Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Bringing Jinx Home

I brought Jinx home yesterday, after the final consultation with the neurologists. They wanted to amputate her leg today, but I opted to bring her home and take a minute to breathe and talk to Dr. Jay. The diagnosis was Peripheal nerve sheath tumor of the caudal right brachial plexus. On the MRI I could see the mass, which was described as "a contrast enhancing lesion at the level of C7-T1 vertebrae, 5 cm ventral to the spinal canal in the right brachial plexus. Although the mass is not invading the spinal canal, they were surprised to find that, since she showed delayed responses in the rear. Prognosis is fair if clean margins are achieved, however, tumor cells may have seeded away from the main lesion and recurrence is possible within 6 months to 2 years. All the literature indicates that this type of cancer does return, and usually within a short amount of time, the median being 7.5 months.

Jinx was anxious when they first returned her to me, which may have been the result of the anesthetic; she finally relaxed when we were about an hour down the road. Poor baby. they shaved her sides for the ultrasound. That is one part I hate. I hate seeing her shaved. I've seen too much of that. I called Tom and asked him to pick up some hamburger and cottage cheese, since I knew she would be very hungry but not able to tolerate rich food. She wiggled all over when we got home and gobbled up the food, licking the residue in the dish to be sure and get every last morsel.

She slept in her usual spot on our bed, nestled in the space between Tom and I. This morning she crawled to me and placed her nose to my nose in typical fashion, breathing me in and waiting for me to get up. I, of course, reward this behavior with nose kisses! She got a breakfast of cottage cheese and hamburger with another deramaxx chaser, but still seems abit sluggish.

I talked to Dr. Jay, who has been trying to reach the DVM from UW to get further information. He confirmed that my research on peripheal nerve sheath tumors is correct; it does not have a good prognosis. I am waiting now to hear back from him in regard to the conversation with UW and then will have more decisions to make. My first was to simply get Jinx back home and surround her with love. Right now it is unthinkable to me to consider life continuing without Jinx. I know it will; I know it has to. But I truly cannot imagine not having her there with me when I sleep, never having her poke her nose into my face or smother me with tiny kisses of her tongue, or just BE there with me. For me. I prayed hard that this would have a good outcome. I know God could cure her. I'm not so sure why he didn't. I know loss and I know pain, so do I need to learn those lessons again? I'm not quite sure how to consider this but I am not alone in having loved a dog and had to make a difficult decision. I try not to feel badly about having forced Jinx to walk and do rehabilitation exercises, when she was struggling with cancer. I just didn't know it, but I feel so, so sorry for causing her any unnecessary pain.

I kept a private lesson appointment this morning, and it did get my mind free for a short time. I can't spend every hour crying but it is so hard to look at her and know that she will not be a part of my future. She IS (I cannot say "was") the NC Region Schutzhund 2 Champion. She has her Mondioring 1 title. She is a Type 1/CE disaster dog. She is a loving, talented dog. She is the best dog I have ever owned. I never imagined I would be saying goodbye to Jinx ahead of some of the other dogs in the kennel who are getting up in years. I question how long I can continue to hurt my heart with the loss of my dogs, when it just gets more difficult.

Today is the anniversary of the death of my father in law, Joseph Krsnich. Yesterday was the anniversary of the death of his wife, Janis. Jinx was Joe's favorite dog. For reasons known only to him, he called Jinx "Tricksy" and asked for her visits. She even visited in the hospital, performing her tricks for the residents and sitting next to his arm for petting. I like to think that when it is Jinx's time, she will hear Joe call "Tricksy!" She wont' recognize Eros, my patrol dog, or Sofie or Mitsubishi. Or Tom's old lab, Arlie. She wasn't friends with Aryan but she would remember Kilo, the hairy dog. Hero, Shari's German Shepherd, will have stories to tell about his days of living on Glendale Street with us, as well and I'm sure they will all greet Jinx and show her around. It brings a smile to my other-wise tear stained face to think of all of them running with the health and exhuberance of youth, no illness or injury shortening their strides. The only thin missing is me and one day they will meet me at the bridge, as well.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. And Jinx. For now, she is here with me, sleeping on her dog bed in the living room. I will wait to hear from Dr. Jay and determine what comes next. I only wish none of this was so.