CHAPTER 256 – A Life or Death Decision
It was a beautiful spring day. With all the recent rain, the grass was green and orange flowers were blooming. The trees were wearing their pretty pink spring dresses. Dad wandered through arboretum at the University of California, Davis. He paused at the water fountain and watched jewels of water spring into the air, splash into the pond, and ripple away to begin their journey again.
None of this mattered to Dad, though. His mind was on Abigail. How was she doing? It was a long day of tests for her at the UC Davis Small Animal Clinic. The sun was low in the sky and they still had not called him to pick her up.
Finally, his phone buzzed. It was time to collect her.
Abigail awoke from her nap. She noticed some fur was missing from her tummy. “What happened?” she wondered. “I’m hungry!” she thought. She nibbled on some greens. Then, she felt her carrier being lifted into the air, and soon, she was back in the examination room. She heard Dad’s familiar voice. “Hi, sweetie. How are you?” he asked. “I’m fine,” she thought as she continued nibbling on her greens. She listened as they talked about her.
Dr. Megan explained, “The results of the aspirate of the mass in her chest are consistent with thymoma. Her creatinine kinase was elevated, which is an expected finding of patients with cancer. Her teeth roots are not growing into her tear canals, so her watery eyes are probably a result of blood pressure behind her eyes from the thymoma. Her eyes are bulging. She does have an abscess where her tooth was removed, so we’re adding some broad spectrum antibiotics to help knock that down. She tested positive for E. cuniculi, but negative for it being active, which is good. It’s something we have to take into consideration if she were put on prednisolone long term, which could weaken her immune system.”
Medical terminology always seemed like a foreign language to Dad, but he was doing his best to follow along.
Dr. Megan concluded, “Based on these results, we recommend going forward with radiation therapy. The treatment is six sessions over a two week period. She would stay here with us for the two weeks. The risks – though low – are complications with anesthesia, effects of the radiation on surrounding organs like her lungs, heart, and esophagus, and the possibility of the mass not responding to the radiation treatment. The cost is between $10,000 and $20,000, depending on how the mass responds to the treatment. Do you wish to go ahead?”
Radiation therapy seemed like the miracle solution that Dad had wished for. It was non-invasive and non-traumatic for Abigail – she’d go to sleep, wake up, and not feel any pain or ill effects. The risks were relatively low, and the result would be, she could go on to live a healthy, happy life. Abigail was strong and healthy – and a fighter – so, she could survive this.
It was time to make a life or death decision for Abigail. Without the treatment, her vets predicted that she had around a year to live. With the treatment, he and Abigail could have three or more years together. Her life was literally in his hands.
A song from the old movie, “Oliver,” played in Dad’s head. The lyrics went, “I’d do anything, for you dear, anything. For you mean everything to me.” Although the money was not insignificant, he’d find a way to cover it. This was to save his little Abigail’s life.
Without hesitation, he replied, “Yes, let’s do it!”
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