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.

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