rays to ascertain his condition, and it was then time to discuss what limited options were available.

The worst choice, by far, was to do nothing. He's in terrible pain from the leg, and it's making him suffer. Another option we didn't consider for long was to load him up with heavy painkillers, which in his case would be akin to putting a band-aid on a bullet wound - it might take the pain from a 98 down to a 94, maybe a 90. It wouldn't relieve it. They have a targeted radiation program which may or may not bring much pain relief, but wouldn't address the advanced stage cancer. Strike one, strike two...  WAIT A MINUTE.

The X-rays revealed some very interesting information to contrast with the last X-rays he'd had, back in March. The condition of his leg where the cancer is localized, has worsened - the wall of bone supporting the top of the Humerus bone (where all the weight is supported) is barely millimeters thin now. He's frighteningly close to breaking that bone, just by placing a foot wrong - and if that bone breaks, being cancerous, it will not heal.

However, we also found in the X-rays - which were taken from more views than previously - that his lungs appear to be clear, his heart looks to be in good shape, and his bloodwork (which we had done there) came back normal, normal, and more normal. His other front leg looks fantastic, too.

I looked into Kit's eyes, and saw that he is NOT done smiling. He's not done wagging his tail. He's not ready to leave us, and is in no hurry to check out. When Tripper got really old in '89, I saw in his eyes that he was getting tired. It was the same with Shayna back in '98, and we experienced the same thing with Shadow last year - when he's had enough, he'll let you know. Kit is nowhere near ready for that. For Kit to climb the steps to be with us at the end of the night, when it clearly meant a fuck-all hurricane of pain for him to do so, means he wants to fight this with everything he's got.

The only viable option, to remove the pain and give him a shot at enjoying life, is to amputate the bad leg. He's already used to getting around on 3 legs, he's PROVED to me that he will get around on sheer determination if he must, and if he's minus a leg, fuck it, he'll be the most gorgeous 3-legged dog you've ever seen.

Kit is remaining at the vet until we have the surgery consult tomorrow, and get things in motion to get the work done. He will remain on his herbal/holistic program, as I think it's shown some worthwhile benefit - it certainly hasn't hurt. It's a little bit of work, sure. Mixing up all of the herbs and getting the veggies juiced, can be a little messy and time-consuming. Yeah, and he's worth a thousand times the mess and fuss, too. Kim has been incredibly supportive throughout. I'd be a goddamn wreck without her.

Kit is, by our best guess, around 13, and the surgery probably will not prevent the spread of cancer to his lungs, eventually. There is no way to tell how much time this will buy him, but it's his best shot. He will emerge from surgery without the pain that's been driving him mad, without the cancerous lesion eating the leg from the inside out, and hopefully with a good appetite.

To everyone who's been following this, thanks again for the help and support and concern for Kit - he appreciates it as much as I do.