Thursday, June 11, 2009
Potential bad news RE: Gilligan and his lump removal
Here is a picture of Gilligan from the park that is relatively close to our house during last Fall. Gilligan likes to sit in the park alot. We take him there 3 times a day (morning walk, afternoon walk and evening walk). His usual route is about 1000 meters but sometimes he is able to shorten it by lying down and refusing to get up. He is pretty good at having an abreviated walk through this mechanism.
In fact Gilligan is the first dog I have met or owned that is not super excited about exercise including walking or hiking. I think he is just as happy to simply sit home, eat treats, hang out and snuggle.
Today Gilligan went to get some lumps removed. I was anxious but hopeful this was going to be as routine as surgeries can be. This was not to be.
The basic gist of what has occured is that Gilligan's bumps had a variety of issues including bad margins/lacked membranes holding the mass and one bump that was not a fatty mass but a tumor that looked like brain/spaghetti. The only positive was that Gilligan handled his anesthesia like a champ. Oh yeah and the vet and technicians loved him because he is a sweetie!
Basically the doctor took out his first bump with some difficulty because it did not have clean margins she had expected of a fatty mass (which it was) and thus the bump was not easily removed. Apparently it was contained within/merged with some muscle so removing it did not take the 20 minutes that was expected but considerable longer. The next several bumps were just as troublesome. By the time they got to his neck bump, they realized all his bumps were more invasive then expected. His neck bump was very close to his jugular vein thus making this a delicate operation.
The final bump that was to be removed (based on our "must remove" list) was the bump on his wrist. This bump has been visible since last Sept/Oct. Back during his yearly exam in the Fall it was felt this bump was not of major concern. Well, this is the mass that was not at all what the doctor expected. It apparently looked like brain/spaghetti which could be very bad. And the doctor was not able to get the entire mass because Gilligan had been under anesthesia for quite some time. Finally this mass was intertwined with a vein which added a degree of complexity. This wrist bump sounded really bad.
The wrist bump will be biopsied. Although during our conversation I did ask the question, "what is the point of biopsing it?" The one thing I observe as a statistician is that oncology studies really strongly show the earlier you detect and treat any cancer the better the prognosis. This mass has been present and detectable since last summer/fall so the window of opportunity to treat might already be over. And making medical decisions for others is so hard. But hopefully this mass is just some unnamed bizarre looking mass that is not any cause for alarm.
We hear the results next week.
Because of the extra time in surgery and all sorts of ports to allow for wound draining, when we spoke to the Doctor it was recommended that we consider letting him stay overnight or else pick him up as close to 7 p.m. (previously the window was 5:30-5:45 p.m.!).
Because he is in a sterile environment in which medical professionals are available, we decided to let him stay at his vets overnight. This means for the first time he is all alone. Hopefully he is really hopped up on painkillers and residual anesthetic.
Tristan and I let him stay in our bed last night (and the night before). We barely had room enough for us. But tonight I would give anything to be relegated to a tiny bit of bed because Gilligan was in it and taking up 90% of the bed (the other 5% would be cats and 5% Tristan and I-combined for any of you questioning my questionable math skills!)