A day into our stay we took Alfred for some imaging at the University of Minnesota to make sure he was suitable for surgery, clear of signs his cancer had spread to other areas, and had no respiratory conditions. Our intention was to do this in London before we left but the appointment we had was on the day we left as our travel date brought forward at short notice. Perhaps a little foolish as we could have travelled thousands of miles only for the surgery not to go ahead. However, I knew from Dr Pluhar the chances of the cancer in Alfred spreading were slim, and knowing Alfred I knew his chest clear and breathing good. That said it was still on our minds. He was in and out inside an hour with an all clear.
With the all clear we simply needed to get on with life as best we could, working from our hotel suite and enjoying Alfred. In some ways the change of scenery helped.
It would seem this city is in the spotlight for worst of reasons and as you head out into the surrounding ‘burbs, reminders of what happened are all around. What hits you more is how nice a city it is. Alfred likes it too; playing ball in the business suite area of the hotel, coming with me to get coffee in the morning and a ‘pup cup’, takeaway food. He even came along to see a little of Paisley Park where Prince lived and worked – although I think he enjoyed the chicken nuggets from Chick-fil-A on the way home more. I suspect Prince himself used to eat from the same one! Administering medication with his food on the move is now second nature to us.
Come the day of the surgery we were both nervous. There were no guarantees he would survive and staying focused on the fact he would be dead in weeks was important to hang onto. If he didn’t make it we at least tried to do something. If he did make it maybe he will live a longer life. Some of the dogs with high grade tumours who have entered into the UoM trial have seen their lifespan extend by six months, some over a year, others with low grade tumours have added years. Until a biopsy is performed on the tumour after it is removed we won’t know what he has.
“It was not that he was off for surgery, it was that this may be the last time we saw him alive“
It was a nervous day. We drove Alfie to the UoM and waited inside with him until a nurse came to collect him. Handing him over and watching him carried away as he looked back at us trying to work out what was going on was awful. It was not that he was off for surgery, it was that this may be the last time we saw him alive. The following hours were tense. We had a local ‘burner’ phone and it did not leave my sight.
When the call came it was from Both Dr Pluhar and Dr Arnold. I remembered getting the call in January from Dr Butterfield in London telling me of his dire prognosis and how the tone of her voice told me what was coming before the words even came out. The tone this time was much more upbeat but I was still pleased when I heard the surgery had gone well and that he was sleeping off the anesthesia. Then a while later another call came in with two excited people declaring he was awake and doing well. Even a video of him coming around and trying to howl for his pack to rescue him. They kept him in overnight for observation given his was a difficult tumour to remove and told us if we don’t her anything overnight that’s good news. We didn’t get a call despite me staring at the burner for much of the evening.