Say A Little Prayer

It’s no secret that I love this dog with all my heart:

Robertina simply melts me with every little thing she does. She is such a joy and treat to have in my life!

While we were housesitting Robertina in December, I happened to notice a lump on her neck, right in the front of the throat underneath her collar. Robertine has a history of getting benign lumps of fatty deposits on random body parts, so I really hoped that the lump on her neck was just another one of those. Or maybe it was scar tissue from always wearing a collar that can rub and chafe her delicate skin folds? I tried to be optimistic about it– really, I did– but I just got a sinking feeling when I saw it that something was different and that something was wrong.

Robertine went to the vet when her owner came home in early January, where they performed an aspiration on the lump to collect a few sample cells for analysis. Robertine, of course, behaved like a gem at the vet’s and didn’t protest during all of the poking and prodding. (She is just so sweet and dear, it really breaks my heart.)

The results of the preliminary analysis came back pretty quickly, and they were not good: The lump was determined to be a malignant tumor. Radiologists recommended surgical removal of the lump, one: to get it out before it started to spread and two: because it didn’t appear to be attached to anything critical. We were hopeful and optimistic that this fairly simple surgery could right things in our world once again.

Surgery was set for February 9th. Before any surgical removal of the tumor could take place, however, the team of specialists decided to run a chest x-ray to make sure the cancer had not metastasized anywhere else in her body.

We just learned the results of those x-rays yesterday, and I have to say: I am having a very. hard. time. digesting the news and keeping my eyes dry.

So far, it looks as though the cancer actually originated in Robertine’s lungs and that the lump on her neck was actually the lung cancer metastasizing into her skin. (Tears are streaming down my face right now– I literally can’t stop crying.) We will know more (prognosis, treatment options, etc.) after a biopsy on the lump is performed this Friday, but right now, I’m just falling apart trying to deal with the implications of this news and also trying not to think about it too hard.

I may be a slow learner and a tad naive at times, but my vision isn’t so clouded or rosy to think that Robertina will be with us forever. (She is turning eleven very soon, after all.) A tiny part of me has always known and accepted that Robertine will pass away some day, but the glowing optimist inside of me has always hoped that when the time came, there would be no struggle for her. I don’t know if/how I could handle seeing her in any pain– she’s just too sweet to suffer.

So I’m reaching out on this sad morning to ask you all to say a tiny prayer for Robertina. It doesn’t have to start with a ‘Dear Lord Jesus’ or end with an ‘Amen’, but any thoughts that promote her well-being and comfort will be very appreciated.

My ideal outcome for this situation will be for things to continue on as ‘normal’ until right near the end. I don’t want her to have to go through chemo (did you even know that dogs can have chemo?), and it would be nice to avoid any major surgery if possible (such as partial removal of the lung lobes– again, who knew this was even doable?). So far, everything else in Robertine’s functions are status quo: she eats, drinks, goes to the bathroom, sleeps, and hikes like she always has. Her energy is still vibrant and loving. The only reason why we even know anything is wrong is because of that lump on her neck.

I just pray that she won’t have to suffer before she leaves us. Thank you so much for your thoughts and loving energy.

The Lovers

8 responses

  1. I’m so sorry 😦 Its clear to me through your posts that you love Robertina very dearly, and it’s equally clear to me through the photos that Robertina loves you and Marty even more dearly. She’s in my thoughts and my prayers!

  2. Oh Dana… all my good energy/thoughts/goodstuffs to Robertina. it made me cry too to read this. our fuzzy friends are some of the best parts of life.

    love to you and Marty too..

    xoxooxoxoxoxo

  3. My little prayer is in the air with healing thoughts for Robertina and my thoughts are with you two as well, and Robertina’s mum. Sorry we didn’t get a chance to chat today when I saw you (but maybe for the better ’cause you know I am not very stoic when it comes to this type of thing…I could just see the both of us crying away on Fort St.). I wish in my heart that all of our pets could share their special love with us for a very long time. They teach us many things in their short lives – and they also remind us that life is short. Hugs to you all. ~Robin

  4. Thanks so much, guys. Your thoughts really mean a lot to Marty and I.

    I’m trying to keep in mind that everything else with our girl is fine right now– the glass is much more than half full still! It’s important to me that we keep having fun with her and not bring her down emotionally if possible. (She’s so quick to furrow those cute eyebrows of hers, and even when we found out the sad news, Robertine kept coming over to me and tried to lick the tears off my face. Aw… kisses!) If we can keep her happy and pain-free for as long as possible, I’m down with that.

  5. That Robertina isn’t suffering now, and with what you’ve learned, makes her time now doubly precious.
    With dogs it helps to remember that 1:7 ratio and that she equates with a 77 year-old person. Not too bad remembering how many don’t make it that far. My cousin has a wee Havanese that turns 17 soon which is really remarkable. Heard recently the oldest dog on record made it only to 21.
    I know this is ‘rationalizing’ and doesn’t change for a minute the feeling of loss. Remember you wouldn’t feel this way if you didn’t first love her so much, and for that you have been very fortunate.

  6. Oh Dana, I feel your pain and will be thinking of Robertina. It’s so hard when our pets get sick – I will be a mess when Ziggy goes.
    Just think of all the great times you had with her. I’ll be thinking of you guys, keep us posted.

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