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The Call — Cancer? NO!!!!!

Friday, September 3rd.

This was the day I got the phone call that rocked my world. Maggie Soo, my amazing standard poodle, had gone in for an operation on her cruciate ligament. The vet was going to call me, after taking a pre-op x-ray, to get approval on how to proceed. There were two or three different routes we could take and the decision would be based on what he saw in the x-ray.

He calls, pretty much when he said he would. He tells me that the x-ray shows that her ligament’s fine. I’m so relieved – no operation, no 12 weeks of being quiet including no running — yea, right as if that was going to happen!

He continues talking and I hear the words, ‘there is a tumour in her bone’. The world is beginning to fade in and out. I hear, more words….’majority of cases…tumours…malignant’. I go through my usual thought process of figuring out what malignant means and what benign means. As I realize malignant means cancerous, I’m beginning to understand what he’s saying — that Maggie Soo may have cancer. Time’s starting to stand still. It feels like the world is closing in around me.

He continues talking and all I want him to do is be quiet so that I can wake up from this nightmare. I hear the odd word….medical options…amputation…chemo. I loose it. This can’t be happening to my precious Maggie Soo. My sweet wonderful Maggie. I begin to cry. I can’t breath. I swear the floor is disappearing. I can’t see. All I’m saying is ‘no, no, no, no, I won’t do that to her’.

He suggests a biopsy to determine if it is cancerous. Yes, that makes sense. Finally, something I can grasp onto. We can prove that Maggie Soo is one of the few cases that are benign. Let’s do that.  Of course it’s a long weekend so we won’t get the results until the end of the following week….

This all was happening too quickly. So unexpectedly. Two weeks prior, Friday, August 20th, she was a little lame. Over that weekend, she didn’t put a lot of weight on the leg. By Monday, she was running around showing little signs of being lame. Tuesday, she was lame again so we went to the vet the next day — September 1st. It looks like a torn cruciate ligament — an x-ray was needed to make sure. To make it easier on Maggie, the operation and the x-ray were scheduled for the same time – two days later. And now here we are. Hanging up the phone, unable to speak, see, or move.

Since I was at the office, it was important to collect myself. It’s amazing where our inner strength comes from. I discussed what was happening with my client because the session had obviously ended. She knew Maggie well and had animals of her own. We talked about how hard it is to get news like this but how wonderful it is to have animal companions.

After my client left, the feelings and emotions washed over me again. I was overwhelmed by how strong they were. I called a good friend, Barb and she was here in 20 minutes. How dear and awesome is that! After an hour of tea, crying, laughing, and sharing, I was beginning to feel more in control again.

Barb left and I spent the next three hours reading about osteosarcoma and learning everything I possibly could. Being a ‘researcher’ that also helped to bring things more into perspective.

Maggie could be picked up between 5 and 6. At 5:01 Tara and I were at the vets to get Maggie. She came charging out the door, dragging the vet tech behind her and jumping around me. Smiling and laughing and ready to go home! It was so good to have her back with us! Into the car and off we went, home for dinner and a nice quiet evening all together.

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