(Really, I’d like a break…)

So, this morning I noticed that Teddy, my other dog, was whimpering when he was peeing. I’d noticed in the last couple days that he seemed to be struggling when he urinated, but he was urinating. So, I called the vet & took him in this morning. Turns out he has bladder stones. There are a bunch of tiny ones sitting in his bladder (as seen on x-ray) and one lodged in his urethra, blocking his flow of urine.

Essentially, we’re waiting on lab results on the stones that he did pass while in the office. There are two types: one that can be treated with a special diet, and the other which require surgery. Nonetheless, he has to go back to the vet tomorrow to be put under heavy sedation to see if they can flush the one in his urethra back into his bladder to remove the blockage so he can pee normally. If that works & it’s the kind of stone that can be treated with diet, then we’ll hope the diet will take care of the other stones. If they can’t flush that one stone out of the way, he has to be put under full anesthesia & be opened up to remove the stone from the urethra, as well as the stones in his bladder. Surgery will also be required if lab results show they are the kinds of stones that can’t be treated with diet.

The concern here is that with Teddy’s Cushings, he is a poor candidate for surgery. He’s prone to infection, as well as bad reactions to the full anesthesia. But essentially there is not another option if he needs surgery to treat. So, I’m going into tomorrow blind. I don’t know what the end of the day holds. Part of me hopes the flush works & we can treat with diet. The other part of me hopes surgery works, he makes it through, & we can just get the treatment over with.

Teddy is as old as Leo (11-years old). While Leo is a hyper 11-year old, Teddy is definitely the old man. He was my mom’s dog; attached at the hip to her. I’d said when Leo was diagnosed with cancer & given slim odds for surviving 6-months that I could handle it better if it was Teddy. I say that because Teddy, while for the most part fine, is noticeably older & less healthy. But now, I know it would never be any easier. So definitely some tears today imagining the worst case scenario, but also trying to put those thoughts out of my mind & hoping for the best.

Positive thoughts.

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Leo had his 4th chemo treatment today & the last of phase 1. He gets a week off before he starts phase 2, which spreads out treatment to every 2 weeks. He’ll have an oral dose of chemo medication in 2 weeks, & then 2 weeks after that he’ll go get the injected chemo treatment. This cycle will go on for the next 5 months. One new side effect we’ll have to watch for with the oral medication is liver disease. Apparently, it’s a known side effect, so he’ll have labs done every 2 weeks to monitor his liver function.

It will be  nice to spread these vet visits out a bit–for Leo & me. Even though the appointments only take about an hour, with travel time, etc., it ends up being about 2 hours. (more…)

Leo had his 3rd chemo treatment the morning of New Year’s Eve. His weight maintained between last week & this week, which is good; & his white blood cell count was the same as last week. I’m all for status quo.

Between treatment 2 & 3 he was perfectly fine. No side effects. And 3 days after treatment #3, he’s still good. A relief.

Next Tuesday will be the last treatment of the first part of his chemo protocol & he’ll have a chest x-ray to make sure that a mass that was spotted a couple months earlier on a previous x-ray hasn’t grown. The first part of the chemo treatment involved him getting chemo weekly via an injection (well, not quite an injection, but I don’t know what it’s called; he’s not having it via an IV, but it’s being injected). For part 2, treatments will be spread out to every 2 weeks for the next 5 months & include an oral chemo medication that I’ll be giving him at home. Fingers crossed that part of the treatment will go just as well.

So, that’s where we are. Good so far. Hoping to just stay that way.

So, spent the better part of the afternoon & evening back & forth to the vet. Leo had his appointment with his regular vet. First time she’s seen him since this all started. (She was on vacation.) Let’s just say she was more concerned than all the other vets he’d seen in the past week & a half. She wanted to push forward with the surgery as soon as possible & then raised the concern of whether or not this was the only mass we were dealing with. She was worried that it might have spread to his chest. So, she kept him for a few hours to do pre-op blood tests & x-rays.

I spent those few hours at home freaking out & essentially having a breakdown. I can’t stand the thought of losing him. Not now. This is my dog. This was my mom’s dog. She took rescued him & took him in. It just dawned on me that the main reason I’m doing ok is because I have these dogs. They’re like children. I’m responsible for them. They get me out of bed in the morning. They demand that I feed them & play with them. They won’t let me stay curled up in bed depressed. They drag me outside. Without them, I’d be on the floor more often than not.

Alas, some good news. While there is a small lump visible in the x-ray in his chest, the vet wasn’t as concerned once she saw it on the x-ray. Her attitude is that if the larger lump in his armpit comes back benign then we’ll just monitor the one in his chest with x-rays every couple of months to see if it’s growing or not. The problem is we have no past x-ray of his chest to compare it to. We have old x-rays of every other part of his body, but not that part. So, the vet admits that the mass in his chest could have been there for a long time & always have been that size; or it is slow growing.

If the lump that is being removed comes back not benign (No, I’m not saying the word that equals “not benign”, because it’s benign!), then we’ll deal with it with whatever treatment comes next.

So, Tuesday is surgery day. He’ll just be in for the day & home in the evening. Biopsy results should then come in on Friday. The word of the week is: BENIGN.

Just keep repeating that.