Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Adventures of Spleen-less Stacey

Oh man, too long from the blog again...I do think of it often and how I want to post but then I just don't.  But I do have something to share, mostly because it is all over and I'm just insanely thankful that all is good again!

If you follow me on Instagram you have probably seen the countless Cone of Shame pics over the past week of my pup Stacey, but here is the story behind it:

To start I have to say that my 11 year old herding mutt, Stacey, is just about the healthiest dog out there. She has never had any diseases, injuries, or cause for me to worry...so when I left her with friends one weekend only to return to find out she had a very sudden moment of weakness I immediately knew something was very wrong.  After a quick ball throwing session with friends they were walking home and Stacey simply decided she could not go any further and laid down on the sidewalk.  My friend had to carry her home where she laid on the deck for hours.  She got better, gradually got energy and even ate and drank before I returned from my trip.  My friend urged me to take her to vet to get her checked out and I agreed 100%.  I should also note that I've been feeling a mass on her stomach for a little over 6 months now but didn't think too much of since she has little nodules and masses all over now...super common in older dogs.  

My normally very energetic hiking buddy!
The vet couldn't find anything still wrong with her when I brought her in but did feel the mass in her stomach that I did.  He immediately recommended an ultrasound to see where exactly it was and what is was attached to but that he suspected it was a splenic tumor.  I had never heard of this before but some quick google searches revealed how very common these were in dogs and many dogs were not so lucky and had their spleen rupture and die.  What probably happened during her walk was a slight bleed that was able to clot on it's own.  Another startling thing I read was that 50% of the time the tumors are cancerous and the cancer is so aggressive the dog usually has 3-6 months to live :(.

With all of these thoughts and findings swimming around in my head Stacey went in for her ultrasound and they confirmed what they already thought, she had a tumor on her spleen and the only cure is removal of the entire spleen.  They found NO other tumors on the ultrasound and deemed her an excellent candidate for surgery...a very major dog surgery I might add.  I tried and tried not to think about the fact that it could be cancerous and my time with her might be limited and just focused on the surgery and her recovery...I actually did a pretty good job at that.  

On November 6 I dropped Stacey off at my vet (very tearfully I might add) and waited by my cell phone to hear how the surgery went. A few hours later I heard surgery went great, she was already waking up and they didn't see any other tumors inside her while they were in there.  She did so well in recovery she came home a day early and even ran to me when I picked her up...even the vet techs were surprised by her energy 24 hours after surgery!

post surgery - 17 staples long...ouch! :(

The Cone of Shame adventures begin
She honestly recovered so much faster than I thought and a few days later she was really acting like her old self again. The best part? On Friday afternoon I received a call from my vet with the insanely GREAT news that her tumor came back BENIGN...NO CANCER! It was seriously the best news I've ever received before starting a weekend.  

Besides looking a bit skinnier, she was acting and looking like her old self more and more every day. And then I just couldn't stop myself from taking tons of Cone of Shame pics:

I mean, really...she is pretty cute without the cone but add that and the cuteness factor is multiplied by about 100 in my opinion.  12 days post op she went in to get her staples removed and despite her being insanely nervous and scared it was relatively painless and now she has a battle wound to prove what an ordeal she went through.

When she realized where we were going...

Healing up nicely!
I cannot express my gratitude to my vet clinic enough.  They have been so amazing through this whole experience...always answering all of my questions, being super sweet to Stacey and being all around awesome.  Having her spleen removed was the easiest decision and easiest money I've ever spent!  I'm hoping in a few weeks time I can get her running short distances with me again and that we can have a few more years of adventures together...unless she lives forever...which I assume she will ;). 

So that is what has been up in my world lately. I feel like I finally climbed out of a little stress cloud and can focus on the what is coming up for the rest of the year...thanksgiving with friends, Seattle Marathon, my mom's 60th birthday and Costa Rica for Christmas!  

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