Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Day 1534

I got a phone call form Dash's surgeon at about 3 PM this afternoon. He told me that the procedure went as planned. Surgeons are different than other doctors. They are very matter-of-fact, displaying little of the warmth and empathy that veterinarians are famous for. I actually like this. I usually misinterpret emotion and empathy anyway, so I prefer sticking to the facts. The facts in this case were fantastic. The surgeon was able to remove the entire tumor with no serious hemorrhaging issues. Hemorrhaging is typically a problem with thyroid tumors, since these fast growing cancers quickly develop their own vascular system, which can cause serious bleeding problems when the tumor is removed. Dash is resting in the ICU now. The hospital will keep him under observation for several days to make sure there is not any internal bleeding, and then he will be released.

The most important thing now is to find out the results from the pathology report. The tumor is sent off to a lab for analysis and they determine exactly what kind of cancer it is. It often takes up to two weeks to get these results and they will determine what happens next. Certain types of cancers will require no further treatment. Other types will require radiation to eradicate the remaining malignant cells. The most aggressive forms of cancer might require a combination of radiation and chemotherapy. That's all in the future though. For now, Dash is doing well. The surgeon was very pleased and said it was very lucky that we caught this tumor so early. He said that two or three months from now, the outcome might have been very different.

The ironic thing about this whole situation is that a tick might have saved Dash's life. Vets are always trying to get me to use a flea and tick preventative like Frontline on Dot and Dash. I am very reluctant to do this, because both dogs have very sensitive skin and when I have used these topical preventatives in the past, their skin quickly becomes red and raw. Instead, I check the dogs carefully for ticks every evening. That's how I found the tumor.

It was amazing that I got any work done at all today, since most of my time was consumed with the dogs. When I wasn't up at the cancer center with Dash, I was over at the physical therapy center with Dot. Dot is the good news dog of the week. She has completely recovered from her episode of eating the bedroom carpet and seems to have more energy now. Her new perkiness may be the result of a new drug we are trying that is supposed to reduce the onset of Canine Cognitive Dysfnction. I guess this is what they call Alzheimers in dogs. The active ingredient in this product is supposed to protect nerve cells in the brain from damage associated with excessive calcium levels. Some vets are very skeptical, saying that the apoaequorin that that is supposed to prevent dementia will never even reach the brain in a pill and is destroyed by the dog's stomach acid instead. All I know is that Dot is definitely perkier and more alert this week.

I got a call from the specialty pharmacy today saying that my second shipment of Sovaldi and Rabavirin will arrive by FedEx tomorrow. This means I am already one third of the way through my 12-week treatment. The way they ship these pills, you'd think I was receiving a shipment of gold coins. As much as the Sovaldi costs, they might as well be sending me gold coins.

On a totally unrelated note, Baidu shares surged in after hours trading after the company released fourth quarter results that were much better than analysts expected. Yay! I still own some Baidu stock. Maybe this fortuitous turn of events will help me pay for Dash. Hepatitis-C and cancer have certainly taught me one thing: modern medicine is breathtakingly expensive. It may be worth it though. Dash and I are both still alive. Thanks for all the kind words I received from you guys today. It means a lot to me that you are thinking about Dash.

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


  1. John, I was glad to hear the surgeon’s report. I hope recovery comes quick for your good friend Dash.

  2. Good news all around today! You need a few days like that. Had to look up Baidu. So, basically they get to test a potential Alzheimer's drug on dogs. May be a good tradeoff.