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PetswithCancer {Endlesslove} Angels

In Loving Memory of


Died July 18th 2009

Carol's beloved girl

dx-ed Splenic Sarcoma May 2009

Java's story

I adopted Java on August 19, 1996. Her age was estimated at between 1/2 and 2 years. At that time I was interested in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. When I saw her, I thought she was close enough. It did not bother me that she was labeled a Pekingese mix.

Here is one of the earliest pictures I have of her. It is from late 1996.

She started out as the omega dog, the third and youngest in my pack of three. For six years she lived peacefully in the shadow of her elders.

Here is a picture from May 2002

At that time, there was a changing of the guard. Her two companions left this earthly realm. She found herself in the position of setting the rules for two newcomers. Java wasted no time in letting it be known that she was Queen. She had waited long enough, thank you.

Six years later. Java, the Queen, was getting on in years. Last year, for the first time, she had abnormal blood work, indicating possible kidney disease. She was put on a renal diet and things improved. The first indication that something was more seriously wrong was when I noticed that she was letting one of the other dogs finish her food. That was probably late February or early March 2009. By mid-April, she was eating only half her rations and had dropped in weight from 11.25 pounds to 9.1. Blood work did not show any significant findings. I thought that perhaps she just did not like the renal food, but going back to the standard kibble did not make any difference.

By early May, I was thinking that perhaps her teeth were bothering her. Soaking her food to soften it, did not help, but she would eat cottage cheese and canned food. Her weight had dropped to 8.7 pounds. This time the vet suggested that I bring her for a more complete exam. If the teeth were not a problem, an ultrasound and chest x-ray would be in order. This was May 8, 2009.

When the vet called with the update, I was not prepared to be told that the ultrasound revealed a large mass in her abdomen. I really expected that the teeth were the problem. I agreed to surgery right then. The thought was that the mass had to come out. The possibility of cancer did enter my mind. I told the vet if the surgery revealed that the cancer was wide-spread, then it might be best that she not wake up.

Luck was with Java that day. She did wake up. She was out of the hospital the very next day. The first 48 hours were not easy. Java simply was not hungry. It was something of a battle to get pills down her. I was much relieved when she started to eat again. Then, it became easy to get the pills into her with peanut butter. She made a rapid recovery and seemed to get her appetite back. She was eagerly eating everything I gave her, even the renal diet.

The results of the biopsy came in just as Java was getting back to normal. She was diagnosed with "Poorly differentiated splenic sarcoma." Other comments indicated that the tumor was high grade and likely to spread. Not good.

I obtained Java's records. The records indicate that, not only was the mass coming from the spleen, it was also attached to the left kidney. The spleen was removed, but not all of the mass was removed from the kidney. To be honest, given her age, I did not even consider treating the cancer aggressively. From what I have read, chemotherapy might extend her life, but not by a lot. I was just hoping for a little reprieve. In a way, I did get just that. For several more weeks weeks, Java had a normal appetite. She even gained half a pound. Not a lot, but enough so that she did not feel bony.

July 18th 2009 - With great sadness I write to say that Java is no longer in the earthly realm.

When, last Thursday, she no longer wanted even peanut butter, I knew the time was coming. I requested that she be given a heavy sedative so that she could gently fall asleep in my arms. That is exactly how it went. Java hardly noticed the initial injection. She quietly went to sleep.

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