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« Soft Tissue Sarcoma 101 | Main | The Invisible - A Reflection on Faith »
Wednesday
Apr092014

The Breath

Reggie had his staples removed today. A slight indentation has left puckered skin draped in an awkward ridge from his back down his side. Before we left, I felt the urge to ask, for the third time, and the third vet in that office, what his surgery results really mean? I understood he had two tumors removed. They told me the name of the soft tissue sarcoma and I've tried to stay off the internet, but it's really hard when that name has more syllables than a Mary Poppins song.

The vet looked at the surgery results and took a breath. I hate it when doctors breathe.

"They did not get all the cancer."

What? The first doctor said they did. Then I found out he didn't actually do the surgery. So then I saw the actual vet who did his surgery, and asked him to 'explain it to me like Dezi to Lucy. Talk to me like I'm five. I want it simple and clear. But without the accent.' He said, "There are good cancers and bad cancers. This is a bad cancer."

It was then I wished he'd told me in Spanish.

He explained that although it is a slow moving cancer, it is aggressive. He explained we are lucky because it is low grade. But I definitely should take him into an oncologist as soon as possible.

My head spun. When this vet took her breath, she made me lose mine.

It looks like they did not get all of the cancer. The margins were not clean. This means he will most likely need not only another surgery, but radiation as well. This also means there were cells left behind. The one thing she said for sure, was if we do nothing, the tumors absolutely will return.

With my own surgery pending for Monday, I find myself in a quandary. Tomorrow will tell much more when he is actually
assessed by the oncologist. So tonight I will curl up with Reggie wrapped in my arms, stroking his back over the ridges in his scarring flank. I will know that no matter what tomorrow's next breath will bring, I will be there for him - as he has always been - for me.

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