Friday, July 03, 2015

Cancer: sometimes it demands your attention

I just landed in New Hampshire for the summer after the usual cross-country drive from San Diego. Half-way there I had to deal with a tumor of Vida's and it wasn't pretty. If you insist that your squeamish then don't read further, but if you learn something from my experience it will be worth taking a look.

Vida's had a tumor growing between the base of her tail and her anus for about two years now. It's slowly grown and not caused any problems. Her vet just saw it a couple of weeks ago and reiterated his belief that we continue to leave it alone.

I left San Diego to drive to New Hampshire on June 26th. 

On June 28th, as I loaded her into the car to get on the road for the day I noticed fresh wet markings on her seat cover, and then saw that this tumor as a small opening on the side that was leaking a little blood and serum.

What? What happened? There was nothing going on with it, no redness, no irritation. But nonetheless it suddenly opened. 

I wiped it, applied some colloidal silver and a first aid powder and wrapped it as best I could (thankfully I had some wound care supplies for my mom on hand as I hadn't packed anything like that for the dog). I figured I'd let it rest and take a closer look at the end of the day's driving. 

Well in the afternoon when we stopped for lunch I had to deal with it again, but this time there was pink "material" coming out of it! Like unattached flesh, it couldn't exactly be squeezed or pulled out, but a few inches of ropy cells WERE out already, so I removed them and rewrapped it as best I could (believe me, this location is almost impossible to keep wrapped). 

At the hotel in the evening I attended to it again, this time cleaning it, removing the fleshy material that was coming out, applying colloidal silver, and applying a general healing salve before wrapping it in an attempt to keep it clean.

I also took photos.


The reddish-purplish color of the skin covering the tumor is normal for her. The nerve-sheath tumor I had removed was the same color, as is that of the small lipoma on her cheek.

I had no idea what the actual tumor cells would look like! I assumed the material would be less structured because of how the tumor felt. It was the strangest thing to remove this material that looked like flesh. 

But that's what a tumor is - runaway cell growth, so it stands to reason that it could look just like something "normal."

It wasn't painful for Vida, but it was disturbing. She didn't like all the handling. I feel really bad for her when she tries to clean up anything that's leaked out and gotten on to the floor or bedding. 

So I had two more days until I would get to New Hampshire and have a chance to see a vet. 

I emailed photos to my vet too, so I could get his opinion. I hoped that when I reached New Hampshire I could just get it stitched closed.

The next morning I got small butterfly bandages to try and prevent worse damage and in the hopes of helping it quiet down. By this time the tumor was half the size that it had been before this happened. Not really my preferred way to de-bulk a tumor!


I also got online to the yahoo group that is the community email list in Sandwich, NH to ask for veterinary surgeon recommendations. I got a flurry of replies from the wonderful people of Sandwich and decided to take her to a mainstream vet nearby that was recommended by several people. 

So July 1st I took her to the vet, hoping to get a few stitches in it and be done, but the vet thought there was a bit of infection and so didn't want to close it, but to let it drain. After two weeks it would depend on how it was doing, and if it hadn't settled down she advised that full removal would be needed.

The vet opinions varied in this regard. Her regular vet thought that an ulceration would heal on it's own in most cases. This vet thought it likely that total removal would be needed. You can see how a vet's manner of treatment can differ so much, and thus how your own assessment would be guided in such different directions.

She irrigated it with saline which was really uncomfortable for Vida. She also shaved some of the hair nearby to help keep it cleaner (which unfortunately has left the area a little irritating for Vida). 

She also gave me antibiotics for two weeks and instructed me to keep the area clean but allow it to air (so different than human wound care where they want to cover everything). 

I was bummed about the antibiotics, Vida's never had antibiotics in the 15 years I've had her, and I knew it would be so destructive to her microbiome, but I really had not brought along the tinctures I thought would be most effective (see what happens when you don't plan for emergencies! Ugh!). If the antibiotics would help to quickly settle this area down so that we didn't have to have surgery I decided it was worth it. 

Vida was really, really uncomfortable for the rest of the day, though she handled the treatment room procedure like a champ (shaking a lot, but the vet tech was perfect and calm).

I emailed my vet an update about what was done and asked if there are big differences of opinion on this, as there was a supposedly integrative vet further away I could get a consult with if needed.

So now it's two weeks of an open wound. Trying to keep it clean, trying to keep Vida from licking it. Not exactly how I planned to start my summer in New Hampshire.

So this photo is from July 3rd, two days after the visit to the vet (I took a photo in the exam room but it came out totally blurry).


It's shiny because I just put a little salve on it. She's super-sensitive about the collodial silver since the irrigating was done so I've let that go today. To the left you can see that her fur needs some scrubbing ( trimmed it a bit with scissors), but again, she's so sensitive right now I let it go, applying some salve since the wound contacts that area sometimes. 

Though it seems red it is less messy, and you can see the skin developing at the edges. The tissue you can peak at isn't actively escaping. 

Looking at it today I really have hope that it could close on it's own, so am being diligent about applying the salve. I've also ordered a bottle of the lymph formula she does so well on. 

Yesterday I did a long energy healing session with her, and she really needed it after not only this tumor opening, but especially after all the examination and treatment stuff (tail pulling, stress, irrigating the wound, etc). I plan to do some kind of energy work daily to help this heal. 

Going out for a walk cheers her up and takes her mind off of it a bit too. 

This blog will have a follow-up of course.

The big lesson to take away from all of this? Pack a good kit! I packed some things but left out really important items need for wound care and infection. You never know what will happen when you're traveling and don't have access to your usual supplies. 

Please read on! Part Two of the story is all about trusting Mother Nature.

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