Friday, May 29, 2009

Why Do It?

I was asked the other day, why I am doing this. This being putting Chandler through surgery again. The asker said, "wouldn't just be better to put him down?" This sums up why I did it:

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Round 2, Post-Op Day #1

So Chandler made it through the night with little issues. When I called at 10 PM last night they said he had already been taken out of the ICU and brought into the inpatient unit. That was great. His vitals were normal and he was eating well.

This morning at 6 AM, they said he had an uneventful night, and that he was eating VORACIOUSLY. This is great. Dogs often lose their appetites after surgery (like last time) and this go around little Channy is HUNGRY and EATING. It also helps that we fed him 100% his favorite wet food. So what's not to eat, right?

Anyway, Michael got to visit wil him this morning around 9:45 and took the pics posted here. They shaved him. BIG TIME! But he's looking good, he was happy to see Michael and he ate all the breakfast that Michael fed him. They had him on Fentanyl last night overnight for pain relief. This morning they took him off the Fentanyl IV drip, and only have the patch on. They did this last time. The patch will stay on for a few days and this will, hopefully, be more than enough to deal with the pain around the scar/incision site.

Looks like our little boy will be coming home this afternoon. And we can't wait!

close up on the scar... looks clean.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

It's Deja Vu, all over again!

(UPDATED 9:25 AM- below) So a week after the bad news and the aborted surgical procedure, the mass in Chandler's neck (in the line of the old incision from the prior surgery) has become very large and very hard. In just one week! It's nearly spanning the length of the right side of his jaw line. I've been watching it closely over the past week and noticed over the weekend that a black, flat-top papule was forming on one end of it. This is the classical presentation of a malignant melanoma. Here, it's now breaking through and manifesting on the skin.

As I've been checking it daily (in the evenings), I noticed last night that the mass was spreading downward, towards his jaw bone . Towards the bone. Threatening his gums. I can feel lumps in his sublingual glands, just under the tongue on that side. My concern is that this is so quickly invading his oral cavity as to break through and either fracture the jaw or ulcerate into the oral cavity. If the masses under the tongue spread, this could result in paralysis or loss of function/use of his tongue. Both would be phenomenally painful and cause him to be unable to eat. End of life issues...

So we called the NYC Veterinary Specialists and after a lot of back-and-forth, they told us to bring him in this morning. Again, he's NPO (fasting) in the hopes that they can take him into surgery this morning and cut this out. No, this is not going to cure his cancer. Yes, this will most likely grow back in the same spot. But we're hoping that with a simple one to two day recovery, we can buy us some time and give him comfort over the next few weeks.

Michael is there now (it's a quarter to 9 AM) and waiting for Dr. Kyles who just arrived. Either Chandler is having surgery with an overnight stay to take this out and try to spare his mouth/cheek/tongue/Jaw, or else it's too late and we'll have to find out what course this usually follows and what to expect.

We knew from the get-go that this was a very aggressive and malignant form of cancer, but this is all happening so much faster than expected. Maybe it's because he's such a small dog and there's just not too much room for things to spread out and grow before them compromise local structures.

UPDATE, WEDNESDAY 9:25 AM: Dr. Kyles agreed and took Chandler to the O.R. for surgery today. We'll post more when we know more after surgery.

UPDATE, WEDNESDAY 4:25 PM: Still waiting for an update from Dr. Kyles. Presumably, Chandler is not out of surgery yet.

UPDATE, WEDNESDAY 4:35 PM: I got frustrated so decided to find out what's going on. I just got off the phone with the hospital; Chandler didn't go into surgery yet! Apparently, there was a "big emergency surgery" that pushed everything back. They're prepping him for surgery now and he should be going in at 5 or so.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Worst Thing You Could Have Told Me

I am sure you have gathered from the title, that this is not good.

Dr. Kyles called this afternoon to let us know the radiology report came back from Chandler's x-ray on Saturday. Not good. He has mets throughout his lungs. My sweet little man has lung cancer now. The one plus to this horrible news is that Chandler is not having sugery today. There is no reason to put him through that now. Now it becomes a question of time.

I would say I am numb, but that is not true. I am destroyed. My little boy is terminal. All of his life, I have refused to believe he would ever die. Joke's on me. I now have to enjoy every singe moment I have with him. I cannot believe this. I keep hoping I will wake up and this was all a horrible dream. How can this be happening to my best friend? I want to understand, but I can't. He has been my faithful friend for 14 years (next month will be exactly 14 years). I cannot imagine him not being there. Anyone who knows me and Chandler knows the connection we have. He is part of me. How do I focus on the time I have with him, now being forced to face the fact that that time is drawing to a close? He was supposed to be with me forever. I know that is unreasonable, but that is how I feel.

Photos of This Morning

I thought it would be nice to have a few photos of Chandler up so you can see how he was looking and where he goes for surgery.
"Whaddya mean another surery? My beard has barely grown back in from the last one..."
Chandler en route to the vet this morning. As you can tell, he was not fazed by this. He fell asleep on my arm. I think it was more comforting for me than for him. Just like Chandler to make sure I am ok.

This is the vet's office. He is here now waiting for surgery.

Round 2

So Dr. Kyles called Michael on Monday (on his day off, which we really appreciate)to let us know that 2 of the 3 biopsied sites were positive (waiting on the 3rd.) Since they're malignant melanoma (again) he'll be having surgery to remove these nodes. One is actually inside the old surgical scar, one is just above and behind it, near the ear/neck and the third is below the neck on the OTHER side, near his shoulder.

We just dropped him off at the hospital and he'll be having surgery today and staying overnight, mostly for monitoring. As he's quite older (14 yrs old) and this is a lot of sedation, they want to make him comfy and make sure he's 100% okay to come home. So, we're gonna miss him tonight at home, but after a short workday tomorrow, we'll be picking him up and bringing him with us. And since the office is closed Friday and Monday (Memorial Day Weekend) we'll have a nice, long 5 days to nurse him back to self.

Stay tuned for more updates as they become available.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Back We Go

Dr. Kyles called to let us know that the reports showed the sites had melanoma, so tomorrow Chandler is going back for more surgery.

I am of course saddened but nowhere nearly as devastated as I was the first time. This truly sucks, but I know it is going to be fine. This time is not nearly as invasive as the first one. 2 of the areas will be accessed via the original surgery site. The third is a skin lesion, like a mole, on his left shoulder area. I HATE that he is going through more surgery. I know he is going to be fine. It is just not fair.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Dr. Visit

Ethan took Chandler to the doctor today to get 3 lumps looked at. Ethan insisted they do a chest x-ray to check for any lung mets. Chandler of course did not feel like cooperating today, so little man had to get sedated. In addition to the x-ray, they are doing needle aspirations on 3 sites. We should have the results on Monday or Tuesday. Depending on the results, Chandler might be having surgery again next week.

Keep the good thoughts coming. Please.

Friday, May 15, 2009


Chandler has now received 3 of the 4 initial vaccinations. His next one is a week from yesterday. He is doing great. Unfortunately though, last night I found a lump on his skin that may very well a melanoma. There is also a lump near his surgery site that could be another enlarged lymph node. Tomorrow Chandler has an appointment with his surgeon and if either/both of these new masses are cancerous, they will come out ASAP. The question then becomes, do we do this every time we find lump? I don't want to subject Chandler to surgery every month. The whole point is to keep him comfortable. I am hopeful that removing these lumps will be minimally invasive. Compared to the last surgery, it should be easy. I am of course upset about this. I mean, hasn't he been through enough? It is just not fair.