On Friday morning, M called me at work to confirm the worst suspicion we had about our Maddy's current health. This is the e-mail I sent out to my "Maddy-friends and family":
Recently, we've noticed that Maddy's "personality" has shifted a bit. She has wanted to spend her time on our bed or downstairs, when she used to always be wherever we were. She also has developed several tumors over the past few years but they've always been benign fatty deposits-- very typical of labs. Within the past month or so, she has developed several tiny little tumors and shortly before Christmas, they started to multiply really quickly. They seem to really irritate her skin and bother her.
Mason took her in to confirm what we kind of already were suspecting and the vet got back to us this morning. She had consulted with Iowa State and diagnosed Maddy with a mast cells cancer. This is a really aggressive cancer that moves very quickly. Our options are pretty limited-- we could try to treat her with chemo but it's super expensive, very stressful, and doesn't even have a high success rate. We could also remove the tumors, but they are likely to return in other spots and the chances of her surviving surgery at this point are not really promising either. So, it looks like we're just going to keep her on pain meds and monitor her on a day to day basis.
Maddy has been with us since we picked her out of the litter when she was 9 weeks old in the spring of 2003. We have no idea if she is going to be with us for a matter of days or months, but regardless, we're going to try to make her remaining days happy. I know she's had an awesome life, probably better than some of the kids that I work with, but it doesn't make the idea of a "Maddy-less" house any easier to think about. Mason and I aren't really prayerful folks, but if you are and wouldn't mind sending out a little request that her last days/ weeks/ months be happy and pain-free, that would be awesome.
I wanted to mention this change that we're starting to experience, but know that as soon as I start thinking about our home without Maddy, I'm paralyzed with grief. And she's still with us! It's crazy and doesn't make sense. I keep telling myself, "She's just a dog, she's not a person" but anyone who has ever loved a dog, knows that those words are just not true. I honestly don't think I've ever met a kinder soul than Maddy (even though she's probably not the brightest brain I've ever known). She's been with me through some major transitions and she's spent so much one on one time with just me. We've logged miles upon miles on the trails and hours upon hours on the couch together. I have ten years worth of Maddy memories and they just keep flashing through my head on this cruel automatic replay that won't turn off. Chances are that Maddy will only be with us for a few more weeks, maybe a month. Her spirits are still high and her tail is still full of wags. I've promised to walk her every day that I'm physically able for the rest of her life--so I'd better get outside on this beautiful sunny winter day.
|Making time for kisses during a snowball fight|
|Walks down Denton Road-- our favorite retreat in Wisconsin|
|My best girl.|