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A wonderfully boring update on Lydia

by Therese on May 16, 2011

in Lydia's cancer, My pets

“Boring.”

That’s our word of the day, and I like it!

Boring is the word Lydia’s radiologist, Dr. Kunze, of Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging of Texas, used to describe her ultrasound today. While we were at the clinic, Westgate Pet & Bird Hospital, her regular vet, Dr. Brandt gave her a good look too. And both vets said she’s the picture of health! We can’t ask for anything better than that.

Wooooo Hoooo! We love days like this!

Lydia goes in for an ultrasound every 3 months just to make sure there are no new tumors. She doesn’t get nervous at all about them, but I’m always a little on edge. I’ve learned how to stow away (in a remote corner of my brain) the fact that Lydia has a cancer history. She takes a chemo medication a few times a week, but I don’t make a big deal of it. It’s just part of our routine now. Other than that, she lives a pretty normal (although very pampered) life and we don’t think about the cancer all that much. On ultrasound days though, I’m reminded what could happen; that her cancer could come back. So it always feels like a huge weight has been lifted when the radiologist gives us good news. Christmas doesn’t even compare to days like this!

Lydia loves both of these vets, and everyone else she sees at the clinic. (The same goes for me – they’re great people!) They all like her, too. Dr. Kunze has told me a number of times how much he likes seeing her because she’s one of the easiest dogs to work with. That’s my girl!

Lydia and her vet, Dr. Brandt of Westgate Pet & Bird, Austin, Texas

Lydia & Dr. Brandt

Lydia, Dr. Kunze, and William

Even though Lydia’s a great patient, there comes a time when she says enough’s enough. She didn’t care about having her picture taking with Dr. Kunze & William. She was ready to go!

 

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Hannie May 17, 2011 at 8:37 am

For those of us following Lydia’s health updates, I’d say boring is heavenly.

Hannah & I are both thrilled w/this news.

Hugs & kisses for both of you………xoxoxoxoxo

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Therese May 17, 2011 at 11:56 am

You are absolutely, 100% correct! Boring is heavenly. We’ll take a boring ultrasound any day!!

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Melissa McDaniel May 17, 2011 at 11:46 am

Wonderful! YAY Lydia…you’re amazing!

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Therese May 17, 2011 at 11:57 am

Thanks, Melissa! šŸ™‚

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Stacey June 12, 2011 at 3:15 am

Our story is about our absolutely wonderful 12 year old chocolate lab, Jake. I am so thankful I found your website because today has been one of the worst days of our lives. Our story is long & complicated but the background is necessary for others to understand how absolutely horrible today has been. I will do highlights/bullet points so I won’t take forever.

– 2007, Jake broke right back leg – taken to Mississippi State Univ Vet School for treatment/surgery.

– Jan 2009, noticed a small tumor under his tail and he had been having diarrhea.

– Jan 2009, took him to his regular vet (husband/wife) team. Removed tumor (it was causing diarrhea also) & we were told it was “benign” & Jake was “perfectly healthy”.

– May 2009, still having episodes of diarrhea – diagnosed him with IBS and put him on special dog food.

– Dec 2009, tumor returns. Take him to the same vet – tumor is removed again & we are told again that “the tumor is benign but jake seems to also be exhibiting some arthritis-type symptoms in his rear legs”. No meds given, just told to watch him & continue w/ same food.

– Dec 2010 – Jan 2011, tumor returns. See same vet, she says she didn’t recommending removing it for a 3rd time. She said “it’s not causing him any discomfort and with his age, the consequences of surgery outweigh the pro’s”. I was confused but trusted her at the sametime. She said Jake’s “main issue that needs to be treated is the arthritis in his back legs”. He does have an unsteady walk at times & with his age & the history of the broken leg made sense to me. His diarrhea still concerned me but I was told he had IBS and it was just something we were going to treat and not cure. I was ok with this as long as Jake was not in any pain.

– End of Feb 2011, I took jake back after he began to drink water like he could not get enough and panting all the time. These were both new symptoms that developed over past month. I also found him in the bathtub (no water in it of course) when I got home from work one day. With thirst/panting, I thought maybe he was hot. He also still had episodes of diarrhea. She (the same vet), put him on the following medw Flagyl (10 days) due to elevated WBC which she said was a gastro infection, Prednisone (5 days I believe) for inflammation associated w/ arthritis and Rimadyl (take daily) for arthritis. He was also put on a new
prescription dog food. She also thought he could possibly have an adrenal problem (thirst issue). She said she wanted to recheck him in a couple wks and do a test.

Early March 2011 – took him in for recheck. He likes new food and he is taking the Rimadyl daily. He finished the Flagyl and Pred. She did ultrasound & said she could not see/locate his right adrenal gland. This led her more to the diagnosis of cushing’s syndrome. To confirm she would do test called ACTH in May at his yearly appt for shots, etc.

May 2011 – still on special food, takes Rimadyl, tumor still present and still has episodes of diarrhea. Today my husband took him. He saw the new vet that had just joined the clinic. With all the issues Jake has, he did not feel comfortable & asked if our reg vet could come in & explain his history. Well that never happened and the new vet said, “you have got to treat his arthritis because he is in a lot of pain”. When my husband told me this, I could believe she said it! Did she not read any of his records! We were both mad & frustrated but more so my husband than me. He’s usually the calm one but I’m so glad he wasn’t this time. He was adamant that Jake would never go back there. He felt that after all we (mainly Jake) had been through, no effort was made on behalf of his reg vet to make sure everyone was on the same page regarding Jake’s health. And the big thing was that the ACTH test was not done. The “new” doctor did recommend it. And his current doctor said that if he had an adrenal prob then that might be the answer to all these symptoms he is having. So we began the search for a new doctor. We found a vet that we liked, made an appt and requested all his records be sent to the new clinic.

June 2011 – His appt was this morning with Dr. White. She reviews his records, does a quick physical exam and says, “how have you been treating his rectal cancer?”. HIS WHAT, I asked her!! Jake doesn’t have cancer, why would you think that?? She said because it’s right here, as she points to his records from his
previous vet. She also said and “I see the tumor on his behind also”. I asked her if I could look at his records and she said of course. I still am in complete shock as to what I saw. The vet, the one that ALWAYS said the tumor was benign, had typed in Jake’s records that his diagnosis was rectal adenomicarcinoma and she diagnosed him “on paper/in his records” with CANCER in jan 2009! This vet never ever said the word cancer & I asked her – she ALWAYS said, it is “not malignant, it is benign”. Dr. White said from experience, she could tell by looking at the tumor that it
was cancer and all of his symptoms (diarrhea, arthritis in his hind legs, excessive thirst) were symptom of cancern also. She also did some other tests to confirm the diagnosis.

I just cannot belive that our precious Jake has had cancer for 2 yrs and we have been treating his arthritis and IBS. We put our
trust in somone and they have FAILED in their job to Jake.

We go back Tuesday to meet w/ Dr. White and decide what our next step will be. She wanted to give us time to talk about it. We just don’t want Jake in pain and we definitely don’t want to lose him. We have talked about the medical pro’s/con’s and the quality of life pro’s/con’s.

Any advice /insight would be greatly appreciated – please! I’m so sorry your Lydia has this horrible disease also!

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

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Stacey June 12, 2011 at 3:24 am

I spoke w/ the previous vet today & ask her how she could be so irresponsible & not tell us he had cancer???? She said and I quote, “I’m sorry if I missed a diagnosis”. I asked her how she thought she “missed a diagnosis” because that excuse was not going to work with me. She can TYPE a diagnosis but not SAY it!

I feel like I have let Jake down & precious time is gone that we will never get back.

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Therese June 12, 2011 at 12:34 pm

Hi Stacey, I think I’d be furious if I were you. I just don’t get why the vet wrote the dx but didn’t tell you what it was. That doesn’t make sense at all. I’m very glad though, that you got Jake in with another vet.

As much as you want to focus on being angry at the vet though, please try to stay focused on Jake right now. I know it’s easy to want to make the former vet atone in some way. (Believe me…I do know that feeling. I experienced it with my mom’s doctors when they caused her to die a very painful death.) The fact is though, that Jake is still here and he needs you!! He needs you to be strong and do your best to keep him happy and pain free. Now that you know definitively what’s going on, hopefully the vet will be able to help him. I know this type of cancer can move quickly in some dogs, but hopefully since Jake’s was diagnosed over 2 years ago that means his is slow growing. Do your best to help him, and if you have to focus on the other vet at some point, do it later. Right now your main focus needs to be on your boy, Jake.

Please let us know how he does.

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