Saturday, September 04, 2004

I lied

I lied. I did have stuff to report, but wasn't ready to write about it. Now I am.
Several weeks ago a swelling appeared under the chin of my 16 year old dog, Biff. I found a tick on her neck, as well as one or two others elsewhere, and removed them. I sort assumed/hoped that the swelling was a reaction to a tick bite.
After a couple of days it was still there, so I took her to the vet. The vet treated her for a week with antibiotics and anti-inflammatories, with little change. So, she was anaesthetised and a biopsy taken. The results came back inconclusive. The lab report said there were some abnormal cells there, but it was impossible to tell if they were inflammatory cells or malignant cancer cells.
So, she was treated for another two weeks with a different, stronger antibiotic, in the hope that it was a persistent infection (ticks can carry some really nasty bugs). Still no change.
So another biopsy and several hundred pounds later ... we got the results from the lab today. And they ain't good. She has a particularly aggressive type of cancer which is inoperable, so we are left with two options:
a) do nothing
b) start chemotherapy
I've decided to do nothing. Before you think badly of me, my reasoning is this:
Chemo won't cure her, it'll just slow down the spread. It may upset her stomach, and she will have to come off the tablets she takes for her arthritic hips as they can't be taken together.
Now, Biff has a sensitive stomach, and has had a history of colitis, on and off, all her life, so the chances are the chemo will make her ill. Also, she is so well on her arthritis tablets, I don't want to take her off them. She now acts like a dog half her age and enjoys decent walks. I don't want to take that away from her.
So, the way I see it, I think it would be best for her to be well and fit for a shorter length of time, than to give her chemo and have her sickly and arthritic for a longer length of time. I think it's quality of life that's more important than quantity.
Since receiving this news, I have been feeling really sad all day. I keep crying when I think about her. Then I look at her and how well she is now, and I smile. We may still have her for some months yet, so I'm going to enjoy her as much as I can.


  1. abeator81 said...
    I'm so sorry to hear about Biff....give her loads of treats and walks and cuddles. I think you are doing the right hing by not giving her would be worse for her even if it did prolong her life. Enjoy your last few months with her. Try not to get too sad (I know it'll be hard not to) and give her load sof love and attention.

    *hugs to you and Biff*
    Lisa said...
    Thank you, abeator81, that means a lot. It's helpful to know that someone agrees with my decision .. not that I've really had any doubts, but ... well, you know how it is.
    abeator81 said...
    yeah...aww I'm so sorry....*hugs* give Biff a hug from me.
    sepintx said...
    Sorry about Biff :-(
    I went through a similar experience with a cat some years back. My big, fat, lap cat named SL. One day I found some swelling on his neck and after many vet visits it turned out to be inoperable cancer. We had several good months together before he passed. One of the toughest loses of a pet I've gone through as this cat would snuggle, all 20 pounds of him. I still mourn that cat, but I am very glad I let him have the time.

    Enjoy your time with Biff!

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