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I hate bad news, especially vague bad news

Yesterday Sadie had an episode where she lost suddenly lost all strength in her back legs. It only lasted a moment, then she seemed better but today it happened again, twice. So I called the vet and took her in.

It didn't go well.

It started out well enough. She was fine and walking around acting like her self. The vet couldn't find anything wrong, except that she had a slight heart murmur, which she didn't have before. So she wanted to know if we wanted to do x-rays or a blood draw or an ultra sound. There may have been something else thrown in, but it all came down to how much money did we have to spend. An ultra sound was out of the question, and I couldn't do both of the other choices, so I chose x-ray.

Not sure I chose right. After WAAAAY to much time waiting we were put into another waiting room -- one that felt way too much like a "final goodbyes" type place -- and waited some more.

When the vet came in she said that Sadie had an enlarged heart and a slightly enlarged liver. But the real problem was this unidentified mass that was in her abdomen. THAT came with all sorts of dire possibilities -- the worst being some unpronounceable tumor that could end up killing her at any time. There's no easy way to figure out what it is and if we would do the "perfect world" scenario (where money wasn't an obstacle) we could get an ultra sound and a possible biopsy to find out what kind of tumor it is. Then, if it is the worst case and we operate she would have an additional 2 or 3 months to live. Otherwise, if it's not worse case, then an operation would remove the mass and she would be fine -- until another tumor grew or it became cancerous.

We spent way to much time talking about her not living much past right now due to this "mass" and none of that had anything to do with the weakness in her legs. The weakness is probably due to the heart murmur which could cause a drop in blood pressure. They have meds that could help that.

All of this is something that comes up in older dogs and Sadie, being 11+, qualifies. Now an ultrasound will run $400 and may not tell us anything except where the mass is, actually, located. It could tell us if it's malignant if they can get a biopsy off of it but that's it. We could do a blood draw, see what that could tell us more about how bad it is and (possibly) do an operation to see about the tumor.

Right now, I opted for meds for her heart, to see what that does for her. We're going to wait a day or two before we decide about the blood tests that could, possibly, tell us how un-healthy she is.

The vet was almost apologetic about finding the mass. She kept saying that she hadn't been looking for it, but that while x-raying the heart the film was big enough to catch the other problem. That Sadie looked and acted so healthy that she hadn't expected to find anything like this. I almost think that she hadn't even expected to find an enlarged heart, because she was so healthy-acting.

As we were driving home, I told Myria: It really sucks to go to the vet and find out that your 11-year-old dog isn't going to live forever.

I can't afford the ultrasound. For that matter, an ultrasound really wouldn't help any, not really. If the heart meds help with her legs and she gets back to feeling good -- well, that's all we can ask for. If this mass/tumor thing is really bad, then there's nothing we can do about it. Not to mention Sadie doesn't take well to operations and anesthesia and the like, so I'm not sure that she'd be a good candidate for surgery -- especially if it will only stall the inevitable for a couple of months.

On the other hand, if the meds help with the leg thing and her blood work comes back showing she's mostly healthy and the tumor doesn't turn out to be the end of her within the weeks/months the vet talked about, then we can think about moving on from there.

Sadie's not in pain and she's just as wonderfully cuddly and affectionate as ever. She still runs around and appears healthy. Until that changes, well, we just have to continue as normal. Well, as normal as we ever are, I suppose.

Life is hard.


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Jan. 7th, 2014 06:20 am (UTC)
I am so sorry. Paws crossed that the heart meds help and that the mass isn't anything to worry about. Hugs to you and your fur baby!
Jan. 10th, 2014 06:07 pm (UTC)
Thanks. It's going day by day. She mostly tired but not distressed, so that's about all we can ask for right now.
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