Sunday, May 31, 2009

Mika & Me

Mika toppled over like a drunken sailor after two days shore leave. But it wasn't because she'd been drinking. Mika hadn't been acting quite right for a couple of days and we weren't sure what to think. But on the morning she passed out, we knew we had a problem. By the time we got her into the car Mika seemed better. But we took her to an emergency clinic just to be safe. We thought maybe she'd picked up a case of Lyme Disease because we'd seen some deer ticks recently. We figured the clinic would probably give us some antibiotics and send us on our way.
Not long after we arrrived the doctor told us i
t wasn't Lyme Disease. Antibiotics wouldn't help. She showed us a syringe filled with blood that had come from Mika's abdomen. The fluid should have been clear. Mika needed emergency surgery. The doctor thought her spleen had ruptured causing internal bleeding. And the reason for the spleen problem was almost certainly Hemangiosarcoma- cancer. Just like that, it was life and death. The doctor warned us that if the cancer had spread, the prognosis was grim. Without surgery, she might have two months. But even with surgery, maybe only six.
Trina and I sat in the operating room for hours, twisting tissues and trying not to cry. We reminded ourselves that no news is good news. After a seemingly endless wait the surgeon marched out, smiled and told us that Mika had pulled through. A biopsy confirmed the cancer diagnosis. But there was no sign the malignancy had spread.
Not counting my wife, Mika is my all-time favorite blond. Call it an animal attraction. Mika is Marilyn Monroe of Golden Retrievers. I've never had a dog that listened. Heel, sit or stay, my dogs always beg at the table, pee on the floor or get amorous with a visitor's leg. But Mika actually does what we ask her to do. She's a top dog at Agility shows- flying through obstacle courses filled with tunnels, teeter-totters and weave poles. She's always happy and eager to please and incredibly affectionate. She even gives us doggie hugs. Trina picked out Mika when she was just a puppie. They were instant BFF's and spent countless hours together. Mika soaked in many of Trina's qualities- they're both so sweet, patient, loving, (and mostly) quiet. When I wandered onto the scene five years ago, she was already four years old. That's Mika, not my wife. I teasingly tell everyone that I married Trina for her dog. Trina tells everyone, she's not sure why she married me.
These days we're up to our armpits in chemotherapy, antibiotics, anti-nausea drugs and blood cell counts etc. Mika is part of a clinical trial at the University of Pennsylvania. They're trying a more agressive form of chemo than they've used in the past.
Mika's a little anemic, but she's responding well, so far. We've heard from other people whose dogs had cancer and are still alive 2-3 years later. We're hoping we'll be that lucky too. The vet says dogs don't generally get sick from the drugs and they mostly don't lose their hair. And blissfully, dogs don't seem to know they have cancer. If you saw Mika, you wouldn't think she's in the fight of her life. She's still happy and eager to please and incredibly affectionate. Good thing too because these days we need all the doggie hugs we can get.

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1 comment:

Lydia said...

lots of prayers for Mika, Trina and you... I'm so glad she is so loved...