Well That Didn’t Go as Expected

Over the last week or so Harlow hasn’t been eating well. I put her food down in the morning and she gets around to it around 4 in the afternoon and often doesn’t eat dinner. I didn’t think too much of this since she’s never been food motivated. Now I am kicking myself hard because after she was diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) last summer and was successfully treated for it, she ate normally every. Single. Day.

So I really should have jumped on any change in her eating pattern considering it was likely IBD her whole life that kept her from being interested in food.

Saturday morning her stomach was LOUD. Gurgling and bubbling. I wondered if there’s anything the vet can really do about a grumbly tummy. I went outside with her and she attempted to eat grass.

I called the vet and to my surprise they had room for her later in the morning. I noticed a bump on her tummy about the size of a lima bean while we were sitting on the couch waiting to leave for the appointment, so I made a mental note to mention it to the vet.

A little while later I am on the phone with the vet who has just examined her inside the building (COVID policy – still can’t go in with the pet). He prescribed anti-nausea meds and some steroids, suspecting that this is a IBD flare-up and the steroid will help. More troubling, he tells me, is that she’s gone from 62lbs down to 56 or 57lbs.

Before she went in I mentioned the bump on her tummy. I didn’t think too much of it – I thought fat ball or some kind of irritation. The vet took a sample and looked at it, finding what’s called mast cells.

Long story short, it’s a tumor that could be benign, it could be Stage II which might return after removal, or it could be Stage III which has a less than six months life expectancy.

I was displeased that these were our only choices.

The vet did say that her tummy symptoms might be because it’s spread to her stomach, but he seemed to feel doubtful of that because when she was diagnosed with the IBD last summer they biopsied her stomach tissue and it came back normal. I suggest that cancer can start and spread at any time and it’s been seven months since that procedure took place, but I didn’t say that out loud lest the vet respond with “good point”.

If you don’t suggest something or say it out loud it is no longer a possibility, right?

We came home and I had this thought of I need more pictures of her! Which is dumb, but I took more anyway.

In addition to the meds for the IBD, I’m now giving her twice a day Pepcid to decrease acid in her stomach and Benadryl because apparently this tumor produces histamine? I mean honestly, what the hell? Both of these over-the-counter meds are supposed to help with the tumor somehow.

Thankfully she took her meds wrapped in boring old limited ingredient treats (because her diet is limited) and this morning she ate all her breakfast the minute I put it down so that was nice to see.

Last night I went online and bought all of the pure duck based treats in existence. Because this sucks and she deserves them.

Today it is rainy and dreary and I’m feeling rudderless and sad. I’m trying not to cry in front of the dog, because honestly, get it together, human. But I am letting myself get my cries out because I do need to be productive tomorrow.

Good things – 1. If this is malignant, I have read that it is not painful. 2. The tumor could be benign (obviously this is the option I choose). 3. If it is malignant, there is treatment for it, so as long as it doesn’t make her life crappy, I’ll be looking into that if we get to that point where it’s needed.

I’m leaning hard for number 2.

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