The ‘Trace’ of My Heart: Part I

In an attempt to process my thoughts and feelings, while holding back the tears every so often, I begin a series of posts on a heartbreaking experience not even words can describe. Maybe in some regard this will ease the worry and pain along the way.

As many of you know, one of our canine family members is Trace, the Siberian Husky. We adopted Trace in 2009 from a local Siberian Husky Rescue organization. He was about 3 or 4 years old at the time. I had always wanted a husky: sure they are beautiful dogs but its their energy I was attracted to. Little did we know, Trace would have an interesting introduction to his new family. The day we brought him home we quickly found out, the difficult way, that he was carrying giardia. If you don’t know what that is, look it up and you will appreciate the difficult time he had his first two months with us. Fortunately, he pulled through and he has been a wonderful member of our family.

Fast forward in time to about two weeks ago. It was evening and Trace was lying on the floor on his usual spot next to the reclining chair. But we noticed that Trace had some blood on his paws and then on the floor. Quickly we found him “investigating” his penile area and much to our shock we saw a mass on the sheath of skin that covers his ‘you-know-what’. It was mass about the size of a cutie orange. So I took him to the vet the next day (Monday the 13th) and they chalked it up to an “injury” and put him on an antibiotic and anti-inflammatory for a week as a first measure.

A few days ago, on Monday, when the meds were up, the mass hadn’t gone away and Trace was still irritated by it. So I took him back to the vet and they did an aspiration of the mass to look at the cells under microscope. What was merely a couple minutes seemed like an eternity, waiting for the doctor to come back in with news. Hoping in my mind, it was just an abscess that could be drained, something in my heart knew we were about to receive bad news. Indeed, the doctor informed me that the cells looked “suspicious” and he indicated a mast cell growth.

I stood there, fumbled my words, seeing Trace lying on the floor, having no clue what was going on. I tried to keep asking questions only to find myself a bit flustered. So the vet told me they would send off the sample to a lab in Indianapolis for further analysis and then Trace would need to be scheduled for surgery. Trace and I left knowing it would take a few days for the lab to get back with the results and we trotted out the door with a prescription for Benadryl to ease the itching and inflammation.

I called back today to check on the progress and ironically, the doctor had some news…and it wasn’t good. The lab confirmed it was a mast cell tumor and indicated it was “aggressive.” Additionally, since the tumor is in such a difficult spot, a decision was made to refer out to a specialist. At this time, Trace has surgery scheduled for next Wednesday at Circle City Veterinary Hospital.

None of this is to glorify the situation. This is merely my ‘free association’ if you will, of my mind. I’m scared to death…

I look at him, and there are moments where he is just so peppy and alert and energized, and then there are those moments where you just know in your heart that he “knows something’s up.”

Dogs don’t talk but they sure do know how communicate through heart and dammit he sure is doing a number on me. Because this isn’t just about a dog. This is about the richness of life – even if it includes pain….and I say that with tears in my eyes. Anyone who has ever feared for their dog’s life, and ultimately lost their dog to illness…cancer…you know how this feels.

Hoping. Praying.

That’s about it for now…

© 2011 – 2014 by Scott Hamilton and ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No part of this website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied, modified or adapted, without the prior written consent of the author.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Jennifer says:

    My heart goes out to you and Trace.

  2. Just so so hard, “devastating” in fact, to hear the “C” word diagnosis attached to the name of a loved one. And, despite your fears and sorrow, it is clear that you are doing your absolute best for the “Trace” of your heart. On behalf of everyone on the Indiana K-9 Team, you both are in our hearts. You are a part of us, a Team, and all and any of us welcome your calls and read your updates. First and foremost, we take care of one another, sharing troubles and exalting in joy and achievement.

  3. Angie says:

    Sending all the good thoughts I can for you and for Trace and for you… hang in there. Give that pooch a big smooch for me!

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