Living in the Moment
Since Bowser was diagnosed with cancer 8 days ago, I told myself that I was going to have to live in “the moment” and that every second of our remaining days together had to be perfect. Unfortunately, life and fate has other plans and I must say, I don’t like the interference one bit. Was it not enough that fate had to invade my life and give my best friend cancer? Bitter? Who me?
I promised that I would track Bowser’s progress so here is our update…
Bowser hasn’t been able to hold food down for days. His last regular meal was Thursday night. On Friday, he started vomiting any time he was given anything. And it didn’t take but a minute for the food to come right back up. He would eat and walk from our kitchen to the living room and immediately lose what he had eaten. By Sunday, I was at my wit’s end. I pulled out the Pepto and I gave him one pill, rolled up in a piece of turkey. When that stayed down, I followed it up with one saltine cracker. Yes, I gave my dog a cracker because he had an upset stomach. I didn’t know what else to do. After the cracker stayed down for at least 30 minutes, I gave him another one. Feeling a little hopeful, I sent Larry a text message and I asked him to bring home a rotisserie chicken for my boy. That evening, I pulled off enough chicken to make about one breast and I gave it to Bowser very slowly, piece by tiny piece, over the course of a few hours. Success! The chicken stayed down!
On Monday, I had meetings but I was planning on calling the vet as soon as I was done. When I walked out of my meeting and I picked up my phone to call them, I saw that I missed a call from their office. I called back to give them an update and to tell them what was happening. A short time later, the vet called me back and we discussed what was happening with Bowser. Based on my description, Dr. H thought of 2 possibilities. One was that Bowser just had an upset stomach and the last, was the suspicion that the cancer may have spread to Bowser’s esophagus or intestinal tract. Dr. H said that he wanted me to continue doing what I was and to follow-up with him the next morning.
Last night when I got home, I warmed up some more chicken and I slowly gave it to him over about an hour and a half. At one point, I thought that he was going to lose it but somehow, it managed to stay down. Another small success! He managed to eat about a cup of meat.
This morning, I was trying to get myself and the kids ready for school so I warmed up some chicken and I tore it in small pieces and placed it on a paper plate. Because I didn’t have the extra time to sit and feed him by hand, I held the plate while he took bites. When I thought that he was getting too much too quickly, I pulled the plate away. When it was all gone, I sat the plate down and I walked away. I made it to the bathroom before I heard the familiar sound of Bowser getting sick.
I called the vet this morning and Dr. H said that today’s description sounds a lot like his suspicion of yesterday, that Bowser’s cancer could have spread to his esophagus and that he could have a partial blockage. Water gets by okay and very small quantities of food can get by. When I feed small pieces or when Bowser drinks, it can slide by. When a larger amount or big bites are consumed, they are blocked and sent back out. So now we have 2 options. The first is to treat Bowser with Prednisone to see if inflammation may be causing the disruption and if so, hopefully we can get it under control. The second step is to send Bowser to Blue Pearl for his second surgical procedure in a few weeks. Dr. H recommends a scope and biopsy of the esophagus so we can see what is causing the problem.
No matter which route we go, we are still faced with the ultimate decision on how to handle the cancer. Bowser is 13 and he’s lived a full, long and happy life. Will he survive treatment? What will happen to his quality of life? Will he still be “Bowser”? Sadly, no one knows. That would be far too easy and life is never about “easy”.
I’ve received great support from my friends and the rescue community all over. Many have asked if I would set up a fundraising account because they would like to donate to help cover treatment. At this time, I’ve turned down the offers because I don’t want to take anyone’s money when I can’t even decide what I’m supposed to do. I keep looking to Bowser for answers but I haven’t gotten any, yet. He’s keeping quiet. As the sun sets on each day, I look to the stars and seek what I hope will be written there. By the time dawn comes, I’m exhausted and no closer to knowing anything. My heart aches, my eyes are raw from the tears and my hand reaches to scratch the ear of the brown mutt beside me. Right now, the only comfort I have is knowing he’s right here next to me, if even for the moment.
How hard it is to live in the moment when everything in life is screaming to run back to yesterday.
Lastly, I’m sending a big hug to my friend Allie who lost her beloved Gobo to cancer today. I know Gobo will be running and playing at The Bridge until his best friend Allie is ready to meet him some day far from now. My thoughts are with you Allie, Joe and Gobo.