Thursday, March 17, 2011

Lucy Has Cancer, Part 4

Since I last posted, Lucy has had all 30 of her staples removed.  Well, actually it was 29.  One was missing and today as I was cleaning up her toenail clippings, I found it.  A souvenir to place in her keepsake box!  And yes, I have a few of her baby teeth saved there too.

Speaking of teeth, let me take you back almost 10 years ago when Lucy was a pup.  We lived in IL at the time.  She and I were headed outside for a late-night potty.  Lucy slipped on the icy step and her tooth popped out.  Help!

I frantically placed an emergency call to her vet, Dr. Youssef, at Essington Road Animal Hospital in the wee hours of the morning informing him of the situation at hand.  He explained it was normal and another one would grow in it's place.  It had been 14 years since our last puppy and I had forgotten they lose their teeth like humans.  OMG!  How embarrassing was that?

Back to today....  Lucy is still under doctors orders to wear her wardrobe of t-shirts.  Her scabs need to fall off enabling her wound to close up completely before she can undress and RUFF-house again.

Playing "tug" with Lucy.

Also, we still stay with her 24/7.  She gets entangled in the t-shirt when she bends and brings her legs to her chest.  Plus, sometimes it comes untied enabling her to scratch the area and irritate it.  So in this case, we are her "watch dog".

We have extended the length of Lucy's walks from 4 houses to 10 houses, back and forth.  She just loves her walks.  The more, the merrier, as she regains her strength and energy each and every day.

All in all, Lucy's recovery is going excellent!!!  We are extremely happy with the progress she's made to date.  I chalk this up to the staff at Loving Touch Animal Center, her raw diet, high antioxidant supplement regimen and the love, affection and respect we have for her within our home. ♥ ♥ ♥

Click on the links below for other posts in this series:

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lucy Has Cancer, Part 3

Lucy has had two additional visits to her vet, Loving Touch Animal Center, since my last post. The first visit was for the flushing of her 2 drains along with a set of antibiotics and probiotics; the second, for removal of her drains. She is doing remarkably well, especially still having to wear a t-shirt 24/7.

Lucy’s lab results came back with an interpretation of “Spindle Cell Neoplasia, Grade 1 Hemangiopericytoma”. We are very thankful it was the lowest grade.

Upon having her 30 staples removed, we will have her lungs x-rays. This is the most likely place for metastasis of this type of cancer. Hopefully, these x-rays will only ever serve as a base-line set.

If Lucy’s lungs come up clean, she will undergo surgery for the other 2 small masses on her body. She has one on the other side of her trunk and another under her leg which, in time, will interfere with her walking. (The veterinary surgeon was unable to remove them during the first surgery. She would have been under anesthesia too long.)

I researched “hemangiopericytoma” on-line and located this info:
  • 'Grossly, hemangiopericytomas can be soft, firm, or rubbery and are frequently mistaken for lipomas. They also may be nodular and locally invasive. Hemangiopericytomas occur most frequently on the extremities, but may arise on the trunk.'
Lucy’s hemangiopericytoma was diagnosed for a lipoma at first.  It was located on the trunk of her body. From this experience, we learned the surest way to tell what’s growing is through a biopsy. Let me say it again: If you feel a lump on your pooch, get a biopsy ASAP!

Lucy and her "babies".
If you missed any of the previous posts in this series, here are the links to them:

Friday, March 4, 2011

Man, Goose Form Odd-Couple Friendship

I saw this on CBS News earlier this week and found it heart-warming. Reporter, Steve Hartman, is a wonderful storyteller, isn't he? Here is the link to the video too. The embedded codes seems to only be showing 1/2 the picture.

Lucy has Cancer, Part 2

For those of you who read my previous blog post, here is an update on Lucy:

Lucy is recovering from her surgery on Tuesday.  The cancerous sarcoma mass was removed. She has a long incision, approximately 10 inches in length, with 30 staples and 2 drains on her lower left flank region.

The surgery was difficult, lasting approximately 2 hours instead of the allotted 1/2 hour of time.  The cancer was encapsulated except for at the base where a 1-1/2 inch diameter was attached to her muscle.  The veterinary surgeon removed a 5 inch diameter piece of muscle.  We are awaiting the histology report and hoping enough of the margins were removed so it doesn't grow back.

Lucy has been a real trooper.  Thank goodness for pain meds.  Dogs don't show much pain.  It is a sign of weakness in the wild.  When she is unable to get comfortable (cannot lay down), it is a sign to give her medication, approximately every 12 hours.

Lucy obtained a new wardrobe from her ordeal.  We upcycled Steve's old t-shirts for her.  Well, actually, Steve passed them to me.  I wear  them for art and household projects.  I cut off the arms on some of them and passed them along to Lucy.  Wearing a t-shirt alleviates self-inflicted trauma from Lucy trying to scratch as her incision is healing and catches the fluid from her drains.

I'm bringing sexy back!

Lucy was under some heavy anesthesia and wasn't interested in drinking water at first.  I didn't want her to get dehydrated.  So I went shopping for some fresh coconuts and found some.  As soon as I arrived home, I punctured the eyes of one giving her the water inside.  She lapped it up immediately.  Yay!

Coconut water provides an isotonic electrolyte balance and I'm sure hers was off from anesthsia.  Did you know coconut water from the cavity of a fresh coconut is sterile until opened?  It mixes easily with blood and was used in World War II for emergency transfusions.

And too, as Lucy luck would have it, the February/March Issue of Animal Wellness Magazine arrived containing Dr. Carter's cancer cocktail recipe.  Dr. John Carter, a British veterinary surgeon and research scientist, created it after losing his own dog to cancer.  The recipe is as follows:

8 ounces raw chopped liver
4 ounces grated carrot
1/2 ounce ground Brazil nuts

Puree the ingredients.  Serve as a topping or as a complete meal.  It's bursting with flavor and nutrients including potassium and selenium.

I chose calf liver over mature beef or chicken thinking it is the youngest liver with the most nutrients.  Lucy loves her "liver pâté de foie gras".  She gobbles it all up!  It is an easy recipe to include in my beloved's raw diet.

Lucy has had sudden bursts of energy today.  She wants to play fetch which, of course, is a BIG no-no presently.  So I took her for a walk--down 4 houses to where her dog buddies, BJ and Bear, live and back.  She was tired after and took a nap.  Steve thought I might have taken her too far.  Rehabilitation exercise is a must prior to being able to leave a hospital.  It would strengthen her, I told him.

Unfortunately, Lucy is not out of the woods yet.  She has a lipoma growing under her left forearm and another small mass on her right side.  The veterinary surgeon was unable to remove them as Lucy was at the limit for anesthesia during this surgery.  (sob, sob)

To all of Lucy's fans in blog and social networking land and Loving Touch Animal Center:  We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your pawsitive thoughts regarding Lucy's health.  Dogs are people too.  Woof!

PS:  Read the other posts in this series:

Part 1
Part 3