I'll start by updating everyone about my dog Eleanor's health status. On October 24th we brought Eleanor to her regular Vet to have the lump/tumor on her mammary gland removed. The Vet examined the lump before the surgery, and she examined Eleanor all over. After the examination the Vet told me and my mom, that she is 95% sure the lump is a cancerous tumor, and it’s not just on under the skin, its down in her mammary gland. She needs the entire mammary gland chain removed. She told us mammary cancer in dogs is usually fast acting and even if we did get surgery her odds are only 50/50 at best. She also said, if we wouldn't have brought her in when we did, that she would have been dead within three months. I thought this was odd, because she is in no pain, and seems to be healthy as a cow. So she scared us shit less and I just lost it. I started crying as soon as she told us the lump most likely is cancer and most likely a fast acting cancer.
The surgeon at the vet we were at is not board certified. She just does spaying and neutering, and some lump removals. She doesn't take out mammary glands. So she referred us to the Vet Hospital in Appleton WI. We called immediately and got her in for a surgery consult the next morning.
All three of us brought Eleanor to her surgery consult. The vet who specializes in oncology saw us. She did her exam and she told us yes, it is probably cancer, and yes it is in her mammary gland She sugested her mammary gland, lump, and nipple need to be taken out. She said before we spent the money on the surgery we should get x-rays. She told us if the cancer was in her lungs, which is where it usually spreads to first, it would be pointless to have the surgery if it was in her lungs because it’s too far advanced. I asked if it was so far advanced wouldn't she be in pain, or showing signs of illness? She told me this type of cancer it most likely is, is not painful unless she gets lumps on her stomach and it stretches the skin, and become ulcerated. When that happens you would want to put her to sleep. I got mad, and said we would do chemo which we found is available in Madison, and so is radiation treatment, anything to save her life and keep her from being in pain. She explained to me that chemo therapy is hard on dogs, and makes them ill and puts them in pain. So you want to think carefully before you do chemo.
She told us how much it would cost for x-rays to see if there was cancer in her lungs or anywhere else they would be able to see on an x-ray. It was $500.00 and we said of course get the x-rays done. So we went up front to pay for the x-rays, and the vet took Eleanor in for the x-rays. I knew the outcome of these x-rays would tell us if there is anything we can do for her. I went outside and waited in the car. It was pouring rain, and cold. I just sat in the backseat by myself and cried and cried. I think I sat there for an hour. Just as I was about to go back in my mom and dad were coming out with Eleanor. My dad got in the car first and told me the x-rays were clear. The cost of the surgery at the Animal Hospital was between $1500.00 and $2500.00 dollars. My parents are bad with money and even with the $5000.00 dollars a month they are always broke two weeks before the next paycheck.
The night before we went to the Animal Hospital my dad went to the bar (no surprise there) and a man at the bar told him about his dog who had cancer, and the surgery was done by a Veterinarian in Green Bay for more than a third less than Animal hospital charged. So after the Appleton Hospital we drove straight the Vet my dad had heard about just to get a second opinion. I stayed in the car because I thought it was a waste of time and they would be in and out. They ended up being in there almost an hour. When they came out with smiles on their faces. This Vet told them that she sees this in a lot of Yorkie"s, and usually a lot more lumps in the mammary glands. She has done hundreds of mammary gland tumor removals in her time as a Vet. She reminded my parents that there is still a chance it’s not cancer. We have been told they are 95% sure it is cancer, but this vet said she is 90% sure it is cancer, with a 10% chance it’s not cancer and just a blocked milk duct that grew a benign tumor. I don't have my hopes up too high that it isn't cancer. We will find out for sure after the surgery and after it’s been sent into the pathologist to be looked at under a microscope, only then will we know for sure. This Vet is charging only $600.00 dollars for the surgery. Although instead of removing the chain of mammary glands on the side of the tumor, she's only taking out the on mammary gland and nipple with lump, and spay her. She said while she is in there she will look around for other tumors and if she has to she will remove the entire mammary gland chain on that side. This would bring the cost up to $850.00 dollars. She also said that because the tumor is so close (almost on top) of the nipple the odds might even be higher that it’s not cancer, and just a blocked mammary gland. So my parents scheduled the surgery for November 1st of this year. Until then I'm trying to stay positive and not show how stressed I am so Eleanor doesn't pick up the worry we have for her. The say dogs can read body language and tell what our mood is. So only positive, happy energy and lots of love for her. No tears in front of her.
I'm not the praying kind, but right now I'm willing to try anything and I'm praying and wishing she stays healthy and lives a long and happy life.