Yesterday, I surely thought Mina was feeling about as bad as she ever has with the cancer. She slept most of the day, wasn’t interested in taking any sort of walk until early evening, but she ate more than most dogs eat in three or four days.

We got in the car around 4:50 p.m. to visit Sue and Robin, but Mina showed no interest in the ride until we turned off 66 and started on the back roads. It was cold, but I rolled down my window so she could stick her head out, and kept my speeds around 40 MPH so she could enjoy the smells. She perks up when she smells the cows ever since her visit to Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary.

Mina was happy to walk inside Sue and Robin’s house, and headed straight for Sue in the kitchen. Mina knows who’s got the goods, and Auntie Sue didn’t disappoint. She was mashing cooked sweet potato for Mina and had a special box of cinnamon-oatmeal biscuits for her. Mina had just eaten her afternoon meal before we left, but that did not stop her from gorging on an entire sweet potato, a few biscuits, some bread during dinner, some crackers, more beef and oatmeal that I’d brought along, and TWO DEAD FLIES she found in a corner.

In her entire life, she’s never done anything but avoid insects, but last night she was on an eating rampage and they smelled tasty, I guess. I was mortified.

We had a great dinner and desserts and wine and after about three hours, Mina was ready to leave. She did get a glimpse of cousin Amber before leaving, though.

I gave her Benadryl when we got home and she went to sleep pretty quickly. I heard her gagging around 1 a.m. and we were up for about an hour, then. We went outside for a pee break, and I rubbed her belly for a while, then we slept until about 5:30 a.m. Mina seems much perkier today than yesterday and I guess that’s how it’s going to go until the end. She is having trouble with food, so I have to make sure it’s as tiny as possible and mushy is better. I think her throat is restricted because of the lymph nodes, which I examined last night and found them even bigger than last week. The mandibular nodes are starting to make her jaw look big, and her prescapular nodes are visible.

Now it’s time to sit with my girly girl, because every minute is precious.

s.

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We just got back from Mina’s follow-up appointment at our regular vet’s. The two lymph nodes – right prescapular and right mandibular (I had that wrong last week) – have grown. So, it wasn’t the mange causing the lymph nodes to enlarge, and I think both Dr. Cliver and I knew that would be the case. She’s pretty certain it’s the cancer, and so am I, but I asked her to perform the fine needle aspirate anyway, so I can have the results when I consult with the holistic vet.

Poor Mina was very stressed and tense during the procedure. Dr. Cliver had to do it twice because the first time the node gave up a thin liquid the color of very pale corn. The typical fluid from a lymph node is thick and so clear you almost can’t see it. So she chose another spot and did the procedure again, and this time they got a sample. The lab should have results by Saturday.

Mina at her station, keeping me safe

Mina at her station, keeping me safe

We discussed the rescue drugs, in particular CCNU, or Lomustine, because that’s the one most prescribed. It has terrible side effects and the odds for success are not very high. I don’t want to make Mina feel sick and possibly permanently damage her liver, or worse, just for a couple more weeks of being cancer free. I’d much rather treat her holistically and hope that it gives her some comfort and good quality of life for as long as possible. It tears a hole in my heart as big as a fist to know that our time is so very limited. I cannot imagine my life without her. I just can’t.

Until that day, we are going to enjoy each others company and I will do everything in my power to make her feel good and much loved. She doesn’t really seem to care for the boiled chicken anymore, so screw it. It’s BEEF! IT’S WHAT’S FOR DINNER from now on.

I’ll have more when the aspirate results are in.

s.