Friday, November 25, 2011

Lucy's Lump

Lucy with her stuffed dog companion

Here we go again. Lucy, our American Bull Dog, has another lump, this time on her forehead. It has been diagnosed as malignant. So this makes the 4th cancerous growth she's had...first on one toe a year or so ago and three others this past summer on both flanks and her right wrist. The vet says her breed, along with similar short haired breeds are prone to growths. But, of course, not always cancerous like Lucy's have turned out to be. So we keep our eyes on her to see if we see anything in order to catch them before they have a chance to spread. But this one on her head seems like it came out of nowhere just a few weeks ago. It looks like a half egg sized oval right over her right eyelid. Kind of hard to see in this picture but no mistaking it's there when you see her. If it were to grow as dramatically as it has in the last few weeks in another couple of weeks she would start to resemble the elephant man. I'm not trying to be funny.  We love her dearly and are concerned for her well being so brought her to the vet as soon as we detected the problem. Lucy doesn't display any indication that it bothers her, at least not in any way we can see.

She had surgery last summer to remove the three that appeared then. So we took her to the vet when we first detected this one to see if that was the course of action to take this time. We've gone from biopsy to x-rays and finally got to the point where we got an estimate for another surgery to remove when, this past Monday, Lucy got a nose bleed. We've been back three times this week because of concerns that the nose bleed is a sign of possible spreading of the cancer into her nasal cavity. And the surgery proposal has been withdrawn by our vet and replaced with a referral to another surgeon who is more experienced in this area. We have an appointment for Lucy to be seen by this new veterinarian next Monday.

It's difficult to view where to draw the line between love for a pet and the expense of veterinary care. Last summer's surgeries as well as this month's tests and office visits are not cheap. And although the decisions to be made are never easy it just seems to compound the gravity for this to develop around Thanksgiving when the newspapers and the nightly TV news describe the human triumphs and tribulations so many people are going through. Makes worrying over a pet dog seem frivolous. And Lucy is no spring chicken either.  She'll be 11 years old in January. And just to make it interesting, this morning the lump was almost gone! Still there but drastically reduced in size. We already had an appointment for her this morning to check her blood pressure and make a blood profile and the vet explained that sometimes the liquid in tumors just disperses within the dog's system. And not necessarily "spreading" the cancer, just redistributing and absorbing. But still there and just as much a concern as it was when it looked like it was growing overnight.

We'll see what happens Monday and go from there.