Every Day, a Gift

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.

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15 Responses to Every Day, a Gift

  1. Officially IN LOVE with that video. Greta’s such a strong girl and she’s lucky to have such a dedicated owner!

  2. The video was fantastic. And you are so right each day is a gift. I’ve posted before that we have been through a similar situation with our girl Paige. You are welcome to ask any time you have questions.

  3. Claudia says:

    I’m so happy that Greta is enjoying her life, and hope she stays this happy until the end.

  4. Melody Askey says:

    Greta is BEAUTIFUL ❤

  5. happy, strong little Greta. Every day with all our pups are indeed a gift. Thank you for reminding us to cherish these moments!

  6. Two Grads says:

    I loved this post, thanks for updating us. I am so so happy to hear Greta is doing so well.

  7. amfriese says:

    This is such a sweet post, Greta is just a complete doll and she is so lucky to have you guys and Levi to keep her healthy and her spirits up.

  8. 3legs2ndcity says:

    Thanks for the comments everyone. 🙂

    Dianne – Remind me again what Paige is/was going through? Cancer?

  9. Emma says:

    Greta is a gorgeous girl and I loved the video.

  10. Brett says:

    I am just in love with Greta. What a special, special lady. Even though I’ve never met her, she has my heart. What a gift she is to all, especially her mother. And of course, to Levi too.

  11. Rachel says:

    What a beautiful post. So glad Greta has you to love her and take care of her. And I am so happy that her and Levi have fun together… what a gorgeous Super brother and sister 🙂

  12. Chris says:

    It’s so nice to hear that Greta is doing well. As the owner of a 3-legged Rottie (osteosarcoma) I have felt your emotions first hand, and it can be a roller coaster ride. But it’s those moments when they make you forget they are sick that are most wonderful.
    Greta and Levi are 2 lucky dogs.

  13. susan frye says:

    Uh… I’m not sure this belongs in comments but I’m also not sure how else to contact you. I stumbled across this blog very recently and completely by accident but how lucky that I did. We have a young (4years old) pit for whom amputation has now become a very real possibility. He has some orthopedic issues that make walking painful for him and recently he has gotten to the point that he is no longer able to tolerate the pain meds that made his issue bearable for him. We’ve had a couple of orthopedic evaluations done on him and are awaiting one more to be done in a couple of weeks at our local veterinary college… then we’ll have to make some sort of decision as he cannot go on as he is.

    Clearly just living in daily pain is not an option but we’re a little on fence about amputation. He’s young, he’s vibrant, he’s active… I’d rather euth him than have him live life just getting by. It appears Greta may have gone through some mental adjustment to her new tri-pawed-ness and come out the other side a happy girl. I was wondering if you could share some more details about how that period was for Greta.
    I guess I may be worrying more than I need to… after all if my dog had to have an amputation due to an accident I wouldn’t think twice about it but somehow the situation we’re in makes it feel almost like a “voluntary” (for lack of a better word) amputation and that just bothers me more than I can say. I want so much to make the right decision for him – the choice that is in his best interest not mine – and I’m almost paralyzed by the fear that I’ll make the wrong choice.

    Any info you care to share would be much appreciated. You can post a response to you blog (I’ll keep an eye out for updates) or you can reach me directly at susan.frye (at) cnoinc (dot) com. Thanks so much!

  14. I didn’t comment before, but this really is such a beautiful post. Just meeting Greta and seeing all the photos and updates, it really is hard to believe that she is sick. She is just so amazing, resilient and full of sass and energy. Hope to see you guys soon (check the SociaBulls website soon…we’re opening up an additional walk each week to accommodate for the demand).

  15. Pingback: A Very Dignified Thing to Do – Part Deux | 3legs2ndcity

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