Saturday, December 20, 2008

My Dear Cousin




















Cousin Jack and I first met on Christmas Day 1998. At the time I was living in Oklahoma City. Billy and I came to Lawton for Christmas. We stopped by my brother Robert's house to give him his gift. At the time, I was definitely not an animal person. Only two months earlier in October 1998 a stray cat had befriended Billy. Billy wanted to take him in and I protested because of my allergies. Thankfully Billy won out and that stray cat became our beloved Big who has been with us for over ten years now.
Big helped me to overcome my indifference to animals. Once early on, my friend Paula saved Bigcat's life when he had a bad leg injury. That's how I met Paula when we were both operators at Southwestern Bell. I was mildly concerned about Big, but not enough to do anything about it and I didn't have the money to take him to the vet. Someone at work told Paula my plight and she introduced herself to me and arranged an appointment for Big and paid the vet bill. We have been friends ever since and she is the godmother to all my pets.
So anyway, Robert had recently adopted a baby chihuahua and he was so cute, I would have taken him home with me that day if I could have gotten away with it. He was exactly the size of those little Taco Bell dogs that were all the rage at that time. Robert only had to pay $50 for him with papers because supposedly he wasn't the quality of the other dogs in the litter or something like that.
Cousin and I grew very close through the years which is kinda strange since I always either lived in Tulsa or OKC while he lived in Lawton. Whenever I came to town, he always greeted me ecstatically and when I would leave Mother told me he would sometimes wait by the door for hours thinking I was coming back. When he was younger, he went nuts when he heard my voice on the phone because he thought I was there and he couldn't find me. Mother eventually took over the care of Cousin Jack from Robert. She brought him to visit me as often as she could and he spent a lot of time with me in Tulsa and OKC. When I go to Mother's and I can't stay long, I try my best to avoid seeing Cousin Jack because he gets upset if I don't stay and he can't come with me.
His vet called Mother this morning with grim news. His biopsy came back and his growth is something called Hemangiosarcoma. It is a deadly form of cancer. His doctor also called me because Mother was too distraught to comprehend what she telling her. She told me that his condition is guarded and we need to watch for signs that it is growing internally such as loss of appetite and labored breathing. She said she has never seen this type of cancer on the skin until now. She said that she is certain they were able to remove the entire growth and that the reason the other doctor thought it was superficial is because there wasn't much blood flow which is a good sign. She thinks it's possible there isn't any cancer internally but not likely. She also said that just because Cousin Jack appears healthy that it doesn't mean he isn't sick. So we all we can do is watch him and hope that one growth was all there was. This particular vet hasn't ever seen a dog who lived with this type of cancer. She doesn't recommend chemo and we agree. He's ten years old and he doesn't need to go through such a traumatic ordeal when it will not likely prolong his life.
My new friend, Dr. Ron was kind enough to talk to me about it. You may meet Dr. Ron in my Thomas Comes Home for Christmas entry. He posted a comment there. He is a veterinarian by day and a blueshound by night. He told me if it was showing up externally that it is somewhere else. By all accounts, it seems the news for Cousin Jack is very grim indeed. I am very grateful for my new friend and for his willingness to educate me regarding Cousin Jack's condition. I have only known Dr. Ron a very short time, (since we picked up Thomas in OKC) but he's a great guy and I've grown attached to him already!! Poor Dr. Ron!!
One quick update regarding my car crash post. I told you I am always careful to check to make sure no one passes me on the left when I turn left into my driveway. As I was driving home this evening from Lawton, I turned on my blinker to turn left into the casino parking lot. I forgot to check for careless drivers passing me and as I slowed down to turn. Sure enough an idiot in a minivan passed me on the left as I made my turn. I have no idea why we didn't collide. She was going very fast, I'm sure and I was nearly stopped. I didn't even see her until she was also in the casino parking lot where she swerved rapidly to avoid hitting me. She was completely freaked out. I saw her at that point because I nearly hit her in the driveway because she had so suddenly appeared. She could have killed us, but she was so visibly shaken we had to make sure she was okay. She had to ask me if we collided. She didn't even know what happened. "No, ma'am, you didn't hit us. If you had we wouldn't be talking right now because we would probably be DEAD!!!!"

2 comments:

Stephanie said...

I've always been an animal lover, and I always wanted a white cat. The news about Cousin Jack is very sad. I'm so sorry. Thank goodness you weren't hurt in what could have been a terrible accident!

rwmollet said...

LeAnn, perhaps you've already researched more about Cousin Jack's condition. Here's information you might not have come across: Hemangiosarcoma has 3 classifications 1) Dermal 2)Hypodermal 3) Visceral. Of all I hope Cousin Jack's in strictly Dermal because he just might have a 60% chance it won't be metastatic and spread since it was surgically removed. I've seen mostly the visceral form in the spleen and have found evidence of the mass on the heart base when doing echocardiograms on a few patients. If it spreads, patients usually get weak and anemic because often the masses in the spleen start to bleed. We will continue to hope for the best in Cousin Jack's condition. DrRon