Monday, June 25, 2012

Sunshade's Ordeal - By mum

Last Wednesday (June 20th), I took Sunshade, my 12.5 yr old girl to the beach where she was doing what she loved to do....


During the last retrieve, she got out of the water, and became unresponsive. I carried her to the car and headed over to our vet. However, it was rush hour and we were pretty much stuck at a standstill in traffic. I turned to check on Sunshade and realized her breathing was more labored and her gum/tongue had gone purple. So I took a couple of short videos and sent it to my vet Janice's cell phone. She told me to go to a clinic nearest to where we were stuck in traffic.

This picture was taken at the clinic I found around where I was stuck in traffic. She still had sand on her nose.....

They put her on oxygen right away. We still had no idea what was wrong with her then. I was given a list of possibilities. Maybe she aspirated water,  had a small seizure, had the beginning stage of a heart failure , or maybe a bleed (she had a spleen nodule). 

We decided to transfer Sunshade to Can West, our local specialty clinic at around 9pm Wednesday evening.  They took a couple of hours to do the initial assessment. Below is what I posted on FB on early Thursday morning:

At around 11pm last night, the attending vet at the specialty clinic did an ultrasound on Sunshade's abdomen and saw fluids. He stuck a needle in and pulled out blood. So I had to make a decision to either:

1) do surgery right away to find bleeding source (most likely to be the spleen),
2) wait until tomorrow for the radiologist to come in to do a thorough ultrasound to see signs of spread and then decide course of action, or 
3) put her down. 

Sunshade's wonderful Auntie Janice (vet) was NOT on vacation this time, thankfully. She stayed with me on the phone, and talked to the attending vet. She also told me that she could open up her clinic right then and do a splenectomy on Sunshade, but she told me that she would be a little concern about the aftercare since her clinic isn't set up to do blood transfusions. Janice, who is a holistic vet, didn't think we should wait until tomorrow since Sunshade was having an active bleed. Option 3 was out of the question for both of us at this time. So they called in the surgeon and we went ahead with the surgery at around 12:30 am. Janice stayed on the phone with me the whole time. They found the source right away, her spleen.

Some of you may have read my posting before where I had mentioned that we found a small splenic nodule over 18 months ago. Due to its appearance (non-hemangiosarcoma/histiocytic sarcoma looking), two radiologists, an internal med specialist, and two of our vets, all felt that we should take a monitor and see approach. So since then, we had been ultrasounding her spleen every 3 months. The nodule had grown over the last 18 months, but at a very slow rate. The appearance remained un-hemangiosarcoma like. Due to the length of time for the nodule to had been around, radiologist and internist felt it was most likely benign (can grow), but I was told that benign growths can still rupture.

Before heading into surgery, the attending vet had told me that it could be other masses that the ultrasound missed before. Sunshade's last ultrasound was less than two months ago, and other than the nodule, everything else was normal. But I understood that cancer can grown and pop up very fast.

Midway through surgery, the attending vet came out to update me. There was a "split" in that nodule and that was where Sunshade was bleeding. He asked me if Sunshade "fell" by any chance, and she DID. At the beach, she fell a few retrieves before that last retrieve. Due to her toes catching the ground at times, she sometimes trips and stumbles. Today, while she was turning to go after the log I threw, she caught her toes and went splat hard. So it is reasonable to think that the fall had caused the split in the nodule. They suctioned out all the blood, cleaned her abdomen, and didn't see any other masses or sign of spread. So this is very good news, especially since we had been very hopeful that the slow growing nodule was benign (we still don't know, have to wait for pathology).

The surgery took less than an hour, which according to Janice was very speedy. Less time under anesthesia; the better for Sunshade's kidneys and everything else. Her heart rate was very high, which according to them was normal during an active bleed. Her pressure was low normal. Janice stayed with me on the phone until 2am, and then we were texting back and forth until around 7am, when she had to go into work again...

The attending vet did tell me that some dogs die after successful splenectomy, something about their clotting factor being all confused and they don't kick back into action, so Sunshade was still far from home free.

Sunshade was on an array of drugs. She was also on a heart monitor to monitor the heart arrhythmia, so she was covered in cords and tubes :-(

The surgical site......

Sunshade was still anemic from the blood loss and surgery so she needed to have blood transfusions. She was also on oxygen because of the anemia.... :-(

I brought her her Truman dale stuffy for comfort. She loves to throw him around when she's happy. 

Sunshade is home now, and she is slowly getting stronger and stronger everyday. We appreciate all the good thoughts and prayers everyone has been sending us. Thank you so much, it means so much to us.

A few angels took it upon themselves to set up a Fundraiser site to help raise money towards Sunshade's ginormous medical bill.... and the rest of the angels from this special community of dog owners on FB as well as the yahoo Airedale group started donating towards the fund. The site was launched less than 24 hours ago, and already, they have raised over the half way mark. 

I am all teary and absolutely amazed at the generosity people are showing towards me and my special girl. The way this group of individuals come together when an animal is in need has been nothing short of AMAZING. I have seen the miracles they were able to pull before, and I am seeing it now with my Sunshade girl. Some of the donations came from people who had just adopted rescues that required extensive medical work up, and from people who had just had to spend a lot on their own sick dogs, and yet, they found a way to give. 

To all you angels,

It means the world to us that you are willing to go to this extent to help someone (most of you) had never met before... We are so grateful to have such a big loving, caring "family" behind us, especially during this difficult time. We truly feel privileged to be part of your life, even if it's a virtual one. Your friendship and good wishes mean just as much as any monetary donation, I hope you all know that. You have touched me deeply, and I know I would do the same for you if the situation were reversed.

Once I have more time, I will go thank each and everyone of you who has left your name on the donation page. Those of you who donated "anonymously", please know that you have helped us tremendously and we are so very grateful.

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! ((Big Hugs)) to all...

Lastly, I know I'm the last person that should be asking for more from you, but I would really like it if you could continue to keep Sunshade in your prayers, and hopefully, the pathology on the spleen nodule will show it to be benign and not something more sinister......

A very humbled Elaine.... & Sunshade (who I'm sure has more than one guardian angels looking out for her)


Duke said...

You gave us yet another scare, Sunshade, and we are so happy that you are home and recovering.
You and your mum are very dear to us and there isn't ANYTHING that we wouldn't do for you.
We love you!

Mitch, Molly, Sue and angel Maggie

kmp said...

wow - what a scary ordeal for you and sunshade both! we are new to your blog, found it by way of mango. we'll be keeping both of you in our prayers!

edgar & his mum

My Dog Sam - Ruptured Disk said...

Hi E, we're all glad that Sunshade is on the road to recovery and that we all have an opportunity to help out.

Angels Amber and Max DaWeenie and Mom said...

We're so happy to hear that Sunshade made it through this really rough time. You have an exceptional vet who stayed with you on the phone throughout the night. I know that was very comforting to you as well.

We continue to keep Sunshade in our prayers until she's fully recovered and all back to normal.


Anonymous said...

C'est la vie!!!!!!!!! :) :) :)

Rebecca said...

I've followed your blog for a few months now because I miss my two airedale terriers when I'm away at college and they are with my parents. I love them more than anything and can't imagine what your going through! I'm praying for Sunshade and when I saw this post I just started crying. She reminds me so much of my male airedale, Leo, and she really is so beautiful.

Scruffy, Lacie and Stanley's Place said...

Oh, this post took our collective breath away....we had gathered bits and pieces from FB, but not the whole story....Miss Sunshade is one tough Dale...oh, does the Stuffie DATE? I might be interested. Please know you have been in our thoughts constantly this past week!!!!

Give hoooge pats to Sunshade and flirty kisses to Stinky!!!!


Scruffy, Lacie and Stanny

Rogue said...

This young lady is one special Dale and I for one want to keep watching her lovely videos which make us all here smile.. Love to you sunshade and Elaine from Rogue and family in Australia :-)

Joey said...

I am sorry to hear about Sunshade's situation. She's a strong girl, and will definitely pull through this ordeal.
Take care, Elaine!
Joey, Jack and Geraldine

Lorenza said...

I am very happy to know Sunshade is at home getting better and better.
We don't do the FB thing, but we knew about what happened and we were so worried.
Our doggie community is the best, right?
Paws still crossed for you, dear Sunshade!
Take care
Kisses and hugs

Anonymous said...

Dear Elaine & Sunshade,

I had this weird feeling that something was wrong with Sunshade...I am sooo sorry to hear that I was right, but am glad to read that hopefully things are better than I feared. Of course, you are in my thoughts and prayers. I am going to just think positive thoughts about the pathology report...Sunshade has to be ok, she is too fantastic not to be.
Take care,
Lucy (Troy, Ohio)

Anonymous said...

Dear Elaine & Miss Sunshade...

Just letting you know that you all are in my thoughts and prayers...
Lucy (Troy,Ohio silent MOD)

Anonymous said...

Sunshade: You (and Evil Mum) are such an inspiration to all of us! Thank you for sharing your Superlife with all of us. We will continue to pray for your healing. XOXO Aila, Kendrick and Rachel

Duncan said...

You are in our prayers, Miss Sunshade!!

ShellePenn said...

Miss Asta told us all about what was going on with you! :) We are sending along something to help your mom, and lots of pawsititve thoughts and paw-rayers for your healing!

Nice to meet you!!

Shelle, Milo, Dixie and Newby,

Urban Smoothie Read said...

dear sunshade,

is been a long time since i catch up with u....

be strong my friend, i'm sending over my best wishes

Anonymous said...

What did the pathology show? Was it benign? How is Sunshade doing now?

Grace & Jonah said...

Sunshade, we hope you are doing ok! We love reading about your adventures and think you're pretty amazing. A Superdale for sure! We'll keep thinking of you and checking for updates! Hugs, Grace & Jonah