Patch in Review

SUMMARY OF PATCH

Symptoms~sickness~vet visits~diagnosis’~and my ramblings

(I created this document to take to the New Doc)

  • Thanksgiving 2007: Patch is sick. He begins trembling/shaking (assumed it was pain)
  • VET-Monday, December 3, 2007: Doc H 
    • Said Patch has arthritis/pinched nerve in back
    • Gave him shot for pain and prescribed one 200mg ibuprofen a day
    • (Nose was slightly bleeding but I thought it was where Patch “fixes” his bed with his nose)
    • Monday night and Tuesday: nose is bleeding more and more when Patch sneezes
    • Wednesday: Patch is sneezing violently and blood is spewing out
  • VET-Thursday, December 6, 2007: Doc H was out-saw Doc R
    • She said might be something lodged in his nose or maybe grass seed…possibly a tumor
    • She prescribed Clavamox-said try first because Patch won’t like tests they might have to do
  • Friday, December 7, 2007: Called Doc H to make sure of what to do-Patch wasn’t doing too good. Doc H said to continue Clavamox (powerful meds) and try to tough it out over the weekend and call on Monday. He also said Patch could take two 200 mg ibuprofen a day.
  • VET-Monday, December 10, 2007: Patch still isn’t better and now has sores on his legs/feet where the bones/joints are. He has already been through staph a few times. Doc H at 8:30 a.m.
    • Called Jedd at 10:30 a.m. and Jedd tells me: “Patch has fatty tumors-Doc H said the one on his neck had grown the size of a golf ball. Has to have x-rays, biopsy of fatty tumor, blood work and a scope in his nose”
    • Tests performed that day:
      • Anesthesia injection-telazol
      • X-Ray Basic – what did it show?
      • CBC with differential
      • Histo/Blasto Lab
      • Tick Serology Panel
      • Jedd brings Patch home and he says: Doesn’t look good…he mentioned a mass in his neck. I’m not sure if he meant another mass or the fatty tumor.
      • Doc H prescribed one 20mg prednisone a day along with the clavamox-no more ibuprofen
  • Following few days: Patch seems to be doing better. Nose isn’t bleeding as much. Still having trouble getting around: arthritis? pinched nerve? medications? Sickness? Does he have various health problems all at once? He seems to have a hard time swallowing and breathing
  • Friday, December 14, 2007: Doc H calls at 4:30 p.m. and tells me this
    • Histo/Blasto test negative
    • The “thing” in his nose is a tumor (cancer)
    • Wants Patch to come in on Monday so he can biopsy sores and biopsy the growth on his lymph node (I thought he said lymph node)
    • Surgery in his nose is really not an option-due to the severity and Patch’s age
  • VET-Monday, December 17, 2007: Doc H
    • Biopsy of shoulder/neck area (shaved with incision)
    • Biopsy of sore on foot (bandaged)
    • Continue prednisone
  • Next few days: Patch seems to be doing worse-incision oozing and more sores with bleeding, still sneezing with blood. He mainly sneezes when he goes outside. Isn’t jumping on bed or getting in car (favorite thing to do). Hard time going up and down stairs. Some difficulty breathing and swallowing.
  • Friday, December 21, 2007: I called Doc H and he says:
    • Sores are not cancerous-just don’t know what they are
    • Tumor (is it a tumor, fatty tumor, tumor on lymph node?) on neck is not cancerous and still waiting on another test result on it.
    • Tumor in the nose-can’t really biopsy it-too difficult and shouldn’t put Patch through it
    • Patch has been in a lot of pain-stayed up two nights with him crying in pain-he couldn’t lay down.
    • Doc H called in Tramadol for pain-50 mg pills-can give one or two twice a day-we give one 50mg Tramadol twice a day.
  • Next few days: Patch has diarrhea. Not sure if it is from the sickness, the meds, or the food we switched him to (canned food)-he was having a hard time swallowing hard food. We switched the food again to chewy kibbles and that seemed to fix the problem. Still sneezing with bloody nose. He is jumping on beds now.
    • I called Vet back to see if the last test result came back and lady said results are the same-what does that mean?
    • Thursday, December 27, 2007: still has sores
  • VET-Wednesday, January 2, 3008: Doc H-5th visit in a month
    • Confirmed it was lymphoma
    • We had felt spots in his neck that were growing (lymph nodes)
    • Doc H felt behind legs and in groin area where more lymph nodes are and confirmed growth there too
    • He also felt Patch’s spleen and liver and informed us they are enlarged too: what does that mean? Shouldn’t an X-Ray be performed to diagnose enlarged spleen and liver?
    • Patch has lost 5 pounds in the last month
  • The following week: Patch improves tremendously. No more nose bleeds-sores are healed up-jumps on beds and goes up and down stairs fine-is getting in car and riding now-walks us instead of us walking him-playing with his babies. I am still confused: Why doesn’t Doc H persuade me to seek an oncologist-maybe because of his age. When I research lymphoma there are different types. Patch has enlarged lymph nodes, something wrong with his nose, and skin problems. Are these all related? What does it mean if his spleen and liver are enlarged? Gotta get a second opinion.
  • Thursday, January 17, 2008: Patch can’t poop. He goes out every 15 minutes and gets in position but can’t poop. I was up with him all night doing this. He did vomit once-outside-thought that might help-didn’t.
  • Friday, January 18, 2008: Called Doc H-spoke to a lady-told her about Patch’s no-poop situation.
    • She said to put grease on his food-bacon-vegetable oil.
    • She said Doc H was going to have surgery-two hernias-he would call if he could
    • Doc R-other vet there-called me that afternoon
      • I asked her: Why hasn’t Doc H told me to pursue other treatments? Is it the stage of the disease? Is it because of Patch’s age? Cost?
      • She explained that I could pursue other treatments but there isn’t a cure and treatments can be costly and have side effects too (went into more detail)
      • Then she asks me: Is it B Cell or T Cell? I don’t know. I told her when she found out to let me know.
  • Next few days: Did the vegetable oil and it worked. Patch can poop now. Researched more. Studied prednisone and prednisolone. Should Patch be on prednisolone instead since prednisone can be hard on the liver and his liver is enlarged? Whatever that means? Called Vet back and asked was it B Cell or T cell. The lady said that Doc R looked at the tests and she couldn’t read them (she is the one that asked me about this and put the question in my head). Lady said when Doc H checked in he would look again and let me know. I have not heard from them since.
  • Monday, January 28: Called new vet-Doc C
  • VET-Thursday, January 31, 2008: Doc C-1st visit:
    • No test results of cancer or lymohoma (went into great detail describing the tests and results) We decided to do the following:
    • stop prednisone and take antibiotic-come back in a week to biopsy a lymph node (necessary to truely diagnose lymphoma)
  • Following Week: Patch is snorting more (not really sneezing)-has had a hard time taking pills a couple of times. Wednesday and Thursday: seems to not be feeling so good. Got sick Thursday night.
    • Nose-snorting
    • Some difficulty breathing (throat?)
    • Has a few sores and two dark spots in lower abdomen/groin area
    • What kind of diet should he be on?
    • Breath and teeth look and smell horrible (had them detailed-cleaned last year I believe) possibly medication?
  • Friday, February 8, 2008: Doc C-biopsy of lymph node and any other tests necessary…to be continued

Praying for Patch now~going in the morning to have a biopsy.

*edited 2-10-08: Continuation~See: Crazy Friday

New Doc for Patch

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This is an update about my dalmatian, Patch, who got sick at the end of November.  On January 3 he was diagnosed with lymphoma.  About a week later he miraculously improved. Then we went through a few nights of “I Can’t Poop” and fixed that problem so “I Can Poop“.

Whew! Ok~here goes. 

Monday: I called another Vet in my town.  I told a lady a short version of  Patch’s story and told her I just wanted to have another Doc look at Patch’s test results and explain to me exactly what is going on.  I explained that I wasn’t going to pursue chemo.  She explained to me that they send their tests to the same lab and that they wouldn’t perform the same tests.  I told her I knew that and I didn’t want to put Patch through all of that again (DUH!), but I wanted a second opinion to ease my mind. She told me they would call Patch’s Doc and have them fax over the info. She got my number and said she would call me back.

That afternoon after school I called back to inquire if they had received Patch’s info.  I talked to another lady so I had to go through the same speech.  She also took my info and number and said she would call back.

Wednesday:  I had a short break away from the kids.  I was making copies and had about five minutes left before picking up the kiddies.  I called the new Vet back to see if they had any info for me~surely they have the info by now.  Second lady answered the phone and said she is so glad I called because she somehow misplaced my number.  She was reading info from Patch’s tests results and said “This isn’t cancer…there are no signs of cancer with these results”.  I began to cry a little and told her “Please do not say that, unless you are absolutely sure.  Let the Doc look this over and he can explain this when we come in”.

I made an appointment for the following afternoon for Patch to visit New Doc so he could look at his ears and give me feedback on the info from the previous Doc.  Second Lady wanted me to just drop him off on the a.m. and I could come back that afternoon to pick him up.  I told her “No~Patch had been to the Doc 5 times within 5 weeks and 2 of those times had to stay all day.  I wasn’t gonna just drop him off for the day at a New Doc…not just yet”.

Thursday: I met Jedd and Patch at the New Vet.  Patch went on in-lol~didn’t realize where he was at.  He also went on in the examining room.  After I shut the door behind us (a habit now) is when he realized something was up-hehe.  Anywho New Doc was talking away in medical terms about there are no signs of cancer…I was like-slow down-in english please.  Anywho~I actually got to see pieces of paper (proof of tests) with the results.  New Doc explained to me what everything meant. 

He said there are no signs of cancer and to diagnose lymphoma, you would have to aspirate, or biopsy, a lymph node.  I said “Well, I’m not a docter, but uh-duh~that makes perfect sense”.  I explained to him how things got started with his nose and the bleeding and he explained the possible reasons/causes of this.  He also said that if it was a tumor in Patch’s nose~this wouldn’t be lymphoma~it would possibly be nasal cancer. New Doc explained so much more about these results, but don’t want to babble on too long.

I am dumbfounded with all of this info and I am prodding the doc to suggest to me what to do.  I said “So shouldn’t we biopsy a lymph node”?  He says “if he were my dog I definitely would”.  Thank you~straight up answers!  Of course, the whole time Patch is just wandering around the room and in the back talking away…dragging Jedd around-lol.  I ask Jedd what he thinks~you know Jedd~just there.  He says “I don’t know, whatever you want to do…yada-yada”. 

To make a long story shorter~New Doc says to take Patch off of steroids (prednisone) for a week.  Put him on an antibiotic for a week.  Come back in a week and he will perform a biospy on a lymph node.

My Analysis of the Whole Ordeal:  Why did Previous Doc diagnose Patch with lymphoma? Maybe he is that good~he can just feel the lymph nodes and knows.  Maybe he ruled out all other issues and decided it was lymphoma.  He still may be right~but I have to know for sure!  If this isn’t lymphoma, Patch has been on steroids for almost two months and that can’t be good for him.

I still feel bad for going to a New Doc, but Old Doc is out recovering from hernia surgery and I also need peace of mind knowing I did get a second opinion.

Oh ya~the ear problem~normal for Patch’s age~an autoimmune thing.  I am also gonna get a copy of these results for myself.  We also weighed Patch and he gained 2 pounds~yeah! (Not that it matters for him-little overweight anyway-but we sure didn’t want to lose more right now).

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Fingers crossed for a week! Things that make you go hhhhhmmmmm.

I Can Poop, But…

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Hey All! Thank you for your concern about Patch inI Can’t Poop!Here is an update:

I called the Doc and talked to his wife.  She said to put grease on his food: bacon, vegetable oil…She told me that Doc was going into surgery (HE is having surgery) in a bit: two hernias~probably from lifting animals.  She said if he had time (he was leaving in 30 minutes) he would call back. 

Another Vet there called me later that afternoon.  I asked her the question that had been on my mind:  Why hasn’t Doc told me to pursue other treatments?  Is it because of the stage of the disease, Patch’s age, the cost???  I like to try to analyze things all the time.  She explained that I could pursue further treatments~but there isn’t a cure~and treatments can be costly and have side effects too (she did go into detail).  She also asked me what type of lymphoma is it-B-Cell, T-cell?  I don’t know?  I told her when she found out, to let me know. I really love Doc and trust him, but do I need to see another Vet right now?  I really would like to just sit and talk to another Vet-talk and ask and ask and talk…Anyone? Anyone?

Ok~so I get home and put vegetable oil on Patch’s food.  This helps tremendously! Patch CAN POOP NOW!  BUT, when he gets in “pee” position (he squats now) and he isn’t peeing (when he does pee-he floods-side effect of the meds I think) blood is coming out-not in a stream either.  The blood is thick-phlegm-like.  GREAT!  What do I do now?  Patch has had urinary infections before where he had blood in his urine-do I need an antibiotic or is this disease related?

I have met another friend, Patty, via wvcobere’s blog (my friend that lost her precious Bill two weeks ago) that is going through the same thing.  She has told me about the meds her dog is on.  He is on Prednisolone, Tramadol, Amoxicillin, and Theophylline. At first I thought Patty misspelled prednisone~prednisolone.  NOPE~that’s right.  So I begin to research prednisolone-researching now.  I just came across an article about the side effects of prednisone (the drug Patch is on) and read this:

Prednisone must be converted to prednisolone in the liver. Animals in hepatic failure should receive prednisolone rather than prednisone.  GREAT!  Doc had said at the last visit that Patch’s liver and spleen are enlarged.  I don’t know what this means-if Patch has liver problems or what. Should he be on prednisolone instead?

OK! I am one to talk about too many things at once, talk to myself and answer back, and always asking questions out loud.  I hope I haven’t thoroughly confused everyone now.  Especially with the prednisone and prednisolone-I know I am REALLY confused-aaaaahhhhhh-lol.

Bottom Line: Patch is doing better~pooping now.  Friday night and last night were much more peaceful-sleeping now-both of us.  Thanks again for all of your thoughts and prayers.

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Do you have any ideas, thoughts, or suggestions for me?

I Can’t Poop!

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Patch is having a hard time tonight. 

If you don’t know about Patch and his sickness, you can click on the links to read previous posts to catch you up on the story.

I have been meaning to call the Doc to discuss treatment options for lymphomashould I pursue cancer treatments-yada yada.  Then, as most of you know, Patch started doing so much better (Miracle Patch).

 Anywho~Patch is having a hard time tonight.  I believe he is constipated.  He paces around and wants to go outside.  When we go outside, he squats (hasn’t hiked in awhile) to pee and nothing happens.  Then he squats to poop (since he has been sick, he poops and walks at the same time) and stays in one place, like he used to do-but nothing happens. 

Fifteen minutes later we go through the whole process again…and again…and again…I took him out about 30 minutes ago and he threw up all over the driveway. Thank goodness he made it outside.  He also did the no pee/no poop move.  We went out about 15 minutes ago and he repeated the no pee/poop move. 

Patch is laying down now and seems to feel better-hopefully.  I WILL definitely be calling Doc in the a.m. to discuss what I have wanted to discuss all along, to inform him of his progress, and of course, tell him about tonight.  I so hope he is better in the a.m.~I don’t want to take him to the Doc again-he so hates it now.

Again, I want to thank everyone for your thoughts and prayers! Please keep them coming. 

p.s.  I apologize for not being here as often.  School’s back in session: report cards, testing, meetings…Also have been visiting various relatives that have had various health issues going on.

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Miracle Patch

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Just wanted to update everyone on Patch.  For those of you that don’t know about Patch~he is my 11 year old dalmatian.  Patch got sick about seven weeks ago.  He was diagnosed with lymphoma on January 3, 2008. You can catch up on the history behind this story by clicking those links to his previous stories.

Sickness: So~after Patch’s diagnosis I became an emotional wreck.  Last week Patch has been improving tremendously! When he sneezes there isn’t ANY blood! His sores are healing up quite nicely.  He doesn’t lick his sores or the incision anymore.  His incision has completely healed up~just waiting for the hair to grow back.  He jumps on his bed and sleeps.  He has been jumping on our bed~when Jedd is there.  He still doesn’t sleep on our bed during the day like he used to.

Car Rides:  In the last six weeks, Patch has been to the Doc five times.  This is the only time he has been in the car for car rides.  His car and his daily/sometimes two or three times daily car rides are his favorite thing to do. He seems to have a hard time getting in the car.  We are also worried that he is now associating the car with the Doc~not a good thing. Yesterday, he got in the car without any help (treats). Hopefully he will get in the car this morning to do his normal Sunday morning routine: Go with Jedd to open up the store.

Bath Place: After Patch got into the car I took him to Bath (he wasn’t in need of a bath) because I thought that Miss Bath Lady might want to see him and I thought Patch might want to see his buddies.  When we got there, Patch hesitated about going in…he was trying to decide is this a good place or the Doc’s place?  He decided on the first and went in.  Miss Bath Lady met us and I explained everything that Patch has been going through. Then she took Patch to the back~well for some reason he wouldn’t go to the back so I went with them and when we got behind the door he seemed fine.  It was amazing to see him with cats coming up to him.  He didn’t bother them at all~they were all buddies…whew!  Anywho, I told Miss Bath Lady to call me if things didn’t work out.  Jedd went to pick Patch up after he got off of work and brought him home.  Patch didn’t get a bath~Miss Bath Lady said she couldn’t get him in the tub and she was afraid she was hurting him-he had yelped some.  I felt horrible for putting him through that but after much love and attention Patch forgave me.  I still think it was a good thing because he went for a ride and the ride didn’t end up at Doc’s.

Babies: Patch loves his babies~dog toys.  He isn’t into the plastic/rubber ones but the fleece stuffed animal type.  He hasn’t acknowledged his babies for the last seven weeks.  We assumed that it was because he hasn’t felt good and it might be harder for him to breath with something in his mouth.  Last night I got a baby and squeaked it and Patch took it from me.  He began squeaking it and slinging it around.  This brought joyous tears to my eyes.  He also began running around with his baby and I blocked any furniture for fear of him hitting his head…he is still wobbly/dizzy probably from his medications.

I have more pictures but they are huge and I have to figure out how to downsize them. I want to thank everyone that has been with us through this ordeal. Thank you for your thoughts, prayers, kind words, and well wishes.  Please continue to pray for Patch as we journey through this ordeal.  Lymphoma is not a curable disease…we have just been blessed with the medications/prayers/miracles to prolong his life.

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Saying Goodbye to a Good Friend

                     

Doodlebug wrote this~this is a post from my friend Doodlebug

Saying Goodbye to a Good Friend

Doodles was getting old, and we knew that.  The first weekend in November when we went to Lake Texoma to visit family, we left him with the vet for his first official full-screen geriatric checkup.  Blood work came back normal for a dog almost thirteen years old.  His knee is still bothering him occasionally, but it’s not getting worse.  Just make sure he’s not jumping up on things too often.  Teeth are still looking decent after the last plaque removal session, and probably won’t need to another cleaning until next summer.  Eyes are a little cloudy, which means he doesn’t see as well as he used to, so don’t move the furniture too much.   Other than that, you should be able to enjoy him for a few more years yet.

And the next Friday morning, I found a mess on the couch.  One of those yucky messes.  The kind that you know you shouldn’t yell at the dog for making because it’s an indicator that he’s sick.  And of course, I’m running late to get out the door.  Come on, Doodles, go outside.  You know the routine.  At least pretend to pee before I pour your breakfast.  I have to practically drag him outside.  So, about ten minutes pass while I’m finishing getting myself and daughter ready, and I haven’t heard him scratch at the door yet.

He’s just lying in the corner of the yard, breathing kind of funny.  Hubby comes out to try to call him back in.  My sweet daughter in her toddler voice calls from the door, “Doo-doo!  Doo-doo!”  He’s just sitting there, non-responsive.  In the pit of my stomach, I know that today is the day.  I don’t want it to be today, but my heart is telling me that it is.  I can’t call in to work because I have a few projects that are due today.  So, we leave Doodles outside with his food and water.  Something we’ve never done.

I am very distracted all day at work.  I can’t stop thinking about him.  So I call the vet and arrange to take him in at noon.  I have to go back to work, so the nurse promises to have the doctor call me later in the afternoon when he’s checked him.

I am an emotional wreck.  I’m in the middle of a meeting with my boss, and the vet calls me on my cell phone.  He can’t make a determination based on blood work, but Doodles is definitely lethargic, non-responsive, and his abdomen is sensitive.  Bless her heart, my boss tells me to go be with Doodles.  I think she can tell by my phone conversation that I probably need to be with my baby.

So by the time I get to the vet, the doctor has looked at Doodles’ x-rays.  They have found a large blood-filled tumor in his abdomen.  Surgery is risky and expensive.  Anesthesia is risky for a dog his age.  I don’t want to say goodbye, but I know it’s the right thing to do.  He’s not even responding when we call his name.  He’s only smiling when he knows that I’m touching him, but his smile is short-lived.  I tell the doctor my decision, and he tells me that he personally thinks that I’m making the right decision.

The last moments with Doodles were spent with some tears.  My husband and daughter were there, but my daughter didn’t quite understand what was happening.  My mother was there.  Doodles was her dog first.  I felt it was only right that she got to hold him one last time before he was gone.  Two shots, explains the doctor.  The first will be a tranquilizer, and he will relax.  The second will be the final, and it will be only a matter of moments.  Do you want more time?  No.  He’s had a good life, and we’ve had a lot of time with him already this afternoon.  I don’t want to say goodbye, but I don’t want to prolong his suffering. 

We chose to have him cremated, and I’ll split the ashes between my brothers, my mother, and myself so that we can each say goodbye in our own way.  Doodles was more than a dog.  He was part of the family.  For my brothers and me, we had known Doodles for almost half our lives.  We have lots of good memories.  And it’s the good memories we cling to.  We miss you Doodles.  Thank you for being a good friend.