I’m not a fan of roller coasters – physical or figurative. Anyone with an ill or even just an aging pet knows that their health issues can have you on one of those rides. I’d rather pass, thank you, just like I would pass on riding one at the amusement park.
However, we don’t get a choice sometimes. Yesterday was one of those days. I made the mistake of recently going on about how well Sheba was doing. Don’t worry – she is still feeling fine. It was up and down for a few days when she first had her UTI, some days she would eat, other times her appetite would wane and worry us.
I had it in the back of my mind that we were going to have her urine re-checked to be sure the UTI had cleared up, but we hadn’t done it yet. When I took her for a walk yesterday, I noticed blood in her urine again.
As soon as I got home I called our vet and they wanted another urine sample. I forced myself to focus and write that day’s blog before going back outside to see if we could accomplish collecting that and we did. I actually managed not to be a complete wreck while sitting in their office waiting for the results.
Our vet had two suggestions: either the UTI hadn’t cleared up completely because Sheba’s immune system was down due to fighting cancer, or there was something else going on and they could take x-rays to get a look at her bladder. An additional round of antibiotics would be for 30 days, with a re-check of her urine with just a few days left. I pretty much knew after talking to them on the phone earlier what my choices would probably end up being.
I knew it was highly likely that it was just the UTI again, yet the prospect of waiting 3 weeks to know for sure if it would clear up did not appeal. I had also already considered in my mind that if they were x-raying her bladder that we should get her lungs x-rayed as well.
Her type of cancer – spindle cell sarcoma – is most likely to metastasize to her lungs. And even though I wrote recently that there was no sign of that – no coughing, etc., I was a little bit in denial. I had noticed something – a subtle “huffing” type noise when she stood up at times. I never mentioned it to my hubby, because denial was working for me at the time. Turns out he had noticed too and it was also working for him.
I opted for x-rays, bladder and lung, then called my hubby at work to let him know, and he agreed we should do whatever I thought we needed to. Even though at the time of her last surgery, our vet had suggested lung x-rays at some point down the road, I had mostly thought it wouldn’t serve much purpose to know, because there’s no treatment for her cancer anyway.
With everything going on, her huffing noises along with the blood in her urine, now I needed to know. Our vet’s office had a surgery cancellation so as luck would have it we could do the x-rays right away.
The good news is that her bladder was fine, no signs of anything other than a UTI going on there. They wanted to do full blood tests as well, and those all looked good. The not-so-good news was that the cancer is in her lungs; however, just a spot, large enough but not huge – and at least at this point her lungs aren’t loaded or anything. Our vet and his staff continue to be impressed and pleased with how well she has been doing.
As it turns out, I feel better knowing that. Not better that the cancer is there, but we mostly knew that would happen at some point anyway. But knowing where we’re at and what to watch for. Right now she is still feeling great, and her appetite has been consistently good for quite a few days now.
She has also seemed kind of achy and stiff so we had her back on her arthritis drugs and that also seems to have her feeling better. Her x-rays did show a lot of fusing in her spine, meaning her arthritis is also there, but it’s not so unusual for an older dog like her. They gave me carprofen for her arthritis (less expensive than the Rimadyl we had been using) and more antibiotics, and that’s where we’re at.
Hopefully this roller coaster stays down at ground level for a while now. So with our little bump in the road out of the way, with all paws crossed, the Summer of Sheba continues!