Thursday, July 31, 2014

Not the best news

Isabelle had her stitches out today. It was pretty tough on her, but we think they gave her oxygen to make her comfy. It looks red and angry, but that should go away soon. 

And we got the pathology report. Not good news. The tumor was grade 3 (the worst), and the nearest lymph node also had cancer cells. 

Chemotherapy may be an option, but mom isn't sure about it for Isabelle. Isabelle's regular vet didn't think she would be a good candidate when we talked before the surgery. She's been at a veterinary conference for a few weeks. She'll be back to work on Tuesday. Mom left a message that she please review the report and call mom to discuss the options. 

We know that you all know that mom would do just about anything for us. Just like you. The thing is, it has to be for our best interest. There's no guarantee that chemo will prevent further spreading or prevent more tumors. There's no guarantee that Isabelle will do well on chemo or that she will feel good. 

Once mom talks to the vet, she'll make a decision on the chemo. 

In the meantime, Isabelle will start on a special diet for mast cancer. Supplements are also on the way to help in a more natural way. 

We aren't sure what the future holds for us right now. Please continue to keep us in your prayers. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The impatient patient

Isabelle has done very well in her recovery. Knock all the wood in the house. 
She's had a few incidents of panting, but mom figured out it wasn't pain. Mom came home like clockwork to give Isabelle her pain meds at 2 pm. Then by 4:30, Isabelle would be panting when mom came home from work. It couldn't have been pain because of the recent medication. And mom put the AC way down so it wasn't heat. Isabelle was just mad that mom wasn't home. Fortunately, her tongue was always pink so she was getting plenty of oxygen. 
Still no word on the pathology report. We hope to hear something Monday. 
She only looks sad. Mom woke her up to take the picture. 

She's pretty much back to her normal self. Very sassy. Demanding her meals immediately. Attempting to stand up on her back legs (that didn't work out well, but it rarely does). Her incision is doing well, but her underside is a dirt magnet with the Neosporin. No getting the incision wet until after the stitches are out. Isabelle is ok with that because it means no swimming!

We have been really good with Isabelle. Mom was worried that with our shark-like instincts to sniff out weakness, we would be mean to Isabelle. Happily, all we did was sniff her a little. And we even listened to mom and backed off when told to. We were pretty chill about it all.

In other really good news, Blaze went to his forever home on Friday. He had a wonderful home visit with his new family last week, and they decided they couldn't live without him. He has a great backyard, a kid of his own to play with and no other pugs to share the attention.
He was ready to go. We weren't terribly mean to him, but Petunia made sure that he didn't get too much attention. Poor pug needed it, too. Good thing his family has three humans with six hands to pet him!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

She's home!

Isabelle did really well during surgery. The vet said her heart was strong, and she came out of anesthesia quickly. The tube irritated her throat some, causing coughing, but nothing terrible. 

The incision is pretty long, probably 3-4 inches. We won't get the pathology report for 5-7 days. The tumor itself will be graded, and they tested the nearest lymph node, too. 

Last night, Isabelle was one grumpy pug. She did not get the bedtime treat of Cheerios that we always get. Mom thought she was being sneaky by giving us our Cheerios on the floor, but Isabelle knew. 
These nearly blind eyes are accusing. ACCUSING!
This morning, she was pretty unhappy when everyone else got to eat, and she didn't. She fussed the whole time. Then snarfed around the car seat for a crumb. 
She wasn't super thrilled to be back at the vet either. For the fourth time in a week. 
The vet tech took the opportunity to clean her ears, eyes and nose while Isabelle was out. It's the only way it can be done without her trying to bite.

She was pretty loopy on the ride home, too. 

 However, she perked up when it was time to eat. Just a little at first, then more as the evening goes on. She has a whole cup of food to eat in only a few hours! 

Here's the little patient, just waiting to pop up from the bed as soon as mom moves. 

We have to keep her incision clean, make sure she has her meds on time and gets lots of rest. 
She's still loopy but she made it. 
Isabelle Sassypants will ride again.

Quick update

Isabelle is out of surgery. Awake but resting and getting fluids. They will give her a little food later. Mom will pick her up after 5:30 then start the long weekend of recuperation.
Yay for prayers, positive thoughts, healing juju and the Power of the Paw!

More later when mom gets all the details from the vet.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Surgery on Thursday

Both vets think that Isabelle is strong enough for the surgery. Her regular vet called her a tough old bird. The tricky part will be the post op pain management. When Isabelle gets too worked up or pants really hard, that's when her trachea collapses. She will need some extra sedation and pain medication to keep her calm immediately after surgery. But too much sedation can depress the respiratory system so it can't be too much sedation. 

Fortunately both vets think they will be able to manage this after surgery. She'll likely stay longer at the vet after surgery than normal which is just fine. It likely won't be overnight since they don't have anyone at the clinic after hours. 
Isabelle was trying to push mom off the chair. She wanted it all to herself.

Mom is going to take Friday off to stay with Isabelle and be there with the oxygen if she needs it. Oxygen makes her feel very nice and calms her right down. 
This is the fourth version of a bandage. The first version would have been fine except that it got in the way of her going to the bathroom. Now that she's on steroids, she's drinking and peeing a lot more. Hopefully this weird version of suspenders will keep it in place. 

If you are the praying kind, please pray that the tumor shrinks. The smaller it is, the less surrounding tissue has to be removed too. Please pray for good margins, that the surgeon's hands are steady and skilled. Please pray that she recovers easily and that the pain is manageable. 

Mom is so not a pug. She's hungry for the first time since Saturday! She said the worry was quite an appetite suppressant.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Mast cell cancer

It's mast cell cancer. The same cancer Quincy had.

We saw a different vet than our normal vet because she was off today. He examined the tumor and aspirated it. Mom pretty much thought it was mast cell even though it looked very different than the tumors Quincy had.

He said that the tumor didn't appear to be attached to anything like an organ which is good news. But it's pretty large and in a strange spot meaning that getting clean margins will be a challenge. You want to remove tissue surrounding the tumor to make sure to get all the cancer.

We don't know if it has spread to her lymph nodes or not, or spread in other places in her body.

She was pretty perky at the vet, a change from her behavior at the house and in the car.

Since our regular vet was out, we will be talking to her tomorrow about surgery. She knows Isabelle better than any vet. Since Isabelle is well into her senior years and already has a breathing problem, surgery is riskier than usual for her.

Unfortunately, this isn't one of those tumors you can leave alone. Because of where it is, basically in the space between where her back leg meets her body, it just being there causes pain. Mast cell tumors release histamine when they are irritated (like being poked or having pressure applied) which can make the dog feel bad. Since Sunday, Isabelle has been feeling bad. It's hard to get comfortable for her.

The plan for now are pain medications, Benadryl to fight the histamine, antibiotic and steroids. The vet is hoping that the steroid and Benadryl will shrink the tumor some. Mom MacGyvered together a bandage from Tena pads and tape to keep the tumor covered. If not, the blood matted the fur on her leg and tummy. She walks a little funnier than usual but that's likely the tumor's fault.

The most important thing is Isabelle's comfort and quality of life. Surgery isn't worth the risk and pain if it has spread already. We'll know more tomorrow. In the meantime, Isabelle has had a burger and a ton of her Pumpkin Kisses and lots of pain meds. She's still eating like a champ.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Prayers needed *updated*

SFP mom here. Found a large lump on Isabelle's inner back leg. Ping pong ball size. Hard and red. There's a small spot on top of her leg that looks like it could have been a bug bite, so I'm praying that it was just a nasty reaction.

It's not an emergency per se, so I'm waiting until Monday to go to the vet unless something changes. She's still eating, drinking, pottying, walking as normal.

You pug people know how terrifying this is. Your mind automatically goes to cancer. At 14, I don't know that Isabelle would survive the surgery, much less chemo or radiation. And I don't want her to be in any pain or discomfort just because I want her to live a few more months.

So please pray, send positive thoughts, whatever juju you can spare for me and Isabelle. I'm freaking out, and I need to be strong to handle whatever this turns out to be.

Thanks in advance.

Overnight, the mass started bleeding which is never a good sign. We are back from the ER vet who said it is very likely cancer. Isabelle has pain medication and an antibiotic for now. We will be going to our regular vet Monday to come up with a plan.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Independence Day weekend

We had a guest for the holiday weekend, Elliott! He's been here lots. 
We had hoped that Blaze might feel more comfortable with a boy pug to play with. 
Yeah, no. 

It started off okay. 

Then he started hiding behind the table to keep away from Elliott. 
 Elliott is high energy, even for a 6 year old. Fortunately, Blaze has been standing up for himself, especially when it comes to unwanted attention (if you know what we mean). No fighting or anything, just letting Elliott know he needs to knock it off. 

Unfortunately, Elliott is not a fan of fireworks. He doesn't react like Tallulah did, but his anxiety spread to everyone else. Blaze was a little unhappy with the noises, but he would have been fine if just he reacted. 

So mom broke out the Frosty Paws. She crumbled up Calmplex tablets in everyone's ice cream since the boys refused to take it. And wouldn't you know it, Elliott refused his ice cream even! 

Mom had to resort to Benadryl and essential oils to keep the peace. 
 Isabelle just enjoyed her ice cream.
Sometimes being deaf is a good thing!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Meet foster Blaze

Blaze has been with us for about a month now. 
He's up to date on his shots, neutered and really well behaved. 
He knows he's in good hands now.

He's weird though! He wouldn't eat for 24 hours after he got here. And we were nice to him, too. He's a little underweight and has some skin issues, but he's really a good pug. He is better potty trained than we are. He marks like crazy outside, nearly tipping over he hikes his leg so high. 
But not even once in the house.

Mom thinks he is likely allergic to corn or chicken. He was on some low quality food, but mom has transitioned him to our food. It can take two to three weeks to show any results. In the meantime, he's on Benadryl to help with the itching. Mom is pulling out all her home remedies to help his skin and itchies so he'll be improving in no time. 

He's only six. He'll be snatched up so soon! If you know someone in Virginia who is looking for a sweet boy, put in an application at Pugs U Gotta Save!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Delayed birthday post

Arthur left us with just a little rain. Honestly, we slept through the whole thing. Including the tornado warnings through mom's cell phone. Oops. 

We are behind on posting, but we'll start with our birthday!

Mom ordered us 2.25 pounds of treats from Pugs in the Kitchen
Tallulah and Petunia will share the Bacon Bites and Banana Blackberry Mint while the Pumpkin Kisses are just for Isabelle. Those are her favorites.

What's that you say? We get burgers for our birthday? 

We stalked mom the whole time the burgers were cooking. It was sprinkling so mom had to use the indoor grill. Only one burger cooked at a time! It was torture. That's Blaze in the donut of despair. He's cone free now.


Thank you to everyone for our birthday wishes. It was a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Arthur :/

Tropical Storm (soon to be Hurricane) Arthur wants to ruin our 4th of July! Fortunately for us, we should only get some rain and wind. The brunt of the storm is on track to hit the Outer Banks of North Carolina at the moment.

At this point, Arthur isn't a big threat to us. We'll have plenty to do inside on Friday, then go back to having fun this weekend! It's likely that the worst of it will be overnight Thursday into Friday morning. Maybe when we wake up Friday, it will all be over.

So stay dry and cool, friends. We certainly intend to. AC, potty pads, bully sticks. We are good to go.