Thursday, March 25, 2010

Night & Day Surgeon Consults


All I can say is get good, honest referrals from people you trust.

The first surgeon I consulted with is the big shot in dental surgery around here. His website has photos of him with anesthetized tigers and such. He works at the fancy specialty vet hospital in Sorrento Valley. It was a total waste of my $100. Within 2 minutes he'd decided what should be done (lower jaw removal including the first molar), and barely entertained my questions. Nothing more rude and condescending than a phrase like "well, that's the owners decision of course" when you ask about other options.

It took me a few days to decide for sure that it wasn't just my general worry that was getting in the way, I really didn't trust him.

Today I had a consult with Dr. Holly Mullen at VCA Emergency in San Diego and she was wonderful! The complete opposite of the previous fellow. She explained everything in detail, answered all my questions with compassion and respect. She called the oncologist she was referring me to and then called me later in the day to tell me what he said.

This is the surgeon that my own vet would use on his dog, and that Vida's chiropractor ("Dr Cheryl, 760.744.1111) highly recommends.

She didn't even try to get my dog in for surgery! Yep, it was more important for her to recommend what she thought was best for the dog!

Surgically Vida's cancer is such that unless we go for a radical surgery it will just come back and look just as it did today. So that would mean removing the lower jaw back to the second molar and putting two pins in to keep the two sides aligned. That would probably work, but she would have to radically adjust how she eats and plays. And sometimes the body rejects the pins and they have to take them out.

Dr. Mullen said if it were her dog she would do radiation instead. This type of cancer is very sensitive to radiation (the oncologist, Proulx, said "exquisitely sensitive"), and might be cured by it (the original biopsy report said that too). At the very least it should shrink it and require less surgery, and it could even get rid of it for a few years, no surgery necessary (mouth intact!).

She felt, and I agree so far, that Vida would have an easier time with radiation treatments than with the surgery.

I never thought I would do radiation on my dog.

I guess my lesson is to experience integrative treatment for my dog. For example, I will use herbs to soothe her mouth after radiation. That is definitely something I can do! And all the supplements she's getting will certainly support her through the radiation treatments so her immune system doesn't get too damaged.

Yesterday Vida got to playing with her dog friend Max and somehow her tumor got slashed. She was bleeding for so long I actually drove to the vet, and of course it finally stopped when I'd gotten there. Cleaning up the blood reminded me of old punk shows where we would be worried about the cops seeing evidence of a fight. That brought some humor to the situation. Luckily my co-worker Heather (Max's owner) is similarly level-headed, and helped so much - she even drove to the market to get some sage to use as a styptic because the store-bought stuff we grabbed off the shelf sure wasn't working. Today it was still not healed well and she bled at the surgeons office, poor thing. Hopefully that settles down until we get started on this new stuff. Fresh chewed up Plantain will be pressed on in a little while (a leaf of plantain and a leaf of sage were in my pocket earlier, ready to be put to use of she started gushing again).
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