|Katie & Connor Christmas 2012|
Katie started having tiny little nosebleeds in November and then on Jan. 17th she had a major one, Jeff took her to the vet the next day and they told him nosebleeds in dogs are not normal and often are caused by major issues. We took her to the specialist on Jan 25th and after looking at her and hearing about her symptoms he told us Katie definitely has nasal cancer, they could do a CT scan to see the size and extend of the tumor. Then he said "you're looking at about 9-18 months" I said "that's without any treatment, right?" He looked at me sadly and said, "No that's WITH radiation treatment". We were devastated. We took Katie home and started reading and researching trying to figure out what to do. We decided we didn't want to do radiation (the side effects are pretty bad), and since we weren't going to do treatment there wasn't much point in doing the CT scan. We also learned that it's very normal for a dog with nasal cancer to seem perfectly healthy and happy until the very end. Katie certainly didn't seem sick, aside from the nosebleeds.
From facebook on Jan. 26th: "We found out yesterday that Katie has nasal cancer. Even with chemo/radiation the prognosis is bad (9-18 months), so I think we're going to enjoy whatever time we get with her and spoil the heck out of her. With no treatment life expectancy is about 3-6 months (but Katie will probably do better than that, she's tough). She's not in any pain and feels fine right now. So if I'm not my typical smiley self for the next few months you'll all know why, this is truly heartbreaking for both Jeff and me."
The outpouring of support from friends and family was overwhelming! I started to reframe the situation a little bit. I wanted to really appreciate and enjoy our time with Katie but that's hard to do that when you feel really sad. Plus, I think dogs are really good at picking up on how we feel and we didn't want to give Katie sad vibes. She was still our same Katie, energetic and always ready to GO! So we wanted to let her have as much fun as possible for as long as possible! It got a little easier when the medication and supplements stopped her nosebleeds (this is probably temporary, but we'll enjoy it while we can!).
Connor and Katie used to love to run with me, but when Connor started to slow down to the point he couldn't really run anymore, I stopped taking both of them. On Feb. 1st I decided to see if Katie was still strong enough to run, Jeff kept Connor occupied and I planned to take Katie out for 1/4 to 1/2 mile if she could do it. 1 mile later we got back home and Katie was one very happy dog! So I decided to set a goal for us.
From facebook on Feb. 1st: "It's good to have a goal. Katie wanted a goal, so I told her as long as she's healthy enough and still feeling good we'll run the Petco 5K9 Run in May. Neither of my dogs have ever run a race (which is weird because they used to run with me all the time). Katie seems happy and excited about running in a race!"
WalkRunWag asked for ambassadors to promote the run in each city, I sent them our story and they said we'd make great ambassadors! Then I decided since we're ambassadors and this is my biggest goal race for the year (yes, I just said a 5K fun run is my biggest event of the year!), we should fundraise for the event, especially since the money goes to Austin Pets Alive! an awesome local organization.
So far Katie is having the best time training, and seems to be loving all the attention and fame that comes with being a WalkRunWag Ambassador! She even has her own facebook page now.
I really hope that we get to run the 5K9 Run in May, but if we don't, at least we know we've made the most of our time with Katie.
Please know that the support of our family and friends means the world to Jeff, Connor, Katie, & me right now. We truly appreciate each and every one of you! THANK YOU!!