Wednesday, October 10, 2007

My Big Boy Is Sick

JD, my "big boy," is very sick. Last week, I noticed that I could feel his spine. I feed him low-fat food because he tends to bulk up, especially in the winter, if we're not careful. I checked and I could also feel his rib cage pretty easily. I wasn't too sure what was going on so I made note of it and kept an eye on him.

I could swear he was getting skinnier so I did some more feeling around and noticed something that seemed odd to me when I felt his abdomen. I poked and prodded Teddy a little bit for comparison. Being an uneducated person, I wrote it off to his weight loss but started keeping a closer eye on him.

Over the weekend, he started acting tired and worn out. On Monday, I finally had the opportunity to check his waste and spotted a worm. I tried to get him into the vet Monday but it was too late in the day. I didn't have time yesterday because of work so I made an appointment this afternoon.

I mentioned to the vet that his abdomen did not feel right to me so she checked and it didn't feel right to her, either. After a couple of X-Rays it was determined that what we were feeling was his liver. There was either a tumor attached to it, a tumor inside it causing serious inflammation, or several tumors causing inflammation. It hit me hard because two weeks ago, he seemed completely happy and healthy.

The vet told me the next step was probably blood work and/or an ultrasound to find out exactly what we were dealing with. If it was only affecting part of the liver and the inflammation was the result of the irritation, removing the affected part of the liver might be an option. If it were malignant or involving the entire liver, there wasn't much that could be done (he can't survive without a liver).

Given our current financial situation, the cost of the tests is probably prohibitive enough and we certainly can't afford surgery.

The other option she gave me was some medication that might make him more comfortable. I came home with some prednisone (a steroid) that may shrink the mass and give him some relief. I opted not to get the antibiotic or the pain medication for now. The entire office is participating in some continuing education tomorrow through Sunday so I decided to pay $14 for the steroid, skip the other stuff (in all, the medication would have been ~$50), and see what happens over the weekend. I have the number for another vet that is taking their patients while they are off being educated should I decide he needs the pain medication or I want to get the antibiotic.

My biggest concern is Teddy - especially since we'll be traveling soon. Teddy was very unhappy being separated from JD while we were traveling to Idaho in April. He wouldn't even take food or water until and unless they were together. JD is Teddy's security blanket. Teddy will very often lie down so that some part of his body is touching JD. If we were home, I would hope he would adjust but I'm not sure he'll understand if JD goes away and we go back home. I think he'll think we forgot JD or left him behind. I think I'd feel that way, too.

I want to get him home and I want him to visit our vet in Oklahoma. I trust her judgment and she knows him. I just wonder if he'll last that long.

I really feel like I need a miracle here. We barely have enough money to get back home, we have obligations to satisfy once we get there (utilities, mortgage, etc.), and my job doesn't start until the 5th which means I may not see a paycheck for 3-4 weeks after that. I can talk to the utility companies and the mortgage company and work something out with them but I just don't know what I am going to do or what I can do about JD.

My brain is buzzing with all sorts of what-if's so I'm just going to give JD the medication, hand this over to God, and pray that everything works out with as little pain and heartache as possible.

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