Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ahnung's cancer has spread ...

I returned from the Philippines on Thanksgiving night. It was a whirlwind trip and I was exhausted  after traveling for over 24 hours. Legacy greeted me in the car as he came along for the ride to the airport with Jenny. When I got home I was greeted by my other pups: Mister, Missy and Ahnung. I noticed right away how Ahnung looked like she had lost weight. As it turned out, we had an appointment this week for her 3 month cancer check up at Lake Harriet Vet. On Monday we were to go in so they could draw blood for her full blood workup. Then on Wednesday we had an appointment with Dr. Cathy. We went in on Monday and we checked her weight ... she had lost 4 lbs since her last visit to the vet a few months ago. Other than her weight loss Ahnung was not showing any symptoms. She was full of life, had a strong appetite, and enjoying her morning ritual of perusing the big back yard and rough housing with Legacy. I've been checking her regularly as well for any new lumps or bumps. Over the summer she had an ultrasound done as well and we confirmed she had no tumors in her spleen or lower organs. I've been able to catch the first two cancers because she had lumps. I noticed the lump by her nipple in July, 2011 and had surgery immediately to remove the lump and had clear margins. I noticed the lump on her neck/back and the lump was aggressively removed in April of this year and the reports also indicated a clear margin. But this past surgery was very hard on her and took a long time for her incision to heal. In April was had a Celebration of Life party for her ... what a gift to have had so many friends come together to honor her and to have a healing prayer circle led by my friend Merry Sawdey.

Since April I have been doing everything I possibly can for my girl ... we've been going in for 3 month cancer check ups and full blood work. Our plan is to have chest x-rays every 6 months and after the ultrasound was done over the summer I decided to also add ultrasounds to her plan. I have thanked Ahnung for giving me the signs .... the lumps on her mammary chain and her neck/back have allowed me to physically see the tumor .. to catch the cancer early. Since April I have struggled with the knowing that there is probably cancer in her body and I just can't see it. It's at a cellular level and my way to combat it is to do everything I can to build up her immune system and to create an environment in her body that is not conducive for cancer cells to thrive. We are so grateful to the staff at Lake Harriet Veterinary for the incredible love, compassion and care they have given to Ahnung. She has been on chinese herbs, fish oil and mushroom supplements since April along with following an anti-cancer diet. She also gets to enjoy raw cabbage juice with me :)

Ahnung after her surgery in April to remove the tumor in her neck/back
So yesterday Ahnung and I met with Dr. Cathy. We weighed her again and she had lost almost a pound since her visit on Monday. Dr. Cathy was happy to tell me her blood work came back great! Everything was in the normal range. She checked her out and nothing indicated any issues or problems. I shared my concern about her weight loss. Dr. Cathy agreed. Knowing her history with cancer she recommended chest x-rays. I asked if metastasis of cancer to her lungs could be happening even if she has no symptoms (other than unexplained weight loss) and her blood work is normal. 'Yes' was the answer I got. So off she went to the back to get 3 radiograph views. Of course, she got lots of hugs and treats from the awesome staff while she was there :)

Yesterday late afternoon I got a call from Dr. Cathy. They had sent the chest x-rays out for a second opinion from a radiologist and the results had come back. My heart just sank when the words metastasis to her lungs came out. My entire world came crashing down. So much of the conversation is a blur as much as I tried to listen. We are meeting with Ahnung's oncologist at 2 pm today to go over options. As much as I knew in my gut that this was coming, I am not ready for this. I am not ready to say goodbye to Ahnung. I am not ready to lose a part of me, a part of my soul. Today we are scheduled to visit her friend 'R' in hospice. We have been volunteering as a team in hospice and we have walked the final journey with so many. Today when we go and visit our friend I now know that we are actively begin to walk the final journey, not only with 'R' but also with my sweet Ahnung.
Ahnung and Legacy ... best friends and soul mates :)

I pray this morning for the strength to be at peace with wherever my path with Ahnung needs to go. I pray for courage to stand by her and to allow her to walk her final journey with life, joy and playfulness. And I thank my precious girl for bringing Legacy into our lives and for showing me that playful puppy side of her. There is nothing more joyful for me than to watch Ahnung and Legacy play chase and roll around in dirt every morning.

I don't know how much more time I have with Ahnung. What I do know is that I will cherish every moment I have with her. I will hold her and I will love her with every fiber of my being.

Here's a video I created back in April after her Celebration of Life party ...

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing this with the world, Marilou. I am all too familiar with the place you and Ahnung have found yourselves in and while it's easy to let the fear of a future loss direct your actions, it is far more rewarding to embrace the present and live in it. That is the only surefire way to avoid the pain of regret. There is always something we could have, should have, or would have done differently had we known "x" would come to pass but when we make the most of the time we are given, and appreciate it for the gift it truly is, we learn to let go of fear and regrets and are then living phenomenally. I, like many others, have enjoyed reading and hearing of the journey that you two have made together. You have a special kind of bond with Ahnung and it has been such a pleasure to see that bond grow and be strengthened. Whatever the future may bring, I hope the two of you have as much quality of life as is possible and remember what is important as you face the good as well as the difficult.

    Love to you both.