I apologize to those who have been concerned for not sharing an update on Sheba and her test results sooner (click here if you’ve missed the story). The news was not what we were hoping for, and I’ve been kind of trying to come to terms with it. I didn’t want to post something totally negative when that’s what I was feeling. It’s not all bad, but for a couple of days that seemed to be all I could focus on.
The tumor the vet removed from Sheba was cancerous. As I told you before, it was the spindle cell sarcoma they were checking for. The bad part is that they just can’t be sure if he removed it all, because it was so messy it was impossible to get “clean margins”. The more hopeful news is that this type of cancer rarely metastasizes …it is mostly a cancer that grows right beneath the skin and is confined to one area.
If he did not get it all, because of where it is located on her side, he should be able to remove any subsequent recurrence as he did this one. We’ll have to keep a close eye on the area. Chemotherapy does not typically work for this type of cancer, though radiotherapy (radiation) could. It would be our option to take Sheba to Tufts in Boston to pursue that. We have decided not to at this time for mostly a couple of reasons: Sheba is 10 ½ years old and at her age we just don’t want to put her through that additional stress. But more importantly, right now she feels great! If she was acting poorly, we might look at things differently.
On top of receiving the bad news, fluid had started to build up around Sheba’s incision and I had to take her back in. They were able to easily re-open the drain site so that the fluid could be drained. The good news there is that so far the fluid is clear and does not look infected. But the drain site keeps closing back up and I had to take her in the next day to re-open it again! This time they showed me how to use a q-tip to get in a little deeper and open it as needed. There’s a reason I never went into the medical field. It’s not that I’m extremely squeamish….the sight of blood doesn’t bother me. But what does bother me is the thought that I might be hurting Sheba when I did this (even though they said it didn’t hurt her), so I just couldn’t get in there deep enough.
As it turns out, my hubby is a better nurse than I am, and he has been the one that’s been doing this now, and so far we’ve been able to keep it drained, though it isn’t always easy. So between these two things, I’ve been a bit stressed out, and having a hard time staying optimistic. I’m worried about whether she’s healing properly, and I’m worried about the cancer returning. I’m trying to pull myself together but it’s tough. The fact that I got the phone call the day before the anniversary of Kobi’s death didn’t really help matters.
I didn’t want to write this post when I’ve been feeling so negative. I have felt sad, angry, resentful, and bitter. This is our 3rd dog with cancer, and we’ve only had 7! I think I am finally getting past that though. I was honestly a bit surprised, I was optimistic for it to have just been a benign cyst. Add that all in to the weather we’ve been having, and even a normally optimistic person like me can have trouble looking on the bright side.
I’m trying to think of proactive things I can do to help Sheba. I want her to get through this healing process and get those stitches out so she can go back to playing and enjoying life. She is such a trooper….each trip to the vet she is stoic, and each time we take her aside to open that drain she puts up with it without a peep. She’s an awesome dog. She is supposed to be getting her stitches out today, but that will only happen if the fluid is no longer building up, which remains to be seen. It is healing and has slowed down but we did have to drain it Sunday morning.
I’ll share some things I’m thinking about soon. I have plenty of time to think about things, since we’re in blizzard conditions lately. We only got a few inches of snow over the weekend, but the wind chills have been below zero so we’re stuck inside.
In retrospect, this was probably a better time for her to need surgery than in the middle of the summer when she’d really be bummed about not being able to play in the pool. Maybe I am finally starting to look on the bright side. I am going to plan on Sheba being around for a long time to come, and we’re going to make the best of each and every day. The rest is in the hands of a higher power.
Jackie Bouchard says
Sorry to be replying so late and even sorrier to hear the news. I hate the C word. But I’m glad to hear she’s feeling well. That’s so important. I’ll be interested to hear about the things you’re going to try. I hope she’s healed up well after the surgery. Sending good thoughts your way!
Thank you, Jackie. The healing is coming along, though it’s been slow….I hope we’re almost there. I’ve been focused on the healing, and once we’re there I’ll spend some more time on research. I think you had some good suggestions in one of your posts for the cancer hop.
Groovy Goldendoodles says
My heart sank when I read the first few sentences today, but by the time I finished this post, I couldn’t help but feel a renewed sense of faith that Sheba will be just fine, and the worst is behind you. Your fears are real and for now they are certainly understandable. Take your time, adjust to this news, and you will find your strength returning as you watch and learn from this remarkable animal you’ve loved for so many years! My prayers are always with you and your family.
Thank you so much, Cathy, I hope that your faith is contagious. 🙂
Already watching Sheba heal, and how well she handles everything, is very inspiring. This does not get her down.
Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady says
Oh no 🙁 I have been wondering and wondering about Sheba waiting for an update. I am so so so so sorry Jan. My fingers are crossed for you hoping the cancer does not return, and I hope you guys can keep it drained and infection free. I can’t imagine going through this, I have not had a dog with cancer yet, but I know how hard it is when a family member has cancer, and our dogs are our family, so I can imagine….
Again, I am so sorry, and my thoughts and prayers are with you.
ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
I’m sorry I kept you waiting, Jenna. It just was so tough to write about….I could stay in denial a bit if I didn’t put it in writing.
So far, so good with keeping the healing process going….I hope by next week the stitches will be out. paws crossed.
I wish none of us had to deal with cancer, ever.
Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers, and for caring. <3
Scott @ Tailsmart says
Firstly may I say how sorry I am to read of your beloved Sheba diagnosis. My support, and don’t regret another surgery, if your vet says it will be necessary. I am sure this will end well.
Thank you so much for concern, support, and optimism, Scott.
Sand Spring Chesapeakes says
So sorry about the results. I was hoping for a cyst or lipoma. Hopefully this one won’t come back for a long time. It’s hard to take in such news in the beginning and I’m glad you are being positive now and looking at the good. Hugs
We hope this one was caught in time, and that it will be less invasive than ones we’ve dealt with in the past.
Sheba feels great and that’s what gives us more hope. Thank you!
I’m sorry you didn’t get the results you were hoping for, Sheba’s cancer sounds manageable, but hopefully they did get everything and there won’t be a recurrence. I’ve lost 4 of my 6 cats to cancer, and it’s frustrating, especially when we’re all the type of owners who take great care of our pets.
I hope Sheba’s incision heals well so that she can get the stitches out.
That’s the frustrating part…we do all we think we can for our pets, and yet things like this still happen. That is life I guess. We’ve also lost 2 cats and 2 dogs to cancer, and know just how insidious it can be. We hope this type is less that way.
She is healing….it’s just going slower than we would like but we think she’s getting there.
As you know, I was so sorry to hear the news on Sheba wasn’t what we wanted to hear, Jan-but she will be fine, she will get through this, as will you-and just look at all this support, love, sharing, you have from your blog friends-I am amazed, moved and happy for you to have this support system!! Your blog friends are wonderful, and you deserve them!! Only positive thoughts for our beloved Sheba!
All positive thoughts are needed, and appreciated. Yes, the support system here (and from my family and friends) is exactly what will get us through this.
Bev Green says
Oh Jan I have been offline and so sorry to see the news on Sheba..we send all our POTP and love to you all..we hate the bad news we really do…and we hope that Sheba enjoys being home and with her family for as long as possible..sending you a hug and also our love..Bev xx
Thank you so much, Bev, your love and hopes are great appreciated. xxoo
Oh Jan, I’m so sorry the news wasn’t what you were hoping for! I’m glad that your vet thinks that he should be able to get it if there’s a recurrence–it’s nice to have vets that can stay positive and optimistic when we’re busy worrying about our babies. Sending love and healing thoughts your way!
Thank you, Beth. My vet, and my hubby, take things in stride far more than I do….and hopefully their optimism rubs off on me! 🙂 Oh, and Sheba too….her attitude is sunny at all times.
Caren Gittleman says
How did I miss the other post with the test results? I am so sorry that the results weren’t what I thought they were either. I think your attitude IS good. I think the fact that the cancer is confined to one area (and hopefully they got it all) IS good. You are right, ultimately it is up to a “higher power”…it isn’t fair, no it isn’t…….but Sheba is happy as you said, and that is what matters. Hoping she can have her stitches out. Sending you love and prayers that Sheba continues to do super well! xoxo
You didn’t miss anything, Caren, this IS the post telling the test results. Thank you so much for your love and prayers….that is what will get us through this, and help to feel more optimistic.
I hate that was the news. I’ve been thinking about you and Sheba and hoping for the best. But you’re right, all you can do is make the most of the time you have with her – hope that the vet did a good job on the margins and she is back to her old self in no time. Keep us posted and know you have a big family out here to support you.
Thank you so much for your support, it helps so much. I hope we have a lot of time left, and we’re just trying to stay focused on getting her healed so she can have those stitches out and get back to playing. Once that happens I think we’ll at least be able to relax a bit, though we’ll always be keeping a close eye on her.
Brian Frum says
We are sure sorry the news was’t better for dear Sheba, but there are lotsmof positive things, not to mention all the love she feels. Purrs, prayers and gentle hugs to that sweetie from all of us.
Thank you so much, Brian. No matter what, she will be greatly loved for whatever time she has left with us, just as she has always been. 🙂
Ann Staub says
Sorry Sheba =/ The fluid thing does happen sometimes, have seen it before. Hope the doctor was able to get all of the tumor. Cancer really does suck. You just have to live your life to the fullest 🙂 I hope you heal well from your surgery.
I’m glad to hear you’ve seen the fluid thing before, Ann. I guess it’s because he had to go so deep to get the whole thing out. It’s slowly receding….but just seems to be taking forever! Sheba just wants to get those stitches out and get back to playing.
I’m so sorry you didn’t get the news you – and all of us – were hoping for. It sounds like she’s doing great, though, and I’m thrilled to hear she’s feeling so well! Sounds like you and your husband are a great team, and she’s so lucky to have such a warm, caring family to help her recover!
And she has just made caring for her so easy….she really is just such a trooper, and never complains about anything, even when she’s stuck inside when wanting to be outside playing.
The Island Cats says
We’re sorry to hear that the news about Sheba wasn’t better. But if there is a bright side, it’s that the cancer is something that won’t spread and you know what to expect in the future. We’re purring that Sheba heals quickly and things can get back to normal for all of you.
Thank you! A little normalcy around here would be a big help for everyone…we’re getting there.
I’m so sorry that the results came back and it wasn’t what you were hoping for. I can really relate to your stress as Haley has had a couple of cancerous tumors removed. One was on her foot (a few years ago) and one was on her upper lip which was removed just a couple of weeks ago. Both usually don’t metastasize either, but it’s still a worry.
I’ve adopted your same attitude. Enjoy every day with them and try not to think negatively (I know that’s hard to do) because it takes away from from fully enjoying your time with them. One thing Haley has taught me is to live in the moment. 🙂
It always helps to know others who have been through or are going through the same thing. You understand the worry better than anyone. I’ll be thinking of you and Haley too, and hope that we both can try to stay positive and remember to live in the moment like the dogs.
Pamela | Something Wagging This Way Comes says
I’m so sorry you didn’t get all the great news you were hoping for–benign tumor, clean margins. But Sheba is so lucky to have you taking care of her.
I’m so glad she seems to be feeling good. So hopefully the stitches will be out soon so she can complete her recovery.
Good luck coping with your nursing duties. So glad your husband is able to bringing his skills to help your lovely girl.
I’ve always been the one to care for the dogs, so it’s good for my hubby to have a turn. 🙂 Apparently he’s good at the more difficult things, though he does say he doesn’t want to be a vet tech!
The fact that Sheba feels good is the one thing that gives us the most hope. Other than that we’ll just have to deal with what comes.
easy rider says
I hoped so much you will get good news…. I will cross my paws that the vet got the whole evil c. I feel the same when it comes to medical things, no matter how bloody or weird it is, I always fear I could hurt the pup…
Big hugs to Sheba, I send a big bag of POTP your way
Thank you so much, Easy. Keep your paws crossed and that POTP coming!
I’m so sorry, it sucks. I’m going to send good vibes your way that they did indeed get it all and she will have many more happy years with you.
It’s hard sometimes not to focus on the negative, but what I’ve learned is it is best to think it and feel it. I think it helps us process things much better.
Please know we are all here for you and if you need to be negative, we can take it. Hugs to you my friend and healing light.
Thank you so much for your understanding and support, Jodi. I guess I’m used to trying to stay strong, and also want the blog to be a happy place, not a place of too much sadness. But I suppose it’s also about life with pets, and that is a part of it. Judging by the support here, everyone else is OK with it too. 🙂
Oh Crap, I’m sorry the news was not what you wanted. Cancer sucks!! I will keep you in my thoughts for positiveness, and Sheba for quick healing.
Thank you, Mary. Cancer really does suck, and I guess all we can do is fight through it and try to stay positive.
I’m so sorry to hear this. We’ll be keeping you and Sheba in our thoughts.
Thank you, Jen!
I’m so sorry to hear about Sheba’s diagnosis, and I completely understand how hard it is to see the positive side when you’re going through this. Feeling negative is an absolutely normal reaction to news like this. I think you’re being quite strong, actually. We’re sending you and Sheba many healing prayers and Daisy sends extra special Havachon puppy kisses.
Thank you for saying that, and thank you so much for the prayers and kisses. <3
Dolly the Doxie says
We are sorry to hear about the results too, but the fact that it can be removed, and possibly more successfully the next time does sound very optimistic so we are keeping all paws crossed. Sheba just needs you to be by her side, that’s enough. Funny you should mention that your husband is the better nurse, so is mine. We’ve had some rough times with the cats and some very difficult surgeries and recoveries, and he was the one that could do the meds and the feeding tubes far better than me. I agree about the chemo as any dogs we have known never did well and had a poor quality of life from it. Will continue to think of you just stay positive Sheba can sense your tension.
I am trying to focus on how great she feels so that I can stay calm for her. I’ll do better once the incision is healed completely and those stitches are out! Thank you so much for your kind thoughts and support, it really does help so much!
Saw your FB post and headed straight here. Heavy sigh. I am so sorry this was not better news. I really was focused on this being benign. I think what you’re feeling is totally understandable. I’m just hoping that the vet actually did get it all and it will be clear sailing as soon as this incision is healed. Hang in there. Sending lots of hugs and positive thoughts your way.
Thank you so much, Sue. Your caring helps more than you can know. 🙂
So sorry to hear it is cancerous. You did what my mom would do, step back, process and then deal with it. She is such a sweet girl, we hope her incision heals correctly soon and she can get back to having some fun. We pray the cancer doesn’t spread or return. As for treatment, you probably couldn’t even find Boston in the snow right now, so may as well wait on doing anything there.
You’ve got that right, Emma, I’m not sure we could even find Boston at this point! The one hopeful thing through all of this is that Sheba feels great. Other than having to stay at the vet those 3 nights, she’s taken everything in stride. I guess I need to learn from her. I just want her to be playing again….hopefully soon. Thank you for your prayers!
Pam and Sam says
So sorry that Sheba had this diagnosis, Jan. But your very last paragraph in the blog about staying positive and looking on the bright side, insuring every single day is a “best day” for Sheba and the rest of the family (including you!) is a great plan. As long as she’s happy, take each moment as a gift and I know you feel that way. Sammy and I are sending hugs…..for everyone!
Thank you, Pam and Sammy. Knowing that so many people care really does help a lot. I try to think that this doesn’t really change a lot….we already know when our pets are getting up in years that we have to make the most of every day, right?
2 Brown Dawgs says
I am sorry that it turned out to be more than a cyst. I think everything you are feeling is normal. I hope Sheba can get her stitches out soon and won’t need more surgery. Hang in there and keep us posted. 🙂
Thank you, I will do that. Hopefully once the stitches are out, there will be nothing to report for a long while!
M. K. Clinton says
Oh no! I am so sorry to hear this. Hopefully, the doctor has gotten it all and Sheba will bounce back! Sending lots of love your way. ♥
Thank you so much, Melissa. All we can do is hope, and the fact that Sheba feels so good gives me the most.
Callie, Shadow, and Ducky's Mom says
Oh, Jan, I’m so sorry that it was the spindle cell sarcoma!! I was hoping — and praying — it would just be a benign cyst. Your negativity is normal, my friend. And it’s much better to allow yourself to go through it and accept it than to deny it and have it return time and time again.
Callie is my trooper — always stoic, always good about restrictions — so I know what you mean about Sheba. Amazing how they teach us to accept what life throws at us — in effect, how to make lemonade out of lemons!! Once the stitches are removed, and she can run and play again, Sheba will make you believe she has no idea what all the fuss is about.
Feel free to private message me on FB if you need to “talk”.
Thank you so much, Sue, I just might do that sometime. I tried to let myself have a little “meltdown”….if I don’t, it crops up at the worst times. Someone says something nice and the next thing you know you’re crying, if you know what I mean. As she gets better, I find myself relaxing a bit more. I really do think you’re right….once she is back to running and playing it will be easier not to dwell on it.