My wife and I recently received some very bad news. It’s one of those things that really kicks you in the junk, leaving you nauseous with tears in your eyes. Early last week, I noticed that one of our dogs had a swollen neck. We took him to the vet, who then did a bunch of tests, and a few days later gave us the results. Though we had our suspicions, we weren’t prepared for it. Cancer. Our youngest dog, Sully, a 6 year old black lab/pit mix, has lymphoma.
Sully isn’t the first of our dogs to have this. We had a small beagle/corgi mix, Cosmo, who also had lymphoma. He passed away 5 days before our oldest child was born.
Nothing prepares us for this. We spoke with the doctor, and he recommended we see an oncologist for treatment, since it’s stage 1, and the chances would be good. The problem is, the cost. We took a beating on Cosmo’s treatment, thousands of dollars, and that was before having kids. Now, we’re stuck. Our vet is willing to do the treatments himself, and help us out as much as possible with the costs involved, but it may not be enough. We may not be able to afford what could be done to save him.
The other part of this, is that there is absolutely no guarantee that it’ll work. We could spend a few grand and he could still die in 6 months. So now we’re in the fucking shittiest of all positions…we’re “playing god”.
Now we have to wait for the cost numbers to come back from the doctor, and when they do, we have to make a decision. Is the amount of money, and subsequent debt, worth it when weighed against the risk of it not working, and the discomfort for Sully during the treatment. Chemo is nothing to sneeze at. The treatment can be brutal for dogs, just as it is for people. So we have to put a number and a weight on his beautiful life, and it’s fucking torture, made worse by the fact that he doesn’t understand what he’s going through, or about to go through. We hold him, kiss him, cuddle him, and look into his eyes, all the while feeling like we might betray him by not being able to afford to treat him and extend his life.
Personally, I feel like a cold hearted betrayer. I’m a judgmental person to begin with, and the personal torment levied here is huge. How could I make such a decision? Who am I to value or devalue such a life? What makes my personal wants or objects worth more, when I could sell my keyboard, my Xbox, my pinball machine, for enough money to cover treatment? Where would it stop? Should I sell my personal possessions for a chance at maybe 2 years more? If I don’t, am I a monster who doesn’t deserve the love Sully gave me unconditionally? These are the things going through my mind during all this, and though I’m mostly a rational and logical person, I have no idea what the “right” thing to do is. I hope I make the best choice, and I hope Sully forgives me if it’s the one I don’t wanna make.