Friday, April 12, 2013

Romanov Has Surgery

Romanov has had an ulcer near his anus for a while now and we've wanted to get it surgically repaired.  I especially wanted it done because my olfactory sense is more heightened than Rob's and there were times when I had a hard time being in the same room with him.  Romanov, not Rob.

I hated feeling that way, sickened by a smell over which he had no control.  I burned a lot of scented candles and got over myself and my queasiness because Romanov is my teddy-bear, my first true puppy love.

And today he went into surgery.  We're using my birthday gift money to pay for the surgery and the medicine that will probably be handed to us when we go to fetch him from the veterinarian's.  Last year we used my gift money to pay for the medical billing and coding course to prepare me for the exam which I failed.  Yesterday I learned that the 2012 exam was more difficult than it had ever been before and why.  But I digress.

I digress because it's easier to think of my failure than to think about Romanov's surgery.

You can see how stressed out he was before Rob took him to the vet.  The only reason his eyes are open is that he is probably hoping that I will finally give him some water.  However, just as with a human surgery, he was not allowed to have any food or water after midnight so he and Snowdoll each had no water this morning.

Except it rained a lot last night and Romanov is smart enough to know that rain = water.  He probably ended up lapping up an ounce in desperation while I quietly (it was only 5am and I didn't want to disturb the neighbors) tried to stop him.

Anyway, Rob and Romanov went to the vet and Rob came home. I did my morning yoga while they were out and Snowdoll was so happy Rob came back that she piddled with excitement.  Silly girl.  Of course she noticed Romanov was not back yet but, so long as her belly was getting some love by way of rubs, she wasn't going to ask too many questions.

Then the vet called.

Romanov has cancer which has metastasized and he may or may not survive the surgery.  Did we want to go ahead and proceed anyway.  Yes.  No.  We chose yes.  We felt no.  We chose yes because having the surgery would at least make him feel more comfortable.  We felt no because he might not come out of the surgery (the vet said there was a 15% chance he would not awaken from the anesthesia) and then what?

Then we wait.  We exercise because that can make it possible to forget or maybe it will kick in some endorphin magic or maybe we can just sweat the stress from our flesh.  Only that doesn't really change anything except we can say we did it.  Check that off the to-do-list as we re-hydrate.

I was pretty much spent, trying to keep detached so I wouldn't fall apart.  It was just easier that way.  And then the phone rang and it was the vet saying that Romanov came through the surgery just fine.  They removed the ulcerated tissue and were also able to remove one of the cancers that was the size of a handball.

Can you imagine having a mass the size of a handball somewhere along your small intestine or even your colon?  That is what poor puppy Romanov was living with.

Anyway, the vet also explained that Romanov would be more comfortable but . . .

  • but he has cancer
  • and will begin declining
  • and we will probably notice something is seriously wrong when he stops being able to move his bowels
  • which is when we will have to make a decision.

So we have more time but it's only a matter of time.  In the meantime, he will be more comfortable having had the ulcer and mass surgically managed.

The veterinarian was optimistic about Romanov's recovery and that he would now be happier, more comfortable.  However, the fact is he has cancer.  It's hard to believe.  Just yesterday we bought two new toys for the dogs and Romanov took his, shook it, and proceeded to prance around with his new toy.  Siberian huskies are known for retaining their puppy-like behavior. Romanov, at 12 years old, is proof of this.  Romanov, his poor puppy body riddled with a disease that is killing him.

The doctor says it may be a week or a month or a year. In other words, it's like life and you never know when.  The only difference is we know how.

Snowdoll kept a respectful distance but eventually wanted to be closer to him.  She didn't lie right on top of him, as she usually would, so she obviously knows he needs some space even if she needed to be close.

And that was today.  A long exhausting day.


  1. Ugh, this is the worst. Poor Romanov. He's been around longer than I have. I'm glad, at the very least, that he'll be happier for awhile.

    1. He's not sounding too happy right now but I'm hopeful.

  2. We went through something similar with mallow. Just peaceful thoughts and hugs.

    1. Thank you, Sierra. Both are truly needed.