Saturday, November 10, 2012

Update...News Flash!!

I'm so sorry I haven't updated in a while. I've been terribly busy lately, with Eleanor, school, re-decorating my bedroom and making it into a sort of writing room.

I'll start with Eleanor Rigby, all your prayers and good vibes worked. She had surgery and she's getting back to normal. On the 14th she will get her stitches out. After a couple thousand dollars, and my taking out a small loan that I'm paying back with my SSD & SSI money. I don't remember what you know and don't know. I think I left off when we went to the Animal hospital who was a doggy oncologist, and told us she was 90% sure the lump is a cancerous tumor, and she would need not only the tumor removed, but her entire mammary gland chain on the same side as the tumor, and while they are in there they may as well do a spay. First we had to get an x-ray of her lungs to make sure the cancer hasn't spread to her lungs. The type of cancer the Vet thought it was normally spreads to the lungs first, and if its in her lungs there really isn't any reason to put her through a major surgery, just to loose her in three months. We said we would want it done no matter what, and we would go to Madison to have radiation and chemo done. The Vet said chemo makes dogs really sick, and isn't very effective. She said we should think about quality of life not quantity. So they did the x-ray. I sat in the car and cried while my parents waited in the hospital for her x-ray results. Then my parents came outside with Elle in her bag. My dad's face was not readable, and I was too afraid to ask. My mom got in, and told me she has no cancer or tumors anywhere on or in her, and her lungs are clear. Since she's so small a chest x-ray is a full body x-ray. I had been holding my breath, and didn't even realize it until I sighed a huge relief. The Vet set up an appointment for surgery on November 1st.

On our way home from the Animal hospital, my dad had us call a Vet clinic he was told about from a guy who just happened to be in the bar, and over herd my dad talking about how much we already spent on Eleanor, and estimating how much the surgery would cost. This random man told my dad his Golden Retriever just went through the same thing, and he did a bunch of research to find the least expensive vet, and came across this Vet who does complex surgeries for a third the price the Vet Hospital charges. He wrote the name of this Vet Clinic down on a ripped piece of paper. My dad put it in his wallet, and didn't tell us about it until we were on our way to the Animal Hospital.

This was the day before we were told it was cancer and we went to the Animal Hospital, and was the same day her original surgery was scheduled. The original Vet that assumed this lump would be just a run of the mill mass removal and spay.  Before the surgery the surgeon came in to exam the lump and the Regular Vet was in there to give her an all over exam. When the surgeon felt the lump, she said oh, this not some run of the mill just under the skin lump. This  lump is lobed sided and really hard, and it went down deep into the mammary gland. This is cancer she said, it's pointless for me to remove the lump and send it in to a pathologist only to be told it's cancer, and she needs her mammary gland removed. Why put her through two surgeries? She referred us to the Animal Hospital in Appleton. We made an appointment for the next morning before we even left the Vet Clinic.

So now we are on our way home from the Animal Hospital very solemn, worrying about the few thousand dollars just the surgery will cost, that's not even including blood work, and the pathologist results. Then my dad pulled out the piece of paper with the Vet Clinic the random guy at the bar told him about. He didn't write down the phone number so we Googled Park side Veterinary clinic. Up popped the phone number, and my mom called and they said they could get us in at 5pm, it was 4:30ish and we were still in the car driving home from Appleton. We were half way there. When we got to Green Bay, we had 10 minutes to spare, and my dad didn't know exactly where it was, just that it was on the corner of Shaw no and Military across from Perkins and Walgreen's. We passed it twice cause the sign was small compared to the other signs around it. When we finally spotted it we were on the wrong side of the road, and had to find a place to make a  u turn. There just happened to be one a few yards ahead, and we whipped around and into the Vet's parking lot. I thought this was stupid because this drunk guy probably didn't know what he was talking about, and my parents were just  wasting 50 dollars on a consult. I stayed in the car again, expecting my parents and Elle to back out in 10 or 15 minutes. They were in there an hour.

They finally came out, and they both were smiling. First of all this vet would not only do the surgery, she would spay her and do her teeth at the same time, all for 600.00 dollars. Plus she said she's seen this same thing in countless Yorkie's, usually they have more than just one lump. Also this vet was only 80% sure it was cancerous. She asked if any of the other Vets had taken a biopsy. Nope they hadn't. She said, that was pretty stupid of them to tell you it is cancer without even taking a biopsy, they just had to stick a needle in with this special needle that grabs a piece of the lump. Again the surgery was scheduled for November 1st. We called  the Animal Hospital and canceled. Oh yes, the reason this vet was so much less expensive is because she's not board certified. Board Certified animal surgeons charge up to 4 times the non certified surgeons.

Now comes the best part. On Nov. 1st we brought Elle in at 7:30am. She was scheduled for surgery around 11am. They told us they would call us as soon as the surgery was done, and how it went, and how Elle is doing. 2pm rolls around and we haven't gotten a call. Me and my mom argued as to who should call the vet and ask. I won, and she had to call. I sat listening to my mom's side of the conversations. She said things like, Oh really in a worried voice, and what does that mean for Eleanor? She asked if Eleanor was awake yet, then she laughed. So she was worried on second, and laughed at the end. She got off the phone and told me what the vet said.

First of all, Eleanor is awake, and on strong pain meds. She's drowsy and a little out of it. Sort of dazed and confused. She was unsteady on her feet from the drugs. The vet says all in all she's doing fine, just as expected. She then moved onto the surgery. They made an incision next to the lump and a bunch of puss sprayed out. So she sliced right into the lump, and puss just started pouring out, so she squeezed it from the bottom, and a ton of hard white puss piled out. It took her 20 minutes to get as much of the pus out as she could. She said, Erin it wasn't cancer at all, it was just a deep cyst. We popped it, and then cut out the sack the puss was in so it didn't fill back up in a year or so. They didn't have to take out any mammary glands. They sewed up the cyst hole up with stitches, and moved onto the spay. Everything went smoothly, and we pulled out her uterus and it smelled and looked really funky. The inside looked like bubble wrap, there definitely was a bacterial infection, and if she had not been spayed that infection would have been what killed her. So what we thought was the problem was Benin cyst, and the thing we thought would be normal, and were doing just as a  per caution turned out what needed to be done.

I felt like a kid again knowing Eleanor didn't have cancer, and was going to be fine. We were told to pick her up between 6:30 and 7:00pm. My mom had to go to church then, and my dad was at the bar, so I had to pick her up by myself with my parents debit.. Expecting to pay 600.00 dollars. Before Eleanor was brought out, and the vet gave us directions on how to care for her, I was handed the bill. I looked at it in surprise and gave it back to the lady, oh no, this is wrong we were told 600.00 dollars. This bill is only for 430.00 dollars. The lady explained the estimate was assuming taking out the mammary glands. Which would have been the most complicated part of the surgery. Once the Doc found out it was just a cyst she wasn't going to cut out all four mammary glands on that side. I paid the bill, and a few minutes later a lady brought Eleanor out, in her pink bag. She didn't get up to greet me, so I stuck my hand in there for her to sniff, and she just licked it twice and stopped. She was still very drowsy. The Doc came out and explained to me everything she told my mom. She also added if either one of the other would have took a biopsy, once they put they put the needle in and got the sample and pulled the needle out the puss would have shot out, and they would have known it was just a benign cyst that she didn't even need to be put totally under, they would just needed to numb it, and cut it open pop it, and cut out the sac the pus was in so it didn't fill back up. It would have saved you a lot of money, but they might not have spayed her and the infection in her funky uterus would have spread sooner or later and would have made her very sick, and possible killed her.

I was worried about Eleanor's pain, and when we give her pills, we'll think she  swallowed it with the food it was in, but we would find the pill on the floor a little later. I wanted to give her inject able pain meds. Instead she gave us liquid medication with a syringe. I gave her, her first dose the next morning at 7am, and I got most of it in, but some dribbled out, and it stunk badly. So the next day I put the medication on  small piece of bread and let it soak in, and put a little bred on top, and rolled into a ball, and covered it in her favorite soft food, and I didn't think it would work, because normally she won't eat bread. Turns out she was ravenous and gobbled it down in one bite. She stayed in my parents room on this make shift bed off all of our softest blankets, and a few pillows lying around the blankets. It was like a little den. She didn't come out of the bedroom until day two after her pain medication kicked in. So I brought her a half of her soft food, and she gobbled it up in a second, so I brought in the rest, and she ate that up, and I set some hard food close, and I gave her some water and she drank and drank. I put a pee pee pad a few feet away in my parents walk in closet, and she got up, and pissed on that pad for a full minute. At least it seemed like that. When she lay ed back down I looked at her pee to make sure there was no blood, and there wasn't, but she soaked that pad, and I had to get another clean one.

Half an hour after her meds kicked in, she peeked her head out of the bedroom door. Then ran to her pillow. She ran everywhere the first few days. It must have hurt to be up, so she got back to laying down as fast as possible. The fourth day I gave her pain meds, but she seemed a lot better, and the vet said on the fourth day take her for a short walk outside. So I did, and she sniffed, ran sniffed, peed, ran, got in pooping position and yipped while she pooped. Being in that positioning must have hurt her. We came back up to our condo and she went to her make shift bed, and laid down beside her and pet her while she licked me, and we both fell asleep.

Day five she didn't need pain meds anymore, and stopped running everywhere. Her appetite returned to normal, she wasn't constantly starving, eating all her soft food in seconds, and all her hard food an hour later. She still was drinking  lots water.

Now she's almost back to normal, just the stitches on her belly. We caught her licking her belly once and the vet said that's a big no no, so we put on one of her cute little t-shirt that covers the stitches, and says, "Dog food sucks". She cuter than anything ever.