A little more about my cancer

Hello again – Bear here, a little sooner than I truly anticipated.  Seems I have a bit on my mind and not wanting to post l-o-n-g drawn out diatribes I find I may need to post a little more often.  But you know, we’ll play it by ear and see how it goes.  Things are a little bit of a whirlwind for me and mom right now and we’re trying to figure it all out and get a handle on it.

First, my apologies if you happen to see an ad on my blog page.  Mom is trying to work out the budget so she can dedicate as much as humanly (pun intended) possible toward my treatments.  She doesn’t see the point in paying for a so-called ‘premium blog site’ in order to eliminate the ads.  Please do your best to ignore the ads, unless of course, you see something you like and you want to follow it.  It’s kind of like when we head outside on the property for a quick bathroom break.  I’m walking around, looking for and smelling for a good place to go when all of a sudden – BUNNY!  I really don’t chase them, only take a few steps in their direction.  I’d really only sniff and play, but I get that they are a lot smaller than me and I may look like a predator to them.  I’m not sure about this whole “SQUIRREL” thing that’s been going around, we have bunnies out here by us.  But I digress.

Well, I started my chemo pills a few days ago, and so far, so good – no nausea.  We’ll keep an eye on that as I continue to take these chemo pills.  Mom has to wear gloves when handling this medication as it can react with her immune system, and she certainly doesn’t need that to happen. 

I have an appointment on Monday with the cardiologist for an ultrasound of my heart muscle.  Did you know that the heart is a muscle?  I did because my mom told me about it.  It needs exercise just like your other muscles.  My mom is a personal trainer and knows all about that stuff.  Oh yeah, the cardiologist – we’re going to see how well my heart muscle is functioning and if there is any fluid in the pericardium.  Do you know what that is?  It is the sac that encloses your heart muscle.  A buildup of fluid in the pericardium is not good as it can exert stress on the heart muscle.  We’re also checking for any unusual growth or mass on the heart muscle.  There wasn’t any detected when I had a preliminary ultrasound prior to my splenectomy but that scan was not done by a cardiologist.

Did I mention I had a splenectomy?  Well, I did.  This was a result of a mass that was discovered growing on my spleen.  The ultrasound that detected the mass was a result of mom taking me to the vet when I wasn’t feeling my best.  I was tired, somewhat lethargic, and she was worried.  You know, I’m not a young pup any more.  Anyway, we ended up having blood work done and my iron levels were low.  Since I wasn’t bleeding in my digestive tract, our vet suggested the ultrasound.  You have to give my mom credit, she followed me around with a ‘poop-stick’ so she could collect a sample.  She’ll do just about anything for me.  The specialty clinic I go to is about 90 minutes away, in Scottsdale, AZ, and mom has no problem driving me there whenever needed.  During our trips we’ve been listening (and singing) to the Springsteen channel on Sirius/XM as “The Boss” is mom’s favorite.  He’s my favorite too.  Mom mentioned we may start listening to his audio book, “Born to Run” – that sounds great, don’t you think?

Anyway, my spleen, along with the mass, was removed and multiple samples of tissue from my abdomen were taken to be tested.  The results were mixed, but not too good.  The mass on my spleen tested positive for cancer as did the spleen tissue. The liver tests were negative, which was some good news.  However, since the mass on my spleen showed signs of rupture, bleeding, and then healing, samples were taken of the omentum, the connective tissue that binds the organs in the abdomen. The bleeding was why my iron levels had dropped and I was feeling lethargic.  Unfortunately, those tests returned positive for cancer as well. What that means is that the cancer cells from the splenic mass have seeded in the abdomen and now have the ability to move further through my system.

Wow, that was a lot of information in one paragraph.  I hope it wasn’t overwhelming.  The official diagnosis is hemangiosarcoma, a tumor of blood vessels.  My breed can be prone to this type of cancer, bummer.  The prognosis is not the best either but I’m not going to dwell on that.  I’m going to make the best of my time and enjoy life.  My mom told me she would make sure I have the best life possible.  That’s a promise she made to me when she adopted me almost four years ago, from an Aussie Rescue group.  That’s what life is all about, right?

Talk to you soon.

 

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Bear’s First Blog Entry

Hi everyone, my name is Bear and I’m an Australian Shepherd living in N. AZ / USA.  I’m brand new to this whole blog stuff.  Heck, I just created this blog site a few minutes ago.  It’s neat and I’m sort of proud of myself for being able to navigate through the process.  Then again, my breed is pretty smart.

I’ve heard my mom use the word ‘anthropomorphize’ when she was finishing up her school work and doing lots of academic papers.  She was chided by her instructors not to ‘anthropomorphize’ as she wrote about things that were not human.  It was tough for her to abide by this standard as my mom really, really loves me (and my cat brother and cat sister) and talks to me as if I understand.  Don’t let on, but I do understand, probably more than she realizes.  More about that later.

I’ve decided to start my own blog to help my mom.  You see, we recently got a diagnosis of cancer for me from a vet specialist and my mom is really struggling with her feelings.  I’ve heard her say that perhaps ‘ignorance is bliss’ and it’s probably good that I don’t know I have cancer; but, as I mentioned above, I really do understand a lot more than I let on.  I know she is concerned about me, she’s been crying lately and hugging me a little longer and a little tighter.  I’m not complaining about the hugs, but I’m worried about her and want to help her through this struggle.

I thought, perhaps, writing about it may help.  I’ve heard it said that writing out your thoughts sometimes helps.  And then there is the possibility that there may be someone out there who has been through this and can help me figure out how to help my mom.

I’m not afraid of what is to come.  I know my mom, and my dad, will be with me through anything and everything that happens in the future.  I hope we have a long future together and that we make lots of happy memories.

Anyway, that’s it as far as my introduction and the reason I’ve started this blog.  You probably won’t see me on here every day.  Right now, I’m thinking maybe once a week or as interesting things happen and I can’t resist sharing.