Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Day 1687

We got Dot's pathology report today. The growth that was removed one week ago today was a Low Grade Soft Tissue Sarcoma. Yes, this is cancer, but it's not quite as bad as it sounds. Most soft tissue sarcomas have a relatively low chance of spreading to other parts of the body. Since Dot's tumor was located in her intestines, it was not attached to surrounding tissue and it was possible to remove it completely with clean margins. This means that a healthy segment of the intestine was also removed on either side of the tumor to ensure that no cancer cells were left behind. The oncologist told me today that since Dot's tumor had clean margins, there will be no need for chemo or radiation treatments. With any luck, the surgery will be all that is needed.

I also found out that Dot's incontinence probably has nothing to do with the surgery itself. Her internal medicine specialist told me that incontinence is very common when a dog has been receiving IV fluids for an extended period of time. These fluids help prevent dehydration and are used to flush toxins out of the body, but they can also interrupt normal kidney function. "Sometimes it takes four to six weeks before the incontinence goes away," the doctor told me. At least we've got a plan now. Whenever she wakes up and starts looking around, we assume that she has to pee. I took her outside around 2:30 AM this morning, and she made it through the rest of the night without incident. I try to take her outside every three hours and that seems to do the trick. There were no major accidents today. I only had to wash two small baby crib liners, instead of all the bedding we own.

I'm starting to get cabin fever from watching Dot 24/7. Her condition continues to improve, but she's still not stable enough to leave on her own. She still has a bit of trouble getting up and down and needs to be kept off the bed and furniture. Usually, she follows me around anyway, so keeping her nearby is not a problem. Dot has clearly regained her appetite. I decided to fix myself a nice breakfast this morning, instead of just eating my regular oatmeal and both Dot and Dash wanted the sausages I fixed. Instead of a relaxing meal while watching old Dr. Who episodes, I had two dogs barking at me. It's good to see Dot active and engaged though. Slowly but surely, she's getting back to her old self.

Last night we made elaborate preparations to ensure that Dot wouldn't wet the bed.  In addition to the layer of waterproof baby crib liners, we placed a thin sheet of vinyl between the comforter and Dot's blankets. This might have been a mistake. The bedding didn't breathe anymore and I woke up about 3 AM in a pool of sweat. At first I thought that Dot had managed to get under the covers with me, but then I realized the problem was me. It was Niacin flushing. Live and learn. I guess taking a big dose of Niacin at night for cholesterol while laying under a sheet of vinyl isn't a good idea.

I hope Janet and I stay healthy. Having two dogs with cancer at the same time is just about all I can handle. We're doing pretty well though. Against some pretty long odds, Dash is making a spectacular recovery and Dot is doing her best to follow in his footsteps. For my part, I'm trying to take things one day at a time even though this doesn't come naturally to me. One way or another, we'll pull through this.

Tink is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day