I’ve been MIA for awhile… a long while. If I’m being honest, the past month and a half has been an epic battle. This isn’t a fertility post, but it is a baby post, for me anyways. And, it’s not a happy post, either. So feel free to skip it because we’re about to get real raw up in here.
On March 9 we had to send our best friend to heaven.. our Goose. She was our everything for 7.5 years. And yes, she was a dog. A beautiful black lab/huskie mix to be specific. And yes, I know people will roll their eyes when they read this, and that’s okay. Not everyone will understand the absolute heartbreak and grief the past month has been consumed by and that’s okay, too. But, like many people, I find I work through my emotions and thoughts more effectively when I write, so here I am.
It all started back in October of 2017 (which, for reference, was definitely the worst year). I had just returned home from helping to pack up my Grandfather’s house after his death (like I said, shitty year). We were laying on the couch and my husband was rubbing Goose behind her ears. He non-chalantly said he felt something…. a bump right near her jaw. They had been at the cabin the weekend before while I was gone and so we assumed it was some sort of a bug bite. She wasn’t acting strangely and it didn’t seem to bother her when we touched it. Flash forward a couple of days and the bump kept getting bigger. Being the pro-googler I am (hello TWW message boards!) I got busy. Of course I was horrified with what I found. It could be a number of things but the most likely were: a bug bite (nothing to worry about, right?!), Lymes Disease (common where we live, shitty but treatable) and the dreaded of the three… lymphoma.
I remember hiding in the bathroom stall at work, sobbing and asking the vet to please make some time for us to come in that day. In my heart, I already knew what it was. The year had been so terrible and, in my pitty party, I just assumed that God had one more trick up his sleeve (my anger during this time with life and with God is going to be saved for another post… but damn, I was fucking pissed). Anyways, we go in, the doctor tells us to relax, she thinks it’s just an infection. She doesn’t believe that the bump is where Goose was actually bit but is a reaction to an infection. The bump we are feeling is actually a swollen lymp node (this is what I was afraid of). But again, she tells us it’s nothing to worry about. We’re sent home with some strong drugs and told to give her a call if it gets worse, which she highly doubts it will. Two days later, we’re back at the vet, after hours again as it has not only gotten worse, but it’s doubled in size.
The vet tells us that she would like to do a biopsy of it. She still doesn’t’ think it’s lymphoma but to make sure we don’t miss anything she’d like to set it up for Monday. We say okay, but at this point, we’re petrified. The entire ride home we are both in tears. We spend the weekend doing everything she loves and prepping the house for her for after her biopsy. The biopsy goes great and now we wait a week. This week of waiting was like a TWW on steroids. I called the vet every single day… no results, no results, no results, yes, results are in but the Vet needs to talk to you. Heart plummets. I am at work, in the hallway in the middle of the afternoon when the vet told me the news… GOOSE IS CANCER FREE! They aren’t sure what they lump is, but they’re assuming it’s an infection. Stop and grab even stronger drugs, but she’ll be fine. The rest of the night was literally spent jumping up and down (I’m not kidding… literal jumping up and down).
Fast forward 3 weeks, countless calls the vet and another emergency vet appointment. The meds aren’t working. The mass has now TRIPLED in size. They finally agree to see us and by that point, we find out that not only is that lymph node swollen, but all of the lymphocytes in her body are. Whatever it is, has spread and it has spread fast. At this point, the vet believes that the biopsy was wrong and that Goose does, in fact, have lymphoma. And, by now, it’s spread so far that our options are limited. We cannot start treatment until we have a definitive diagnosis, so yet another biopsy is completed and you ready for this? It comes back IN-FUCKING-CONCLUSIVE!!! Yep, that’s right, still no answer which means no treatment. Our Vet, at a loss for words and getting emotional on the phone herself when she talks about it decides she wants another opinion from a University hospital in Colorado. Yet another biopsy completed…
On Saturday, November 25th after we just walked out of my husband’s best friend’s mothers funeral we got a call from the vet, after hours once again. We knew it was bad. The results were revived and Goose was officially diagnosed with T-Cell Lymphoma. Her prognosis was not good with how much it had already spread. We sat in the parking lot of the church, clinging to one another’s hands and discussed how we wanted to proceed…
We started her on prednisone two days later. We were scared that she wouldn’t respond well to it but no one could have imaged just how well she did. We were told we would be lucky to get another 6 weeks with our little girl… we got 4 1/2 months with her. She was her perfect self up until the night before we had to say goodbye. It’s true what they say, they’ll let you know when they’re ready. We promised ourselves that the second she was in pain, we would make the call. She had been her spunky, energetic self… until she wasn’t. And when she wasn’t, it was time.
Her last night with us was a tough one. She was refusing her medicine and wanted nothing more than to be outside where it was cool (we learned later that the cancer had spread to her internal organs and the vet thought that she wanted the cool concrete to help ease some of the stomach pain she had). That night was a frigid 17 degrees, but that didn’t stop by husband from pulling out all of our blankets and sleeping with her outside. To say I love this man would be an understatement. I always knew he would be an amazing dad… but I forgot sometimes that he already was.
So, thank you, Goose. Thank you for being the biggest light in our life. Thank you for loving us the way you did. Thank you for being mama’s biggest protector. Thank you for sleeping with your head on my tummy when my heart was breaking. Thank you for loving your puppy brother, even when he annoyed you. Thank you for staying with us as long as you did, knowing we couldn’t bear to let you go. I could thank you for a million things but most of all, thank you for making me a mama.