2.17.2010

pupdate: excellent cody prognosis!

What a relief! Cody is having surgery tomorrow morning and her prognosis for a full recovery - cancer-free - is excellent. Here's what happened.

We went to Guelph this afternoon. For those not in this area, the University of Guelph has a huge veterinary college and teaching hospital with an excellent reputation. It's the kind of place people travel great distances to for; we're fortunate that it's only an hour or so away. We brought both dogs, as we always do, for everyone's comfort and moral support.

We met with doctors from the oncology service, who took a full history, did a physical, and also had the results from our own vet. They explained various options, and confirmed what we already knew: a lot would depend on whether or not the cancer had metastasized, and whether or not the tumour seemed operable. The first would be determined by blood work and chest x-rays, the second by a surgeon. They also said the surgeon would probably want to do an ultrasound and possibly a CT scan to get a better image of the tumour.

The great thing about a teaching hospital is that everything is there under one roof. All the different doctors and services can be consulted and results known on the spot. We left Cody for x-rays and blood work, and asked where we could take Tala for some play-time while we waited. We ended up on a snowy, windswept golf course. Tala looked like an arctic wolf out on the tundra!

When we met the doctor again, he was practically grinning. He said the prognosis could not be better. The chest x-rays were all clean. And the surgeon felt the tumour and almost instantly pronounced that she could get the whole thing, clean, no problem.

This surgeon is reputed to be one of the best. She did some aggressive handling of the tumour - far more than what a vet would normally do - and said she was able to get her fingers around the whole thing. This means that it should come out with "clean margins". She was so optimistic that she said ultrasound would be unnecessary. Also in our favour, the tumour is only on one side of the throat; about 60% of these cancers show up on both sides. The surgeon has done this exact surgery many times and, the doc said, she was excited about it because of the excellent prognosis.

Wow! We made the decision on the spot. There seemed to be no reason not to have the surgery, and every reason to do it.

The only question remaining was when, and after some discussion, we decided to move quickly. This crackshot surgeon is available tomorrow morning - Cody is already there - why prolong it.

The doctor assured us that he'll be personally taking care of Cody, seeing to her feeding and walking, making sure she's comfortable, visiting her many times a day. He seemed genuinely elated to give us good news and be able to help her.

So we left her there, not an easy thing to do, but we both feel it's the right thing. She was very groggy from the mild sedation they used for the chest x-ray, so she wasn't upset by our leaving. Tala was anxious to get the hell out of there already, so we did, got some dinner - and called my sister on the way home.

Oh my goodness! This is not what we were expecting. Personally, I was gearing myself up for the worst. We needed two big "ifs" to both come through, and that seemed like too much to hope for. In my mind, I was already preparing for the end of Cody's days. Whew.

Of course there are risks to any surgery. And doctors never really know the extent of any tumour until they're in there. We can't truly breathe easily until we hear that she's out of surgery and it went well. But for now, the future seems much brighter.

The doctor is calling us tomorrow morning, just to report how Cody did overnight (!), then we'll get another call after the surgery. Fingers and paws crossed!

Thank you all so much for your support. Thank you thank you.

21 comments:

Amy said...

OMG, I have been waiting for this post, hoping for the best but fearing the worst. I am SO happy that so far, all things look so good. Please be sure to keep all us out here in Cody Nation updated!!

Love to you all.

L-girl said...

Yay! Thanks!

Cody Nation :) That reminds me: the surgeon's name is Dr. Boston!

Amy said...

Dr. Boston! Wow, how cool. I feel even better now. :)

Dharma Seeker said...

fan-f&cking-tastic!

johngoldfine said...

Fingers crossed.

I have a million doctor horror stories, but none about vets at all. The worst thing a vet ever did was write 'Mady' on my dog Maddy's belly before her spaying. That's pretty hard for an English teacher to handle, but I had to balance that high crime against all the quick, attentive, sympathetic, intelligent, careful work vets have done for our dogs and horses over the years. Oh yeah, the cats too. Not a cat person....

Fingers crossed.

Stephanie said...

I am ecstatic for you! What a nice finish to the day!

Sleep well. When will you get to bring her home? Expected recovery time?

Dharma Seeker said...

She's in excellent hands hon, no need for horror stories so don't even let your mind go there. She couldn't be in better hands.

When my treasured Sarah aka. Alpha died her vet made a contribution to canine cancer research on behalf of her human family. How wonderful that other beloved furkids like Cody might benefit from that. It's a touching legacy.

I look forward to excellent news on WMTC tomorrow.

West End Bob said...

This is better news than any old Olympic medal, L-girl!

Thanks for the positive news . . . .

M@ said...

Scout and Bean eagerly await some more good news! All fingers and paws are crossed over here.

L-girl said...

Thanks everyone, so much.

I have a million doctor horror stories, but none about vets at all.

After we got the good news and were waiting for another doctor to join us, I was saying to Allan that we've known so many great vets, especially specialists - really wonderful, caring, incredibly knowledgeable people.

We have had a few bad experiences, unfortunately - including someone in our old neighbourhood whose medical license should be revoked. He performs unnecessary sugery on animals all the time. A horror.

We also knew a vet with very bad "bedside manner" - and unfortunately he was our good vet's husband and partner, and we had to work to avoid him!

Overall, though, we've had great experiences. I'm not at all worried about the quality of care Cody will receive.

I'll just feel better when the surgery is over and I hear she's come through ok.

L-girl said...

When will you get to bring her home? Expected recovery time?

That all depends on how the surgery goes, if there are complications. There's a high risk of blood loss with this surgery, so if she needs a transfusion, they will have to keep her there longer, and so on.

We might be able to get her on Saturday or Sunday morning before work. Hopefully no later than Monday.

We miss her!

Mike said...

Excellent news for Cody, best wishes for a speedy recovery.

MSEH said...

I'm late. Saw this on fb and couldn't be happier for you all. Looking forward to hearing more good news! She's just such a sweetie!

L-girl said...

I just spoke to a doctor. Her surgery is scheduled for mid-day, and they have a busy day full of operations. So we won't hear anything til late afternoon or early evening. Waiting sucks!

hhw said...

I'm so glad to see such good news, especially when you were preparing for much worse.

James said...

Great news -- looking forward to the follow-up post.

Scott M. said...

Congrats on the great news. I look forward to the follow-up message!

Jere said...

Hooray!

tim said...

Nice! I'm glad to hear that everything worked out with the prognosis and I'm sure everything will go great with the surgery - wooo cody!

And next time you're in Guelph - tell me! I work like 5 min from the university!

L-girl said...

Tim, thanks! I actually thought of it yesterday but I was too keyed-up and nervous to be social. But if we have follow-up appointments or whatnot, I'll let you know.

We had dinner at the Fat Duck. Allan was unhappy because I insisted on no alcohol before driving home on the 401 at night, after a stressful day. If we meet you on a non-stressful day, I will lift the prohibition. :)

David Cho said...

GREAT NEWS. Keeping fingers crossed.