So Long & Thanks For All the Waffles
March 18, 2016
Thank you, Internet, for the huge loving wave of kind thoughts and condolences. I really had no idea so many people had so much genuine affection for my little dog, and it was an unexpected bright spot in an otherwise total shithole of a day.
So Ceiba has cancer. It is all very bad news.
The cancer diagnosis was...not a huge surprise to us. Jason basically called it as soon as we got her first negative UTI result. I needed to cycle through a few more of the treatable possibilities first, but over the past couple weeks -- thanks to the blood and drastic weight loss -- I came to the same conclusion. I was possibly holding out hope that it was bladder stones, but deep down I was fully expecting the worst.
Making it official and shifting our worry into our reality, though, is rough. Really awful and rough.
Her prognosis is not good. There is no realistic treatment option at this point. We won't put her through chemo and surgery would be incredibly invasive (as the tumor is inside her bladder) and dangerous for a dog her age. There's a drug treatment that MIGHT slow the tumor growth (provided it's the "right" kind of tumor), but would not shrink it, relieve her current symptoms, or likely buy us anything more than a few months.
And I would not expect them to be good months. For her, anyway. The tumor is BIG. It's taking up almost her entire bladder. There is almost no room left for urine. The vet said she is already very likely in pain and discomfort from all the pressure and inflammation. And while she's being SUCH a good, sweet little trooper about it, it's definitely obvious that she's not feeling very well. And it's getting noticeably worse at a pretty scary pace.
She pees blood literally 24/7 -- on the floor, the furniture, her bed, our laps, the babysitter's jacket oh god I'm so sorry -- and she's losing weight despite eating normally. She's walking differently and seems to struggle in her bed to get comfortable. She sleeps most of the time and doesn't have nearly the energy she had even just a month ago. Her eyesight and hearing aren't really great, her breathing is labored, and she seems confused a lot of the time.
I opted not to have the vet perform more tests to fully stage the cancer and determine if it has spread to her liver or lungs. (That would fully rule out surgery as an option but the vet really didn't seem to think surgery was a good idea anyway, and I honestly agree.) We have enough information as-is. The disease is moving terribly fast and we simply can't let her decline into even more pain. As tempting as it is to be like, "but look she still enjoys X, Y, and Z!", I don't really want to wake up one day and realize that she no longer does, and is basically completely miserable.
I brought her home yesterday and cried for a little bit, then made her a waffle with peanut butter on it. I held her on my lap for hours. (She peed on the couch a little but I'll steam clean it. Again.) I gave her all the people food she wanted from the dinner table. And then we sat the boys down over cookies and gave them the news.
I haven't made the appointment yet. I selfishly want at least a few more days to spoil her beyond rotten. I feel incredibly guilty for every time I scolded her over an accident before we knew what was going on and I need to tell her she's a good dog like four million more times. And I think the boys could use some time to come to terms with what's happening. They all want to take her on a few more walks and take more pictures with her.
(And they all want -- nay, demand -- another dog, like immediately. Slow your roll, wolf pack.)
So that's it. It's almost time to say goodbye to our dear sweet bat-eared waffle-loving hamsterdog, my only girl, my Ceiba Dog. I'll never forget her.
None of us will.