2013 April 18 (a shared post)
Life has thrown so many curve balls lately, that I am feeling completely turned around.
Initially, in mid February, when I called Pittsburgh and found that my Daddy was very sick, then found that he needed emergency surgery to correct a bowel obstruction caused by a hernia he choose to ignore, I thought that was the extent of things. Then, while he was in the hospital, they discovered a tumor in his lung. Then, the tumor turned out to be cancer. Then the cancer turned out to be metastasizing. Those were curve, after curve, after curve.
We arrived in Pittsburgh just one week after the emergency surgery took place. The only campground open and available was at the top of a former slag heap, now covered with grass, near Tarentum. It was more expensive than resorts we had stayed in in Florida, but it was open and within 20 miles of my Dad. Weather in Pittsburgh in February and March can be wildly unpredictable. This year choose to be very wet and often very cold, and because we are at elevation, very windy. It also meant that the wetness translated into mud! And it continued into April. Small curve balls, here I suppose. Like when the power went out on our electric pedestal in the 20 amp outlet where the heated hose was plugged in, and our water froze. Like the fact that we've been hauling dirty laundry to my brother's house since February, only to find out last week, that there are laundry facilities here, but no one ever mentioned them. (They are in a locked area beneath the owner's home and she "forgot" to tell us).
A visit to my family doctor to discuss some medication changes, turned into numerous tests, including an ultrasound which led to a specialist, which is leading to a procedure. Curve ball, curve ball, curve ball, curve ball. Good grief!
Then came the curve balls related to our Greyla Girl, who is nearly 14, and a mostly labrador retriever. She was having occasional bouts of being off her food, which we put down to her age and being finicky and the major change of being in the cold for the first time in 18 months. Then she threw up a couple of times. Again, she bounced back, so we didn't fret too long or hard. Then, one evening, she simply collapsed. All four feet went out from under her and I panicked. She refused to let me help her up, but simply laid on the floor for over an hour. Then, she managed to get up, with assistance, and go outside by means of us using a towel to sling her and assist her down the steps. The next morning I called the Vet. The vet saw her that afternoon and was of the opinion that she had arthritis. Dr Person gave her medication which seemed to help with her gait. However I neglected to share the information about her appetite and her occasional vomiting. To be honest, I was so overwhelmed by Greyla's collapse that I never even thought about these other things. Perhaps I threw that curve ball myself.
After two weeks on Rimadyl, we went back to the Vet, for blood work and a refill on the drugs, which seemed to be working. Here comes another curve ball. Greyla's blood work showed elevated liver enzymes. Now, it occurs to me to tell Dr Person about the lack of appetite, which comes and goes, and the occasional vomiting. We establish a plan of action. If Greyla doesn't eat in 24 hours, bring her in. In the meantime, stop the Rimadyl, consider beginning Tramadol for pain relief, and plan to recheck her blood work in a month, if she is eating normally.
Unfortunately, there is a nagging little voice in the back of my mind telling me to get her checked immediately, in spite of the fact that as soon as I hung up from Dr Person, Greyla ate very morsel in her dish. The nagging voice continued, until I called in the morning to request a recheck and abdominal X-rays. I was expecting an enlarged liver. What we saw, instead, was an enormous mass in the middle of Greyla's belly. It is so large, that it is displacing portions of her small intestines, and obscuring visualization via X-ray, of her liver, stomach, and spleen. Major curve ball! Especially curvy, because her physical exam was exceedingly normal. Dr Person suggested that an ultrasound guided aspirate or biopsy was probably the way to proceed. So, tomorrow sometime, Greyla and I will meet Dr Rodgers who will do the ultrasound.
In the meantime, additional curve balls have been lobbed regarding the ultrasound. One, by my dear husband, who questions spending the money on something diagnostic, which "isn't going to make her live longer". And then, the curve ball from a friend who talked about "the inevitable".
I just want to do the best thing I can for Greyla. At this point we don't know if the mass is connected to any organs, or if it is benign, or cancer. I'm praying against any other curve balls, unless they involve a miracle, and the total disappearance of that huge mass. That would be a curve ball for which I would give thanks.