I've been away from the forum for quite a few weeks ... first because while I was shoring up the Christmas tree and doing the decorating, I ruptured a muscle system. For you gals, the pain was worse than menstral cramps (which is impossible because I'm post-menopause) and almost as bad as labor pains. But, I HAD to finish Christmas shopping, etc. and so I ignored the pain. Bad mistake. By the time I got to the dr after Christmas, I had to go to the hospital for some tests to eliminate the possibility that a tumor I had had removed 9 years ago had grown back.... fortunately that wasn't it ... I had ruptured the muscle system that you use when delivering a baby. So I had to spend two weeks on my back with my legs up using vicotin for pain relief and muscle relaxers ... that worked .. I was fine but now a bit of pain has returned to my right side. It's ok .. I'm just really taking it easy. Moral of the story ... if you feel pain for more than a few days, go to the dr. right away!
But then... and this is what I really want to tell you about ... our Tasha who is 11 years old just had surgery last week for another malignant mast cell tumor. I guess mast cell tumors are the most common form of cancer for canines. Tasha had a malignant mast cell tumor surgery 4 years ago which was also a masectory of one of her mammary glands. The dr thought he got it all with a good margin with no cancer cells. However, it appears some cells had metastasized because we found another lump a couple of weeks ago and in one week it grew from a grape size to a plum size. Tasha had the surgery a week ago and she appears fine now but can't climb stairs or even do a walk around the block ... at least right now.
However, the dr just called with the results of the biopsy and it was a stage II cancer tumor with signs of moderate or so metastasis ... meaning we probably have more of these tumors to look for. With Tasha, she has so many "lumps" ... we check them every day ... but many are just lipomas (benign fatty tumors) or big moles ... the dr. says don't worry about those ... the ones you need to look for are the ones that are hard, irregular in size and/or grow fast.
This has been such an emotional time. Putting your dog through numerous surgeries always incurs risks. It puts your beloved dog through pain and disability. Each of Tasha's 6-inch incisions just makes me cry because of what she's had to go through. And it's costly ... around $1000 per surgery.
On the optimistic side, as long as these tumors occur on the surface, we can catch them. However, the cancer cells could travel to an organ. Tasha's sister died a few months ago of a mast cell tumor that lodged in her throat which was not operable.
About a year ago, my husband and I heard the term "rainbow bridge" and realized its meaning beyond the rock structure at Lake Powell. We now know we are approaching the rainbow bridge with Tasha. We want to keep her as long as she has a good quality of life. I wonder how many more 6-inch incisions are fair to allow. And then there's the uncertainty of what's growing inside her we can't feel. We will know the worst is when she won't be able to perform daily functions. Tasha also has cataracts so she can't catch the doggie treats we used to throw to her.
I'm just mostly dumping my emotions here ... I know you all will understand. This is the first dog I've had that grew old but my husband has gone through old age with a dog before. If you have any suggestions or anything at all to help, I will appreciate it. I'm so upset ... however, writing all of this out to you is a bit cathartic and I just needed to communicate to people who will understand. Thank you.
I'm sorry to hear about Tasha and hope she has many more years with you I can only say enjoy each day with her and be hopeful seeing them in any kind of pain is very hard stay strong and I hope you now feel better
Thank you for your reply. Here's a photo of Tasha on Christmas before her last surgery ... you can see her surgery from before on her belly. She's sitting in front of our fireplace next to this ceramic lab puppy we've had for so long ... got it because it reminds us of how Tasha looked when she was a pup. Tasha is still enchanted by the ceramic pup and likes to sit or lie near it.
We don't take any day for granted with Tasha any longer ... every day is blessed day while she's still with us.
Hi Karen. I'm so sorry about Tasha's surgeries. How is her cat buddy? I remember the pic of them both on the couch, so sweet!!!
She's such a sweetheart, your girl. When I see her in your pics, I just wanna give her a big hug and a smooch. :-* They are so special our seniors. She and my Emma is almost the same age. We are here for you, don't be a stranger. I love seeing pics of your girl! I hope she stay with you for many more happy years.
Healing thoughts for you too. Hope you feel better soon.
~Veronica and Nikki~
Sweet Emma, 16th of February 1996~26th of November 2010
Always in my heart and soul. Together forever, my love....
Nikki 6 months
Well, to tell the truth, for a while after my injury and Tasha's surgery, we were both hobbling around like two old ladies but we are both doing much better.Originally Posted by Emma the Lab
Cassidy (our cat) was just so concerned about Tasha when she came home from surgery he licked Tasha's ears to show his love. Tasha didn't especially like that and growled a bit. Dr. found that Tasha also has some ear infections and so we are putting med's in her ears every day.
We have such a good dr. that when Tasha had her surgery, the dr. took the opportunity while Tasha was "out" to clean her ears and clean her teeth ... all at no charge.
We have just the best dr.