Bailey’s last test came back. Bad news first: the cancer is a hystiocytic sarcoma, which is about the worst case for a soft tissue mass. It’s an extremely nasty, aggressive disease. However, there is no trace of cancer in the lymph node that was only an inch away. This is excellent news. It means there’s a good chance an amputation can be curative. Not as good a chance as if the mass had been a less aggressive type, but good nonetheless because it doesn’t seem to have spread.
So that left me with a more difficult decision than I anticipated. Even though the cancer hasn’t visibly migrated, the type of cancer brings our chances of a cure down. So what’s best for Bailey? Should I just let her go and lose her within the year for sure? Or do I take her leg even though there’s a chance it won’t cure her? What a choice!
I discussed it with several friends and came to the decision I think I knew I’d arrive at all along. Bailey’s young, she’s strong, she loves life. Her joints are in great shape. Aside from our daily walks, she’s really not an overly active dog. She does love to swim, and the occasional squirrel can entice her to give chase. But at home, her favorite thing to do is just lie beside us and be our dog. Even on three legs, she can still do all these things well. I’m going to give her the chance to live.
Now for the problem of cost. The specialist gave me an original quote of $3,500 for the amputation. Yikes! From what I’ve seen online, I expected somewhere between $1,200-$2,000. So I phoned my own vet. Unfortunately, her practice isn’t set up for such a major undertaking. A little disheartened, I prayed, then I got out the phone book. My first call–to another local vet–landed me a quote of just $800! Thank you, God!
So surgery is set for next week Thursday. I’ve cleared my schedule for the following few days, ordered a harness with a sturdy handle to assist her, and even dug out the air mattress so I can crash beside her for the first couple nights. In the meantime, I feel like I’m living in a bad dream. This was all so sudden that it doesn’t seem real. But we’re tough, Bailey and I. We’ll cope just fine. We’ll keep on praying. And we’ll smile when it’s over. I feel confident I’m making the right decision.
A Heartbreaking Decision