Monday, March 04, 2024

The Long Goodbye

The news from Wednesday's vet appointment was just about the worst that we could have expected. Boomer has stage 3 anal sac cancer, which has metastasized to his lymph nodes. The original tumor is about the size of a baseball, and it is firmly attached to the rectum, which makes it inoperable. The vet did give us the option of traveling to Colorado State University, where Boomer would be treated with radiation and chemotherapy in an effort to shrink the tumor, but, even if that worked, the surgery required to remove it would also destroy his rectum, which would result in the doggie version of a colostomy bag. That option might give us an additional few months with him. 

Our other option, is simply to let nature take its course, which will give us somewhere between six months and a year with Boomer. The vet assured me that Boomer is in no pain (which is obvious, given his behavior, appetite, and play drive). He also said that he won't experience significant pain until much closer to the end. However, as the tumor grows, it is narrowing Boomer's colon, which will make it increasingly difficult for Boomer to poop. When we get to a point where, even with stool softeners, he is experiencing too much difficulty, or, if the cancer metastasizes to his lungs, making it difficult to breathe; we will know that it is time to let him go.

We chose option two. 

I can't bring myself to put Boomer through a lengthy treatment that will just make him sick. Currently, he has no idea that he is unwell, and, I want that to be the case for as long as possible. On a practical level; it makes no sense for us to move to the Front Range to pursue treatment that will cost upwards of $20,000, to possibly gain just a few months, with a decreased quality of life. 

I vastly prefer to let Boomer be Boomer for as long as we can.

To that end, we are loving on him with all our hearts. We are indulging him in all the previously forbidden snacks (plus adding a stool softener and a probiotic to his diet), playing ball whenever he wants, and doing all the things that Boomer loves to do.

I pray that we get a year with him, but I also pray that when it is time, we show him the grace of a peaceful exit without delaying it due to our own selfishness. I love him too much to be selfish.

And, that's the update.

But, it's not the end of the story; expect frequent Boomer-related content as we move forward. I want to document all of the joy that this dog experiences, and all of the joy that he brings to us and to everyone who loves him, and, trust me when I say; a lot of people love him.  

He is a very good boy.

No comments:

Post a Comment