Sunday, October 31, 2010

Another Note from the Very-Germy Household

When we got home from watching the game with friends last night, we were greeted by, not just one, but two happy, coughy and sneezy dogs. We knew that if it was a bug that Gracie picked up from the vet, then there would be no way to avoid this - with all of the snot Gracie has been producing the last couple days. They've been cuddling even more than normal since the surgery, and Webster has been giving Gracie a thorough sniffing every day to see how she is.

I got up first this morning and the two happy, coughy and sneezy dogs were at it full-force. Our house sounded like Petland. Eric joked that he was not going to get out of bed without galoshes. It was disgusting! (And yes, every surface of this house will be cleaned and disinfected before anyone is invited over again - probably several times!) Anyways, I checked temperatures. Gracie's fever is gone! But Webster was running 103.6!

When the vet opened at 1:00 today, I called to ask for antibiotics for Web. The receptionist told me that I was going to have to bring him in, which I was not expecting since they already know what is going on with Gracie. Within 30 seconds of hanging up with the receptionist (and Eric and I beginning to stress about how much this visit would cost us), the Dr. called me right back. She said that she would give Webster the antibiotics without seeing him, checked on how Gracie was doing on the antibiotic, and said that she would call again tomorrow or in the next few days to see if Webster is any better. We seem to be getting used to our daily chats with her. Thank goodness for a caring and dedicated vet! Well, all of the vets at the practice have been wonderful, but this one has definitely taken a special interest in Gracie, and now, Webster.

I'm actually kind of glad that Webster has the same thing as Gracie now. As much as I hate to see him not feeling well, I was beginning to worry that maybe the coughing and some of the sneezing was more related to the cancer and spots in her chest. I was afraid that she might never be comfortable again if the worst case scenario proved true. Now we know that the coughing and sneezing is from a bug, and she will feel better soon!

That's it for now! Hopefully...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Gracie update

The wife took Gracie to the vet this morning to get her stitches out while I was helping a friend move. The incision looks much better now that the stitches aren't scrunching everything up. They were definitely ready to come out. The bottom of the incision didn't heal together as nicely as the top part, but all in all, it looks pretty good.

On the down/gross side, she's starting to sneeze a bit more and mucusy snot is slinging out of her nose. Well, it may not be "as" dramatic as that, but it's still kinda gross. The Doc thinks it might just be the infection moving forward a little so we're just going to monitor it for changes over the next day or so. If it gets worse, we'll add an additional antibiotic into the mix.

On another, not so happy note, the Doc also got word back about the x-rays she posted online for a second opinion on the spots she saw. The person that commented on them wasn't the radiologist she was posting them for, but instead another general practitioner. She said she was only taking their comments with a grain of salt because they were a general practitioner, and she was looking for a radiologist's opinion. Even though they weren't from the radiologist the comments weren't what we wanted to hear. They said that they thought the spots looked to be caused by a cancer rather than associated with pneumonia. Sigh... After the first x-rays we were told that if it is indeed cancer and it's in her chest, they don't really advise any treatments because it's not curable at that point. We may opt to do some treatments to improve her quality of life, but even that may be negligible (and not to mention expensive).

We also got word back on the additional staining that the lab can do to figure out what type of cancer it is. $359 for the additional stains. Not as cheap as we would have liked, but reasonable, I suppose. Well, better than the $500+ that I was worried it might be. I really want to find out what it is, but we've talked and aren't sure we should spend it, if it's not really going to matter if it's not really treatable. Still up in the air, but we will definitely be getting another round of x-rays after her course of antibiotics are finished. Fingers and toes crossed that the spots are gone with the second x-rays and we get our happy and healthy girl back!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The week that will never end...

So far the first 3 days of this week have felt like 3 weeks and not 3 days.

Sunday was a big birthday for me. The big number 30! We had some people over on Saturday for dinner and Sunday was a day for just the wife and I. We made homemade clam chowder and biscuits. It was all delicious and a wonderful night. When it was time for bed, I started feeing a sore throat come on and sure enough, I was feeling sick on Monday. I wasn't the only one feeling sick this week though.

On Tuesday morning, just when I was taking the dogs out to do their morning business, Gracie started coughing and hacking like she had inhaled some water. She's done it before, but it's always been because of inhaling water so I didn't think anything of it. When we got home from work she had a bit of a coughing fit again. It seemed weird because it lasted about 5 minutes, but I wasn't overly concerned. Then in the middle of the night, to be more exact 3:30 and 5:30 on Wednesday morning Gracie woke us up coughing and this time coughed up some mucusy saliva. We took her temperature and it was high, so I called the vet and made an appointment to take her in this morning.

Come to find out, she's got what they think is a bit of an upper respiratory infection and maybe a little pneumonia. We got some antibiotics to alleviate that, but they did do some x-rays (I wish I had an image of the x-ray to share). This was good because they could get a better look at what was going on in her chest as well as take a look at the lymph nodes since she just had a tumor removed. They did find 3 white spots on the x-ray which could either be pus packets from the pneumonia or, scarily, tumors. The Dr. said if they were tumors they weren't acting like the round cell tumors that we thought she had. Her thought was, if they were tumors, that they were so mutated that they were actually round cells that weren't acting like round cells or they were something different that were mutated enough to look like rounds cells. Let's just say that we hope by the time we get a second x-ray when this course of antibiotics are done, those white spots are no longer there.

In addition to all of this, I have failed a goal. My goal was not to drive a car to work for at least once consecutive year. Until Tuesday, I hadn't driven to work since February 2nd of this year. The culmination of feeling like death, a 60mph wind storm that was blowing through, and not having anything here for breakfast (therefore I would need to go get something), I said screw it and drove. I also drove today because I still wasn't feeling great and I had to take Gracie to the Vet this morning. More than likely, I will probably drive the rest of the week because I still feel a little crappy and I need to get healthy. The wedding and other stuff throughout the year successfully ate up all but 8 hours of pto at work.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It's One of Those Days

There are days when I wish that I hadn't started working at Nisonger and fallen for the special needs students... and this is one of them. I could be a vet right now, and maybe I might understand all of what is going on. I just want to know if Gracie is going to be alright!

I got off the phone with the vet an hour ago, and I'm more confused now than when I started trying to research the types of tumors she mentioned. Turns out Gracie did not have a mast cell tumor. We were expecting to get the histo results back today and learn if Gracie has Stage I or Stage II cancer. But all the lab would commit to without further staining was that it was a "poorly differentiated round cell tumor." They seemed to think that it was consistent with a Merkel cell tumor. The vet also threw cutaneous T-cell lymphoma out there. From what she told me about Merkel cell tumors and what information I can find, I learned that they are rare neuroendocrine tumors of that appear to be fairly benign. Cutaneous T-call lymphoma seems to be quite the opposite.

So now we are waiting on the price of the further staining to decide if we want to do that or if we just want to take her in every 2-3 months for them to palpate her lymph nodes to check for metastasis. I'm usually a "wait and see" kind of person, but I'm not so sure I handle not knowing. I am reassured that my good friend, Dr. Joel, understands. He comforted me by pointing out that, for now, it is just good news her margins came back clean and that she has no other symptoms.

On a positive note, Gracie seems to be doing much better. Her diarrhea is clearing up, and she is acting much more like herself. Now that she can go off all of the meds, she should be 100% in no time. Except for that huge incision!

It's a quiet night here at the Rosendauls. The pups are lazy, and I think poor, sick Eric just headed up to bed. Time to let this go for now and go check on him. Afterall, I was the one who got him sick. Well, my kids got him sick....hmm another reason for wishing I hadn't worked at Nisonger. But it's just one of those days :-)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Gracie's Surgery

Yes, Gracie had surgery.  About a month or so ago we found a little hard lump on Gracie's lower neck.  We were first hoping that it was just a bug bite or something and that it would go away.  A couple of weeks ago, it was still there and we noticed it had changed from skin colored to red.  We made an appointment with the Vet and took her in.  The Vet aspirated it and came back with the news that it was a mast cell tumor. Sigh...  Not the news we were hoping for.

They prescribed some steroids, benadryl, and pepcid. The steroids to help shrink the tumor, the benadryl and pepcid to reduce any effects from the histamine that is in the tumor.  After a few days of taking it, the steroids really started hurting her stomach so I was actually happy to get her into surgery so we can get back to normal sooner rather than later.

It was a little tough coming home before work to see Web and Cissy without Gracie here.  To make a longer story short, this is Gracie now:

The incision was much much larger than we thought it would be.  They said they were going to take a 3cm margin around the tumor, but this is like a huge 9 inch incision!  I guess it's good because they will have hopefully gotten it all.

It'll be 3-5 days to get the results as to what stage of tumor it is, which we're hoping is just a stage 1.  Then we can hopefully put all of this behind us.

More to come as we know more.