Cancer Doesn't Read the Book

Oh my. Myra's cancer is just so frustrating. A few days ago I posted a wonderful blog about the negative ultrasound that showed Myra's intestinal and stomach masses had disappeared. We were so happy we celebrated with a bottle of champagne. But a part of me knew we were probably sitting on a ticking time bomb, just waiting for the next explosion.

It only took a few days.

With the amazing results on Tuesday, we were flying high. But Thursday night rolled around and Myra was in respiratory distress. We drove the hour to Hope Veterinary Specialists at ten pm, only to be told they thought she had "food coma" (ie- that feeling after Thanksgiving dinner) because her raw food dinner was still in her stomach 4 hours after eating. So we took her home and walked her at 1 am to make her poop.

Unfortunately, as I suspected, her problem was not "food coma". On Friday night she was miserably uncomfortable. We were staying at a hotel in New Brunswick, as I was scheduled to speak at a pet expo Saturday and Sunday. I watched her struggle through most of the night and woke Hue up early Saturday saying we needed to get her to an ER service asap. While we would have loved to take her to Hope Veterinary Specialists, where her beloved Dr. Vickery works, Myra was in distress. There was no way we could drive ninety minutes with her. We opted for a closer, well-respected option, Northstar Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center. I called ahead and they were waiting for our darling dog.

When we arrived, the team was ready and waiting. They whisked her from my arms and took her back for triage. The reception team was professional and took our information. We met with the critical care specialist within a few minutes and she went over her findings. Myra was comfortable in an oxygen cage. We were allowed to visit with Myra, went over the radiographs and lab work, and felt comfortable with the plan to move forward with sedation, CT scan, and endoscopy of the upper airway. Even though her lower airway (lungs) showed radiographic changes, I was certain her upper airway was the big problem.

An hour later I received a phone call from the critical care specialist, stating she thought Myra was too stressed to be sedated for endoscopy and CT scan. They were treating for possible pulmonary embolism secondary to the high doses of steroids and aspiration pneumonia (cause unknown?). I reiterated my concern for upper airway problems.

Two hours later I spoke again with the critical care specialist. Myra was still uncomfortable. Once again, I begged for them to look at the upper airway. I received another call stating that after review, yes, Myra did in fact have some upper airway symptoms. Sigh...

Myra was sedated and scoped. The doctors found a large mass behind her larynx, blocking her airway, explaining the respiratory distress. Since the mass was not removable, they opted for biopsy and a temporary tracheotomy to help Myra breathe. I was relieved that we had an answer to the problem and Myra would no longer have to struggle to breathe.

We visited with Myra Saturday night after surgery. She was ecstatic to see us and gave kisses and nudged her dinosaur. Our hopes for a brighter future were great.

Unfortunately, the next day did not hold the same hopeful enthusiasm.

To be continued...