The note in my planner read, Call vet to schedule 6 month checkup for Stella's eye. In six to nine months post cataract removal surgery we needed to come in, have the doc look things over, probably give Stella a gold star. I was excited to show off my miracle puppy. Tell the doctor how much Stella's life has changed for the better after getting her eyesight back in her left eye. Talk about how since the surgery she plays more, runs farther and freer at the dog park, how she's more affectionate, and how she simply seems to be, happier. Life is less scary with two eyes again.
And then… I noticed something. A spot. Hazy. Like someone had taken an eraser and smudged out a little spec directly in the middle of her vision.
It got bigger, and bigger, and suddenly instead of a, Look how great we're doing! appointment, we were having another, What is wrong with my dog? appointment.
Is it a complication from her eye surgery?
Is it a disease?
Will it continue to get bigger and eventually cause the eye to lose vision?
Is there anything we can do?
Will it affect her good eye?
Last night I sobbed. I tucked into bed with Oly beside me and Stella in her crate and I just sobbed. People say that when a dog loses their vision they just adapt. And I had a dog that went blind as a kid and you know what, she did just that. She adapted. But we know what Stella's life is like when she is blind in one eye. Her normal level of anxiety is higher, life is scarier, noises startle her as she can't pinpoint them, she sticks close on walks afraid to stray, cars, skateboarders, buses are terrifying, her lack of depth perception makes playing with other dogs too hard and she simply gives up and lays down with a heavy sigh.
And what if it affected both eyes? And how can you tell me that I can't do anything? I was able to perform a miracle for her. I had them remove the lens in her left eye and enable her to wake up with two good eyes again, and I was prepared to pay for the surgery in her right eye as well if we ever needed it. I was going to make sure this dog always could see. Always.
And now… there's nothing we can do. No medicine, no surgery, nothing. Just watch. And wait. Will it get worse? Will she go back to being the scared, depressed dog she was a mere 6 months ago? What does her future look like? What does ours look like? What happens if things get really bad and she can't see in either eye? What if we have to start talking about quality of life…
And more than anything, why can't things ever just be easy for her?