But when Olivia's limp worsened after two months of anti-inflammatories and pain killers, Dr. Arnott finally referred me to a specialist. This guy took one look at her limp and said immediately that she wasn't limping from nerve pain. He suspected either a torn or injured ligament in her right rear leg. He studied Dr. Arnott's x-rays from September and then took new ones to confirm his suspicion.
When he returned to the waiting room though, his face held a stunned expression.
"It looks like a tumor," he said. "I'm so sorry."
What? But it could be a shadow, right? Or benign? Or a fungal infection, which can mimic the symptoms of a tumor? Or a mistake, or anything, anything....
But when the surgeon performed a biopsy four days later,the report confirmed my worst fear: fibrosarcoma and possibly the even deadlier and aggressive osteosarcoma. Bone cancer. The surgeon couldn't get a wide enough margin for a definite reading because Olivia's leg is already so fragile, the bone was crumbling around the entry point of the needle.
Amputation is only a palliative measure, not a cure. If it were a cure, I wouldn't think twice, but removing the affected limb will buy Olivia a mere 4-9 additional months before the cancer returns. And it will return because it's in her marrow. It's only a matter of time. I can't put her through such an invasive procedure for such a short fix. I can't do that to my sweet girl.
This Wednesday marks our third anniversary when, on November 19, 2011, I saw my three-year old "little tiger" for the first time at Golden State Greyhound Adoption. When I took Olivia home that night, I was walking on air, thrilled at the many years we had ahead of us to look forward to. Now, we have just weeks.
I am sick with grief. Absolutely sick.