As regular readers know I usually join in with Sunday Sevens – the brainchild of Nathalie at Thread and Bobbins – and if I’m too busy to make Sunday, I simply post late. However, whilst there’s plenty I could tell you about last week, it doesn’t feel right telling you of all my other bits and pieces alongside telling you about the decision I made this week.
As those of you who read my last Sunday Sevens will know, last week I was waiting for the results to the needle aspiration on the tumours that had emerged in Mr Hick’s right thigh. When the vet rang she said it had shown that Hicks’ thigh was one of two things; a benign granular lump that had grown in scar tissue, or a spindle cell tumour, which is not benign. Unfortunately the spindle cell tumour is far more likely, because there’s no reason for Hicks to have scar tissue in that area. She suggested a punch biopsy to check it out further. However, if the lump was malignant, that could accelerate it’s growth and I was not at all sure we should proceed with removing the lump if it was malignant.
Mr Hicks is now 12 1/2. He has two metal knees from his cruciate surgery that are unstable and full of arthritis and his front paws are full of arthritis too. Temporarily taking away the use of his back right leg, would undoubtedly put more pressure and pain on the other three. And at 12 1/2 how quickly would he heal? Would he ever heal fully? On top of that, the position of the tumour would probably mean they couldn’t get the 3cm margin for the full 360 degrees around the tumour, that they ideally need to take, and radiotherapy or chemotherapy might be recommended after the operation. Furthermore this type of tumour is likely to reoccur again quite quickly whatever we did.
I love my boy more than I can say and it’s been a very very hard taking this decision not to explore further and therefore to potentially leave him with a malignant lump growing inside him. But Hicks has had way more than his fair share of operations. I know hard and painful recovery would be – especially at Hicks’ age with all his other problems. Having seen other dogs who’ve gone through chemotherapy, I wouldn’t ever consider giving him that. I do believe, if it is a tumour, operating will be putting him through purgatory and taking away what quality time he does have left. So for now we’re assuming the worst, to make sure we manage things as well as we can, but hoping for the best.