To say the last ten or so days have been exhausting would be an understatement. Back on July 28th we rushed Dingo over to his oncologist a day before his scheduled chemo treatment, which by the way, should have been his second to last appointment. Everything had been going so well, but the day prior, he had begun showing signs of fussiness when it came time to eat. When I reached down under his chin to give him a scratch, I noticed his lymph nodes were very swollen.
After being examined by his oncologist we were given the diagnosis that Dingo was probably slipping out of remission and the cancer was more than likely coming back with a vengeance. Blood was drawn, and we went home to wait for the results while being given a few choices. 1) continue with the existing chemotherapy protocol, 2) bump up to a more intensive chemo treatment, or 3) discontinue chemo and allow nature to take it's course.
The problem with choice 1 was his body had probably built up resistance to the chemo drugs which would no longer be of benefit. The problem with choice 2 was the beefed up chemo would more than likely make him very ill plus only buy him 1 to 2 extra months. The second plan seemed unfair to Dingo, and the first seemed pretty pointless, which left us with the third of just taking it day by day knowing he could go at any moment.
The blood work came back showing that there was no sign of cancer in his vital organs, which was great news, but it meant the cancer is hiding someplace else like his brain, stomach, intestine, etc. There would really be no way of telling for sure without putting him through needless painful procedures.
Through out the last week of July we got him out as much as possible trying to keep him active. However his appetite slid day by day, and by Sunday August 2nd, he stopped eating all together leaving him without the energy to get up and visit let alone have a day out. We had been through the unbearable experience of watching him lose his appetite once before when he was first diagnosed with cancer. Once again we were left feeling helpless.
By Tuesday August 4th, he stopped drinking water and that next day I rushed him to his regular vet for some glimmer of hope that they could do something to help him get his appetite back. He was so week and out of it by then and he just walked around in a complete fog. This was not our beloved Dingo.
While at the vet, the prognosis was not favorable. There was a reaffirmation of the 3 choices we had been given previously, but with the addition that we could give Dingo intravenous fluids and some Prednisone (an appetite stimulant), to try to get him to perk up from internal rehydration. However, there was no guarantee that it would work, and the vet said if we weren’t willing to try it would be advisable to put him down.
It was then, Wednesday August 5th, our worlds nearly collapsed.
I went home to Barry with the news and we both went through the whole process of grieving and dealing with what might be just around the corner while Dingo stayed at the vet until the end of the day getting his fluids. After a week of watching him decline rapidly while still holding onto hope, we accepted we might be forced to let go. We notified friends and family, researched options for home euthanasia and balled our eyes out. It was too surreal to really accept that he might actually not make it another 24 hours.
At 6:30 that night we picked him up from the vet and brought him home. He looked noticeably better, though still not himself entirely. Dingo did treat us with a surprise by eating a full meal. We watched in a state of pleasure and shock, holding our breath as he polished off the bowl. Another Prednisone pill was in his food, and an herbal canine cancer supplement in his water. When he finished, he looked up at us tongue wagging, with that 'Dingo sparkle' in his eyes as if to say, "You guys don't think I'd give up that easily do you"?
It's now August 8th and once again we have learned not to underestimate Dingo. This dog has done a complete turn around as has been in 'all-paws-out mode' for the last 48 hours, eating, drinking, playing, exploring and reminding us how to enjoy life in the moment. The swelling in his lymph nodes has gone down some which is a relief. You'd never know he had been in the deep slump he was in just days prior by the glimmer in his eyes now.
We realize it's probably just temporary, but we'll take any extra time he can give us and give him every ounce of love we've got while he's here.