Given our history, the mere mention of cancer stopped my heart. And hemangioma? What was that? I recalled in all my research for Girly Girl, that I read about hemangiosarcoma which is a very nasty form of cancer (really, is there a non-nasty form of cancer?). I think Dr. Edelbaum could see the panic setting in because she tried to reassure me. We scheduled a time for Blue to have the offending spots removed.
I dropped him at the vet early in the morning. The entire time I was having flashbacks to a similar morning, very near this same time of year, when I dropped Girly Girl off at the same place for x-rays of her leg due to a persistent intermittent limp. I was doing my best to hold back the tears as I turned over his leash to George, the vet tech. I gave him a short bum rub and left quickly.
There were some differences though. With Girly Girl, I had a call from Dr. Edelbaum around noon to give me the bad news that GG’s x-ray showed what she was certain was an osteosarcoma tumor. This time, Noon came and went with no news from the vet’s office on Blue. By 2p I still had heard nothing. My mind started concocting all sorts of horrors. Blue had died under anesthesia and they didn’t know how to break this news to me so they weren’t calling. Blue had terrible cancer and Dr. Edelbaum didn’t want to break this to me a second time.
I called the vet’s office to see what Blue’s status was. It was busy. My next three attempts met with busy signals as well. I was nearly frantic when finally, I got through. I mentioned Blue’s name and the woman on the phone didn’t go silent, her voice didn’t take on that “you’re about to get bad news” tone. My heart fluttered a little, showing small signs of life. Instead she said she would go check on his status. When she came back she said Blue was doing fine. He was awake and would be ready to go home in an hour.
I went to get my sweet boy. When I walked in, Dr. Edelbaum was in the lobby. She said he had done fine and now had a clean mouth (we did a dental at the same time since he was going under anesthesia anyhow) and some stitches in his bum. It would be at least a week before we heard anything back on the biopsies. They had gotten a chuckle out of the fact that I had circled the two spots with black marker. It seemed prudent to me since Blue is covered in everyday spots. I didn’t want them excising something else. I didn’t intend to subject him to anesthesia again any time in the near future. Admittedly, I’m a bit OCD, but I can imagine how humorous it was to get Blue ready for surgery, for Dr. Edelbaum and the surgeon to walk to his hind quarters so Dr. E could be sure and show the surgeon exactly which spots were in question only to find two modified bulls eyes, one on each bony cheek.
After I received his discharge instructions and an antibiotic, out wobbled my big guy. He was still very woozy from the anesthesia. But the one thought that did seem to be clear in his mind was that he was ready to leave. He tried lying down on the ride home but that caused one end or the other great pain. He lay there screaming for a few seconds and then decided to just stand for the rest of the ride. His head was hanging almost to the ground, he was panting and all his legs were shaking by the time we got home.
When we got inside, he went straight to his crate and lay down. He turned his head away from the small dinner I made. He definitely wasn’t feeling well if he turned up food. Blue continued to refuse food until about 11:30p that evening. At that point, he looked much less foggy. He was able to navigate outside for last potty and when he came back in, he had dinner on his mind.
Today we received a call from the vet who did the surgery. He had received the pathology report back sooner than expected and wanted to give me the news. Blue's misbehaving spots were hemangiomas. They were benign. Luckily, they were spotted very early in their development. The vet said he probably wouldn’t have noted them as anything unusual had he seen them on examination. He advised that I continue to keep watch for any more as sometimes they can turn into cancer.
Moral of this story to all my reading friends: No one knows your furry baby like you do. If it doesn’t look normal, then it probably isn’t. Get it checked and insist on follow up, the sooner the better. I have probably lost a few more years off my life waiting for these results, but I know that I’ll be sleeping soundly tonight.