Hopeful Heart

Posted Wed, 07/11/07

I am sick at heart. In other words, my heart is breaking and I am in a quandary as I've never been before in my life.

On 27 June we took Foofer to the vet because his belly was extended and he seemed to be in a great deal of discomfort. After x-rays and blood tests, the doctor assumed Foofer's spleen was full of blood and infection, causing interference with his other organs. The next day, we took Foofer in for surgery to remove the spleen. I went in for the long haul: a thermos of coffee, a book to read, a sandwich; as I planned to remain the in the waiting room until my boyo was out of surgery no matter how long the procedure took.

Through the operation, a nurse kept coming out to the waiting area to tell us the progress of Foofer's surgery. During the wait, I clutched a Celtic Cross, prayed and sipped coffee. After several trips, the nurse came out and told us Foofer's spleen had been removed, but that it was full of cancer. Apparently, some of the cancer had spread to other organs, like little grape spots. I was in complete shock; I never expected the worst although I had prayed for the best result from the surgery scenario.

Foofer's cancer is known as Hemangiosarcoma.

The removed spleen and tumor weighed eight pounds, which gives over some idea of the seriousness of the surgery. If Foofer had jumped around and burst the spleen before surgery, he could have died instantly.

On the receiving end of life-shattering news, I completely broke down. Then I became extremely angry. I asked Wilbert: "Why does God pick on an innocent dog that has nothing to offer but unconditional love, while he gives free rein to pedophiles, terrorists and serial killers?" It still makes no sense – not in this world, nor will it in the next.

Then a form of denial set in, although later I saw it as a saving grace and my source of strength. People are diagnosed with deadly cancers every day, and by some miracle a small percentage of them beat the odds through power of mind, nutritional therapy and preventative medicine. Why on earth shouldn't that work for dogs as well?

"Denial" became a purpose for me. I have to find a way to save Foofer, whether it be through conventional medicine, alternative medicine or nutritional and vitamin therapy. I don't care about the cost – I will sell or lose everything I have in order to make Foofer well or to give him a longer life. He has given me unconditional, gentle love for more than ten years, and he deserves the best I can possibly give him.

I have delved into dog cancer research, and there is hope. Aside from traditional chemotherapy treatments, there are the following "cancer" healing methods and foods:

There is something in common foods that inhibits cancer growth. The something is called inositol pentakisphosphate (InsP5). A new study out of the UK's University College London, published in the Cancer Research Journal indicates that lentils, peas, cashew nuts, peanuts, kidney beans and navy beans are all rich in InsP5. They will begin clinical testing soon.

Turmeric, a yellow spice used widely in Indian cooking, may help stop the spread of cancer, U.S. researchers reported on Thursday. Tests in mice showed that curcumin, an active compound found in turmeric, helped stop the spread of breast cancer tumor cells to the lungs.

Cancer is a condition associated with the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells within the body. These cells may form masses—or tumors—that can create a variety of painful and serious problems that may, in many cases, lead to death. Prescription Diet® n/d® Canine dog food was uniquely formulated by veterinarians and researchers for the management of dogs with cancer who are undergoing radiation or chemotherapy and is the only food clinically proven to increase life span and improve the quality of life for dogs with cancer.

We are also giving Foofer extra bits with multi-purpose vitamin supplements, as well as limiting his diet to low carbohydrates. According to the research I have done, carbs "feed cancer cells."

Foofer seems so healthy at the moment that it's impossible to tell he is afflicted. He eats like a horse; he trots around the backyard kicking up his back heels, and he generally acts like a dog half his age. Following his diagnosis, and after I snapped out of the anger, I told Wilbert I wanted to capture Foofer on live film. The day after Foofer's surgery, Wilbert went out and bought a $750 JVC camcorder, which I am now using on a daily basis and backing up all movies on DVD.

When I open up and tell people I know about Foofer's condition, for the most part I get typical responses: the looks of infernal pity, the all-knowing "she is in denial" stare, and the dismissive tone of "she'll get back to normal after its over." Fuck all of you who have done the above mentioned to me. You are not true friends or "caring" family, and I will henceforth have nothing more to do with you, even if in the end you are right in your defeatist assumptions. Moral support is the key issue, and I will never forget those who failed me. Remember: Irish Alzheimer's is defined as those who forget everything but a grudge to their dying day.

I cannot imagine a life without Foofer. Therefore, I will continue to fight his health battles for him, no matter what anyone says or infers with their condescending so-called commiseration.

However, I do appreciate real concern for Foofer's welfare, and I do recognize genuine optimism when I see it.

Tags: Foofer