I’ve thought of half-a-dozen ways to write this, but it always comes back to this: Emmett isn’t going to get better, and our hearts are broken.
The oncologist explained the spectrum of the disease. There’s the far end where the tumor originates from the skin, and if it’s caught early, before metastasis, surgery can often cure it. Then there’s the opposite end where tumors are all over the organs, often the spleen and liver. Emmett’s tumor was excised from the sub-dermis, so under the skin, meaning it already metastasized. It’s malignant, and it’s aggressive. But there are no visible tumors on his organs.
What that means is that he falls in between the two extremes. He’s not going to be cured, but we can try to slow the spread.
So, that’s what we’re doing. He’s starting two drugs, what she called “wimpy chemo,” as soon as possible. They’re designed to stop blood from flowing into and growing tumors. If he responds well to the drugs, it could prolong his life and give him some happy, healthy months ahead.
She gave us a window: The next three to six months are the critical period. If tumors show up, then the drugs aren’t working or the cancer has already gotten too far in his precious system. Otherwise, he could have a full year ahead of him, and – in some rare cases – maybe even two.
She told us to watch for “off” days, when he seems tired or loses his appetite, because sometimes this cancer can cause an internal bleed, which is a terrifying prospect.
The past couple weeks felt like we were struggling under water, gasping for air, trying to make forward progress but going nowhere. Work has piled up. Furry dust bunnies are floating around the house. Somehow we need to find our way back to land, to get back into the routines of our days, to let life go on. It’s hard to take my eyes off of Emmett for even a second because I just want to memorize it all… the way his ears perk up when he hears me shift in my seat, the way the sunlight makes the blonde patches of his fur glow, the way his little white toes twitch in his sleep.
But I know that we need to balance real life with making the most of his beautiful life.
So, inspired by a person I stumbled across on Instagram (check out her account), I’m going to make Emmett a Bucket List. I want to capture him doing all the things that he loves (yes, most are going to be eating-related). I have two items so far: eat a steak dinner (thanks to his fabulous aunt and uncle who sent him a box of Omaha steaks) and go swimming. I’d love to hear your ideas and suggestions for his List, and once it’s finished, I’ll share it here with our progress.
This is getting long, I know, but the last thing I want to say is thank you. Truly, you have no idea how much all the kind words of support, comments, emails, FB messages, and texts have meant to us. They uplift our heavy hearts, and we are so incredibly grateful to this kind, generous community of dog lovers. Our hearts and lives are full, and we know that Emmett is going to do just fine with all of your love and prayers and happy thoughts giving him the strength he needs to fight this.
Hugs, scritches, and belly rubs – whichever they prefer – to all your precious pups from us.