Tuesday, August 22

Dr. Gonzo: 'Roid head in training

Gonzo, left, just before getting all hopped up on the juice.

We took Gonzo to the vet today to get sort of a quality-of-life report since it's hard for us to tell if he's in pain or anything like that, and we're about a third of the way through the time he was projected to Make It.

In just a month or so, he's gained 2 ounces (it's not fat; it's the cancer) and one of his kidneys is swollen to nearly three times its normal size. Seriously, we saw the x-rays and its looks freakishly elephantine. His spleen is swollen too. As are his liver and the lymph nodes under his arms and in his neck, though nothing tops the kidney. Literally.

In short, the cancer is in his belly, making its way through the organs, eating at them little by little. I don't have any idea how lymphoma or any other kind of cancer works, I mean really works, or why it would make things swell if it's just mutating cells or eating away at the good tissue. Shit, I'm not sure I want to know.

But the doctor said that because Gonzo didn't flinch while she poked and prodded his tummy, she didn't think he was in pain. She said he wouldn't be eating very much if he was hurting, and he eats a lot. So at least there's that. But I can tell that the mass in his stomach makes it hard for him to get around; he's quite bottom-heavy and if he has to jump down from the couch or something, his back end sometimes outpaces his front paws in the race toward the floor. So if he climbs up on things (which he rarely does anymore), he appreciates help getting down. It's the most pitiful thing ever to watch him pace along the edge of the bed looking for the softest place to land.

I've noticed that he can't be kept in the large cage anymore, because once he gets down to the ground level from the hammock, he can't climb back up, so he just lies there on the floor to sleep, next to the litter pan and beneath the water bottle's occasional drippage. I'm sure it's kind of gross, even for an animal that loves to rub against the base of the toilet for leisure-time fun.

I've also noticed that now, instead of twisting into a little furry pretzel to sleep, he pretty much lies on his back and stretches straight out so the weight in his stomach is evenly distributed. I'm sure the pressure in there on his organs is pretty intense. I'm actually sort of amazed that he isn't more sensitive and fussy when we hold or touch him.

Felix, right, displays the normal circular sleeping ferret position. Gonzo, meanwhile, splays.

So the doctor suggested we try giving Gonzo steroids. We got a prescription for Prednisone, and we have to give him a quarter-pill every day. It's not a cure — there is no cure — but supposedly the medicine will reduce the swelling and make him a little more energetic for a while. He'll eat a lot more — he already eats a lot — which means he'll be a crapping machine. But that's okay. As long as he can feel good for these last few weeks.

That's what matters.


Blogger Kat Coble said...

I'm sorry you're having to go through this.

Tue Aug 22, 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger theogeo said...

Oh, Katherine, thanks. And I'm so sorry you're having to face similar problems with your dog.

Cancer sucks.

Tue Aug 22, 11:12:00 AM  
Blogger phallicpen said...

I'm going to knit him a little yellow tanktop. Why yellow? I'm not sure. But it fits, don't it?

Tue Aug 22, 10:22:00 PM  

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