Between all of the vet visits and crazy cone adventures with Levi, I feel like this blog has been neglecting a very special little lady. When I first started this site, my main purpose was to keep everyone updated on Greta’s condition, as well as potentially communicate with other dog owners whose babies are also fighting Hemangiosarcoma.
With all the excitement of adding a second dog to the household, especially one of Super Levi’s celebrity status, it was almost possible to ignore what was going on with Greta. Especially since after Levi joined our pack, Greta’s mood, health, energy level and overall quality of life seems to have improved ten-fold.
Because I haven’t updated the blog much with her progress, I am constantly hearing the question “So how IS Greta doing?” The answer, in a nutshell, is fantastic. Over the last few months, she has transformed back to that fun-loving ball of energy that I adopted two years ago, and I couldn’t be more thrilled given the grim prognosis delivered back in August. To illustrate just how well my little fireball is doing, take a look at this VIDEO shot a while back in my backyard.
I am willing to bet that Super Levi and his powers has played a big part in her happiness, and it’s been such a blast to watch them together. They keep us laughing constantly; they truly are best buds and partners in crime.
Greta has so much energy lately that she far outlasts her counterpart and often plays by herself long after he passes out. She usually ends up finally crashing out right on top one of her toys.
The other day I took Greta to a new vet for her yearly exam and vaccinations, and as I was explaining all of Greta’s past medical history, the realities of her situation hit me all over again. The vet explained that sometimes when a dog is diagnosed with cancer, oncologists recommend that the dog avoid vaccinations due to low immunity and other reasons. But given that Greta didn’t undergo chemo or any treatment that would weaken her immune system further, their onsite oncologist recommended to go ahead with the vaccinations.
As I talked further with the vet and the vet students (it’s a learning hospital), my emotions ping-ponged back and forth. One vet student, who had worked with dogs with cancer in the past, mentioned that she saw a case similar to Greta’s where the tumor showed up in a shoulder instead of an organ and a limb had to be amputated. But in this instance, the dog didn’t make it very long after surgery. As I talked more with the vet about how I have been treating Greta (diet only, no chemo or other treatment) she suggested having blood work run on her every 6 months to monitor how the disease is affecting her. I knew she was right, but I was still terrified at what the test results might uncover.
I agreed to the blood work, and a few tongue depressors full of cheese from a can later, Greta was all finished with her vet visit. She was pretty stressed and anxious from all the poking and prodding, so I told the vet to call with the blood results. The vet called as we were driving home, and the news was exactly what I wanted to hear. All of her organs are functioning normally, and her blood cell levels are all normal as well. (YAY!) At the end of the conversation, the vet said this was all good news and to keep up the good work. She also reminded me that the end – when it comes – will be very fast, and that every day I have with her is a gift.
Later that night, Greta began getting sick. She vomited about 10 times in a little more than an hour. It began to resemble blood, at which point we put on our coats and rushed her out the door. A million thoughts ran through my head, and I began wondering if we had made a mistake somehow in giving her the vaccinations. After giving her a second physical for the day, the vet decided it wasn’t serious.
She treated her with anti-nausea meds and a Pepcid AC-like med, injected fluids under her skin for dehydration and sent us on our way – again. Greta got sick once in the car and once more at home. After that she seemed to be on the mend, but certainly not without scaring us pretty good first.
To say the least, the whole day got me thinking again about Greta’s fate. In the last few months, I’ve watched my sweet girl go through so much that I can’t even fathom that this is just the beginning. I don’t want to dwell on the fact that the end is imminent, as that isn’t how Greta, or any dog for that matter, lives its life. But rather, keep the vet’s words fresh in my mind, and remember that every day we have with Greta is a gift.