Short respite?

After 2 days at the vet getting IV fluids and meds with no sign of improvement, thought yesterday was the day I would be saying good bye to my sweet bear (she has more nicknames than you can imagine).  Just after making the appointment with Dr. B and sharing the news of my decision, Dr. B calls to tell me that Lupe is eating.  What?  So I went over to see her and she had perked up, was walking around and yes, even eating!  Dr. B was going to send everything to Dr. Z so that she would be up to speed today.  Dr. B feel that maybe surgery is Lupe’s best option.  So Lupe walked out of the vet’s office yesterday!  And I got a night of snuggling which I hadn’t expected.

Today is a different story.  She’s refusing food again and just wants to be in her bed in the bedroom.  She was very uncooperative with her meds this morning as well.  I did have to give her a 1/2 bath (the back end) cuz’ she just needed it and that does usually make her a little mad, but she usually runs around, rubbing into everything for about 5 minutes before she pouts.  None of the today.

Waiting to speak with Dr. Z to decide if we move forward or it we make her as comfortable as possible until it time to let her go.  The pit in my stomach and the panic in my chest is pretty much constant but I need to be strong for her…she who has shown all the strength in the world.  Don’t know what today or tomorrow may bring but I am thankful for each extra day we have together.

Mom's eating breakfast?!

What I’ve learned from my girl

So yesterday was my birthday.  I took the day off of work as I went to a concert Sunday night with a good friend.  Lupe and I stayed overnight with my friend and her husband.  We kept her separated from my friends’ dogs as their 8 month old pittie puppy is very hyper and excited by new dogs.  Lupe did well walking around outside and even pooped yesterday morning.  As I mentioned in my previous post she went back to see Dr. B yesterday and is there again for another day of IV fluids, pain meds and antibiotics.

Wasn’t how I expected to spend the afternoon of my birthday, but I reflected on what is important in life…

Family who will support you through thick and thin

Friends that do the same and can help you keep your mind off what bothers you

Warmth from the cold and shade from the heat

Pride in your accomplishments and decisions, no matter how big or how small

And that cold nose, warm heart of your furry best friend

We all could be a little more like our dogs…live in the moment, enjoy what you have and know that you make an impact on those around you.

Hunger Games, Part Two

Spoke with Dr. B this afternoon and she was concerned about Lupe not eating and a rise in her white blood cell count.  So back to the vet we went.  She has lost about a pound in the last couple of weeks.  Dr. B re-ran the blood work and her white blood cell count was still high, kidney and liver levels were not extremely high but above normal.  Dr. B also ran a pancreatitis screen and that came back abnormal.  So Miss L is currently at the vet getting IV fluids, antibiotics and pain meds.  I have to pick her up around 7 this evening, she’ll have the catheter in still as she has to go back tomorrow for another round.

So for now, Thursday’s schedule is off.  Not sure when we will do it, we have to get her through this current crisis.  Just want my girl home and resting…hope its not a sleepless night, but if it is, she’s worth it…

Taken last night…


The Hunger Games

Breakfast this morning was a bust.  Lupe at one bite of chicken, one bite of hamburg and one bite of bread (sounds like a George Thorogood song) but not second bite of any of them and the bite she did take was me trying to feed her.  She also does not want to be in the same room as me, which is very unlike her.  She is normally so underfoot that I have to be careful not to step on her.  So she’s on her bed in the bedroom, no lights on and sleeping.  Is this truly the Tramadol and all that she is going through or is she telling me something else?  I honestly have never had a sick dog in my life…growing up our dogs decided to move on when we weren’t around.

We are going to spend the night at a friend’s house.  I’m hoping the change of scenery will do her some good and maybe spark her appetite.  They have 3 dogs (all big dogs)…Lupe has met 2 of them before and loved them, but she hasn’t met the new one, a pitty pup so we will be keeping them separate for most of the time.  The humans are heading out for a concert and a birthday celebration but my heart is so heavy that I find it hard to motivate this morning.  I want to crawl onto her bed with her and snuggle.  Maybe that’s not a bad idea.

She is still peeing, walking and drinking which are all good.  I plan to check in with her normal vet (Dr. B) tomorrow to update her on Lupe.  I just don’t know if surgery is an option if she’s already not eating.  We do have a few more days to decide what to do…

Saturday ups and downs

Lupe had some great moments today…walking a little more, didn’t have her 3:30 am witching hour wake up (giving Tramadol around 1 am seemed to prevent that) and she even pooped!  There was some serious dancing over that one!

Dr. Z called with the results of her blood work.  Everything looks good, but she did point out that her thyroid levels were low.  This has happened for the past few years and every backup test we do comes back normal.  Her kidney levels were within normal limits but on the high side of normal.  Dr. Z said this could be due to the colitis.

The low of today as that Lupe has really no interest in food.  I tried boiled chicken, boiled hamburg, bread, cat food, Cheerios, a Dentastix (aka doggie crack).  With the chicken hamburg, bread and cat food, a couple of bites but that’s it.  She has been sleeping most of the day.  She is recovering from a bad bout of colitis and has been poked and prodded so much in the last week and a half and the Tramadol may be causing a decreased appetite on top of everything else.  Its just hard to see a dog that was so food motivated not interested in it.

Trying to hold it together but its not easy right now.  Need to be the strong pack leader but even the strong ones get overwhelmed and scared…tonight that is me…

History of how we got here

To say that the past month has been a rollercoaster is truly an understatement.  Quick background of things…

Lupe is a 14 year old cockapoo and I wish I could say it was love at first sight, well it was, for my friend but not for me.  I had the name Lupe picked out after a summer in Mexico during grad school.  I really admired the way that Mexicans (especially women) had so much national pride in the Virgin of Guadelupe and the name Lupita just made me think of a sweet little dog.  So somewhat randomly I told my friend who was visiting from out of town that I was getting a dog.  I was leaning towards a little male maltese because my parents had one and I thought it would be cool to have matching dogs.  They brought out his little cratemate because they couldn’t leave her alone.  My friend took the little tannish red dog and kept pushing her on me.  Finally, that little pup nussled my neck, made a few puppy squeaks and I was smitten.  My friend said to me, “You found Lupe…”  That was September of 1997 and she has been my Lupe since.

It hasn’t always been easy over the years.  Lupe was diagnosed with a cataract in her left eye when she was 2.  I know she would eventually lose sight in the eye but she did just great.  In June of 2011 at her yearly check up her vet (Dr. B) looked at her eye and asked me how long it was red.  It hadn’t been long but it was starting to bulge.  The test quickly confirmed glaucoma.  We made an appointment with a specialist and I began researching glaucoma in dogs.  Meds I knew would be an option but eventually they eye would have to be removed.  The specialist (Dr. W) set us up with all the eye medications with hope that they would quickly bring down the pressure (it was over 70 and normal is 10-20).  She said we would quickly know if the meds were working.  I had learned that unless the glaucoma is diagnoses early on, the eye is blind.  So I asked Dr. W what were we trying to accomplish if she was blind and Dr. W honestly told me nothing and we scheduled the surgery for the next week.  Lupe did great, her pain was gone.  It took me a little longer to cope because I could see the swelling and bruising.  Once her fur grew back, it was hard to tell she was missing an eye.

So that leads us to her next trial.  In the beginning on May I noticed she had a slight limp but some mornings she is a little stiff so really didn’t think too much of it.  She went to daycare that day and the limp was still there that evening.  I scheduled her for her routine check up a week later since the limp was still there.  Dr. B thought it was arthiritis and put Lupe on supplements and NSAIDs to get the swelling and limping under control.  The limp in the left front leg seemed to respond but she developed a limp in the right front leg and a few days later I noticed a bump near her front elbow.  So back to Dr. B we went, x-rays and a joint tap were done.  She was put on doxycycline as we live in a high tick area and it was thought she could have a tick borne disease.  Results came back, no signs of infection, no tick borne disease, no lymphocytes and we were of to see an orthopedist the next day (last Friday).

The orthopedist (Dr. Z) and a radiologist looked at her x-rays and said that the lump didn’t seem to involve the bone, just the joint.  A biopsy was performed the next day and Dr. Z was going to look for evidence of a soft tissue trauma which is what she seemed to think it was.  Had to drop Lupe off early Saturday morning and tried to keep the panic and anxiety at bay as I busied myself until I got the call.  I was sitting in Panera trying to eat lunch when the phone rang.  Lupe had done great, she had to be put under rather than sedated due to pain.  Dr. Z felt like she got a good sample, but the cells looked abnormal.  We talked briefly about what it could be and what options were.  She said if it were a malignancy, chest x-rays would be needed.  I had her do them that day.  Well, it seemed that my sweet girl had cancer.  There was a meltdown as the gravity of everything hit me.  I tried to make some light of it…a one-eyed, three-limbed dog…sounded like someone needed to be a pirate for Halloween.  When I picked her up that afternoon, the chest x-rays were clear and Dr. Z told me that I had options but we would wait until the results from the biopsy came in.  Lupe had the cone of shame and a partially shaved leg, she looked pathetic but adorable at the same time.

The results came back in May 31st.  Synovial cell sarcoma which appeared to be localized to the elbow joint.  We scheduled blood work and an abdomnial ultrasound for the next day.  We talked about treatment options and the vet said if we decided to go forth with amputation she would be able to do it as soon as Saturday.  I wasn’t ready to act THAT fast.  Lupe was at the vet at 6:45 Friday morning and I went to get her aound 2:30.  Dr. Z spent about an hour with me before she brought me Lupe so that I could ask questions, cry and she could really discuss options.  Pallative care is not an option.  Yes, Lupe is an older dog, but she is healthy otherwise (minus the bouts of collitis and UTIs she has had…and which have both hit in the past week).  She is not considered a terminal patient.  So that leaves amputation.  Scary thinking of it but I have to give her a chance to live her lifespan pain free.  Lupe is already starting to walk on 3 legs as the 4th leg is basically non-weight bearing at this point.  Dr. Z also mentioned that I should check out and was thrilled I had already found the site.  Interestingly enough Dr. Z has had 2 tri St. Bernards and understands the anxiety and difficultness of the decision process.  Surgery is schedule for Thursday, June 7th pending the results of blood work.

Lupe is doing well.  The tramadol has made her sleepy and her appetite is not great today but I have been advised that is a side effect of the pain meds along with the collitis and UTI.  She hasn’t pooped since Tuesday but with the collitis and pain meds, not too surprising.  I figure when she has to go, she will.  So that’s our story…now to share a few pictures taken from March…