It seemed so bizarre to be discussing the cancer that will eventually take the life of my dog like if it were a business transaction, the whole time Gypsy was lying comfortably at my feet on the cold tile of the examination room at the Savannah Veterinary Hospital.
From time to time I would feel Gypsy’s eyes on me and I would look down at him and smile, provoking that little nub of a tail of his to suddenly wag ferociously. I kept wanting to bend down and embrace that little dog tightly but I was having an important conversation with the man that is going to try and extend Gypsy’s life for maybe a year, hopefully, more.
The procedure for attacking this cancer was simple enough, start Gypsy on piroxicam immediately and in a week or two decide if radiation and chemotherapy will be used to slow down this cancer. Piroxicam is an oral medication that has shown promise in slowing down growth of cancerous cells in dogs and cats and was initially created for human use as an anti-inflammatory. Piroxicam will only do so much, though. That is why radiation and chemotherapy are highly recommended. The chemo will help some but the radiation itself has shown to reduce the size of cancerous tumors by as much as 80% on some dogs.
Normally, I would not have had a second thought about it and would of offered my checkbook with a signature and an open amount but the cost of fighting a cancer that is going to kill my dog in maybe a year or if Gypsy is lucky 1 1/2 years is staggering. The radiation treatment alone will cost me $3200.00. The five chemo sessions recommended will cost $2150.00. In the last two weeks I have spent $1900.00 on vet bills. You add all of that up and that’s $7250.00 to extend Gypsy’s life by 1 to 1.5 years, – maybe.
I’m not all about dollars and pennies but that is a lot of money. It’s a heck-of-a-lot of money. Even right now my brain is thinking of the best way to tackle this. I’ll start off Gypsy on radiation treatment (along with the piroxicam which he just started today). I’ll take a thousand dollars out of savings and sell off $2200.00 worth of stocks. If chemo is needed I’ll take another thousand dollars out of savings and sell off another thousand dollars worth of stocks.
I had a trip planned for Easter Island this year. I was going to run the entire island from volcano to volcano in one day. It was to be a run of about 44 to 47 miles. I’ve wanted to do this trip for years, many years. I was going to do it with a couple of friends or by myself should my friends bail out on me. Well, I’m the one doing the bailing. The trip is on hold.
I feel such an immense sadness. I am so broken-hearted. There is this intense isolation that I feel. It’s as if I’m floating in a vast sea with no land in sight and no idea where I am or where I’m heading and, everything around me is still. There is no wind, no sounds of birds. It’s as if there is no life in this vast sea. It’s just me in this raft and my memories of a dog I loved so much.
I dread a world without my beloved Gypsy. I feel that if I lose Gypsy I am doomed to a lonely and empty life. That is so bizarre, I know. But, that is how I feel. I guess it’s because Gypsy has been the first and only thing I have allowed through all of the barriers I have built around my heart. He has been the first to get through to me in a long time. It was because of Gypsy that I realized it was okay to love again and to expose my heart again to the possibility of loving something again. Now, that I’ve opened up my heart completely to this little dog he’s going to be taken from me. That hurts a lot. That’s life, though. There are no guarantees of a happily ever after. I know that and yet…whatever.
Taking Gypsy into my home I knew that our time together would more than likely be short and yet I allowed this little “senior dog” into my home and into my heart. And, you know what? I truly have no regrets. I just have sadness that our time together is drawing to an end. That is all.
I am purposely making myself focus on the fact that Gypsy is still alive and that his quality of life is still with him. But, being the planner that I’ve always been my mind is always cataloging everything into nice compartments…This compartment goes here to be opened up next month. This one, I will open in mid-July. The September items go here. These other things go in the October folder. That’s how my brain works. Everything has a nice box or folder and that’s how my life is kept. And, Gypsy fits nicely into everyone one of those folders and boxes. Now, though, I don’t know where to place him. When July comes around will Gypsy be around? When Chase the Sun Ultra comes around will he be there? The holiday season, will I have Gypsy with me? Will Gypsy see another birthday?
Unfortunately, Gypsy’s future with me has become a great Big Question Mark. And, I have a very hard time dealing with that.
I don’t want to lose Gypsy…yet. There is a time for everything but I don’t want Gypsy gone yet. That is very selfish of me, I know, but I don’t care.
Tomorrow is another day. I should be happy. I need to be happy. I will be happy. I am thankful that Gypsy is still with me.
C’est la vie