Thursday, March 24, 2011

This Is What Death Looks Like

So, we took Puckett to see the vet, this morning. Much as I'd feared, his cutaneous lymphoma appears to have spread to his lungs. The vet took X-rays, to eliminate the possibility that he might just have kennel-cough. Normally, they take a sequence of three X-rays to get a good view of both lungs and along two axes. The vet only bothered to take one picture (shown below):

Canine Lung Cancer

On the plus side, we didn't have to involve a radiologist to read an iffy X-ray. We also didn't have to subject him to a CT scan. We didn't even have to subject him to the full rigor of being held still for three X-rays. Pretty much anyone can look at the above and know it's bad juju. I mean, that's just a view of one lung from one axis and you can see quite a number of masses. To me, it looks like his lung is a third cancerous tissue, at this point. I don't know how he manages to breath as well as he does.

Hard to believe how fast his clock has been running-out. It was just last month that we got the cutaneous lymphoma diagnosis. And, it was only in the last few days that he just sorta fell off a cliff, symptom-wise. I'd been hoping-against-hope that it wasn't going to be this. I'd been hoping that he'd beat the averages. Unfortunately, the only way he's beating the average is in just how aggressively the cancer has progressed and spread. "Like wildfire" doesn't seem to do it justice.

As I sit here, typing away on my couch, Puckett lies breathing, fast and shallow, next to me. Unless the steroids work miracles (i.e., make his breathing less labored and reduce the irritation in his lungs so the coughing stops), I'm thinking I'm saying my final goodbyes come Monday. In the mean time, I'll try to use these last hours to spoil him (thus, why he's got couch privileges after a lifetime without). Even the other animals seem to "know": Cira's curled up on the floor below him and Grumbles is curled up next to him on the couch. Even Bella doesn't seem to be offended by his presence in her nesting-space.

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