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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

Alex Update

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

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"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

Alex Update

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After last night's very bleak post, I have some good news.

(You see, I cannot resist for long. For all my grousing and cynicism, in my heart of hearts, I remain an unrepentant pie-eyed optimist.)

Alex is still at the hospital. Bobby and I visited him for about an hour this afternoon. We were expecting that he would be doped up and perhaps immobile and we'd have to visit him in the kennel, but we were put in a room and a tech brought in a blanket, followed by Alex. We were told to take as long as we wanted.

When Bobby spoke to the vet this morning, Alex's red blood count had continued to drop, and they were on the verge of giving him a transfusion if it dropped any further. (During surgery last night, a liter of blood was removed from his abdominal cavity; even the vet expressed surprise that he'd bled so much.) He also hadn't eaten.

Thankfully, his blood count has stabilized, so he still has not required a transfusion. As soon as he came in ... well, he looked rough, but he just endured major abdominal surgery. He was mobile, though, and developed a small spring in his step when he saw us. Bobby hand-fed him some of the bland diet the tech left with us, and Alex ate it, although reluctantly. We took him out for a short walk, and he even cranked up his pace to a light trot. When we got back in, he ate more of his bland diet on his own and drank some water. He laid down and went to sleep while Bobby and I scratched him all over his body.

They had shaved his left foreleg all the way around to accommodate the IV, which meant that they shaved off part of his cowboy fringe! (The long feathers on the backs of his forelegs that look like the fringe on cowboy chaps.) His belly was shaved--they even shaved his penis!--and his incision runs from his groin to midway up his abdomen and is held closed with staples. I asked him what was worse: that they shaved his penis or his cowboy fringe. He was more upset about the cowboy fringe. I pointed out that he sometimes pees on his cowboy fringe. That, he pointed out, was his own choice of how to use his own cowboy fringe. The IV didn't go in the back of his leg, so the cowboy fringe could have been left untouched. Whatever, Alex!

At this point, it is looking like he will be home tomorrow.

As for his long-term prognosis: A sample from the tumor on his spleen will, of course, be sent off for testing. So we will know whether it is malignant (I am almost certain it is) and whether it is the particularly aggressive form of cancer so common to Goldens. (Again: almost certain it is.) BUT--the glimmer of hope since yesterday--Bobby and I have since heard from several people whose dogs were diagnosed with the same cancer, who underwent chemotherapy, and went on to live for several years of good life. (Because that is always my caveat: the life must be worth living. I will not keep him sick and suffering because of our inability to let go. But chemo in dogs is apparently not awful like it is in people.) The hospital where he is now also has several oncologists on staff, so we will get a referral to see one of them once the results of the biopsy is back. We have already started talking with the ER vets about setting that up.

(Once again: I am so grateful that we have been paying all these years into good insurance for both Alex and Lance. Bobby called the insurance company this morning, and Alex's surgery and any further oncology treatments he needs will be fully covered. The vet we spoke to this afternoon was relieved to hear that he had insurance and said she wished more pets did. It is sad to think how many animals are put down for reasons of cost who might otherwise survive.)

When we left, he was distressed to see us go. That is the worst part: that you cannot explain to them that you will be back, that they are not being abandoned. They did let him take his orange football back to his kennel with him, so I hope that will be a little reminder of home and that he will be returning there with us, and soon.

Here he is, from our visit today, looking at a little rough but pretty good, all things considered:

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This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

  • I was so glad to see this. I wanted to send you an email and ask, but I didn't want to harass you! That is good news and best of all some hope. His little orange football! He looks at little subdued, but, hey, who isn't after major surgery?

    OMG! They even shaved his penis. Well, I hope that you can rest better tonight knowing that the news could have been so much worse.
    • I loathe that, when someone posts bad news, and I want so badly to ask but also don't want to force them to spend the day answering inquiries. I wouldn't have minded, though; I stayed home from work (caring for emotionally frail teens while emotionally frail myself = not a good idea, nor is driving 40 minutes to work after my late night last night) and spent the early part of the day mindlessly consuming opinion pieces on various news sites and clearing the SWG birthday card backlog.

      That little orange football has a piercing squeak, and Alex loves to jaw on it as hard as he can for as long as I can bear it before growling, "Hey! Golden Retriever with the squeak ball!" Although when he comes home, he can squeak it as much as he wants ...
  • I am so glad to see this. I'm glad he's coming home tomorrow and I'm glad chemo's an option. I hope it works and that you have plenty more years together.

    Give him a gentle hug from me when he's up for it and have more *hugs* for you and Bobby.
  • Some dogs do well on chemotherapy and get a decent remission. I certainly hope that's the case for Alex, should you elect to try it. Best of luck to you all, and hang in there for him.
  • Oh, Dawn, I only just logged in, and saw the earlier post. That up and down is so hard to take (though so far, thankfully, it seems to be down and up). Best wishes for your furry companion! And so glad you have insurance!
  • Poor sweet pup. I'm glad there is at least some hope and I'm crossing my fingers that things look up for him really soon.
  • I'm glad to hear the prognosis is better than originally thought. I hope Alex is able to recuperate from the surgery with all speed and resume terrorizing your household with the orange football.
  • *sends more positive vibes & love*
  • I'm so happy to hear better news! (((tight hugs))) I'm going to keep fingers crossed for you beautiful boy's recovery. I'm glad you have insurance to cover the med expenses. Sending you love and positive thoughts. So is Tonik, along with tail waggles :)
  • Oh, bless his heart. I am so very glad for all of you that there is good news for him!
  • I'm so glad to hear Alex took the surgery well and is already so well, relatively speaking, and that he could have this time with you! Even better, that there is cause for cautious optimism and hope. I keep all my fingers crossed that these will be options for you! *hugs*

    Because that is always my caveat: the life must be worth living. I will not keep him sick and suffering because of our inability to let go.
    This. ***hugs***

    I know for a fact that for cats, chemotherapy is by far less bad as it is for humans. A cat of a friend underwent it twice for a brain tumor, took it really well and gained considerable time of good quality over his prognosis.

    All the best for you all! *tight hugs*
  • *hugs* I'm glad it's better news today. May that moment of letting go be long in the future still.
  • Alex does look good considering that he was almost coming out of the operation!
    I hope everything works out!

    Jabon as sleeping beauty: super-extra-amazingly energetic dog. Almost impossible to get a good pic, unless he was relaxing (not often) \0/

    {{{Tight hugs}}}

    Edited at 2015-07-29 03:17 pm (UTC)
  • Today's update is 1000% better than what I was dreading after reading your previous post. Alex is looking good for a post-surgery pup. It sounds like his prognosis is "guarded" now, but the feedback from other Golden owners whose pets had the same cancer does offer encouragement! *Fingers crossed and major pats and skritches for Alex*
  • Big Al: You have been in our thoughts constantly since this ordeal began. We're all pulling for you in England!

    *Happy thoughts and big hugs*
  • I hope of course that Alex will have many, many days of life ahead - but one thing I know: whether his days are destined to be long or short, with you in his life, they will definitely be good!
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