Thursday, June 05, 2008

And the Trend Continues.

My streak of "interesting times" continued today. In theory, I could be employed by Friday. Supposedly my main recruiter is about to secure an interview for me doing the kind of work I particularly enjoy. The good news: it's for considerably more money than my previous job. The bad news: it's in Oro Valley (probably about a 40 minute drive from here), and it's only for 90 days. If I get it, I have to bow out of the job I interviewed for last week, and hope something else turns up when the time comes. The saving grace of the location is that John already commutes out there; we may be able to share a car.

Now. Tuffy.

Her appointment was at 1 PM, and we probably had a good half hour wait to see her oncologist. Just like my primary care physician, she tends to fall behind as the day wears on, because the patients' problems can't always be dealt with quickly. Tuffy spent almost all of the wait like this:

Dr. K., when she came in, was disappointed that the prednisone hasn't helped Tuffy all that much. She's eating better, and is perhaps a little livelier and more sociable, but she still walks with her head down, and is still unsteady on her feet.

Based on this, Dr. K. wanted to send Tuffy to a neurologist, for at least $2,000 in additional tests. I told her flat out that we can't do that as long as I'm unemployed (unsaid: and maybe not even once I have a job). But I did authorize X-rays, blood work and sedation so Dr. K. could examine her tongue and see whether the cancer had returned. The X-ray was to check whether cancer had spread to her bones, and possibly see a slipped disc, which is the suspected diagnosis. The blood work is to check for Valley Fever and other possibilities.

So I sat in the exam room for another half hour and read my Wrede book while Tuffy was off getting all these tests. The one immediate result was good news: the tongue looks great, with no sign of cancer. The X-rays didn't have anything that jumped out at Dr. K. when she had a look at them, so probably no bone cancer. But she's sending them on to be examined by another specialist. When that and the blood tests came back, they'll call me.

Meanwhile, I don't quite know what to think. It's obvious to me that Tuffy is not comfortable, but not so obvious whether her quality of life has become unacceptable. Nor do I have any idea what can be done, even if we get a clear diagnosis. We may yet have to make that horrible decision I was fearing early last week. Actually, unless she dies on her own, I know we'll have to make that decision. The only question is how soon that day will come.

One thing of minor interest happened as I let Tuffy do some quality sniffing outside before we got back in the car. Just a foot or two away from her, a tiny white butterfly was struggling to avoid being blown away in the strong winds we had all afternoon.

I can't compete with our resident expert butterfly photographers, Carly and Steven, when it comes to closeups of insects. I have neither the equipment nor the patience. But here's the best I could manage. May that butterfly and Tuffy both hold out a little longer.



Steven said...

Hang in there Tuffy! I've had a few inner debates about Pickle and his quality of life. He's right on the edge with kidney failure. He's got a tremor too but he's holding his own but there are days when he is not himself.

Nice job on the butterfly. Looks like a cabbage white but that's up here. Blue body is distinctive. Windy days are pretty good for butterflies. Little guys don't fly off so fast!

Kiva said...

I'm glad the jobs are biting. Hang in there with Tuffy. It may not be as bad as you fear. Last year, I thought the same thing, but my dog recovered and is almost back to her old self. You did great with the moth.