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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Beginning...

We found out today that I'm not very good at designing blogs! So here is our story so far... many of you know the details, but for those who are new or don't know I'll recap it for you.

Two weeks prior to July 23rd - Indy was diagnosed with a nasty dermatitis. This was his first real need for medical attention in 9 years. He was put on predinsone and antibiotics. We were told the predinose may cause "accidents" in the house. His skin conditioned improved dramatically.

Saturday July 23rd 2011
5:30am -
We wake up to the sound of Indy peeing on the hardwood floors outside of our bedroom. We of course freak. Indy simply doesn't do this AND he only has 3 doses of predinsone left. We take him outside. He's not moving well, very stiff, doesn't want to really go out, doesn't want his tennis ball... something is wrong.
Brian texts Jen (our dog walker and vet tech) at 6am on a Saturday morning. She responds back and tells us to bring Indy over at 8:45am. She's working today and can get him in before they open at 9am.

8:45am -
Dr. "A" sees Indy and runs all the tests, but nothing looks wrong. A week earlier she would have blamed the incident on the predinsone, but Indy's past the high doses and it shouldn't be happening now. However, she sees nothing alarming in his reports. Jen (dog walker/vet tech) tells the vet that something is wrong. She knows this dog. The vet considers this and offers to do X-rays.

9:30 -
X-rays don't look good. There's a dark mass around his spleen. She does an ultra sound. Now there is a major concern, because it looks like a large tumor. She recommends that we take him downtown to UPenn immediately. Jen (our dog walker/vet tech) tells Brian about a holistic vet in Chadds Ford, just in case. She's not expecting good news. Important note- get a vet tech to be your dog walker!

We're on our way with blood work and the ultra sound to UPENN Vet Medicine in Philly. Our vet called ahead and they're expecting us. This is being handled as an emergency.

10:30- ( I may have been driving a little fast)
We get to UPenn and we're seen relatively quickly. Indy is taken back for another ultra sound and Dr. "B" consults with us. We find out that it is indeed a tumor on his spleen and that there are actually two. She explains the 2/3rd 2/3rds rule about benign vs. malignant and common cancers in Goldens. We press her for a professional opinion and she gives us Hemangiosarcoma. We're told the prognosis is 3-4 months at best.

We're informed that surgery will happen tomorrow Sunday July 24th. There's another more serious case ahead of Indy, so Brian asks to take Indy home. Neither of us want him to be cold and lonely in a hospital. Dr. "B" tells us we can, HOWEVER she strongly recommends we leave him. We decide to leave him.

All afternoon- 
I hit the Internet for information. It's all I can do. Thanks to Dr. "B"s opinion about Hemangiosarcoma I find a link to Addie's Blog. She's a 13 1/2 year old Rottie who has survived for 3 years after her splenectomy! On her site I learn about a new drug called Neoplasene and I get the website for BuckMountain Botanicals.

I call Buck Mountain and Dr. Terrance Fox (founder of Neo) actually answers the phone. I later realize that this is a rather important miracle that I didn't appreciate at the time. I won't go into details about how the conversation finally ceased my panic attacks or how odd the conversation was, but it was a GREAT conversation. He tells me to print out ALL the material on his site, read every word and present it to our vet ASAP. He also tells me flat out that if I do as he says and don't do as he says not to do, then our dog will die of old age! Of course, I take this as best I can from someone claiming to have a cure for cancer.  Brian and I spend all night with printouts and highlighters learning about this new wonder drug and I begin to believe Dr. Fox may actually have found just that.

9:00pm -
We get a phone call from our surgeon, Dr. "C". Indy's not looking good and his red blood count has dropped dramatically. He wants to do the surgery immediately. Good thing we left him. He preforms the 3 hour surgery while Brian and I wait together. You learn how long an hour can be in moments like this.

Around Midnight -
Dr. "C" calls us again. Indy has made it but has lost a lot of blood. The tumor ruptured. The next 24 hours will be critical.

Sunday July 24th
We're allowed to come see Indy. He's pulled through just fine and we can take him home on Monday. The nurse is VERY patient with us. We stay an additional hour after visiting hours are over.  

Monday July 25th
Of course I have to fly to Dallas for a sales meeting, so Brian is going solo at this point. He has an appointment with Dr. "D" at Media Vet about Neoplasene. He's armed and dangerous because we printed out everything that Dr. Fox told us to bring. There's little clinical data about Neo, BUT there are hundreds if not thousands of case studies and testimonials. We're hopeful, but Dr. "D" isn't so sure. After calling around and reading the info, he decides to recommend us to a vet nearby that has experience administering Neo. It's the same holistic vet who was recommended to us earlier.

Wednesday July 27th-
Dr. "C" calls from UPenn with the pathology report. It's not Hemangiosarcoma. It's something worse. It's Histiocytic Sarcoma. It's an acute cancer of the immune system. Chemo is now out. It's not been shown to help at all, so conventional medicine can't do anything for us. Our prognosis drops to maybe a matter of weeks depending on if the cancer is localized or disseminated. There's no way to tell the difference.It's also a very rare cancer, so there have not been a lot of chances for success stories.

Thursday July 28th
10am -
First appointment with our new holistic vet, we'll skip ahead and call her Dr."H". She's hopeful and tells Brian about a case similar to Indy's where the dog survived for several years with the help of Neo!! Of course, every dog is different and every case is different, but this is great news because I can't find anything online about dogs surviving more than a few months with this particular type.

She puts Indy on some blood builders, a good probiotic, and an immune booster (astragulas), as well as the Neo. He starts his new regiment of alternative medications just 5 days after his surgery.

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