Not all cancers are the same.

Jake has his CT scan tomorrow.  Almost a year ago (about three weeks shy of a year), Melvin had his CT scan.

Prior to Melvin, my experience with cancer and dogs has been with my friend Virginia’s four-legged kids.  Her dogs Sosa and Beauty both had a sudden issue come up (years apart), cancer was discovered (with no prior symptoms) and both went to heaven the day of diagnosis. I don’t know how Virginia and her family made it through that once, let alone twice.

Then Melvin got Hemangiosarcoma.  From the day of diagnosis it was repeated over and over to me that he could die at any minute. I lived on the edge of fear and anxiety and sadness.  Not just that I would lose him, but that he could collapse suddenly. I barely ate or slept, I rarely left the house. I had showers down to three minutes and I’d come running out of the bathroom to make sure Melvin was still with me. Every night I’d say an I love you that was worthy of goodbye and every morning I wondered if that would be the day.  It was infinitely scary.

So canine cancer to me = sudden heartache and loss, or having your best friend being a ticking time bomb.

Jake’s cancer is different.  I mean it’s still cancer.  But he has, for lack of a better way of putting it, normal cancer.  The outcome will be the same, but the progression will hopefully be more of a timeline. I say normal goodnights to Jake. I don’t get up and check his gum color several times a night. I only get up the one time to clean up his meatballs, as per usual!  He’s allowed to have normal activity.  When I check in on him while I’m out (via the Dropcam), it’s to see if he’s pooped, not to see if he is still alive.

Jake’s cancer is not the same as Melvin’s cancer (or Sosa’s or Beauty’s).  I have to remind myself of this, many, many times a day. I’m trying to be more relaxed, more in the moment, more easy going. Jake’s cancer is equally as heartbreaking and the thought of losing him…I can’t even go there.  But oddly, it’s easier for me to focus.  Easier for me to make sure he isn’t faced with a hot mess of a mother 24/7. It’s even easier for me to joke with him …’you didn’t have to go and get cancer just to get more peanut butter, bud, we could have worked something out’.

I’m jam packing his days with joy. And treats.

At Melvin’s CT, there was metastasis and they said the words, ‘terminal, nothing we can do’.  But here I am, a year later, and I am filled with hope that on Jake’s CT, they will say…it has not spread, lets buy him some time with radiation.  Jake’s cancer is not Melvin’s cancer, there is every reason to believe we will have some options.

We will let you know what we hear back.  In the meantime, here is my handsome baby seal boy.

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4 thoughts on “Not all cancers are the same.

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