Weekly Recap: A Pivot in Plans.


In last week’s post, I shared that Dustin and I were meant to run the San Sebastian marathon (Spain) with some friends this weekend. It would have been close to Dublin (4 weeks apart) but I was still really excited for the trip and the race. However, by Wednesday this week, we cancelled that trip due to some health issues with our senior vizsla, Matilda.

On Monday night (or Tuesday morning really) she woke us up with what we thought were symptoms of a stroke- swaying side to side, drooling (she never drools) and confusion. She calmed down and we went to sleep (sort of- hard to sleep worrying about her!) but in the morning she was very unsteady and wouldn’t eat. Dustin stayed home with her and ended up carrying her to the vet (Fortunately its right at the end of the road, I love how central London is all neighbourhood driven.) The vet kept her all day for tests and fluids; she has a mass on her spleen which is likely hemangiosarcoma, an aggressive form of cancer. They put her on medication to help with any internal bleeding from the mass; the vet didn’t recommend removing the spleen at her age, but that meant that at any time, it could rupture and she would bleed out- it could happen at any time- days, months, years- they really couldn’t say.

On Wednesday, we made the call to bail on the San Sebastian trip. We could still get our money back on the hotel and flights, so just the race registration was a sunk cost.

Matilda has been my constant companion for nearly 15 years and the thought of losing her breaks my heart. I know that she’s lived a really good long life, with abundant adventures and so much love. But I don’t want to see her suffer. We were in a tough spot deciding whether to pursue more treatment or if we were being selfish by putting her through surgery or more.

After much discussion, we decided to push our local vet to get a referral to the RVC, or the Royal Veterinary College for a second opinion on the prognosis and I’m so glad we did.

They got us in on Thursday night, (getting out there with a sick senior pup was a challenge without a car, but Uber Pet came through with a kind driver. It’s possible to get there on public transport, but we were worried about all the switching between lines with a sick pup and thought that an Uber would be faster, but with London traffic, it honestly wasn’t.)

They kept her overnight at RVC as an emergency case. They did their own scans/tests and determined there was no spread of cancer as far as they could tell. They felt Matilda was healthy enough to have a splenectomy but it was our call; we could also wait and decide, as with surgery would come risks, especially at her age. However, if we took her home, the mass could rupture at any time and she would potentially bleed to death. It was an emotional decision, but we decided to move forward with removing the mass & spleen as soon as possible, and on Friday, she had the surgery.

We got a call later that evening that all went well! SUCH a huge relief; it was all I could think about all day.

She stayed there to recover for two nights, and then on Sunday, we were able to pick her up. This time, we rented a Virtuo car (i.e. an hourly rental car; the train wasn’t an option this time at all as we knew walking would be hard for her; she’s not heavy, only about 42 pounds, but a car seemed better.)

She was SO happy to see us when they brought her out to us at the hospital. It was so heart-warming (of course, I cried. There was a lot of crying this week.) We don’t deserve dogs….

She’s home now and recovering; she can’t walk very well as her hips are very sore from the position they were in from surgery, and of course she’s in pain from a massive abdominal surgery, but the prognosis is good, and much better than it would have been if we had left the mass. It will be a challenging recovery for our senior lady, but I am optimistic she will pull through and have a few more happy active years with us.

My sweet Matilda.

So I started out the week thinking I would be running a bonus marathon on the weekend, but finished it with a bonus winter weekend in London with a focus on Matilda.

Here’s the recap.

Monday: Rest from running, Pilates reformer after work.

Tuesday: Office run- special 10k edition! One of the women I run with from the office has been building up her mileage over the past year. She wanted to attempt the 10k distance, so we met 30 minutes earlier than normal for the office run and did a route of Hyde park (rather than a 5k lap of St. James/Green.) 10k was a “walk in the park”- Hyde Park, ha! But she did great and it was a lot of fun to be part of someone’s longest run ever.

Wednesday: I worked from home to spend time with Matilda as she recovered from her rough day(s). I got out for a lunch run, 8 miles.

Thursday: I joined the WMN run group again; I met them for their 5 mile route and then jogged into work for 6.5 miles total.

Friday: Early 7 mile run with Dustin before meeting an old friend from the 2019 Antarctica marathon for breakfast. That marathon and trip was such a special experience and all of the participants have stayed in touch. It was so great to see her! Her daughter is getting a master’s degree here so I’m sure she’ll be back again soon.

Saturday: 13.1 mile long run with 4×2 miles at marathon effort with 3 min jog/walk in between.

I’ve turned my focus to the Barcelona marathon on March 10; my niece is studying abroad there so I thought it was a good way to combine a visit to see her and a marathon. It looks like a great marathon, though it may be warm (I never do well in the heat, but I’ll train hard and hope for a cold day in Barcelona!)

Sunday: Early 5 mile solo run before grabbing a Virtuo car to drive out to the RVC to pick up Matilda.

Now I’m chilling with her; she’s mostly sleeping, but will need help to go potty, etc for the next few days (Dustin and I will be alternating working from home.)

Summary: About 46 miles of running, 2 Pilates reformer classes.

I’ll end this by just saying I was really grateful this week to live in a city with great veterinary care. The Royal Veterinary College surgeons and staff were so wonderful. Please give your pets an extra hug for me today.

I’m linking up with Running on the Fly and Confessions of a Mother Runner; check out their blogs to connect with other fitness bloggers for workout ideas and inspiration!

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