The lesser of several evils

The day of the scheduled surgery, we finally met with the resident surgeon who would be performing the procedure with the staff head surgeon. We went in optimistic, they would remove the tumors and Kona could have another 9-12 months.

She let the air out of our balloon in a very pragmatic matter, there was one tumour in the same location as where the anal sac had been removed, the potential risks were post operative infection and temporary or permanent incontinence. We had faced this both times previously and were blessed with neither occurring so we were comfortable with that part.

What was of greater concern were the lymph nodes, because they are located high in the abdominal cavity tucked between the hips the CT scans can not penetrate the bones and previous scar tissue enough to give a clear picture of what they would find. She was nervous that the lymph may entangle itself around the large artery that runs along the back and feeds the back half of a dog’s body, sever that during surgery and the dog bleeds out on the operating table or a nerve could be accidentally nicked causing permanent paralysis in the hind legs. She knew we were stuck in a very difficult position, do nothing and the symptoms we were already seeing in Kona would escalate and we would have to let him go within a couple weeks.

We were frozen, she gave us time to think, but we all knew she had to get to the operating theater to complete another procedure already in progress. My husband and I melted in a pool of tears, then did our best to discuss our feelings and try to put Kona first. At this point I can’t say how unselfish we were being, I knew Kona had the strength to go through another surgery and I was a pro now at being nurse maid, but was it fair to ask it of him – again.

In the end, we decided we were not ready to give up and we were going to go to war with what we had and pray the universe would give us a win this time.