As I type this, our sweet old girl, Lily, is in surgery. For cancer.
In all the years I’ve had dogs, Lily is our first cancer diagnosis. Our sweetest girl is almost 13 years old and has myxosarcoma. I had two choices: leave it there in her leg or take it out.
Initially, the decision was easy: TAKE IT OUT!
Over the weekend, though, I had second thoughts. Maybe I was rushing to surgery for selfish reasons. I don’t want to extend her life at all costs — I want her to live as long as she can while she’s happy and healthy. Was I putting her through surgery for selfish or selfless reasons? I want to be selfless when it comes to making decisions for her, but I realize how hard it is to be objective when you’re deeply in love with a dog.
I mean, she’s already a senior girl.
How many good years would she have left if she never got cancer? I have always hoped for 15 good years, but now that it’s only two years away, 15 seems so young. Would she likely die of other age-related causes before the cancer could take her? In other words: was I doing this surgery to make her life better? Or mine?
The weekend prior to her surgery, I had to go to Charlottesville, VA, for Levi’s neuter. I would be gone for a couple days so I took all the dogs with me. My home base for the jaunt was my parent’s place about an hour east of Charlottesville. After I dropped Levi off for his surgery and returned to the lake, I took my dogs to the water and had the pleasure of watching Lily turn into a puppy again in the warm sunshine at Lake Anna. She jumped, she spun, she butt-tucked it all over the yard, and gave Nemo a run for his money.
I laughed at her until my sides hurt and my face was sore from laughing so hard.
Back to reality: She’s an otherwise healthy dog — blood panels look good, no significant arthritis, or other compromised systems, which makes me think maybe we are doing the right thing. So, she’s undergoing surgery. Hopefully it’s the right decision, but good golly it’s hard to be the one making the decisions!