9.06.2008

Homecoming

This journey with Cailin, since the beginning, can best be described as a roller coaster ride. I can think of at least 4 times when a Vet has told us "this is what is going on" just to come back later and say "no, that's not what's going on after all" - it's been completely exhausting and emotionally draining. This is the latest twist and turn on our ride, since my last post...

I called the Surgical Hospital in Birmingham yesterday morning to see if Cailin would be allowed to come home that afternoon. The Tech informed me that they had pulled her catheter that morning, and she was urinating on her own, so the doctor approved her release. Great news - we'd finally get to bring our puppy home! We arrived at the hospital around 4:30 yesterday and waited in an exam room for the Surgeon to come have his post-surgical talk with us, we were both feeling a bit apprehensive about what we'd be told, since we'd gotten a smidgen of not-so-great information from his nurse on Tuesday night.

Dr. Ballagas sat down with us moments later to tell us how it went, and this is a summary of what he said. Basically, there was indeed a large, bleeding tumor located in a safe-for-removal spot at the front of the bladder. He was able to remove that "safe" portion of the bladder, leaving about half of her bladder remaining. Here's where it gets interesting... he noticed some thickening in the bladder wall around the tumor, possible evidence of either the tumor spreading, or in his opinion, more likely just inflammation from being beaten about by the tumor when she moved. He also noticed a couple of tiny nodules at the ureter (where the kidneys dump into the bladder) that didn't look the same as the tumor he removed, and figured they might also be spots of inflammation. He shaved them off for good measure and included them with the tumor to be sent for biopsy. Generally speaking, this was all relatively good news.

So, we were confused. We told Dr. Ballagas that we were under the impression that the tumor had definitely spread into the muscle wall and the urethra, as the nurse had told us the evening of the surgery. He assured us that the nurse misunderstood him say ureter and not urethra (which means a HUGE difference in how much time she'd have left), and must've drawn her own conclusions about the nodules found there, in addition to the thickening of the muscle wall. We were shocked that such a dooming prognosis was given unnecessarily, but thrilled to find out that that was probably not the case! Now, that being said, we're still waiting for the ultimate word of the biopsy, but there is hope yet. Dr. Ballagas is hopeful and seemed to think it more likely that the thickening in the muscle wall and the nodules were simply inflammation, which is more reason to be hopeful ourselves. We should have the biopsy report in about 2 weeks, possibly sooner.

Meanwhile, our sweet puppy is home with us and seems quite happy to be so. She's resting under the computer desk at my feet as I write. Happy Sigh. We brought home an antibiotic, pain medicine, her Peroxicam (the cancer med) and the Misoprostal (to counteract the ill effects that can be caused in the stomach by the Peroxicam) - so she'll be given lots of pills four times a day for a while. She also has a horrid collar to keep her from biting or licking her incision, but we're only using it when we have to leave the house or can't keep an eye on her. Her exercise will be very limited for a while, no running or jumping. And because her bladder is half the size it once was, she'll need to go out pretty often (I woke up with her every four hours to let her out last night). Fortunately, the bladder is an amazingly regenerative organ, and we were told that it should, in time, stretch back to very close to it's previous size. We'll take her back to Birmingham to have Dr. Ballagas remove the sutures in 2 weeks, and hopefully get the results of the biopsy in person.

So, there's the most recent experience on our roller coaster ride with Cailin. Fortunately, the ride took our emotions up this time, instead of down, but there is that little part of me that's waiting for the drop at the end of the hill. Please pray it doesn't come, especially in the form of bad news about the biopsy. I appreciate so many of you staying tuned for news on our baby - I'm sure I've been long-winded about it all, but it really has been therapy for me to compile my thoughts and share them with others here. It seems that this topic will pretty much be coming to an end with the final news of the biopsy, at which time we'll return to your previously scheduled broadcasting.

Much love and puppy kisses from Huntsville, Alabama!

6 comments:

DW Hobbs said...

I'm so very glad your dear puppy is home safe again with her family and I hope that the news will continue to be good in the coming weeks!

Nina and John said...

So happy about the good news and glad your baby is back at home! I know she is happy! God is good! Keep us updated! Love you all!

The Bottolfini's said...

Huge sigh of relief and happy tears at the Bottolfini house. Prayer does work on furkids!!! We love Cailin (by the way - she should be getting a welcome home package in the mail any day from me and my friends!)

Love yous!

E said...

That's wonderful...terrible that the nurse gave you bad info the first time, but I'm thankful for a happier outcome when it came to the right information. I'm so thankful she's back home and doing well. I hope she will continue to heal & recover well...and have many happy, healthy years ahead!

xoxo
E

The Wilhite Family said...

Glad to hear your news! We will keep praying!! Love y'all!!

Four Lights For Him said...

Thanks for the good news!