FIRST, THIS SUCKS AND IT’S NOT FAIR
On July 31st, 2018 Tango was diagnosed with cancer. He has a malignant tumor sitting on a rib bone that has metastasized to his lungs. We are told he does not have very much time left, maybe one to three months. I’m in complete disbelief with this diagnosis because Tango has not shown any signs that he is sick. We only found the mass because of X-rays he had done for his osteoarthritis. At 9 years old, with arthritis, he’s still running and jumping and playing fetch. He still launches himself in the pool. He still gobbles down every meal and treat. So it’s hard for me to wrap my head around this, that it could be real, that this isn’t just some colossal mistake and tomorrow the oncologist is going to call and say she was wrong. But I’ve been down this road before. I’ve denied the truth before and held on longer than I should have. I can’t do that again. I have to buck up, face what’s in front of us, and give Tango the best end of life care he deserves.
****EDIT TO THE ORIGINAL POST****
I’ve lost count on the number of comments telling us to get a second opinion. And I greatly appreciate everyone’s concern. But we have several opinions from separate vets and specialists. We have X-rays, CT scans, and biopsies. I understand doctors make mistakes. I would never resign my dog’s life to dying of cancer based on one opinion and definitely not without verifiable and indisputable tests. I really do appreciate anyone’s and everyone’s concern for his health and the validity of his diagnosis. But this diagnosis came after weeks of thorough imaging tests, blood work, and invasive needle biopsies. His primary vet, two radiologists, an oncologist vet, and a hospice vet (none of whom are associated) all have come to the same conclusion. I honestly didn’t want to rehash the last couple of months we went through while getting this diagnosis because it wasn’t the point of this post. I didn’t feel it was relevant. My focus on this particular post was purely on Tango’s quality of life, end of life care, and discussing how we can all make sure our fur babies are as happy and comfortable and loved as possible when faced with this devastating outcome. Again I appreciate the concern so much. Thank you to everyone for all your lovely comments. It means a lot to us to receive so much love and know that everyone is rooting for Tango. I know there are stories out there when doctors are wrong. They are not infallible beings. But this is his diagnosis. We can hope for more time. We are giving him everything we can to keep him as healthy as possible. And we are doing everything we can to keep him comfortable. Now back to Tango’s awesome bucket list details!
MAKING TANGO’S BUCKET LIST
In thinking about Tango’s bucket list I have to think about what his favorite things are. While we could go on a new adventure (time permitting), and try new things, there hasn’t really been much he hasn’t already done. He’s traveled cross country with me countless times, gone hiking, bar hopped with me, gone tubing down the Guadalupe River, kayaked in Key West, rode in a taxi, stayed in 4 star hotels, swam in the Atlantic Ocean, gone trick or treating, been waited on in a fancy restaurant, gained more Twitter followers on his own account than I’ll ever have on mine. He has run wild and free in wide open spaces along beaches, in the Texas hill country, and across a mountain. I’m confident he truly got to live his best life. Now that we’re at the end of that life I’m left thinking what can we do to make his last bit of time on earth the greatest days of his life. Not just big grand adventures but daily things. Of course we are definitely planning one last excursion, one last swim in the ocean, one last day at the beach, because that is definitely high on his list of favorite things. But what are his daily favorite things? That is the question I have to answer in order to build a proper bucket list for this awesome guy.
IF TANGO LIVED LIFE HIS WAY
- Swim every day whenever he wanted
- Play unlimited games of fetch
- Spend alone time with me without having to share me with his little brothers
- Sleep in our bed every night
- Bark at the FedEx guy and body slam the door until he runs back to his truck in utter fear (the UPS guy won’t ring our doorbell anymore)
- Get treats for sitting and staring at me
- Partake in every meal/snack I eat
- Never be told no
- Get ALL the kisses, hugs, and cuddles
And so that is where we will start. These are all the immediate things I can give Tango that he will get every single day until the end. If I have to have something FedExed every single day so he can bark his furry butt off at the deliver driver that’s what we’re doing!
Not knowing just how much time he has left makes any future plans uncertain so we’ve needed to waste no time in planning Tango’s last big adventure. He’s going to a lake he’s never been to, swimming in a river he’s never played in, and hanging out on a beach he’s never seen. Whatever time we’re given after that will be a bonus and we will treasure every day with him.
But wait, there’s more! On top of the daily spoilings I think it’s time for Tango to try all the things he’s never had. On this I will take any and all suggestions. So far my list includes mostly food:
- A cake (from a dog bakery). Perhaps with F*ck Cancer written across it
- Breakfast in bed
- Ice cream
- Steak dinner
- Doggy massage
- Spa day
- Picture with Santa (thanks to the hubs for playing the role of St. Nick)
Input, suggestions, opinions, and the such are welcomed.
TAKE PICTURES. SO MANY PICTURES
When my first lab died I realized I had so few pictures of him. What’s worse was the majority of the pictures I had were after his cancer diagnosis when he was sick and deteriorating. Yes I had taken pictures throughout his life but it was all pre iCloud, pre OneDrive, pre smart phone. There are very few printed pics. Somewhere out there, there is a flip phone sitting in a landfill with a picture of Darby dressed as Spider-Man on it, along with many more moments I’ll have to trust my own memory with. Having so few pictures is a major regret. It prompted me to start my Instagram account which is 99.9% Tango. My (sometimes obsessive) need to take and post pictures of my dogs is not because I’m some crazy dog lady (I am) or because I think every picture of my dog napping is the cutest thing you will ever see (it is), it’s because if I don’t document the happier, healthier, fun times I know from experience I will always regret it.
TANGO’S LIFE IN PICTURES