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hard to believe something is eating her from the inside.

20160102_144905_resized_1So I wanted to just update… its a bit hard to wrap my head around even though I knew walking into it the worst case scenario, but I guess I hoped.. just hoped..  it could be a random fluke..

I took my girl down to the U of I on monday for a CT scan because shes been doing so amazing, a little part of me just couldn’t stand the idea that if the liver mass was the only thing hanging around that maybe I should just address it… but I knew going into it that there could be other masses as well as the biggest concern a heart mass, which was the “suspected” trigger of the pericardial effusion, but since the echo cardiogram(s) didnt show any mass, I had thought worst case its small.. Well after again a 13 hr day of travel and vet office of consulting and tests, the CT revealed that she DOES have a heart mass and TBH it looked huge on scan even though its 2 x3 cm (ish) in the right atrium. Mann thats actually kinda of big especially when you see it in proportion to the heart…I was a bit numb, as I knew a few weeks ago that was a possibility, but had really hoped it was smaller or she was a rare case of idiopathic effusion, being that the echo didnt pick it up, but I learned that apparently it could have been missed and according to onco at U of I the best person to look at a heart is ONLY a cardiologist because they have specifically learned the angles and views for this kind of thing, on one hand I was kinda madd it was missed… on the other.. it all happened as it should,  because if we had found the mass prior at the ER visit and her procedure would I have proceeded with surgery to do the pericardial window?… maybe, maybe not… would the surgeon have wanted to do it knowing?… maybe.. maybe not…. so in the end.. I still have my girl with me for as long as she decides she can stay with me.. and to say those words out loud in writing… welts my whole body!!!… So I guess in a twisted way.. Im glad they missed the mass, because it allowed me to just say…well its Neka,…. shes going to keep fighting…

(the only thing that is different is because the episodes happened in the car each time, shes now anxious in the car and gets worked up, Ive tried so many different things, food, sedatives, rescue remedy, but cant shake it, and she has gone everywhere with me her whole life, she still wants to go, but 15mn into car ride, shes all anxious, trembling, heavy panting… I feel bad, but also trying to stick to routine.. but dont want her to have a heart attack..(literally)..uug}.

If it was any other type of mass I would probably try to address it.. but being a hemangiosarcoma… nasty suckers….there is more risk than benefit not to mention that its not contained like in the spleen so its open, with leakage everywhere everytime the bleeding trickles…. I wish there were other treatments that could help shrink it or contain it.. but its all kind of non specific… I could try metronomic therapy.. but with both masses and her never trying it before (plus apparently onco said no sure proof it could help- not enough studies for this type of cancer).. would I risk her feeling crappy or getting worse?… on the other hand could she be in that wierd bracket that it does help and give us more quality time for life to live by controlling it longer?… there was another IV chemo.. i cant remember the name that I could try, but also no real results known.. Ill have to look it up again… but IDK how much success it has….

the hardest part of all of this is she is acting exactly the same as her self…bossy.. fun…loving… obnoxious… antsy… bored… cuddly…..lol… .  yet to know something is eating her insides and consequently shes a walking time bomb… because this type and placement will be quick without notice.. so to know shes here one minute and could vanish in the next… is really.. reallly hard for me to wrap my head around….and the fact that in all that shes gone through all the research Ive done… my hands are not tied.. TIED… to know.. and to have no options,.. nothing else to offer her.. uug.. mann thats hard to swallow….. of course Im doing the mushroom therapy and appocaps, since the mushroom has had more known results for this specific type.. Im a bit more aggressive with those doses..

Don’t get me wrong… Im being positive and feeling blessed that shes all herself and I know she doesn’t know whats going on so I keep on schedule and buy more steak..lol.. .. I definitely don’t want her to feel my feeling of failure… I know .. I know I did all I could… but still….sometimes I feel humanities carelessness fails those that had nothing to do with it… environmental toxins.. breeding… we need to learn to care for our earth.. because.. what you can’t see… WILL ultimately Kill you!!.. I know im being all harsh.. .but the wondering bitter mind…

enough of that!!.. more fun pics…

 

 

I do want to add thought.. that I dont regret one thing I did for her.. all 1000% worth it… and even missing the heart mass…. was for the best as I still have her and shes doing great and even if she wasn’t persevereing .. I gave her that chance.. I gave her the tools for her to fight with.. I can only supply the means the rest is in her….Only thing I think I would do if faced with this in the future Is have more ultrasound check ups.. I Kept checking the lungs.. but only a couple ultrasounds in 2yrs.. then I could fully monitor everything and all changes occurring early on.. especially since she was already susceptible to mets, even though these arent mets.. it would still have been a good diagnostic tool to monitor her….

 

 

 

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Happy new year!!..( & Christmas)

Hello friends…..just xmas pics.. for no other reason than ….just because im soo darn cute!!! haa.. even though me and mom are at work.. shhh

the snow tastes just as good here.. who knew!!20151230_123842_resized 20151231_193427_resized 20151231_193921_resized 20151231_213439_resized

whaaaaat.....reaally..OMG!!

whaaaaat…..reaally..OMG!!

 

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just thought we’d say Hi!!

no xmas pics yet…lol.. but just wanted to say Hi to everyone!

mom took my stitches out xmas eve from my thorascopic procedure.. and the irony is 2 years ago to same date;  I had my amputation stitches removed.. very, very freaky.. but grateful as well..this pic was clearly before our midwest ice storm:)

watching nature in the sun in december.

watching nature in the sun in december. 12-20-15 rocking the shirt because my whole chest and belly is stark naked down to my unmentionables..lol

 

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Hey mom… what-cha doin? 12-27-15 upside down stuck up ear..lolol

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4 days post Emergency

Just wanted to post a little update as everyone was so supportive to me and my girl and I appreciated it immensely.

She is doing really great.. all things considering. She of course is hopping around normal but actually gets the whole, me trying to have her conserve energy so she lays down and barks at me first if its ok to get around..lol..I had been carrying her in and outside then just letting her do her business on her own. But she does get winded, IDK if its more from the surgery or the whole ordeal. But she doesn’t realize itll happen when she gets going until she starts kinda panting after. but recovers with some rest. Her gums turn slight pale pink wtih exertion, kinda reminds me of my surgical and cardio patients I worked with. It always helped with some supplemental  O2 for recovery, I wish I had access to an O2 tank..uug..This afternoon it was a bit better, around the house movement is ok, she kinda of gets it now like when I get going I get out of breath…lol. I let her go out and in on her own with slight support to assist to reduce exertion, then I just carry her on the stairs. Cant teach a dog energy conservation like a human.. lol

A little part of me wished I could have done the liver thing too because shes doing so well.. but another part is like what if it would have been too much. The pericardial window was done all scopically so minimally invasive.

But aside from the quicker fatigue.. she is still NEKA… all her…. plus all said and done, Ill take it.. shes sleeps comfortable she hasnt been in duress or anxious and back to sleeping upside down, her favorite position.

Id say the biggest challenge for me is that, Im so weary of taking her in the car, because thats where every incident happened, I feel like excitement or anxiousness causes an increase in BP, increase HR then increase bleed of the “suspected mass leak” and now with the pericardial window the sac wont fill but it now drains into the pleural cavity and though it can handle alot of fluid. When they went in for surgery they had removed like 1L of fluid & blood from her pleural cavity which is ALOT and the surgeon doesnt really know where it all came from, because he didn’t see anything oozing inside. but it sits in the back of my mind..like crap.. Hoping it was like an inflammatory fluke, but I proceed with caution. When a surgeon is like “i dont know why it was wierd”, my answer was should we really be surprised with her, he said ” well no not really its the same dog”..lol I laughed for the first time in like 36 hours…lol,

Ok enough technical crap.. below are some pics.. .. but just wanted to share. She wanted to be outside at night on our 50* december day.

 

 

 

 

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the smile I always see!!!

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I see the squirrels mom.. I see it!! ssshhh

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Home…

We are home after a LOONG 3 days. Weve been home for about 4 hours and she is doing ok. We did a sedative in the car with her pain meds, because this thing keeps happening from excitement.. uug..increase HR, increase BP, increase bleeding..IDK makes sense even though no one really said that. She ate for the doc prior to comming home and ate some at home tonight too. The chest tube only had like 4% RBC whihc is great, but still had about 14ML in 4hrs, I guess according to them thats not too significant, sounds it to me but prospectively its normal.   She is weak.. pretty weak, but I guess after 2 episodes then surgery its expected, she cant really get up on her own but once up, shes wants to move but needs extra support. Her gums still turn white from effort, IDK why that would still be happening the heart should be able to pump normal now since no fluid build up…the gum thing freaks me out now, because of it being a first sign… uug….She ate for them earlier in the day and ate for me a couple hours after I got home, about a cup of food.. Ill take it..

At the hospital they said she got really vocal and kept pushing herself off of the bed..lol.. that sounded like my girl.. but groggy since I got her right after the meds… which TBH is fine.. let her sleep.. let me sleep….

Kinda worries me about her not getting up… shes never had that problem in any of the episodes or any other surgery.. hoping this thing was just alot harder… but Im not too crazy concerned just more of a uuhg.. aaaaw mann…plus her legs got really swollen from the positioning during surgery so hoping its all related.

Ok so as I wrote this, I paused to take her outside for first time since I was home, and ok scratch the above….lol… yet again… I carried her outside and she hopped right around to do her business, needed some support, but who cares…a bit weak getting to stand, but otherwise, I would say normal post procedure wobbly… amazing how in just a matter of minutes things can not only change for the bad, but also the good… (giggleing and shaking my head)……And yet again, fresh air does the body wonders, just wonders!! We forget about the power of earth and nature sometimes.

Guarded and praying things hold, but also happy and at peace for the moment!!

Warrior Neka & her mom.

 

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surgery complete…

So after a 17 hour day, I am home for the night..

After sooo much contemplation. I opted for the thoracascopically entrance to her pericardium. It took me like 6 hours to decide this today.. yes thats correct 6 hours.. but I sat with her the whole time.

I heard the surgeon and the onco and to me they seemd to have much much different approaches which is expected, but i could tell oncology was giving me the this is bad and the options wont cure her, not pushy just specific, but also understood that she beat alot of other statistics. The surgeon was gong-ho on lets do it all, but he admitted hes a fighter too…. I asked him, am I asking too much of her? He said well we can do a few things, I can go in thoroscopically and make the window, but if she were to go down hill agian, we wouldnt really know why.  we could do a CT scan which could tell us where it is and how big, but cant really tell you “what kind it is”. we could go in via full surgical incision and I can take a look at it and if it a large mass we can decide to go no furthur or if I dont see anything we can move and finish the liver..

OMG.. So I sit here in teh room with her and look at her and weight all these things and I see a what appears to be weaker pup, not weaker than the day before but weaker than the last episode. yet, no decrepit. I was faced with some financial contraints as my card is almost maxed.. and lets say my limit is generous. (after all it is Neka’s card, such an overspender:)) but felt I can always make more $, but what is feasible in her recovery.. because of suspect HSA, and afer 6 hours I decided to do the minimal evasive approach and even then, as heavy as she was resting I wondered, Even if I give her the tools to fight, can she even use the tools. but then she stretches and dreams while resting and repositions herself, and someone that does that is not ready.. they are still there.. So we took her outside for the first time since i was there,… gurnied her out to the grass then let her stand and pee.. and upon leaving the visitor room, shes all perky..looking and smelling everything,, I told her lets go potty and she get up with assist(after all heart is not working at full capacity because of fluid) and she pees, smelling trying to mosley along.. Im like..OKaay.. clearly you are still NEKA… she starts to turn white gumed fairly quickly so back to the gurnie….it a low one to the ground and to my surprise she likes it…lol… made me laugh.. I tell her up she steps up with front leg I help with back…(those damn knees) and lays down like ok guys hurry up.. all alert and perky while rolling her back into the building and she gets off with assist as she is still kind of wobbly and weak.

So that moment, made my decision even better… we had to do it… at least try..I knew shed never make it home so its this or nothing..

Well shes out of surgery and recovering, they drained 1liter of blood from her plural space.. holly cow… that a whole lot of blood, and her RBC was low after surgery, but not from bleeding out, but from this leaky “mass” that we cant see. He was able to see about 50% of the heart and could not see a mass but with the scope you cant see everything based on access. The blood is a concern, will it stop and resolve, will it be a continued problem causing anemia and eventually difficulty breathing? Unknown.. a def risk that oncology told me about, but I had to try.  I didnt do CT first because their CTs are very expensive and I was torn with if they don’t find anything then I depleted my funds on CT but now she has a better chance for full surgery… I didnt do open chest because of the invasivness of it and it was actually increased cost. I mean when i say cost.. like 10K if I did heart and liver.. mannnn…. but not knowing how heart goes, I felt it wasnt invasive as it could be and I had to give her a chance… The surgeon does not know where all that blood came from and he said I couldnt see and added leak the heart wasnt gooshing blood, yesterday her RBC were normal, so was this all in one day or just a radom acute bleed, xrays still showed lungs clear last week, we didnt do them today… so it is what it is..

Just prayers she does come out of it and that she comes home tomorrow(today now..uugh) She has a chest tube in tonight for any accumulation of blood and will have a transfusion for RBC replenishment… So hoping she stabilizes even more….

now hopefully I can rest without being on guard with the phone..

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cant catch a break…

So i sit here alone in a hotel next to the specialty hospital and all i can think is everyone here can relate.

My girl had another episode out of the blue this AM, right after we got to the stable, she hopped out of the car as normal, hopped into the barn and layed down as usual, I walked away like 30sec and I heard a wierd sound, but she does often create new sounds. I look and shes layed out stiff.. she had seizure.. A seizure…uug.. I checked her gums and they were turning white again.. Now to back track, ever since last fri I check her gums like so many times a day I forget. So I had just checked them in the AM and when we got out of the car.. It happened so quick..  I jumped in the car and rushed her out to the hospital.. And the same thing happened they had to drain her pericardium again. Our appointment with surgeon and onco is just tomorrow, couldnt we have just made it to the appointment.. I left her here for the day but said I would get a hotel close bye and wanted to pick her up late since Ill just be back in the AM at like 7:10am.. if she held stable.. So I picked her up and of course they wanted to keep her til morning, but I asked is she stable, her HR was normal , the pericardium has slight fluid in it but that happened last fri too.. she was walking poopin peeing.. So I took her.. well I get to the hotel like 10mn away and we get out of the car and she kind of plopps down.. not totally abnormal. i offerd her some dinner as it was kinda late and all of a sudden she stopped eating and I checked her gums ans she started to turn again… uug.. I thought maybe just nervous, started to walk her inside, then I carried her figuring she should conserve energy and not increase her HR.. well then she collapsed in teh elevator when I put her down to rest…. after all she is about 78#..

Rushed her back to ER and her pericardium.. had filled again.. they drained it and of course shes staying until the AM… She is totally exhausted now, but I did get kisses and tail wags, but she didnt seem to snap back as quick… yes, yes its my fault I took her but in my mind If she went in her sleep before the AM it was meant to be…But I sat there in the hotel lawn for a couple minutes debating to let her just slow herself and then slip away.. but she just keeps fighting, I even asked her “what do you want me to do, please tell me” Then she perks up and nose starts going because someone goes by… not that I felt that was an answer, just that she keeps wanting to stay..

So the question now is.. can she handle the surgery.. at least the pericardium surgery……will my surgeon, be realistic will he read her correctly from his medical side and from him reading her…NEKA!!..

7:00AM is sooo far away.. of course I can go early to visit with her…

I was talking to the tech who was assigned to her overnight and apparently she was here when she came in a week ago… she said she is just so cool.. she doenst act her age… she has such a “great spirit about her”… Im like yup..that is why I am having a hell of a time trying to figure out what to do. .. I could tell the 4th ER vet assigned to us did not seem optimistic… I get it….but when you look at her records…. really LOOK at her records….

I kind of know my options, but i know Ive repeated this.. do I do them.. do I just do the heart and leave the liver mass, or is that stupid.. do we just go all in.. or can I really control a 5cm mass with supplements… and just do the pericardial window to ease the heart thing since thats her immediate issue.. but the liver could burst….but..but but but but but but….

She keeps snapping back this is why its not so cut and dry…or maybe it is and I cant see it…

Dear God… please help me with this.. please be with your fur-child you so graciously let me care for.

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1 and 2 days after ER..crazy to know somethings eating her insides.

These are from 1 & 2 days after the ER ordeal. Hard to look into that face and know I almost lost her about 3 days ago. Despite everything she bounced back and aside from being tired (totally expected) mentally and her personality are great. Friday we have our consult with onco and surgeon to see what they think of the current situation and options. (in addition of course to what I know form this site and research) problem is the complexity increases of course because she had the other 2 cancers and this would be her 3rd and the location, suspect heart and liver. Ironically, I read 50% of HSA starts in the spleen and 5% in the Liver.. of course we would find hers in the liver with “suspect” to the heart.

Ill keep you guys updated. Some prayers that the pericardium doesn’t fill and hold stable could help my decisions.

 

 

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our emergency update

First thank you everybody for your support and prayers.

Brought Neka home today about 12pm. She is acting completely normal, just really tired because she only slept here and there over night, probably due to all the commotion. But she stayed stable over night HR and BP all stayed completely normal and they re-ultrasounded her heart at about 9am, and her pericardium did not refill with fluid and the little bit that filled last night drained on its own or reabsorbed.

So thank goodness. but now..now I am faced with these options and of course they are never easy options.. 1-We do surgery to remove the 5cm mass on her liver, during that same procedure they could do a thoracoscopic entrance to make a pericardium window for any future blood accumulation to drain out, preventing and heart stress. In lamens terms a little man made hole in the sac around the heart so blood doesnt accumulate. During that same procedure she said they often take the spleen as well as preventative because it often spreads to there even though no other places in body showed masses via ultrasound or xray. Its suspected that its by the heart only based on symptoms and the original mass in the liver.

Another option is just doing the window for the blood to be able to continue to drain since its scopically done between the ribs, to at least avoid that issue in the future as it may progress. But then its like if I do one thing shouldnt I do it all.. uug…IDK..

If I do nothing she will eventually bleed out in the liver and then thats it, or the pericardium can refill with blood.

A part of me wants to fight and give her all the chances I can, the other part of me.. doesnt want to do it to her if its spread everywhere.. I know we can do chemo again, she has always tolerated it very well, really no side effects..and then it would kill me if she couldn’t handle the surgery and that did it to her… But the idea of knowing her liver will bleed out is hard, its like if you know then fix it, how can you not fix it.

in addition to all this, her echocardiogram showed a very healthy strong heart esp for a dog her age, which kills me even more because non of this would be going on if it wasnt for the damn  Cancer.. All her other blood work is normal.

I knew better I should have had a ultrasound more recently, I kept doing chest xrays but hadnt done a US in a year…

So.. I think I will make a consult with her surgeon and get his opinion since hes known her through all of this, and Ill sit with an oncologist, unfortunately her regular guy moved back to canada…uug.. so now its a whole knew one to break in, you know to handle me..LOL

I know everybody says no choice is the wrong choice, but thats easier said than done esp with a huge type A like me.. you know in case you guys didn’t notice. plus I don’t really have anyone to even bounce Ideas off of or talk it over with.. so its like your trapped with your own thoughts…

its so hard, like she looks and acts normal, but you know this thing is eating her insides up..

All the critical care vets said, she is really strong, Im like I know… thats my huge dilemma, if shes so strong, I need to make strong decisions.

Does anyone know if you can mix the apocaps with the yunnan baiyao.. its seems like theyd cancel each other out. but I am unsure and since she does have suspected hemagio cell bleed , I don’t want to risk it unless i know for sure.

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Need some prayers…fast and strong… cant believe a 3rd cancer???

Hello my friends, we are in need of strong, strong prayers.

Today we were driving with a friend, a friend that my girl loves, loves. My girl was get all worked up, which I contributed to being excited/anxious, a bit out of character as but she pulled it few times over the last month. Well then she all of a sudden about 20mn later started to hyperventilate  with vocalization with a breath out.. I looked at her and her eyes glazed over, Im like what is going on. Pulled over abruptly to the side of the road, got her out and let her stand and then lay down a bit in fresh air. Gave her about 10 mn and she seemed way better, I said to her seeee… don’t get so worked up. We got back into the car I decided to sit in the back with her which I never do, not since her amputation, because she a great travel dog, but figured I had a friend with me and clearly shes all excited over something. Got her back in the car and then all of a sudden her eyes dialated and her jaw locked she became extremely weak.. She started to tank, her breathing increased but with out opening her mouth to pant… OMG… we are in the middle of now where 1 hr from home and 1.5 hours from her emergency doctor… we google ANY vet, rush her there, he says her heart rate is slow and muffled, her gums  and tongue are NOW slight blue/ white..and getting whiter.. Im like does she need 02.. he said he though maybe she was bleeding somewhere or that she had a cardiac issue.. He gave her an injection of, I cant remember what to increase her heart rate, (this clinic was not equipt with much, very country, but GOD bless this guy for reacting quickly) We rushed her to specialty center at this point we didnt know if shed make it. Well what ever he gave her helped perk her up a bit more and she looked way better, still not right but better.

She gets to VSC and they are prompt in treating her, because now she was getting worse again, after all it was an hour plus drive….. results.. she had fluid build up in her pericardium (sac around the heart) and xrays of chest showed no mass growth in lungs or heart. but ultrasound showed a 2-5cm mass on the liver that is encapsulated in a fluid sac. All soooo shocking to me. She said her heart is strong, and theres no thickening and good beat… But theres a cancer called hemangiosarcoma that starts in the liver and mets to the heart….WHAAT.. even though no mass is seen in the heart theres no way to know for sure if its just small enough that it cant be seen but is bleeding out. because in the Ultrasound (US) there was so source of leakage from the heart, hence could be CA cells…

Needles to say.. I am devastated….. sooo devastated. My girls had to stay over night.. shes stable , perkier and walking again at the moment but the call as of 8:30pm is that there is a slight bit more fluid back in the pericardium but shes its not currently affecting her.

My options, surgery to remove the mass and possible splenectomy, because apparently it can cross to the spleen and its safer to just remove it if your already in there, and to have a pericardium window, where you put a small hole in the pericardium for the fluid to leak out on its own and get reabsorbed… These are sooo drastic… soo drastic…. Theres one herbal blood coagulator that can stop bleeding,, this may be our only hope they started it on her.. but we need some prayers…

IDK If I want to risk her in surgery because we dont know if its meted anywhere else and If i  had to open her up and find it everywhere. if its 2-5 cm thats kinda big and we clearly missed it…as far as the pericardium window, its done by accesses it between the ribs, but she says it might only buy me 6months.. Well weve beat odds before… I feel like a dumy for not staying on apocaps earlier….

can APOCAPS be given if there is microscopic bleeding from a hemangiosarcoma?.. I guess I better find out asap….

I just pray we can keep the heart thing at bay.. so I can bring her home and be together…. and when its time.. please dear GOD I pray for it to be natural and peaceful…. not from a procedure…..

Sorry we let everyone down.. we were  banging along.. I just posted a couple days ago how awesome we are doing!!

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