I haven't posted in a while due to getting in the swing of our new schedule with school, and Ian and I seem to have come down with a cold of some sort this week that's really taking it out of me. I felt the need to update you, and ask for your sincere prayers for our family, and our beloved dog, Cailin.
Cailin has been having some health issues since about late April, but we've not had the ability to get to the bottom of what's causing it. I finally took her in to see a new Veterinarian on Friday of last week. After an exam, x-rays and examination of some tissue collected from her bladder, it was determined that she has Transitional Cell Carcinoma, a rather aggressive form of bladder cancer. Not a good diagnosis - according to our vet, it is inoperable and chemo and radiation would not really be a viable option. We were, needless to say, heartbroken. While dealing with the shock and sadness from the news, we decided to send the same tissue sample into a Pathologist with the hopes that we'd find out more and hopefully get a better idea of how much time we have left with her.
Yesterday we received a phone call from the Vet with the news from the Pathology report - and to further confuse things - he seems to think that it's a "possibly benign polyp" in her bladder that could and should be surgically removed! Good news, right? Well, yes and no. We asked the Vet where this left us and he's recommending that we take her to a Specialist in Birmingham for an ultrasound, to help figure out what this really is, and possibly surgery if the diagnosis calls for it. I called to speak with the Specialist's office today and it looks like we might be setting up an appointment for the beginning of next week to drive her down to Birmingham for the ultrasound. So, the bad part of all this, is that we still don't know what's affecting our dear little puppy (I say that as a loving mother, she'll be 10 years old on Monday) - and we're looking at a pretty expensive road toward finding out and taking care of it. We've already put over $300 toward her diagnosis, and that's just while we've been here in Alabama... we've spend over $800 total since we first took her to the Vet in San Antonio. Now, we're expecting this visit with the Specialist next week to cost $365 for the exam and ultrasound, and possibly more if additional tests are needed. I don't even want to think about surgery yet, as that's estimated (at this point) at costing between $1500-$2000.
Now, I'm very well aware that many of you out there reading this will think we're absolutely crazy for putting this much money into our pet. But, I must stress to you how much a part of the family our "pet" is. She's been with through everything with us during the last 10 years, we lovingly refer to her as our first child, and I can't imagine my daily routine without her. That being said, we're talking about a whole lot of money here (especially after just coming out of 6 months of unemployment), and while we do feel she's worth it... I also fear that they'll do all of these procedures, including surgery, just to do a biopsy on what they remove and find that it is cancer, and we're going to lose her soon anyway. We've been taken on a roller coaster ride emotionally since the beginning, and I just can't bear to lose her after the hope that she could be alright.
So, please pray for our family. We haven't, and probably won't, explain to the children what's going on. If it does turn out to be cancer, we'll tell them she's sick when she starts acting like it... meanwhile, they're too young to really understand anyway. For Collin and me, we need the ability to handle this with clear heads and loving hearts combined; we're praying that God will give us the wisdom we need to know what to do, and the strength (and finances) to do it. Thank you for your sensitivity in this issue, and for any prayers you might be able to offer up for us. I know some of you other dog lovers out there will understand when I say she's given us so much more than we could ever give her.