Monday, August 08, 2005

Week One

Last winter Tank developed a nagging little dry cough. Nothing big or constant but as soon as it started sounding phlegmy (Apparently there isn't any such word or else spell check just doesn't recognize it, but I know what I mean.) we took him in to see Doc. Maybe a newly developed allergy to something or the heat / air conditioning was drying the air out too much. Because of Tank's age just to make sure . . . the chest x-rays came out fine. Maybe a slight touch of bronchitis? After 10 days of antibiotics the cough was gone.

The dry little nagging cough came back after a while. Nothing big or constant.

Tank had his "annual everythings" in May and, as always, passed with flying colors.

Starting four weeks ago Tank didn't eat all of his morning feed. I'd give him the rest of it later in the day and he finished what he hadn't. If I had to split his regular meal into two sessions no big deal. He's old and I know they get funny with age.

Da Kid woke me up a week ago Monday night (August 1) when he got home asking me if I knew why Tank's face was swollen. I didn't, hadn't noticed any swelling, and didn't see any. Da Kid (Da Vet Tech) did. And then said that the lymph nodes in Tank's neck were . . .

"Mom, I'm taking him to the E.R." And off they went.

They got home about 3 ayem. The blood work they could run there (Da Kid took the samples and ran the tests. He works there on Sundays.) came back fine, but they'd have to send others off. Meanwhile, antibiotics and make an appointment with Doc for him to do more of them.

I finally went back to bed.

For the first time ever, Tank starts laying next to my side of the bed at night instead of Hubby's. Also for the first time ever, he doesn't climb up in bed with me for a few minutes, pushing my hand around with his nose, for his good-night ear scritch.

Tuesday morning Tank's face and neck were swollen up like a balloon. Wednesday it was even worse and the swelling had spread to his chest.

The Wonderdog knows somethings not right with his best buddy. No play, not even attempts. Wherever Tank is, he is too. Instead of lying on ("sneaking onto") my bed during the day or dozing on his dog bed in the living room, he lies next to Tank.

By Thursday morning the antibiotics began to kick in and Tank started looking more normal.

But on Thursday night it all came crashing in when the results of the rest of tests the E.R. and the other tests Doc had taken came back.

Tank has lymphoma. It's fatal. With no treatment he might last 30 days but we won't put him through that.

Depending on how far advanced it is — what stage Tank's in — treatment won't cure him of it — there is none — but it might buy him time. Good time. How long? It could be weeks, months or a couple of years. There are too many variables involved to know.

We love Tank enough to let him go. We also love him enough to give him the chance. But without more information we didn't know what to do. The only way to get it was to take him to a veterinarian that specializes in oncology.

And where do you find one of those?

Turns out there are a number of them in Northeast Florida. But which one?

Doc made his recommendations, and then Da Kid went to work.

"I know Doc said Dr. ______________ is great, Mom, but I talked to _________, his senior vet tech today. _________ said Dr. ______________ keeps pushing more treatment even after it's obvious there's no hope. It's over, but Dr. ______________ keeps talking the people into more chemo."

Scratch that one.

And so it went.

While he was doing this, I had something else to take care of.

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