How long does hope last?

17 Jun

How long does hope last? The question has been on my mind all day.

We often say we’re hopeful that we’ll get the job, hopeful that we’ll do well on the test, or hopeful that tomorrow will be better. But is there a point when we give up hope and accept our situation for what it is? I’ve been thinking about this a lot today.

The last couple weeks have been a roller coaster. A week ago Tuesday, while Veronika was traveling, I was startled awake at 4:30AM by Jasper crashing off the end of the bed and nearly falling into the wall. His whole body was shaking and he could hardly stand up. At first I thought perhaps I had had a bad dream and startled him.

I rushed him outside where he continued to shake and wobble as I thought, “OK, this is serious… but stay calm, grab some clothes and get to the ER ASAP.”

After the second car race to the ER in a month (thank goodness the hospital is so close), he was taken into intensive care and I was left to wait. Once he was stabilized, the docs sent me home and said they’d call when the specialists arrived for work.

Found out later in the day that he likely had a blood clot in his brain. My first thought was, “Damn! Don’t know how much of this I can take.” By evening, he was back to normal and we haven’t had any issues since.

Stormy skies over Minneapolis
Photo: The unsettled sky outside tonight – perfect for this entry

Today was yet another follow up visit with the veterinary oncologist, Dr. Husbands, and his team. I like this particular doc because he seems to genuinely love Jasper as much as we do. Well, almost.

Fortunately, the tumor has stayed pretty much the same size, maybe even shrinking just a little. The next thing we’re going to try is a somewhat experimental drug – can’t remember the name right now – that will essentially try to keep the tumor from growing any new blood vessels and expanding. That’s the hope at least.

Best case scenario is that it halts the growth and may actually shrink the tumor. Second best is that it’s simply inhibits growth. Third possible outcome is that nothing happens. In that case, the doc gives J one to six months to live. Hearing those words – “one to six months to live” – is like a kick to the gut.

So, this is where “hope” comes into play. We were hopeful that surgery would get rid of the cancer. Nope. We were hopeful that chemo would take care of it. Nope. We were hopeful that radiation would work. Seems to have slowed the tumor. A little. Now we’re left to hope that an experimental drug that wasn’t developed for this type of cancer will give us a little more time with our dear Jasper.

And so I’m back where I started. Wondering where does hope end? And perhaps, where does reality set in? I guess all I can do is try to enjoy each day and each moment now.


7 Responses to “How long does hope last?”

  1. Teesha Lane June 18, 2010 at 10:56 AM #

    I can only guess that the hope will never end, but eventually change into a different vision……like hope that he will be comfortable, hope that when his time does come he will be surrounded with your love and feel it, and hope that your hearts will always be filled with memories of your wonderful adventures. I think they will. You have an amazing love for him.

  2. Lori Hecomovich June 28, 2010 at 3:57 PM #

    I have cried and laughed at the same time My heart goes out to you …..Jasper is one tough dog and he has a wonderful family for care for him


    PS Hopefully you will consider writing a book someday, I know it would be a best seller.

    • treubold June 29, 2010 at 10:06 AM #

      Thanks for the kind words, Lori, and I’m really glad you took the time to comment. We’ll see about the book. 🙂

  3. Leisa June 29, 2010 at 9:31 AM #

    I think hope remains until Jasper draws his last breath. Because until that happens, there will always be the hope of a cure, or of the tumor shrinking or disappearing altogether. The hope of one more day, one more week, or month or even year to share with your beloved Jasper. So don’t give up hope…ever. It, along with the love you have for Jasper, will get you through the tough days and comfort you for all time. Give Jasper a big hug and a chewie from me…

    • treubold June 29, 2010 at 10:07 AM #

      Thanks, Leisa. Your response really touched me and I think you’re right. Have to keep on hoping no matter what. Thank you.

  4. Kelly July 1, 2010 at 3:18 PM #

    Thank you for sharing your journey with Jasper. We are going through this with our golden Sammy, who has hemangiosarcoma, and our lab Boomer, who recently developed severe heart valve disease. And yes, we are all too well known at our specialty/emergency hospital, which is over an hour away, but we and the boys never would have made it this far without them. We hope to make the most of each day by doing something fun. Some days that is a quiet walk in the field, or playing with a new toy, or getting a belly rub in the sunshine – whatever we can do to let them know how much we love them. We hope to be their rock when they need us to be strong. We hope to be less selfish about our own grief. We hope, and pray, for miracles when we have no right to ask for more, and we hope always to be mindful of our blessings every day. We hope for you that Jasper responds to his current treatment, and that you embrace this summer and your time with him. He is here now, he is loved, and that is all anyone can ask for.

    • treubold July 1, 2010 at 3:38 PM #

      Kelly, your comments were truly moving and inspiring (and written so beautifully). Thank you so much for commenting. I completely agree with what you said about making the most of each day and letting our pets know how much we love them. I’m really sorry to hear about what you’re going through with Sammy and Boomer. Wishing you only the best, too.

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