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Monday, December 1, 2014

November 2014 -- The Shocking News

Winter came on with a sudden ferocity, plunging us from 70 F to below freezing within a week.  By now, we've already seen rain, sleet, snow, and freezing rain.  Wait, that was all in one DAY.  I had to start the wood furnace up much earlier than usual.  At least I am somewhat prepared to run out of wood early--Lowell and I cut some trees down, limbed them out, and dragged them out of the woods last summer.  It should be a short affair to log them out and haul them home as needed.

Last month Big Guy cut his toe running around the back yard.  We took him to the vet and had it glued back together and while he was there they gave him his vaccinations.  Shortly thereafter he developed a large swelling on his neck.  I suspected a vaccination reaction; the vet prescribed antibiotics and anti-inflammatories.  When all the pills ran out the swelling was reduced, but still there, and other bumps had sprung up in various places on his body.  I took him back to the vet on Friday, November 21st, his 7th birthday.  They took needle biopsies of his bumps.  The diagnosis was lymphoma, a type of cancer for which there is no cure.  We chose the option of trying to extend his life by treating him with high doses of prednisone.  We spent the weekend mostly grieving.  We had to go to Quincy so we stopped at Burger King and bought him a double cheeseburger.  He's been eating really well--lots of canned food, people food and treats.

One side effect of the prednisone is that he drinks and pees a lot.  We have to let him out almost every hour, even at night. He seemed to be responding to the medication, at least at first, in that his neck lymph nodes shrunk a bit and he had more energy.  Since then, he is more lethargic, the bumps grow and multiply while his muscles waste away. Words fail me when I try to express what this dog means to me.  If you are a regular reader of this blog then you know what adventures we've had, such as camping, skateboarding, and skiing.  Those activities don't convey what a playful, loving and gentle spirit he has, and how that has enriched our lives for the past four years.  The terminal diagnosis is hard.  He's still here, and we can see and hug him, but he won't be here long.  In a short time, we'll have some difficult steps to take.

Insect activity has ground to a halt, though we did sample the North Campus pond for aquatic species and the soil/leaf litter for tiny invertebrates.  I got some photos of some strange things, though good shots of the little springtails eluded me.  I have taken lots of images of the pets, fortunately, mostly with my phone.

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