Hey everyone, Buddy here. So last week I had a bunch of lumps that looked really big and bad and they turned out to be probably a few too many pupcakes BOL! They tend to turn to fat, they were suspiciously similar in shape and size… So I went my merry way playing YAY Buddy every day. For those of you who don’t know, YAY Buddy is the best game! We play every day on my walks. Mom and Dad throw the tennis ball and when I get it, they cheer “YAY Buddy!” If I miss the ball, Mom even yells YAY Buddy. If I poop? YAY Buddy! It is just 45 minutes of adoration and love. In between I do the roll-of-joy and the wag-of-tail and get my belly rubbed. It is pawtastic!
Just one week later came the 14th of the month which is when we do the ceremonial nose-to-tail exam which the great folks at Chase Away K9 Cancer remind us to do each month to check our pets for cancer and I remind my followers to do on Facebook. That’s when Mom found it. She knew what it was, she had seen it before. Four times before to be exact… That black raised lump. She wanted it to be something else but she made the appointment as outlined in my last post, you know; the one that is long enough to allow time to aspirate the mass. So off we went. If it’s Thursday, it must be time to go to the vet right?
I love my vet and she loves me. She even calls me “Monkey” and gives me Cheese Whiz on treats. Cool! We did the deed and sure enough, it was Melanoma #5 for me. It had only been about a 3 month break since my last Mast cell removal and other melanoma. Rats. I was hoping for longer. Then the quiet discussion began, and this is the part we want to tell you about, because it is never easy. There is a LOT to consider and nobody can make your decisions for you. Mom has done a ton of research and this was not her first rodeo so she could make the decision pretty quick. Most will have to ask as many questions as you can and WRITE DOWN exactly what kind of cancer your doc says it is. It will sound like a foreign language to you and you will forget by the time you get in the car. It will be all you can do to drive home without wrapping yourself around a tree that first time so take notes! Ask the doc’s opinion of how to proceed, then go do your homework unless the situation is critical. Mom’s on that computer forever!
In my case, it is melanoma. Melanoma is highly metastatic (will spread easily) when on the paw, mouth or genitals. This is on my back. It is small and new. It is well formed and not irregular. It is in an easy location for Mom to monitor. I am 9 years old and had surgery just 3 months ago. Taking all of that into consideration, I’m not going to remove the growth immediately but rather just hang for a bit. I also have a tendency to grow a few at a time. If we go in and dig out the first one, we will miss the next 2. You cannot just keep putting a dog under anesthesia, especially as we age. The risks begin to outweigh the potential benefit. Factor in the quality of life for me, DOG. Do I really want to be living a life where I’m having surgery every 3 months? Two words: NO WAY! Do I want to just rip that thing right off? HECK YEAH! I’m not in pain. I have not changed since the day before when I did not know of the lump. I present no symptoms of discomfort. So for now, we will live with this bad boy and watch it and look at it:
I’m also on a regimen of steroids to help control and slow this condition and it helps a lot. Still there were a few things said in the appointment and in the last one that gave Mom “paws,” so we are going to seek a second opinion after Christmas with another doc. We are going to go see one with some more advanced equipment who is more focused on cancer. This is ok, and is nothing against the doc we love… but Mom knows she is my only voice and my advocate who has to speak for me. The decision may still be “watch and wait” or “there is nothing more to do,” but then you watch differently. Mom is very careful that I am never uncomfortable because sometimes we dogs get so busy “being the dog” that we don’t show pain, so you have to learn what to look for.
You know what the best part of all of this is? It’s something you can learn whether or not you have cancer. All you need is to look around and open your eyes and your heart. I have been surrounded by the most overwhelming love and compassion by my friends from all over the world. I have been touched in ways you cannot imagine… me, Buddy! I am humbled and a bit inspired. You know, a lot of dogs and people live their whole life and are never touched by this kind of support and kindness. At first I know my Mom was tempted to ask why this came up at this time of year… Then it became clear to both of us. What a true Christmas present. What a truly meaningful present for any season and any purpose you hold high. Into every life some bad things fall, and every life will eventually end. Not every life will be so richly blessed with friends and kindness as ours has been. We have received the greatest gift this year. We are grateful and we wish this gift for all of you! Merry season to all, and many Buddy days in the new year ::