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Being 4-legged is so overrated…

Life seems to have a funny way of repeating itself. Its hard to tell this story a third time because I know in my heart that considering what time we have left, the best thing this time is to not do anything.

For those of you who have found this wonderful community, I joined tripawds in July 2010 when my dog Chloe was  diagnosed with cancer and I was facing the decision to amputate (her back left leg).  It ended up being the best decision (“cured”) and I am glad to have made it. Having Chloe with me during grad school was such a blessing, we went on so many adventures together.  Then when I finished, I found another cancerous tumor. But this time it was on her front right paw. Same type of cancer, just 3.5 years later, different limb.

Again, I had it surgically removed since she was still full of life and vigor.  Another decision I am very glad that I made. This past year though, I’ve lived in Nor Cal for a fellowship and my mom has been the one taking excellent care of Chloe.  Fortunately I have been able to fly down often to see family, but each time I watched Chloe slowly start to show her age. She has a grade 4/5 heart murmur (no meds) and its getting harder for her to walk.

I ended my fellowship a few weeks early to pursue a job back where my family is located, but I had had this feeling that I needed to move back down asap for Chloe. Last week, I felt a hard lump on her neck and I knew. And after the aspirate results came back as “inconclusive, but abnormal cell growth”, I know that we are facing it a third and final time. At least her blood work is still normal and her heart murmur hasn’t worsened.

While I am leaning toward getting a biopsy in order to know what type of cancer, so I know how much time we have, I will not be pursuing chemo or radiation or surgery to remove it. I wouldn’t want to compromise whatever time we have left because she is getting older and life is getting a bit harder. Last thing I want to do is “cure her cancer” only to put her down because of her heart or mobility.

I am hoping it is another type of soft tissue sarcoma (same as other 2) because it will mean it is very unlikely to metastizise or cause pain and it will let her live her life out to the end.  I would rather have to say goodbye a few days early than a few days too late, so I’m really trying to wrap my head around the fact that I really believe we have a year or less depending on the type of cancer.

We’ve been through so much and she has been a constant source of love, inspawration and comfort and while I often find myself crying at the most random moments, I’m really trying to focus on enjoying every day we have.  Currently I’m only working part time, so I am SO grateful that we have some quantity time together.

She turns 14 on Valentines day and I’m so proud of everything that she has overcome and that I have been able to give her a long and healthy life even as a med-large size dog. I know she’s living life to the fullest and while I’m not mad or frustrated about this, I know that the hardest thing is facing that I’ll finally have to say goodbye in the sooner rather than later future.

Posted by on February 7th, 2015 at 6:16 pm

7 Responses to “Third time is the unlucky charm”
  1. 1
      benny55 says:

    Just love this dog! Quite a Warrior….a gentle, but very strong and determined Warrior!!

    To have a dog in this community who transitions to Spirit as a result of “old age”…yeah, pretty darn rare. Pretty sure Chloe will be one of “those”!

    So glad you’ve got her blog going so we can continue to get to know her even better! She has touched…and will continue to touch, a lot of lives! I know she has touched mine! Such an inspiration!!!

    Look forward to lots more pictures too! Someone reminded me to take pictures of my Happy Hannah’s everyday little routines, little nuances…even tail wags, eating cookies, etc. It was great advice and brings me a lot of comfort.

    Your love for Chloe will always guide you to the right decisions for her…always has, always will. She knows that.

    Sending lots of love and support

    Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle

  2. 3
      Codie Rae says:

    Awwww Chloe,

    So hoppy to hear from you and your mom! Your love for one another shines on no matter what the diagnosis, prognosis, whateverosis. When it comes down to it, that love is all that matters, in the here and now. Love that picture of you, you wise, beautiful old soul.

    Codie Rae and the OP

  3. 5
      jerry says:

    Nicole, you and Chloe are a team, and you always make the best choices. Whatever happens next it will be just as good of a decision as all your others. You and Chloe have a bond that’s golden, that will see you through anything.

    I agree that a biopsy would help you prepare, good idea.

    Keep us posted Nicole, we are here for you two. And if we don’t hear from you before the 14th, give that sweet valentine of yours a big, big smooch from us! She is so wonderful.