I love you, Disco Stu

This is Disco Stu:

You may remember him from his scholarly days:

Or from his brief stint as The Dark Knight:

He turned 12 years old in February and has had very few health problems over the years, presumably due to his hybrid vigor — the fancy scientific term for being a mutt.  Several years ago, Disco developed a small red bump on his muzzle.  Karl initially thought it was a bug bite that got infected (Disco Stu likes to lick things). 

When the spot didn’t clear up, Karl decided to take an aspirate of the mass for analysis and didn’t like what he saw.  So Disco had surgery to excise the bump, which turned out to be cutaneous lymphoma, a particularly nasty form of cancer.  But the surgeon was confident the tumor had not spread and that all of the affected areas were removed.  Disco recovered nicely and didn’t even have a scar!

Late last year, Karl felt a lump on Disco’s neck but it wasn’t a cause for too much concern.  Disco has been a chronically lumpy dog; he tends to develop lipomas, or fatty deposits, just underneath the skin.  Very attractive, no?  Makes you just want to snuggle up to the lumpy fur-ball. 

But the lump grew larger and we started to worry.  Again, Karl looked at some of the cells and decided to perform the surgery himself to remove the mass.  Last month, Karl removed two walnut-sized lumps from the right side of Disco’s neck and submitted samples for pathology.  Turns out the masses contained another form of lymphoma, most likely a T-cell lymphoma. 

I haven’t really said anything about Disco’s ailments because not talking about it means it isn’t happening.  Right?  Wrong.  I fully realized yesterday that my little yellow dog has some problems when Karl and I submitted the order for chemotherapy pills.  It seems the mass is coming back and has brought along a friend on the other side so we’re going to try a more aggressive treatment strategy.  Hence, the chemo.

Most likely, anything we do from this point on is strictly palliative.  As long is he isn’t suffering and he’s still acting like the happy, goofy fool that he is, then we’re happy. 

Being a good pet owner means making tough choices sometimes.  When the time comes where he no longer seems like himself, when his quality of life has diminished, we will reluctantly say our final good-byes to Disco Stu.  But selfishly-speaking, I hope it’s not for a while longer.


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