Charlie Update: Next Step – Surgery

Today we had our last consultation regarding Charlie’s eye and the cancerous mass removed behind it last week. After talking with multiple vets and asking a vast array of questions, it was time for us to make a decision.

First off, there are no “good” options. The Cancer diagnosis took that away from us and left us with “best case” scenarios. Our objective throughout this entire ordeal was how do we keep Charlie with us as long as possible without risking his quality of life. The message from the vets, across different practices and specialties, was the same: eye removal. The belief is that this procedure gives the vet the best chance to remove (hopefully) all of the cancerous tissue in the socket. Nothing is guaranteed, but this procedure gives Charlie the best opportunity to wag his tail for years to come. With all of the information in hand, we made the decision to go this route and remove Charlie’s left eye. His surgery will be tomorrow morning.

It hurts my heart to know what Charlie is about to go through. He’ll never know why we took him to the vet and brought him home without an eye. But, this is why dogs are much better creatures than us humans – because he’ll look at us, with his remaining eye and still love us unconditionally. This is why we have dogs, why we bring them into our families, and this is why we make hard decisions that they don’t understand. We do this because a house with a one-eyed, tail wagging, dachshund named Charlie is much better off than one without.

Charlie Update: Backstory and Where are we now

Brief backstory: Charlie, our oldest dachshund of 10 years, had an issue with the third eyelid on his left eye. It was discovered that he had a small mass behind his eye that was causing the third eyelid to protrude. After several weeks of steroid drops to the eye it was determined that the mass had not gotten smaller and had in fact gotten larger. The canine optometrist stated that we would need to remove the third eyelid so that she could remove the ever-growing mass behind the eye.

Where we are now: We received a call on Thursday with the bad news – Charlie’s mass had been cancerous and they were not able to get clean margins. Shock! Our primary vet told us that in order to remove all the cancer, assuming it had not spread, was to remove Charlie’s left eye and clear out the eye orbit. Shock! We made the earliest appointment available to talk with our vet further about options and next steps (we meet with him on Tuesday). We then heard back from the optometrist who performed the surgery and stated she wanted to talk to the on staff oncologist and discuss Charlie’s case with him and see if radiation/chemo was an option and also discuss next steps. Shock! She did say however that eye removal was the probable next step. She wants us to call her back on Monday after she has talked with the oncologist and she will provide us with more detail at that time.

How is Charlie: Charlie is behaving like a dog without a care in the world and loving all the extra hugs and kisses he is getting from mom and dad. He’s romping around with his brothers, his appetite is great, and his tail won’t stop wagging. Currently, this is our silver lining. He has a cancer growing in his body but he’s not in pain and his quality of life is very good, with his only impediment being the eye drops we are still giving him.

How are we: After several boxes of tissues, shock, and an equal dose of sadness and anger, we are now cautiously optimistic. We are anxiously awaiting our vet conversations on Monday and Tuesday and hope that by late Tuesday we are fully pursuing next steps, whatever they may be. I will try to write more as we learn more. I do want to thank everyone for all the well wishes that have been sent our way. It’s been great to see that Charlie has so many people keeping him in their thoughts.