Not my favorite day….

I took Rio in this morning for her 4 month ultrasound recheck.  If you’ve been following my occasionally very rambling posts, I will  apologize in advance for their lengthy nature.  This one may very likely take on a life of it’s own….  Enter at your own risk.

The outcome of a 4 hour wait at the vet’s is that her cancer has come back.  Given my less than sunny nature, I can’t say that I wasn’t sort of anticipating the worse, especially given how AWFUL (no drama here, seriously) this entire year has been for our whole family — in fact, I  spent several hours googling like crazy yesterday in order to prepare myself should the worst occur.  But it still was a punch in the stomach when the vet tech took me into a room to hear the outcome of the results…

At Summit, most of the interaction between the client and the dog-ters and techs takes place in the waiting room.  Symptoms are discussed, courses of treatment, surgical outcomes, etc. — quite fascinating to me, an unabashed people watcher — but if it’s really bad news, they take you into an exam room.  They don’t tell you going in that its gonna be bad news, but trust me, I’ve spent enough hours here to know, watched enough comings and goings, seen the devastation on people’s faces.  I know that if you go into the room, nothing good is going to come from it.

As usual, I digress (or maybe its just stalling tactics.  If I don’t type it, then it isn’t true…. but, sadly, it is…..).  Rio’s cancer has reemerged in the form of an enlarged lymph node and “suspicious” activity in her spleen.  For Mast Cell cancer, this is “normal.”  This is what it does.  It moves to the spleen, the liver and then into the bone marrow as a form of basophilic leukemia.  Some of the niggling little things I’ve been noticing lately — the persisant cough, her being out-of-breath following any sort of activity, the weird, lumpy bruise along her scar that a quarter-sized piece of skin peeled off of — these were starting send up red flags in my little pea-brain.  Enough to send me running for my computer and re-reading a lot of my original research.  Turns out, most of these “nothings” were actually symptoms that could be contributed to mild granulation — when the mast cells start breaking free of the tumors and moving about the body.  And while they “could be,” I held on to the hope that they could also be symptoms of other less life-altering things.  The cough, it could be allergies.  It’s been a weird summer weather-wise.  We planted a new garden.  There could be more/new dusts, molds, plants, etc.  The bruising could be a spider bite or other insect.  I was hoping, hoping, hoping that I would be able to post this evening:  Rio’s Ultrasound Results Were Clear!!!!  But this has SOOOO not been our year….

I was still thinking positive and was actually quite cheerful when the vet tech came and said the doctor had my results and would go over them in the exam room, and then I faltered.  I looked down at my little girl, and she looked up at me and said, “Come on, mom!  They have cookies in that room!”  And the whole time the dog-ter was giving me the run-down on options and treatments and time lines and quality of life, Rio kept shifting in the room to catch her eye.  “Did you not see me sitting here?!  Why are you NOT giving me cookies?  Hellll-llo!!!”  Even while the tears were falling, I kept laughing at her and her less-than-subtle begging!  That’s my Woo…  She never forgets a place that someone may have given her a cookie!  It might have been years ago!!!  And even if, in my opinion, it was less than optimal circumstances that put her in said place.

As a wrap-up, I could apologize for the lengthy nature of this blog post, however, let it not be said that I led you into it without a warning.  I had a boss once who always got impatient with my project updates (not sure why…), and would always ask for the “net-net.”  Well, here it is:  The enlarged lymph node was aspirated, and we’ll get cytology back shortly (hopefully before the end of the week), but our oncologist is pretty certain that it is metastatic MCT.  The “grainy” texture of her spleen has gotten worse, and her adrenal gland has a “mass.”  Because the lymph node has changed since her last US (April), the change has either occurred while she was still on chemo, or has appeared post-chemo (in the last month).  Neither of these situations is optimal.

My take on these findings:  She’s always had a somewhat grainy appearance to her spleen, and has had cytology done every single time she’s undergone an ultrasound.  I’m hoping that this is just more of the same.  Her adrenal glands were different sized last time around as well, and although they usually see both of them enlarged with pituitary Cushings (and this is what we’re assuming Rio has), they weren’t overly concerned with their appearance last time ’round.  I’m hoping that when they measure and compare, it won’t be too much more concerning this time.  As for the lymph node, you can be certain that I have used my share of expletives (no children were present).  Rest assured that we are still fighting!!!  The options keep getting slimmer, but I’m not giving up on my girl!  Mainly because that would constitute acknowledging that I am coward and life has beaten me, and I’m not quite there yet.  However, I can use any and all support that you might feel inclined to shoot our way.  I am certain that Rio will fight her way through all of this, as she has managed to do for the past 4+ years, however I am only human, and I am struggling to be as strong as my little rock(head).

Give your pups an extra large hug for us tonight!

Rio’s momma


PS:  If any of have any firsthand knowledge about Kinivet (masitinib) and/or chlorambucil, please send me a PM.

12 thoughts on “Not my favorite day….

  1. We are certainly not giving up on you either Rio.. you keep fighting, you have kicked cancers butt for over 4 years, you keep going. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Angel Cooper and Coopsdad

  2. Don’t ever apologize for long blog posts. It’s YOUR blog. It is for you to say what you want, when you want, and for as long as you want. It is as much for you as it is for the readers. I’m so sorry about your sad news. I hope that when they come back, that the results are the best possible. At least Rio doesn’t know what it all means ( and I sure hope she got that cookie!) I am wishing you the very best! You are not a coward! We just feel that way because we see how brave and strong are “kids” are. Remember, part of that is because they don’t know (thank goodness.) But you ARE brave because you do know, and you continue to fight for your girl.

  3. I love you long blog posts, you are an excellent writer and like Lisa said, it’s YOUR blog.

    Give up? Are you kidding? Hah!! Never!!! My dear you are invincible. Always.

    I know the news stunk for your Momma and I’m verry sorry.. It’s not easy for them to cope with this scientific stuff. But you and I both know that none of the mumbo jumbo scares us, we just want to have a good time and love our humans as long as we can, for however long that is. So how do we convince these silly humanoids to forget the prognosis schmognosis? Living life to the fullest…now that’s what really matters!

  4. Micki, the Woo is like the Jedi of cancer. She has seen it, done it, felt it, lived it, experienced it. And she has ultimately acknowledged it and yawned at it.

    None of us get out of this world alive, but we don’t always lose to what looks like will take us. As you’ve pointed out before, Rio is no spring chicken. She seems to have an excellent chance of leaving this world due to old age, carrying as a companion this MCT. And that, dear Micki, is what I hope for our Woo. I hope that doesn’t sound awful or defeatist; I don’t mean it to. Living a long life and going on their own terms is truly what we all want for our companions.


  5. So sorry to hear you had to go into the room to hear the results. I hope Rio got her cookie, cuz that was the important “take away” for her from that meeting. Continue to fight, continue to live in the moment with your girl, and continue to hope!

    We’re pulling for Rio! Tripawd Girl Power!!
    Jackie, Abby’s mom

  6. never apologize for being the caring, loving powerful person that you are!!! blow your nose, blow again, take a deep breath and just give cancer the finger. go ahead, tell cancer to go f*ck itself. go ahead, it’s ok, it’s the required response to this kind of news.

    remember, woo is a warrior – there’s no ‘giving up’ evident right?? so just take her lead on this and stand tall against this. we’re all here for you, know that there’s a universe of ‘good juju’ coming your way continually. now, off – both of you – and take a nice long medicinal nap…and then, how about a cookie??

    hugs to all,

    charon & gayle

  7. Rio’s Mom, I just wanted to say that I thought your post was beautifully written and a true example of the courage and strength that both you and Rio share. I so admire your ability to remain hopeful and for never giving up on your sweet girl. I can only wish now that I would have had your sense of presence and never given up or lost sight of hope. Stay strong and cherish each and every moment. I will keep you both in my thoughts and prayers.

    Brett & Spirit Fortis

  8. I didn’t think your post was too long at all and I really do want to know if Woo got her cookie. This is important!

    Sounds to me like you’re ready to kick some cancer butt. But you know what? If it doesn’t work out and you decide the best course of action is inaction, then it doesn’t mean you are a coward and it doesn’t mean life has beaten you. No way. You are not a coward, you are a strong brave mom with a strong brave dog!

  9. Hey Micki, hold your head high. You’re loving your Woo every minute. You’re giving her every opportunity for a full, wonderful life. She is so incredibly lucky to have you. We’re fighting this fight with you.


  10. Hey Rio’s Mom… we are thinking of you here tonight. Keep up the fight to keep kicking cancer’s butt. Rio is so lucky to have you. Lots of cookies and Great Dane licks and leans from Queen Nova.

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