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.
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!