Friday, April 24, 2009

Tough Decisions

I spoke with the Optho around 10 am and he laid out the options. At that point, the pressure was under control (just like it had been yesterday) but there was no sight in the right eye at all. He said we would not know for about 10-14 days whether there is sight remaining in that eye. Trouble was, during that time we would still be battling with the pressures. It would be something that would be next to impossible to monitor, other than running to the vet every day to get the pressures tested. Even then, it was not going to work well since the pressure can go from ok to terrible in an hour. He mentioned that there was a laser surgery that they could do, that would reduce fluid production, but was no guarantee that her eyesight would return. It may likely already be gone, which in that case the surgery would strictly be for TEMPORARY pain relief. He said 6 months is the typical time that the glaucoma can be controlled with the laser surgery. And there was no guarantee that the laser surgery would even work at all.

I got to thinking. Now, if she IS blind, I could always have the same procedure I had done in the left eye last week, the only trouble with that was that he would only do it in a blind eye, and at that point in time he could not say for sure that the eye was permanently blind. What was so very maddening was knowing that I would have to wait for 10-14 days trying to treat it with medication, not really knowing if she was in pain or not, just to see if her vision comes back. It might return from this bout, but she could have another bout at any minute that could cause permanent blindness too. I wish I could do the laser surgery, just to see if it worked, but given that it doesn't solve the problem, it seemed to not make sense to me. Plus, I was still worried that she would not be able to function as a blind Tripawd.

But I didn't want her to be in pain. The surgery in the left eye last week went great, and although she is permanently blind in the left eye, the pressure is gone, and doesn't come back supposedly. So it solved the problem and provides pain relief. What I thought I might opt for is to ride out the next 10 days or so to see if the sight comes back, and also in the meantime see how Nova fares blind on 3 legs. The factor that I don't like is that I won't know for sure if she is in pain or not. That kills me. If her sight does not return in the right eye, and she is faring well as a blind dog, then I can have the less expensive procedure done on the 2nd blind eye.

A handful of friends begged me not to let Nova suffer, and I agreed with them. Stumbling around in pain all the time is suffering. But if she CAN adapt (and I know many who can) then she might not be suffering. What a hard decision. I just didn't know what the road ahead was going to be like in the cancer department. Nova had done so well with her amp, chemo, etc. I feel like I would be throwing it all away if I gave up. But I didn't want her to suffer. There would still the very real possibility that she had lung mets down the line and ends up suffering all the more. My head was spinning from all the decisions and what ifs.

He said I could come pick her up any time I wanted. I arranged for around 1 pm. Just then, my son texted me from school asking me to accompany him to the hospital to visit his Grandma. (His dad died back when he was 7, and Alex has remained very close to his Grandma). The previous night when I was fighting my battle with Nova, he found out that his Grandma was having surgery, and had almost died from complications. He wanted to go see her during school. Anyway, when he first sent me the text, I told him he could drive himself, because I had to pick up Nova. It took me about 10 seconds to regret saying that, I immediately called the vet and said I would be there a few hours later. In this case, Nova could wait, and would likely benefit from the additional monitoring anyway. My son needed me, and I needed to make the time. I was horrendously guilty from missing his track meet the day before.

Going to visit his Grandma turned out to be just the distraction I needed. I was able to focus on someone else, just for a short while, and think things through a little more clearly. By the time we got there she had stabilized, and we had a wonderful visit. It was amazing to see her talking and happy, after being near death just the night before. It got me motivated to approach Nova's situation from a more positive direction. I didn't know what the road ahead of us would be like, all I knew was that we were all going to be loving her big time that night. I thought of some of the things I could do to help her adapt to the blindness. I had purchased her a Ruffwear harness way back in November and thought that might help now. Hey, if Alex's grandma could bounce back from a situation that seemed hopeless the night before, why couldn't Nova?

1 comment:

Vicki T said...

Hi Suzy. I am so glad to hear that "grandma" is doing well and you were able to be there with your son. I want you to know that when it comes to Nova's pain, there is no way she will ever adapt to it. Pain is pain and it is a horrible thing to live with. I hope I'm not being too blunt, but having lived through a dog who had glaucoma, I can speak from some experience. I, in no way, want you to think that I don't have the highest respect for your decisions regarding your girl, but thought I would let you know how I feel about the pain issue. I suffer from chronic pain and am now on disability because of it. I suffer from terrible depression, as well and it's mostly because of the pain. I have not been able to adapt to it even though I am on some of the strongest narcotics known to man. Your pals, Vicki T & Blazer & Kitty Kimber