I wasn’t really sure how to title this blog post without seeming too vague, or just downright gloomy. Because, the fact of the matter is, Kona doesn’t just have news, he has bad news.
I’ll start at the beginning. October 5th, we had our chiropractor come out to adjust a bunch of horses at Rocking E. I pulled my two horses out and started Kona’s adjustment like usual, until I walked around Kona’s head to hold him on his right side for the chiropractor. I immediately noticed that he had a white cloud in the corner of his right eye. I had never ever noticed it, and became concerned that he had an eye ulcer. He was not in pain, nor was his eye swollen or squinting. When the chiropractor started to work on that side, she also noticed the spot and exclaimed, “what happened to his eye?!” I said that was the first time I’d noticed it, but I had no idea what was wrong. I don’t usually rush to the phone and call my vet, but this felt urgent to me. She agreed that it was best if she just swung by on her way home to check it out.
While I took Gracie to dance class, my vet pulled Kona out of the pasture, sedated him, and examined him. I have to pause here and praise my vet for being willing to do this all on her own. I’ve known her for a long time now, and consider her a good friend, not to mention a knowledgeable veterinarian. I appreciate how she went and above and beyond to help me. When I got home, I stopped at the barn and we had a chat. Her demeanor was calm, which put me on edge. She’s normally very bubbly, so I knew she was trying to exude a calm confidence that isn’t normally necessary. She explained that Kona did not have an ulcer, but that she was pretty sure he had slow-growing mass in his eye that was starting to push on his cornea. Despite her calmness, all I heard was, “Kona has a big fat tumor in his eye ball.” I took a deep breath and asked what that meant and what we needed to do about it. She said the only way to make certain that it is a tumor, is to biopsy it. To which I said, “BIOPSY HIS EYE BALL!?” Apparently there is such a thing, and on November 16th Kona has an appointment with an ophthalmologist to do just that. My vet called a specialist at Oklahoma State University Vet Med, and made an appointment for him.
I’m pretty disappointed. I know that if I left the tumor alone, it will continue to get bigger and bigger until he A.) Can’t see B.) Or it produces secondary conditions such as glaucoma and cataracts. Kona is only seven years old, so I’m disappointed that we have to travel this expensive and emotional medical road together. I’m also just plain sad for him. I don’t ever want him to be in pain. I’ll do all that I can to keep his eye as healthy as possible, though. The two most common treatments are an oral medication to reduce the growth of melanomas, and surgery. I’m not a fan of surgery, but we’ll cross that bridge if we have to, and I’ve already started the oral meds.
I debated on posting a picture of his eye, and I think I’ll hold off on that for a while. First of all, it just plain bothers me to look at it. I feel bad for not seeing it before! My vet assured me that it’s been growing very slowly and it just happens to be big enough to finally see now. And after thinking about it, I realized I don’t stand on his right side nearly as much as I do on the left. I tack up on the left, tie from the left, lead from the left, etc. The mass is very hard to see straight on; you have to be on his side with the light shining on it just right. Clearly, I’ve rationalized not seeing it… I also don’t want people to make any assumptions based on one picture. We’ll see what the ophthalmologist says next month and take it one stride at a time.
I plan to continue riding him and treating him like any other horse. I’m not going to stare at his eye every time I see him. I’m praying that God would perform a miracle for my horse, but I also know that no matter the outcome, God is in control. I just want my horsey to be able to see for as long as possible. 🙂